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Marketing through the funnel: Making your digital marketing strategy more effective

Marketing through the funnel: Making your digital marketing strategy more effective

Knowing how the marketing funnel works and how your customers interact with your brand when deciding whether or not to purchase from you is essential to a successful digital marketing strategy. Find out more in our blog.

When running digital marketing campaigns for your business, knowing how the marketing funnel works and what it is will help you get the most from your budget and focus your time and resources on the activities and channels that work best for you. 

In this blog, you’ll learn more about the stages of the marketing funnel and the channels and activities that will help you to build relationships with your customers.

You can also watch our video to learn more on this topic: Marketing Through the Funnel

What is a marketing funnel? 

The marketing funnel describes your customer’s journey when interacting with and buying from your business. From an initial awareness of your business, through to purchasing from you and becoming a loyal customer, the marketing funnel helps you to get the most from your digital marketing activities. 

Understanding how your customers move through your marketing funnel, and the information they want to know at each stage to help them purchase from you, can help you get the best return on investment. 

According to Forbes, it can cost four to five times more to acquire new customers than to retain existing customers. The funnel can help you and your marketing team to plan and measure the digital marketing activities you use to attract, engage and convert prospects through a number of activities. 

The RACE model is a great example to follow: 

You may also see it divided into this three stage model:

  • Top of the funnel (TOFU): awareness stage 
  • Middle of the funnel (MOFU): consideration stage 
  • Bottom of the funnel (BOFU): conversion stage 

Understanding how your customers move through these stages is key to creating a more effective digital marketing strategy. 

How do the B2B and B2C marketing funnels differ? 

The marketing funnel and customer journey is slightly different depending on whether your business is B2B or B2C. 

B2C customers will often navigate the funnel by themselves or with family or friends who they will ask for advice or an opinion. These customers will often go from awareness to purchase and beyond without interacting with anyone from your business directly.

On the other hand, B2B customers are involved in a larger, more focused group. There will often be multiple stakeholders involved in the decision, and they will have to sell products or services to others. These customers will interact with your sales representatives in the lower stages of the marketing funnel. 

Stage one: Strategy 

Your strategy forms the foundation of your marketing activities and determines how successful it will be. 

The plan starts with: 

  • Who your target customers are 
  • Detailed customer personas 
  • Understanding of the customer journey 
  • Competitor research 

All these elements will help you focus on bringing in the right and most valuable customers for your business. It will also help you to choose the right channels and the right activities at every stage of the marketing funnel. 

Stage two: Reach 

The reach stage of the marketing funnel is all about creating brand awareness. At this stage of the funnel, your customers are likely to have a problem, but they might not know the solution or answer to their question. 

At this stage, you’ll need to focus on channels such as:

  • Content marketing & SEO: When you create SEO content or any content at this stage, you need to focus on the keywords you want to rank for and the keywords your customers will likely use when searching for your product or service. For example: 
  • ‘How much is a tailored suit’ 
  • ‘What’s the difference between made-to-measure and bespoke suits’ 
  • ‘Granite vs quartz worktops’ 
  • ‘What are the best team building tools for businesses’

  • Paid social: You can boost your popular posts on social media channels such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram to meet customers who match your target audience but who might not know about your brand yet. In addition, channels such as Facebook allow you to create a lookalike audience which finds people who are similar to the customers who have already engaged with you on those channels.  

  • Video campaigns: video campaigns are great for building brand awareness across a range of social media channels. You can add them to YouTube too, which can help to make your brand more visible and help with your SEO strategy as well. 

  • Paid search: PPC channels such as Google Ads allow you to appear at the top of the search results for the keywords your customers are using at the top of the funnel. If you can reach the top positions through paid search and organically, your brand will dominate the first page of the search results. 

Goals and Metrics 

Remember that your main goal at the awareness stage isn’t to generate sales straight away. Whether you’re a B2B or a B2C business, a small percentage of your customers are in-market at any given time. So, building awareness and keeping customers engaged until they’re ready to buy from you is essential to a successful sales and marketing strategy. 

