Marketing funnels aren’t often the most talked-about aspect of a sales operation. We all know lead generation is probably the most important marketing activity in terms of increasing your sales and revenue. If you can’t attract leads, you won’t gain sales. Plain and simple. What do you do if your leads aren’t good enough to increase sales? Is it a matter of lead quality or is it a matter of what you are doing with your leads once you capture them? It could be a combination of both, but one thing is for sure, a well-built marketing funnel is critical to nurturing your leads from top-of-funnel interest through to a closed customer.
Utilizing a successful marketing funnel is the most important gift you could ever give your sales team. Eliminate wasting your sales team’s time with leads that won’t lead to sales or increase your revenue. Your marketing funnel could be the missing piece of the puzzle to help your sales team improve all their KPIs from call volume to proposals made to closed deals.
Every marketing funnel should have a specific goal and should contribute to nurturing your leads from interested “window shopper” all the way through to “ready to buy”. You should never produce something just for kicks or try to throw spaghetti at the wall and hope it sticks. Using a strategic marketing funnel allows for all your marketing efforts to contribute to your goal of increasing sales and revenue, and allows your marketing efforts to guide the right prospects through the sales journey to becoming your valued customers.
The Benefits of Optimized Marketing Funnels
1) Marketing Funnels Help Guide Business Strategy
Using a marketing funnel is one of the best uses of targeted content that will attract and engage the right customers for your business. Your marketing team should continuously optimize your marketing funnel by analyzing performance data to see where leads are dropping off and how you can improve engagement and nurture leads through the entire lifecycle. As you continue to scale your marketing channels, you should regularly review and measure key metrics, and improve and adjust your marketing funnel as needed for improved performance.
Analyzing each stage of your marketing funnel as you go can help you identify gaps and opportunities to allow you to iterate and improve the performance of all your marketing channels that are feeding leads into your funnel.
Where are leads most engaged? Where are leads dropping off? How could we do better? These kinds of questions will help you to think critically about how to optimize your marketing funnel and ultimately improve your ROI for all marketing efforts, and ultimately drive revenue.
2) Marketing Funnels Help Create a Successful Customer Roadmap
Creating a successful customer journey helps your sales and marketing team lead potential customers through a positive customer journey from just an interested lead all the way through to a closed customer.
Since a marketing funnel comprises different stages, you can hone in on each phase and improve it over time to guide the customer through the journey and increase the likelihood of conversion.
Utilizing an effective marketing funnel offers great insight to see where your customer is in their buying process, and what interests them and what doesn’t.
3) Marketing Funnels Boost Your Sales
Your marketing funnel serves to educate your potential customers while eliminating weak leads. When investing time in a strong marketing funnel, you can be confident that only the most promising and highest quality leads will reach the end of the funnel. This is critical to keeping your sales team operating at the most efficient and optimal level by focusing their time on activities that will yield the highest ROI, and not wasting their time on unqualified leads. By the time a lead goes through the funnel and makes it to the sales team, we should be confident that the lead is ready to have a serious conversation about your product or service.
Additionally, the data your draw from your marketing funnel performance will benefit your sales team’s knowledge of how to best engage with prospects. Your marketing funnel can offer valuable insight for your sales team and will ultimately improve the quality of sales calls and boost revenue.
Stages of Marketing Funnels – What are They and How to Use Them Effectively?
1) Top-of-Funnel – Brand Awareness
It all begins at the top. This marketing stage is where your target audience will interact with your business, possibly for the first time.
It’s your opportunity to introduce them to your brand, tell them who you are, and develop awareness for what you have to offer them.
We start here because your potential customer most likely has a problem to solve and comes into contact with your business while researching solutions. Make sure you stand out as their top solution!
Think like your potential customers. Maybe they do not know a lot about your product or service.
This is where introductory content is crucial. It can educate them about their problem and direct them to your company as their solution.
Helping to guide them and additionally build brand awareness can lead to sales. Popular top-of-funnel marketing channels include blog posts, podcasts, infographics (for visuals and wording), and social media.
2) Mid-Funnel – Customer Consideration
Next is the middle of your funnel. Your goal should be to target customers who have already started engaging with your content.
At this point, they’ve begun their research, are familiarized with your brand, and are considering your business as their potential choice to solve their problem.
What happens at this stage? Your potential customers will be more invested in your brand as a potential solution for the problem they are looking to solve or the need they have in their business.
You might see this as subscribing to your email list or following and engaging on social media channels. They are investing time to learn more about you and see if it’s a good fit for the problem they need to solve.
3) Bottom-of-Funnel — Decision Time
Lastly, we arrive at the bottom of the funnel. Ultimately, this is the last place prospective customers go before they convert into a sale. Tey have already invested time in researching your business.
Congrats! You’ve gotten their attention. Thanks to your marketing funnel, you’ve built trust and created a relationship with them at least one point in the process.
Finally, your customers are ready to make a decision, and hopefully, it’s with you!
Now, it’s essential to understand your customer’s needs to help them decide and hopefully gain a sale.
This is where the quality of your marketing funnel content matters most. The quality and strategy will not only impact your conversions but will also impact your long-term customer retention rate. Additionally, reduce bounce rate, and increase the bottom line.
How to Use the Stages of Marketing Funnels to Benefit Your Business
This portion of the funnel is where your customers will educate themselves on your brand and research their best options. It’s a fantastic opportunity to teach potential clients why they should engage with your brand in the first place.
Think of this stage as welcoming a user into your store for the first time. Do you greet them with a smile or do you not even look up from your cash register? This is the first impression that matters most. Delight your audience and make them feel special!
Examples include social media posts, SEO enforced blog posts or guest posts (or podcast transcripts!), and social media.
Okay! You’ve grabbed your potential customers’ attention and they’ve invested more time into your brand and education. Resources include email marketing, various campaigns, newsletters, testimonials or reviews, or webinars.
A great way to introduce them to your brand is through an email marketing welcome series. You can easily set up an automated series of welcome emails. This delights your newsletter subscribers and establish rapport and a deeper connection. Lead with value, and offer free content. Don’t go for the sale at this stage!
The final stage of the funnel is decision time. Where a potential customer will either move forward with your business or move on.
They are likely already a subscriber and a website visitor. This homestretch really matters in their final decision. Content that can help them do this includes customer testimonials, case studies, and white papers.
These pieces of content are often informative and dense with valuable information to narrow down their decision.
Best Practices to Optimize Your Marketing Funnel
You might be wondering: “How can I ensure my marketing funnel is optimized?”
Remember how we discussed the importance of a customer journey? Not only does this help your customers understand where they’re headed, but it helps you, the marketer or business owner.
A customer journey is essentially the road that takes your customer from “just a little interested” to becoming a paying customer. It provides indicators of where to go next. Furthermoe, how to track and measure your leads and ultimately lead you toward success.
SEO optimization is crucial for all content you make.
This helps broaden the perspective of clients. And it targets based on search, to help create a better match between your business and the customer’s needs.
Every piece of content should have a clear CTA (call to action). A CTA provides guidance and metrics to measure.