A Marketing Funnel Has Three Stages
Any successful marketing funnel can be broken down into three stages. Much like how an actual funnel works, a marketing funnel works by drawing in a lot of visitors who will then be trimmed and filtered out into customers that come out the bottom.
The top of your funnel will be designed to gain as much visibility as possible. It will include marketing efforts on channels like email, social media, blogs, and if you can manage it, big media. Sending out emails to names you already have on your list should be one of your first steps. Posting content on social media like videos, infographics, comments on other influencer’s posts, and more should also be another one of the first things you do when trying to build a marketing funnel.
Designing the top of your funnel gives you the chance to showcase your expertise or knowledge in the field. Remember that the people who are drawn into the top of your funnel are not yet ready to buy products from you, they are simply just learning who you are. This is why certain tactics like creating quizzes, videos, and contests, are so important during this stage.
By disguising your marketing as a value-providing piece of content, you can get potential customers familiar with your brand without making them feel like you just want to sell yourself to them.
Starting an informative, entertaining blog that is SEO optimized would be another smart move. SEO can eventually help you draw in tons of new visitors once you’ve built up a nice cache of content. Done correctly, it can help you get a reliable source of steady traffic to your site as well if you can get your pages ranked highly enough.
There are a few different ways you can measure the success of the top of your marketing funnel. Sessions, % new sessions, bounce rate, and traffic per channel are all metrics you can use to determine how successful your marketing efforts are in this phase of the funnel.
Sessions is another word for views or visits. This is your website traffic and is a very useful metric for determining success. Your % of new sessions shows you how many of your visitors are first-timers, allowing you to measure how much NEW traffic you’re bringing in. The bounce rate of these sessions is a metric that tells you how many of your visitors left without taking any type of action on your website. You’ll want this number to be as low as possible. If it’s high, it could mean your content isn’t engaging enough.
And finally, your traffic per channel will tell you how much traffic you’re getting on each individual marketing channel. This includes social media, organic traffic, email, direct, and more. This is one of the most important metrics to use because it shows you where your efforts are working and where they aren’t. Assuming your process is solid, you can then extrapolate which channels you should spend less time and energy on, and which channels you should double down on and invest more resources into.
Paid advertising is another crucial variable in your marketing efforts at the top of your funnel. This is a great place to invest in big, right away. Paid advertising guarantees your ad will be placed in front of as many faces as you’re willing to pay for. You can pay for advertising on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and other social media outlets like YouTube, Stitcher, and more. Picture ads, video ads, and audio ads on podcasts are excellent places to begin, and are one of the most surefire ways to generate visibility among your target audience.
Moving Down the Funnel
Once you’ve got all these channels covered for bringing in new traffic to your site, you need a way to get people to give you a piece of information you can contact them with. Email addresses are the most common thing that people shoot for here. This is the second stage of the funnel and it’s designed to build leads.
In order to get leads, you’ve got to offer exclusive content that only “subscribers” can get. This includes things like downloadable PDFs, eBooks, free mini-courses, webinars, free trials, demos, private communities, and more. Pop-ups on your site are the best way to deliver these offers, but it can also be done through email marketing, remarketing, and other methods.
As with the top of your funnel, there are certain metrics you can use to track success in the middle as well. These include your visitor-to-lead conversion rate, your overall number of leads and the growth of your email list, and your click rates and email open rates.
The visitor-to-lead conversion rate is a metric that tells you how many visitors that came to your website actually provided you with their email address or another contactable piece of information. This can be tracked by viewing your popup form tracker, if that’s what you’re using to capture leads. If not, it can be tracked by using Google analytics goals.
Your overall number of leads can be tracked in various ways, the most common being your email list. Any tool you use for capturing leads, however, should be able to provide you with this information.
Your email open rates and click rates will help you see how engaging or relevant the content you’re sending to your leads is. Email marketing is the easiest and most effective way to nurture your leads. By looking at the metrics that every email marketing service provides, you can easily determine how much success you’re having on this front.
Remember, your funnel should be customized to your specific needs and marketing strategy, but you need success in all three phases if you want to see real success. Unless the products you sell are extremely expensive, then, much like a real estate agent or a car salesman, you only need a handful of sales per year to be wildly successful.
The bottom of your funnel is designed to get your leads to become customers by purchasing products. Testimonials, sales pages, and launch emails are common examples of what you’ll find at the bottom of a marketing funnel. Bundling products, upselling the customer, and feigning scarcity are tactics you can use to maximize your profits at this stage.
As you probably guessed, there are a variety of ways to determine your success at the bottom of your marketing funnel. The most obvious of these is your overall revenue. If business is good, chances are you’re performing up to snuff. This can be deceiving, however. Oftentimes you might be making a decent profit off of your business, but you could be making much more, so other metrics are also needed to provide you with a complete picture of how you’re doing at the bottom of your funnel. The number of NEW customers, is one of these.
Another metric to look at is the total lifetime revenue per customer. This metric will help you average out how much money you make from each new customer, on average. Higher numbers here might compel you to focus more on retargeting and upselling to your existing leads, while lower numbers might spur you to focus more effort on drawing in new customers. This metric is a good one to check every once in a while, but don’t check it daily, as there will be a lot of variance.
Your conversion rate is the most important metric to check because it shows you how successful you are at turning warm leads into customers. The way you keep track of this number will depend solely on what you use to convert your leads. If it’s an email sequence, check your conversions during the period in which the emails are sent out and opened. If it’s a sales page, google analytics goals is the place to go and see how many of the people who made it to your sales page ended up buying from you.
Try Everything to See What Works
In general, you’ll want to use all of the channels and tactics we’ve covered to start with. But, as you go, look for what is having the most success and what isn’t. This way you can customize and perfect your marketing funnel by putting less energy or money towards areas that aren’t performing as well as others.
If done correctly, you’ll be extremely successful before long. Make sure to check all the relevant metrics for determining success, and remember to adjust your marketing efforts in each phase of the funnel as you see what works and what doesn’t.
Marla DiCarlo is an accomplished business consultant with more than 28 years of professional accounting experience. As co-owner and CEO of Raincatcher, she helps business owners learn how to sell a business fast so they can get paid the maximum value for their company.