A marketing funnel is a model that shows the way a potential customer goes from becoming aware of your brand to purchasing a good or service. This model involves several stages of customer engagement with a brand. Companies use marketing funnels to understand their customers’ needs in each stage, optimize their marketing efforts, and generate more sales.
Why are sales and marketing funnels important?
You cannot downplay the importance of using a marketing funnel. In the end, it can change the game for your business. Here are several ways a marketing funnel can assist you in:
- Picking a marketing strategy. The cornerstone of a marketing funnel is your customer journey. Knowing the latter allows you to understand when and why prospects drop off before making a purchase, and what tools and strategies you can use to keep them engaged with your brand.
- Staying consistent with your promotion. With a marketing funnel, you don’t have to puzzle over your next step to attract and retain customers. Create a plan of marketing activities for each stage of the funnel and interact with leads to drive them towards making a purchase.
- Increasing your sales. Without a funnel, you lose money if a potential customer doesn’t buy from you immediately. They just drop off and forget about your offer. If you have a marketing funnel, you can nurture leads until they’re ready to purchase.
- Making it easier to close the deals. In B2B, closing deals requires combined efforts of the marketing and sales teams. Marketing funnels provide your salespeople with detailed insights into leads’ behavior, which gives them more hints on how to close the deal.
- Saving time and effort. Knowing your customer journey and having a plan of activities for each stage allows you to automate your marketing efforts. It saves tons of time and helps you achieve better results.
- Predicting future sales. Marketing funnels enable you to understand the results of your marketing activities better. Knowing a lead conversion for each stage, you can predict how many of your leads will eventually turn into paying customers.
- Retaining customers. A plan of post-purchase marketing activities helps you keep customers engaged and make them return now and then. Retaining customers is five times cheaper than acquiring new ones.
We’ve unpacked a few reasons why every business needs a marketing funnel. Now let’s discuss what stages it includes.
Marketing Funnel Stages
The number of stages in a marketing funnel depends on your approach and, mostly, your customers’ behavior. Some keep it simple and divide the funnel into the top, middle, and bottom stages.
The most relevant for today’s world marketing funnel includes the following stages.
- Awareness. A future customer gets to know your business.
- Interest. Leads gain more knowledge about your company and its products.
- Consideration. Leads turn into prospects; they show more activity by learning about your product or service.
- Intent. Prospective customers demonstrate their interest in purchasing from you.
- Evaluation. Here buyers make a final decision about whether to buy from you or not.
- Purchase. The final part, where a prospect makes the decision and becomes your customer.
Some marketers add two more stages – loyalty and advocacy. The first includes actions on turning a single-time customer into a regular one; the second entails your customer becoming a brand advocate. These stages can be merged and called post-purchase behavior.
Working with post-purchase stages is especially important in the B2B sector, where the number of potential customers is limited, and the purchasing process is more lengthy and complicated. To learn more about the peculiarities of marketing funnels in B2B and B2C, read further.