Understanding your business’s marketing funnel is key to a successful marketing campaign. Thanks to tools like Google Analytics, it’s easier than ever to see how your customers go from being curious prospects to loyal patrons. Still, there are common beginner mistakes people make when they’re new to the world of marketing funnel strategies.
These mistakes aren’t always fatal. However, fixing them is necessary to unlock your funnel’s full potential.
What Exactly is the Marketing Funnel?
The marketing funnel is a helpful way of visualizing how people make the decision to purchase (or not) a product or service.
The idea is to imagine how customers approach the business at three different stages in the purchase process: the awareness, the consideration, and conversion stages.
- The top of the marketing funnel is the awareness stage. This is the point with the biggest pool of potential customers — that’s why it’s the widest part of the funnel. Here, people are discovering a product or service for the first time. They may not have prior knowledge of the business or its solution. Sometimes, they aren’t even aware they have a problem that needs solving.
- The middle of the marketing funnel is the consideration stage. People in this stage know the business and what it offers, but they aren’t ready to buy. There aren’t as many potential customers here as there is in the top of the funnel, but they’re closer to purchasing.
- The bottom of the marketing funnel is the conversion stage. The bottom represents the potential customers who have already decided to buy — now, they just need to decide who to buy from.
Why visualize customers using the marketing funnel? Because each different stage calls for a different marketing strategy. Customers at the top of the funnel are easier to reach, but they need convincing before they’ll buy. There are fewer customers in the conversion stage, but they’re the ones who are most receptive.
Your marketing efforts will generate better returns when you understand where to find people at each stage in the funnel and what resonates with each of them.
Fixing Common Marketing Funnel Mistakes
A marketing funnel strategy involves tactics to target potential customers at different points of the marketing funnel and move them closer to making a purchase. Data on user activity from platforms like Google Analytics and Facebook Insights can help you understand what’s working (and what’s not) at each step along the way.
However, even a robust strategy backed by good data is susceptible to a few common mistakes.
Keep these points in mind when you’re working on your winning marketing funnel strategy.
1. The Funnel Doesn’t End with Conversion
What happens at the end of the funnel?
Ideally, the person converts, whether that means buying a product, hiring a service, or taking some other action that benefits the business. The prospect becomes a customer.
What next? That customer doesn’t just vanish — they become one of the business’s biggest assets.
Assuming the product or service met their expectations, those customers more receptive than anyone to the business’s other offerings. They can become loyal fans and advocates for the business. Finally, they’re going to spread the word about their experience, so it’s in the businesses interest to keep them happy.
It’s a mistake to forget about customers after the conversion stage. Instead, use what you know about their needs and preferences for effective customer retention.
2. Market at All Points of the Funnel
When potential customers are close to converting, don’t be afraid to give them an extra ‘nudge’.
Many businesses make the mistake of focusing only on acquiring leads at the top of the marketing funnel, since people at the bottom are already close to converting. But conversion is not a guarantee.
It pays to invest in appealing to customers at all points in the funnel, especially the ones who are already eager to buy.
3. Don’t Let Prospects Go
Just because a prospect left without buying doesn’t mean they weren’t interested. There are dozens of reasons why someone might bounce. It could be they forgot what they were doing, wanted to check out competitors, or needed more time to think before making a decision.
With tools like AdWords and Facebook’s Pixel, you can retarget these potential customers and bring them back.
Retargeting is a fundamental marketing funnel strategy. Use what you already know about the customer to deliver a message that reminds them of your business.
4. Integrate the Funnel into Your Content Strategy
Content plays a big role in moving prospects through the marketing funnel. People don’t like ads, but they’re willing to consume content that delivers something of value: humour, entertainment, authenticity, information, empathy.
Blogs are a great example. Blog posts can raise customer awareness at the top of the funnel and provide ongoing value to those who have already converted. For example, an orchard could publish seasonal recipes that get people craving Ambrosia apples; an agency could share insider tips on their areas of expertise.
Don’t think of content strategy and marketing funnel strategy as two worlds. The marketing funnel gives content direction. Content is the current that ferries customers along.
5. Continuously Update Your Marketing Funnel Strategy
Marketing funnel strategy is not a one-time effort.
As technology evolves and customer habits change, your approach should pivot along with them. Ten years ago, mobile e-commerce was an emerging trend. Now, it accounts for $1.4 trillion in annual sales and 58% of e-commerce worldwide. Businesses who caught on to the change and optimized their strategies for mobile devices reeled in the benefits (see: How to Make Sure Your Site is Ready for Mobile).
Keep track of the changing ways customers are discovering and interacting with your business. Otherwise, your funnel won’t be in the right position to catch the stream of potential customers.
Marketing Funnel Strategy
In sum, remember these tips to avoid the common beginner marketing funnel mistakes:
- People who make it through the funnel once already are some of your best prospects. Keep customers coming back after they convert.
- Don’t focus exclusively on the top of the funnel. Prospects in the conversion stage still need that extra push.
- Use retargeting methods to bring prospects back into the funnel if they bounce.
- Treat your content marketing strategy and marketing funnel strategy as one.
- Your marketing funnel strategy is never complete. Keep adapting to consumer habits and buying trends.
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