Every business has a marketing funnel, whether they realize it or not. Some businesses recognize parts of the funnel that aren’t working and optimize them. But what if you aren’t intentional about your funnel? What if you don’t know what a funnel is? We can help you get started.
A marketing funnel is essentially a path for how users could interact with your marketing content as they move closer to becoming a customer with your business.
- A business might be found through a search engine by a potential customer.
- The customer lands on their website and reads a blog post on the topic they searched for.
- They then download a related free PDF resource.
- This means giving up their email address to get the resource and join the mailing list.
- This drops them into an automated welcome series of emails
- After the first three emails, they eventually make their first purchase.
The stages of a marketing funnel
- Awareness: getting to know you. Think about meeting a new person.
- Consideration: let me think about that. Think about asking them out on a date.
- Conversion: count me in. Think about a marriage proposal.
- Loyalty: I really like you. Think about staying married.
Tips for getting started.
- List out all of your marketing efforts. Label which stage they fit into
- Map out the connections between platforms.
- Eliminate anything that isn’t driving business growth.
- Begin tracking how people move through these stages.
- Optimize places where bottlenecks occur.
Robert Carnes: [00:00:00] This is the brighter web podcast insights on growing a small business, using the latest technology and marketing best practices. I am Robert and I’m joined once again by Mickey and I thought we could probably discuss marketing funnels on this episode of the podcast.
Mickey Mellen: [00:00:20] I think that’s a great idea, but what is a marketing funnel?
Robert Carnes: [00:00:23] Exactly. It’s a great question. I know that’s a term that gets thrown around a lot, and not everybody understands what that means. So let’s, let’s walk through an example because essentially a marketing funnel is a framework that move people towards general awareness about your business into actually, bringing them closer to doing business with you.
For example, that could be, if you’re a plumber and you want to get people to know about you online. So they do a quick Google search for plumbers near me. Your website is fantastic. So it pops up right at the top of the rankings, they click on that. They , scroll down and get to know you a little bit better, but then they read a blog post that you wrote about, how to actually hire a plumber, right?
The six things you need to know before you hire a plumber, they read that. They’re , oh my gosh this is so helpful. I’m so thankful to this plumber. For taking the time to create great content. That’s probably why they got, I found them on Google in the first place, but then below that they see this free resource that contains everything that you need to know to keep your, your, your house plumbing running smoothly.
And you’re , oh my gosh, that’s, that’s super helpful. I need, I need that stuff. I don’t want my toilets clogging up. So let me click to download that resource. Oh, I, all I need to do is give them my email address. Okay. I’ll do it. So that then drops you in an email list of theirs.
And so, you get all these periodic emails about, Hey, this is what you need to be doing this summer to make sure your pipes are nice and clean, all those kinds of things. And then eventually you’re , what? These guys are awesome. They’ve been sending me a lot of great emails or this fantastic blog post.
Next time I need a plumber. Next time my toilet breaks, I’m going to call these guys that actually do business with them so that, it’s a long-term process slowly. Wheeling somebody into becoming a new client by providing them value and by building trust over time. Gotcha.
Great example. There’s a lot of pieces to that, but I think you have a way you can break it down and yeah. Really the four main stages of marketing science. So it starts with awareness. Tell me what awareness looks in terms of a funnel. So as I mentioned before, somebody is not going to be in business with you until they at least know that you were in doing business or that you have that service, that you’re offering something.
So yeah, I mean, it’s just general brand awareness. That’s another buzzword that gets thrown out in marketing. To bring another metaphor to the table. I to think about marketing funnels in general, asking somebody out on a date. Right. So you can’t ask somebody out on a date until you’ve actually met them and got to know them first.
So yeah, that’s important. Maybe not everybody’s relationship. I don’t know. I’m not going to be prescriptive, but yeah. So awareness is the first thing, and it’s just getting to know a business or, in, in our metaphor, getting to know somebody before you ask them on a date. There you go.
Mickey Mellen: [00:02:47] Good, good analogy. So you got the awareness. Next is considerable. Yeah. So, once they know about your business and they, dip their toe in a little bit, they’ve visited your website, they’ve heard about your business. Now it’s time to actually start providing some of them, some of those valuable pieces of content, right?
Robert Carnes: [00:03:02] Sharing blog posts with them asking them for their email address. Can it’s some of those quick things, and again, in our metaphor, that’s, that’s actually asking someone on a date. You’ve got to know them. You’ve hung out with them in a casual setting. And now it’s , okay, we know each other, we feel a little bit more comfortable. Hey, do you want to go out on a first date?
