what is a marketing funnel
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Written by Jared Mitcham

If you're wondering "What is a marketing funnel?" you're in the right place. In this short post I'm going to explain what a marketing funnel is and how it can help you develop a marketing strategy for your company or organization.

In short, a marketing funnel is a way to describe the journey someone takes to become a valuable customer of your business.

If you have been in business for years, you probably already know the typical journey your customer takes. If you new, you won't have the luxury of historical data for your business. Therefore, the marketing funnel will be a valuable tool as you create a marketing plan for your business or organization.

Marketing Funnel Stages

A marketing funnel stage refers to the distinct "steps" someone takes when doing business with you. While there are a number of ways to describe a marketing funnel, I believe the best way to describe a marketing funnel is with four stages. 

As you read through the four marketing funnel stages below, consider how you might develop a plan to help someone enter each stage.

marketing funnel image

Stage 1: Awareness

The first stage of the marketing funnel is awareness. During this stage, your goal is to spread the word about your business. It's impossible for someone to do business with you if they don't know you exist. Therefore, your first marketing task is to build brand awareness.

There are both free and paid ways of building brand awareness. One simple and free way to build brand awareness is word-of-mouth advertising. Tell your friends about your business, use social media posts and send out emails. Free brand awareness will often be the slowest and hardest way to build brand awareness. One of my favorite free brand awareness tools is a Google My Business account. This is a great place to focus your efforts if you are just starting out.

If you are looking for paid ways to build awareness, the options are endless. My personal favorite form of paid advertising is Facebook ads or Local Service Ads if your business qualifies.

Once people begin to know about your business, it's time to move them to the next stage of the marketing funnel.

Stage 2: Consideration

The second stage of the marketing funnel is the consideration stage. Just because someone knows about your business doesn't mean they want to do business with you. Therefore, your goal during the consideration stage is to present yourself in such a way that they consider you the best option out of all the possibilities.

There are several different ways to present yourself as the best option. Reviews are a great place to start. Think of how many times you've looked at a business's Google reviews before making a decision to call them. If you don't have any customers yet, perhaps you can offer a better customer experience. 

These are just a few tactics businesses use to present themselves in a way that increases desire and interest in the mind of a customer.

Stage 3: Conversion

Up to this point you haven't actually earned a customer. People may know about your business (awareness) and they may think your business is the best (consideration), but until they actually open their wallet and give you their money, they aren't a customer. Therefore, your goal in the conversion stage is to gain a paying customer.

This occurs in different ways for different organizations. For a business, a conversion occurs when someone purchases a product or pays for a service. However, if you are a religious or volunteer organization, a conversion may occur when someone makes a financial donation, joins your church or signs up to volunteer.

It's helpful to not that although your main conversion goal occurs during the third stage of the marketing funnel, there are often "mini conversions" that take place along the way. Some examples of a "mini-conversion" would be signing up for an email list, attending a webinar, calling your business, or visiting your store.

But your marketing strategy doesn't stop when a person becomes a paying customer.

Stage 4: Ascension

Most people think that the customer journey ends once they have become a paying customer. The truth is that in most cases, this is simply the transition to a new stage in the marketing funnel.

Your best source of business will often come from existing customers. Therefore, your goal during the ascension stage is to maximize the value of your customer. There are a few ways you can do this.

One way is to sell more of the same product to your existing customers. If they liked it the first time, perhaps they would like it again. Another tactic is to create more products that you can offer to your existing customers. Your new products should be complimentary to your existing product. 

One of the best ways to create raving fans is to make sure your customers have a great experience with your business. Make it your goal to exceed their expectations. When the business transaction is complete, ask them to leave a review and refer their friends to your business.

Optimizing Your Marketing Funnel

As your develop a marketing plan, you will find some things that work really well in your marketing funnel and other things that don't work at all. Therefore, it's important to optimize your marketing funnel by monitoring what works and what doesn't. If it works, do it more. If it doesn't work, find someone who can do it well or stop doing it altogether.

Remember that marketing tactics and strategies change over time. If you stop changing and growing, your business will stop growing as well. 

Create A Marketing Funnel For Your Business

So far we have given a detailed explanation of a marketing funnel. But as a business owner, you know it's important to take action. So I've created a PDF that you can download to help you begin brainstorming ideas for your own marketing funnel.

In this marketing funnel worksheet, you will be given four sheets of paper and asked to come up with 10 ideas to help your business grow in each stage of the marketing funnel. You'll also be reminded of the primary goal of each stage in the marketing funnel as well as some questions to get you started. 

marketing funnel image

Free Marketing Funnel Worksheet

Download this free 5 page worksheet to help you create your own marketing funnel ideas. No signup required.

Let me know in the comments below if you have any other questions about a marketing funnel. Also, let me know which area of the marketing funnel you think you need to focus on the most at this stage of your business.

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