The key metrics you need to track at this stage of the funnel are: 

  • New users to your website 
  • Unique visits 
  • Social media engagements 

Stage three: Act 

Act is the middle of the funnel (MOFU). This is where you’re going to drive ‘micro-conversions’ and leads. By now, your customers will have identified that they have a problem and are researching the potential solutions available. 

In the first stage of the funnel, your customers will have identified some of the potential solutions available to them and now they’re getting closer to making a purchase. However, your work’s not over yet! 

Micro conversions are not a purchase from your brand. They refer to conversions such as signing up for your newsletter or downloading an ebook. This is how you collect contact details to keep prospects engaged throughout the funnel. 

Focus on channels such as: 

  • Content marketing & SEO: create content or product/services pages that focus more on commercially focused keywords such as ‘where to buy’. You can find out more about search intent and the type of keywords to use at every stage of a customer’s research in our blog: A guide to search intent for SEO

  • Paid social: social media channels allow you to target the people who have watched all or part of your videos or who have been to your website with testimonial or case study themed ads. This is social proof and is essential in the customer’s journey when they’re comparing their options. They want to know what past and existing customers think of your brand. 

  • Organic social: Again, you can target your followers and engaged customers with testimonial and case study themed ads. 

  • Email: This is a great tool in the middle of the funnel. You will need to use your content and lead magnets to gather contact details so you can keep prospects engaged and your brand top of mind until they’re ready to purchase from you.

  • Paid search: Use paid search to run campaigns focused on driving leads and micro conversions. You can also introduce remarketing at this stage to show ads to people who have already been on your site or engaged with your content. 

Goals and Metrics 

This stage is all about educating your customers. They might not be ready to make a purchase but they’re weighing up their options so you need to make sure you’re there when they’re making comparisons. 

The key metrics you need to measure at this stage include: 

  • The number of leads gathered 
  • Lead conversion rate 
  • Email subscribers 
  • Downloads 
  • Click tracking 

Stage four: Convert 

THIS is where you can focus on the customers ready to make a purchase. You’ve nurtured them, built awareness and a relationship so now it’s time to get them to buy from you instead of your competitors. 

This is the bottom of the funnel and your customers know they have a problem, they’re well researched and they have a good idea of the options available to them. 

At this stage, focus on the following channels and strategies:

  • Remarketing: This can help you to target customers through paid search, display ads and paid social who have already engaged with your website. Provide them with the information they need to finally make a purchase from you. 

  • Google Shopping campaigns: if you’re an e-commerce business, Google Shopping Ads are perfect. They allow you to use product-based search ads aimed at users who are specifically searching for product-based keywords. 

  • Email marketing: Marketing automation campaigns are great for driving online conversions as well as supporting your internal sales teams. Abandoned basket emails can help you to pull customers back in. 

Goals and Metrics 

The aim of the game at the bottom of the funnel is to finally drive customers to make a purchase from you. 

The key metrics to track here are: 

  • Sales 
  • Revenue 
  • Conversion rates
  • Average order value 
  • ROI 

Stage five: Engage

It’s easy to think that once a customer has bought from you, that’s it. But, it’s much easier to keep existing customers engaged and coming back repeatedly than it is to constantly drive customers to the top of the funnel. Plus, it’s more cost-effective too. 

You can use email to keep engaged with customers, provide them with offers to keep them coming back and keep reminding them of your brand. You can also use loyalty schemes to create brand advocates who will recommend you to friends and family. 

Key takeaways 

Marketing isn’t just about making instant sales. You need to build brand awareness, let potential customers know about who you are, what you can offer and how you can offer something better than your competitors. Once you’ve made them aware, you need to nurture your relationship with them until they’re ready to buy. 

These relationships will help you to build a long-term marketing strategy and long-term relationships with your customers who will keep coming back to you time and time again. 

If you’d like to know more about how marketing through the funnel can help you to drive growth for your business, contact hello@logica-digital.co.uk to request a free digital marketing audit for your business. 

Blog written by

Mark Skinner

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