Right. It’s a little bit low, low ass that can feel daunting for some people. And yeah. I mean, asking somebody to read your blog posts can feel a little awkward and sometimes, right. But, you have to take that first step, right. Trying to build somebody, grow somebody a little bit closer to actually doing business with you is that next thing again, that usually comes in the form of good online content.
Or we’re asking somebody in a day, right. Just, just trying to say , Hey, let’s get to know each other a little bit better. Perfect. So, yeah. So you got, they’re aware of you now and they’re considering you. But they still haven’t bought anything from you. So what, so how do we get to that conversion point?
Right. And that’s, that’s the key point is that a marketing funnel should ultimately be driving people towards actually doing business. And I will say one of the reasons it’s called a funnel and appropriately enough is it’s because it’s shaped like a funnel. You will have a lot more people who are aware about your business, but maybe not reading your blog posts and all that stuff.
Maybe not actually considering doing business with you. So it gets a little bit near. Yeah. And then once you get to this conversion step, it’s going to get narrower still, right? Because there’s gonna be fewer people that read your blog post or follow you on social media or subscribe to your email address that actually become clients.
But this is the step when you actually want to pull the trigger and say, Hey, let’s, let’s commit to whatever the right that, that could be similar to proposing marriage. , Hey, let’s, let’s actually commit to one another. Let’s become business partners. I want to be your plumber.
What do you think about that? let’s do business together. It’s a little bit higher. Of an ask, right. They’re just asking somebody out on a date or asking somebody for their email address, but that’s the point you’ve, you’ve wined and dined them. So to speak a little bit. And so now it’s, you’ve earned the trust.
You’ve earned their respect to be able to actually do that. So, because ultimately I’m working in funnel marketing in general is about trying to grow your business and you can’t do that unless you actually ask her to marry you. Right. Gotcha. So the conversion feels like the end, but it’s really not because anyone that’s married knows that the marriage proposal is great and the wedding is great, but it doesn’t end there.
The last piece of this is loyalty keeping, keeping them around. Yeah, absolutely. Just to your point, it’s, it’s not over then, right? You, you don’t sign somebody up as a new customer, all right, well, we don’t wanna have to deal with you anymore. It doesn’t feel like marketing as much, but Martin, marketing is very much still keeping your customers happy.
Right? Making sure to check on them. And it does evolve more into customer support, customer care. It takes on a new name, but it’s still important to connect those two things together. Right. You don’t want to feel , they’ve gotten to know you’ve built up this brand, you’ve got all these promises and all of a sudden they feel they’ve dropped out of a funnel into a void.
Right. You want to make sure to connect those two pieces together. What somebody actually makes a conversion and buys a product or signs up for your service. So yeah, you actually want to make sure those two things are connected and to keep them around, just to your point, once you propose marriage, it’s not over then, then the real work actually starts of actually being married and being a spouse and keeping the relationship strong.
Gotcha. So we’ve seen the stages. We have the awareness to consideration. To conversion to a loyalty, which all sounds great, but that’s not real practical yet. I mean, I understand it at a high level, but what do we actually do to make that happen? So you have five steps that you to walk through to actually get some of this.
Yeah, that’s a great point because this can still feel very theoretical and can say the theoretical a lot of people’s minds. Actually making it practical is a really important step to actually making this something that you will actually use in your business. So I will try to start by listing all the things you actually do.
Marketing wise. Again, I’ve, I’ve mentioned several examples, but blogging search engine optimization, maybe any ads that you have out there social media content, all of those pieces that you’re doing to try and build up marketing and build up Brandon. Yeah. Maybe list all of those things out just to even see a landscape of what you’ve got going.
And then almost even sketch out almost a loose framework of a funnel, almost on a whiteboard, even, right. If you wrote down all of the different marketing pieces on sticky notes, and then if you re , if you drew a funnel outline hopefully, what a funnel looks like . If not, you can Google it.
I think you can find an answer. And then put those sticky notes on where it feels most appropriate. Right? Is this something. It’s getting somebody aware about our business. Is this something that’s trying to convert them to actually buying something? , where does this fit in? What stage of the funnel would this fit?
And that’ll at least get you a start of again, how all those pieces actually work together. Gotcha. Awesome. So, yeah, we have, so we ever list, we’ve drawn our big funnel. We’ve stuck sticky notes on there. What do we do next? What I mean. In that process, you will probably find things that maybe don’t quite fit.
You’re , eh, I don’t, we’ve always been doing this thing. , oh, we just, we’re, we’re listening to the yellow pages all the time. Maybe that’s awareness, but maybe it’s not. Maybe this hasn’t actually grown anything in our business yet. So maybe consider cutting anything that isn’t actually driving business growth.
