All businesses want to make money and one of the best ways to do that is to create a marketing funnel.
If you already have a business, you probably already have a marketing funnel. But do you know if that funnel is working? Is it doing what it’s supposed to do?
What is a Marketing Funnel?
Let’s start with the basics. What is a marketing funnel?
A marketing funnel is a way to visualize your customer journey. The top of the funnel represents the first steps a visitor takes on the customer journey. It is funnel-shaped because not all of the people who enter the top of your funnel will make it through to the end—i.e., to the sale.
The pool of customers will get narrower and narrower. Thus, the funnel gets narrower and narrower as well.
Marketing Funnels Are No Longer Funnel Shaped
The funny thing about marketing funnels is that they’re no longer funnel-shaped.
In fact, many marketing funnels are hourglass-shaped, though the top of the hourglass is larger than the bottom.
Top of Your Marketing Funnel
The top of your marketing funnel is similar to what you might have known in the past. The top includes awareness, consideration, and conversion or variations of the three.
Awareness is at the very top of your funnel. It’s when someone becomes aware of your company or product.
Consideration is next. Consideration is when the customer decides between your product and service or one of your competitors.
Finally, there’s conversion. This is when the sale is made.
Bottom of Your Marketing Funnel
Once upon a time, that’s where the funnel stopped. Now, there’s also the bottom of the funnel to consider. That’s because sales don’t stop with the sale.
The bottom of the funnel consists of what happens after the sale. This includes ensuring that your customer is satisfied with the delivery of their purchase or service and that you follow up to find out how the customer likes the product or service.
The bottom of the marketing funnel also includes retention. You need to make an effort to entice the customer to return again and again.
When the bottom of your marketing funnel is strong, you will ideally add these customers to your pool of clients, and they will return again and again and again.
People Enter and Exit Marketing Funnels at Different Points
When you consider a funnel, it would be easy to assume that items enter from the top and exit from the bottom. Typically, that’s true.
However, a marketing funnel is somewhat like a colander. People enter at different points of the funnel, and they exit at different points of the funnel.
The goal is to get them to enter and re-enter your funnel until you make a sale. This can be done through several different tools, including:
- Retargeting – When a person who visits and leaves your site sees an ad for your business elsewhere. That ad draws them back to your website. I talk about using Facebook Ads in retargeting campaigns here;
- SEO – Maybe an organic search through a search engine like Google or DuckDuckGo places your content on the first page of the search, which draws a person back to your website. You can find details on improving your SEO through Meta descriptions here;
- Email List – Signing up for the email list is just the first step. You may need to contact the customer repeatedly through your email list before you ultimately make the sale. The email list is one of the first steps to pulling a customer back into a marketing funnel;
These are just a few of the ways you can get customers who have left your funnel to re-enter and hopefully buy in the end.
B2B and B2C Funnels are Different
Not all marketing funnels are the same, and this is especially true for Business to Business (B2B) and Business to Consumer (B2C) marketing funnels.
For one thing, the purchaser’s motivation is different in the two funnels.
In B2B purchases, the buyer is purchasing for the benefit of the business that could mean one person or one thousand people. The buyer needs to take into account the needs of the many.
In B2C purchases, the buyer is likely purchasing only for themselves or someone close to them. In other words, it’s very much about the needs of that one person.
Another difference is the amount of interaction between the awareness stage and the conversion stage.
For B2C buyers, you may never interact with the client. The client becomes aware of the product on his own, makes his own consideration parameters, and then decides to buy based on those parameters.
However, for B2B buyers, it may require considerable interaction before the conversion stage. Often, B2B purchases are a much higher dollar value, so those purchases take much more consideration.
B2B buyers have questions and need to be sure that they are making the correct choice before making an expensive purchase.
Top of Funnel
One of the key differences between the two funnels is the top of the funnel.
The top of a B2C funnel is very wide because you can grab many different types of consumers. While they’ll filter into and out of the funnel, your pool of possible clients is vast.
However, with B2B marketing, the top of the funnel is very narrow. You target only the businesses that need or want your product or service.
As a result, SEMGeeks says B2B marketers need to be very detailed with their marketing materials.
“Contrary to popular belief, B2B sales need more online marketing than B2C sales. This is because B2B customers will spend much more time learning about the product or service by reading whitepapers, blogs, reviews, etc. In fact, 70% of B2B buyers watch a video at some point during their buying process,” writes SEMGeeks.
After reading this, I hope it gives you a better idea of some of the things you need to think about when creating a marketing funnel. It should help you shape the funnel for your business.
If you already have a funnel in place, I hope that this article helps you evaluate your funnel and possibly make changes for the better.
Written by Erika Towne