Do you ever really stop and think about the reason behind your online purchases, or the psychology behind them?
I appreciate a person in their right frame of mind may not be as thorough at analysing the user journey that took them from opening Instagram all the way to building ten different pairs of white sneakers.
Yet, not everyone is a marketer like me, right?
I like to say marketers have the blessing and curse of being able to analyse behaviours and strategies other brands use to lure customers in. Call it my very own Spider-sense, if you may.
Let’s take as an example my journey to joining a Medium course last year. I joined the Medium platform in 2019, and I needed help to grow my presence on Medium.
I stumbled up a FREE email course to learn more about Medium in an author’s bio. Every day for the following 5 days, I received an email and implemented the help given to me, until, on day 5, I was offered to join a FREE webinar about making money on Medium.
Straight after the webinar, I received a follow-up offer to join a paid course on Medium. Try and guess what happened.
If you guessed I joined the course, then you are damn right. I was provided with an insane amount of free value upfront, and that compelled me to go after more tailored support.
What I went through was a marketing funnel.
What is a marketing funnel?
There are plenty of definitions and variations of funnels, but most marketing funnels originate from purchase funnels.
The purchase funnel, or purchasing funnel, is a consumer-focused marketing model that illustrates the theoretical customer journey toward the purchase of a good or service. (Wikipedia)
Most times you may see a funnel visually represented as, well, a funnel. You can view it as a system that helps you track the stages of decision-making a customer goes through when making a purchase.
The steps I personally include in a funnel are the following:
- Awareness – customers understand they need the product
- Consideration – Can this product support my needs?
- Purchase – customers buy the product.
- Loyalty – Next time I will buy from same brand
- Advocacy – I’m an active fan of the brand online
You can almost see this as three stages
- Use marketing to create a demand
- Responding to the demands you providing a solution
- Encourage customers to build new demands
Consumers will need an average of 6/7 interactions before taking action and purchasing from your brand, this is why it’s important to build a funnel.
Regardless of your brand or products, you want to build a custom-made consumer journey with your brand using a variety of media, according to your own goals, consumers’ individual needs, stage in the funnel and the story you want to tell.
Get clear on your goals
Every marketing funnel should have a declared purpose. Most goals revolve around brand awareness (aka spreading the word about your brand and being on top of people’s minds) or sales (increasing revenue for your brand).
It’s important to define your campaign for many reasons: including your target audience and budgets.
Question time: What is the goal of your funnel?
Create the right segments
Most brands have a clear idea of who their ideal customers are, and they should have a clear profile in their minds ahead of launching a product. However, it’s not always the case.
This is why it’s important to get clear on your overall audience and, straight after that, refine the different segments you’ll be targeting.
We take one segment and accurate the message we’ll deliver. Every segment treated differently.
Let’s say you are a vegan pizza brand trying to build brand awareness, what are your individual segments?
- Dairy intolerant customers
- Health-conscious people
- Environmental heroes
Understanding that each segment will be attracted by a different aspect of your product is key when crafting your message
Question time: Who is your audience?
“Facebook is for emotion. Google is for intent.” (Scott GallOway, Clinical professor of marketing, NYU Stern School)
As a marketer, I must understand in which stage my customers are in, so I can target them with the right message and media. Why?
Well, there’s a big difference between scrolling on Instagram and buying some pizza. You will talk differently on Instagram and on your website checkout page.
Awareness can come from the TV, or Instagram ads. Consideration may be built from reviews on websites, loyalty can be harnessed through loyalty memberships and schemes and advocacy through testimonials in a newsletter.
Creating the ideal journey through different media will help you make sure you create the right content for each and every platform you use.
Question time: What is the right medium for each stage? What message will be associated with it?
Your marketing funnel is not just a series of random calls to action. Your marketing funnel should lead people through a story.
In the case of our vegan pizza, podcast interviews may be a great way to bring brand awareness and share more about the story behind the mission of the company.
This makes it relatable., talking about a small company with a big vision, answering a problem the founder was trying to solve.
Each stage of the funnel can help to build this story. Stages like loyalty can work effectively as standalone, but what if you can merge it with advocacy?
Seth Godin once said
“People do not buy goods and services. They buy relationships, stories, and magic.”
Tell stories that are relatable and emotional. They can be visual, written or more.
Question time: Which story are you going to tell through your funnel?
Building your first funnel
Building a funnel is essentially building a marketing journey for your potential customers.
Ideally, this marketing funnel would actually be… a cylinder, as in all of your leads would turn into customers.
Though this is not a reality for businesses, it is part of a marketer’s job to turn as many leads into customers as possible and making the funnel more cylindrical. Most times theory is not the issue, and being able to fill our funnel is where we truly get stuck. I hope that these steps and questions can help you build a funnel for yourself.
If you just answer the questions right, the marketing funnel will write itself, and all you’ll have to do is fill the gaps.