Right. If it doesn’t naturally fit into your funnel, Actually justify this marketing expense of whether that’s time or whether that’s money, just think about cutting it and see what that would do for your business. Because again, you want to be driving people very intentionally towards each step of the funnel.
So if there’s something that’s not actually pushing people along towards doing business with you, then why, why are you doing it? Gotcha. Does that make sense? So we’ve got, we’ve got them listed out. We’ve eliminated things. We have sort of probably a little funnel going over, even if we didn’t mean to just from the work we’ve already done.
Once we see it on paper, we realize sort of how it flows. So what do we do next now? Well, tracking is really important and that’s where it gets trickier. Right? You can probably pretty easily track certain stages of the funnel. , awareness. You can see how many people maybe clicked on your digital ad or how many people follow you on social media.
So you can get a rough sense of, of what, the top of your funnel looks . Then obviously you can track things , how your email list is growing, or how many monthly subscribers do you have your blog? And some of those things conversion is obviously one of the tougher pieces because , sometimes people will buy your product or sign up for your service.
And you’re not sure where they came from. So one of the key pieces is trying the best you can and to connect those data points and understand. Where people are coming through the funnel, where they started off their journey, how they got to know your brand and then what ultimately made them convert.
So again, it’s not an easy thing. It will take some time. It will take some investment of maybe even resources. There are lots of tools out there that can help track audience members through the funnel. But I think it’s a really important thing to at least try and put numbers where you can, so you can see how that funnel actually scopes out and how much business you can expect based on the marketing effort you’re putting in.
Gotcha. And so tracking those only part of it, it’s Google analytics. We’re seeing the traffic on your site is great, but it doesn’t do anything until you do something with it. What is the last step after we’re tracking all this stuff, what do we want to do lastly here? Right? Right. Well, ultimately that should hopefully bring some transparency that should actually shine a light on what parts of the funnel are working, what parts aren’t working.
Right? If you’re getting a given, you’re running a Google ad and you get, you’re getting a ton of people who are coming to your website, but after that, nobody’s actually signing up for the email list. You wanted to, right? That’s a bottleneck. You can very clearly see where the funnel, all of a sudden, just shrinks.
You’re getting a bunch of people dropping off. 50% click through on your ad, but only 0.1% of people are actually subscribing to your email list. Okay. Well, why is that? It gives you an opportunity to dig in and hopefully optimize one place in the funnel and hopefully open that up a little bit more.
Hopefully. Your email subscription rate from 0.1% to two or 3%. And then that way you’re getting more people to hopefully flow to the next stage of the funnel and trickle down from there. So once you have a little bit of data and a little bit of transparency on what those numbers are, you can figure out the places where you really need to tweak.
Gotcha. That makes sense. And I’d to say, I think a lot of you probably already have a funnel to some degree, even if you didn’t mean it, but if you can take some time to tighten it up, it can really, really do well for you. Yeah. Yeah. People have to your point, they, they have a marketing funnel, whether you realize it or not.
Just being aware of it, I think can help you make it better. Yeah. Yeah. So, to recap some of these, so the stages we go through the awareness, getting to know you, meeting a new person, the consideration, letting them think about it, asking someone out on it.
The conversion, the marriage proposal, the sale, that sort of piece. And then the loyalty, keeping people sticking around and happy and referring you and staying married and that sort. Yeah. And that will look slightly different for every different business, but that’s generally how a marketing funnel should flow.
Yep. And then to get started with that, just a few basic steps. One is to list out all your marketing efforts and lay them next to those stages and see what you’re already doing in a lot of these and see where some of the holes are and map out some of the connections between them. Next is to eliminate anything.
That’s not driving business growth. That’s a good opportunity to see that you’re spending a lot of effort on perhaps a specific social network. That’s just not doing anything for you can start getting rid of some of that related to tracking, how people move through those stages and then optimizing places where bottlenecks or gaps are.
And you should have a decent little funnel at that. Yeah, hopefully. So again, it’s not an easy thing. It’s not something that will just immediately happen. But I think with a little bit of time and effort and maybe just a little bit of extra. More businesses can get a, be more intentional about their marketing funnel and be more effective with their marketing in general.
Yep. Perfect. And if you’re not familiar with the concept of marketing funnel, hopefully that helped a little bit, and we’ll have some links in the show notes that’ll help you feel a bit further and better understand really what we’re talking about. Yeah, absolutely. So thanks for this conversation, Mickey.
And thank you for listening to this episode of the brighter web podcast with Robert and Mickey. We’re from green melon digital marketing agent. And if you want Lord insights on this, you can visit our firstname.lastname@example.org. We have a couple posts about marketing funnels on there. And as Mickey mentioned, you can also find our show notes and more episodes of the email@example.com.