What is a marketing funnel, and what could it do for your business? Each funnel includes stages that match the customers’ points within their respective journeys. At the widest point of the funnel, there are many prospects. However, people drop out at each stage, and the funnel narrows to reach only those most likely to buy your product or service.

HubSpot conducted an A/B test to see what results they’d get if they narrowed the focus to the marketing funnel stages and removed all other links. They found reducing the links increased conversion rates. When you understand the stages and keep your focus on them, you’ll have greater success turning site visitors into customers.

The average conversion rates are around 2% across most industries. If you offer a top-quality product and everything else is spot on, you may only need to tweak your sales funnel to improve your conversion rates. You’ll attract potential clients and convert more of them once you do.

The Marketing Funnel Stages

What is a marketing funnel’s design? There are four stages, and each has a specific purpose.

1. Awareness

The initial stage is the widest part of the funnel. This phase includes your efforts to attract your audience to your website or place of business. In the awareness step, you’ll create marketing campaigns based on consumer research. You might host events, go to trade shows, start a blog, send out postcards or post on social media.

Get to know who your target audience is and what might make them seek additional information about your brand. You won’t sell to every person in this step. You’ll cast a wide net to capture anyone who might be slightly interested.

2. Interest

The second stage involves conveying more information to those who are interested. These people are your target audience. The funnel narrows a bit as people who don’t need what you’re offering drop out.

At this stage, you should know your buyer persona and understand the pain points they deal with. Once you know what their problem is, you can offer a viable solution.

The information you offer during this part of the journey is more in-depth. You might host a webinar, offer a free e-book or send out targeted emails. Content plays a big role in garnering interest. You already have a great product. Now, you have to show your leads why it solves their issue.

3. Consideration

Once you educate users on your product and how it works, it’s time to lay out your unique value proposition (UVP). Why is your product the best choice? These individuals likely have other options to solve their problem. Why should they choose yours over all the others?

The consideration portion of the marketing funnel is a good place to use video testimonials, offer money-back guarantees and explain your customer service model. Once you understand what makes your company stand out from the competition, it’s easier to show why consumers should pick you over another option.

4. Conversion

The final stage of the marketing funnel pushes users to make a commitment and buy your product. One of the best ways to close the sale is to have a highly trained sales force that understands when to ask for the sale and how to overcome buyer objections. Sales associate Hayden Burgess says, “Sales is the only function of your business that actually brings in an income.” Therefore, it’s vital to streamline this process and ensure it works for your buyers.

The conversion is an excellent point of the journey to offer a discount if customers buy within a particular time frame. Give them a reason to make the decision.

Each stage of the sales funnel needs a different approach. Be aware of the questions customers ask as they move through the journey and answer these ahead of time, so buyers don’t even need to inquire.

Differences Between Marketing and Sales Funnels

You’ve probably heard of a sales funnel and the buyer’s journey. How is a marketing funnel different from the sales funnel? There are some similarities between the two, and they overlap in certain spots. Businesses would be smart to understand the processes of both so they can intersect them as needed.

For example, the sales funnel also starts with the awareness stage. Much of the information you’ll find in the marketing funnel also appears in the sales funnel. The difference between the two is that the marketing funnel digs more into consumer research and yields creative ways to get information to the target audience.

Figuring Out Where People Are in the Funnel

One of the biggest challenges for new marketers is determining where in the funnel users are and what messages you should bring them. Fortunately, your first step is merely laying out material for each stage.

Once you have all the material you need for the four phases, consider the clues you can provide to move your users to the right spot. Use arrows, calls to action (CTAs) and questions to drive users to the correct location in the journey.

You can also use cookies to track if an individual has visited or interacted with your site previously. Use internal data to direct them to the spot they left off from last time, for example.

Differences Between B2B and B2C Funnels

You’ll find that the marketing funnels for business to business (B2B) and business to consumer (B2C) companies are a bit different. The consumer likely needs more information upfront, such as customer reviews that can help them compare products. Business owners enjoy product demos and platforms that allow them to share details with others in the company.

Understanding the differences in how each type of customer makes decisions helps you refine your marketing funnel and provide the most pertinent message for your audience.

Nonlinear Considerations

Some experts talk about the nonlinear funnel, stating that the process isn’t so cut and dried. People come into the funnel at different stages due to word-of-mouth marketing and various interactions with your company.

Modern technology helps with tracking where people are in the marketing and sales funnels. Use artificial intelligence (AI) to ask classification questions. Someone who has already heard about your product should skip introductory videos and basic information.

Tips for Improving Your Marketing Funnel

Now that you know what a marketing funnel is, you can refine what you offer until your conversion rates improve. Here are some tips to help you get the most benefit from people who stumble across your company.

Keep Them Engaged

When people arrive at the awareness phase of the marketing funnel, the goal is to keep them engaged. You want to reach them repeatedly until they move to the interest stage. The better you educate your audience and keep them interested, the more likely they’ll move to the next part of their journey.

Invest in Pay-Per-Click

With pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns, you only pay for a click when someone interacts with your ad and goes to a landing page. Look into PPCs for the initial phases of your marketing funnel. Try them on social media and sites such as Google for the most impact.

Match the Ad and Headline

Don’t pull a bait-and-switch. Make sure your ad coincides with the webpage’s purpose. The headlines also should match closely. The user clicked on your link because they need a specific solution or set of information. Give them what they expect, and they are less likely to bounce away.

Create CTAs Addressing the Pain Point

If you’ve done your research, you know what problem your typical user faces. Make sure your CTA promises a solution to the issue. Give consumers a reason to click on the button and move forward to the next phase of the marketing funnel.

If your target audience needs a solution for teaching their child through e-learning, mark your CTA as “Get Help with E-Learning” or something along those lines. Show what they’ll get when they engage with the feature.

Listen to Feedback

Ask your site visitors and customers for feedback about the promotional and sales processes and implement their suggestions. You can create all the buyer personas imaginable and you still won’t fully be inside their skin. However, your users can tell you a lot about what things aren’t productive and what led them to buy from you.

Your marketing funnel isn’t something you create once and then walk away from. Continually refine each phase until your conversion rates improve.

Invest in CRM Software

Customer relationship management (CRM) software allows you to track anyone who purchases from you. Use the details from each customer to bring them new offers and restart the marketing funnel. Someone who’s familiar with your brand already has the awareness stage tackled, so you might jump in a little later in the process.

Reach out on their birthdays and other special days. Send them info about new products. Provide offers you think they might be interested in based on past shopping behavior.

You can also utilize CRM software to make sure people are happy with the items they bought. Plug your customer service team into the software to track complaints and fix any current or future issues.

Track Your Results

The top thing you can do to excel with your marketing funnel is to track your results. Which elements of your promotional strategy see a conversion to the next phase of the funnel? Try new things and conduct split testing to optimize conversions. The more data you have about your marketing efforts, the better you’ll become at reaching new customers and turning them into lifelong fans.

About the author

Mark Coleman

Mark Coleman is the editor at MarkupTrend. He is also a technical writer and digital marketing expert. He handles all marketing, advertisement related activities at MarkupTrend along with his team.