Digital Marketing and Funnels
Funnels are used to move a user down a particular path that leads to a conversion. Digital marketing plays a critical role in directing a user down the funnel and can be used to establish various funnels that are optimized based on where the user comes from and the message they see.
What is a Marketing Funnel?
A marketing funnel is a combination of online marketing efforts that drive traffic through a series of web pages that lead a user through the conversion process. The goal is to attract as many people as possible and convert them into customers.
A funnel is a very good description because your pool of leads will narrow as users go through the various funnel phases.
There are three main areas of a funnel:
Top of the Funnel (ToFu)
- Awareness building phase
- Answers the question, “What do I need?”
- Most users
- Lowest rate of highly qualified leads
The top of the funnel is the start of the path (landing page) where you’ll see the most activity. Users in this part of the funnel are exploring, building awareness and becoming familiar with what you offer. Some users will bounce, but that’s to be expected. However, if you have a huge bounce rate it indicates that the marketing isn’t aligning with the landing page message.
Middle of the Funnel (MoFu)
- Consideration phase
- Answers the question, “Why should I get it from you?”
- Not ready to commit yet
- Targeted audience
Users that click through past the landing page end up in the middle of the funnel. They like what they’ve seen so far but need more details to convert. Here users are learning about your benefits and solutions.
Bottom of the Funnel (BoFu)
- Decision phase
- Answers the question, “Why should I get it now?”
- Smallest number of users
- Highest rate of highly qualified leads
Users that reach the bottom of the funnel are ready to convert. As long as convince them you are the best solution and make it clear what steps need to be taken conversion is highly likely.
A marketing funnel can also be broken down into four phases that are very similar:
- Awareness – Attract users and make them aware of your existence.
- Interest – Show them you have a solution for their problem/need.
- Consideration – Convince users your solution is the best option.
- Conversion – Tell them how to convert and give them the means to do so.
How to Build Your Own High-Converting Marketing Funnel
Before you can begin building a marketing funnel you need to have:
- A product or service that’s ready for market.
- A target market that’s in need of your product or service.
- Website with the resources needed to purchase your product or service.
Once those essential elements are in place the funnel building can begin. Map out the steps that a user needs to take to convert. These steps should be wrapped in a compelling message that does the following:
The first step is to make people aware of your existence and driving traffic to your landing pages. This can happen through a variety of online channels:
- Google searches
- Facebook ads
- Influence Instagram posts
- Guest blogging
- Forums and online communities
- YouTube videos
Marketing is the next step. You’ll need to create marketing campaigns for the different channels that focus in on the problem your target market has, why it needs to be solved and your solution for resolving the problem.
You want to cast as wide a net as possible across as many channels as possible to attract as much traffic as possible. Because, as mentioned above, the number of people going through the funnel will get smaller with each phase. Focus your efforts on the channels where your target market is most likely to be and build out from there. Knowing where your target market comes from is possible with a data analysis platform (more on that in a moment).
No matter what type of product or service you offer, one channel that should be targeted is Google. It’s how the lion’s share of online users find information. Being visible in Google requires search engine optimization (SEO). The two SEO must-haves are a technically sound website and content that is focused on keywords related to the problem and/or solution. Go after both broad terms and specific terms to catch users are various stages of the discovery phase.
Your marketing and content should draw users in by addressing the problem along with your solution and then gently lead them to the next phase of the funnel.
Build a Following
At this point users may be interested but not ready to convert. That’s okay. What you can get them to do instead is follow you so that the lines of communication remain open and they stay in the funnel.
Since following you doesn’t require any money or real commitment (they can always unfollow anytime they want) it’s easier to get users to take this step. That is, as long as you encourage them to do so. Keep your social icons front and center on your website. Ask if they want to sign up for your newsletter. Add a subscribe button to your YouTube videos.
If someone follows you there’s still plenty of opportunity to convert them. You can also learn about possible objections and questions that are keeping them from becoming a customer.
Users that continue down the funnel aren’t sold yet. Competitors are out there offering similar solutions, and users are considering their options. You have to convince leads that your solution is the best. The user has to trust that you can deliver as promised and that the value is right.
Provide users with resources and information that proves your product or service is the best option. At Mixpanel we’ve published reports that showcase how our tools work and how much value it brings to clients. Like a study conducted by Forrester Research that found our tools provide $1,403,792 return on investment. And the Automatic Insights report that explains how we turn 7 trillion data points and feedback from 20,000 customers into an algorithm and machine learning insights that does the analytics research for the user and will even send notifications. There are other data analytics platforms out there but using the information in an effective way can be time consuming and difficult for many people. Mixpanel differentiates itself with automatic features that finds the most important information for the user so no real expertise is needed.
User reviews are another way to build trust. Ask customers to provide testimonials and search for users that have created their own detailed reviews of your product or service.
Build a Sense of Urgency to Buy
Once a user reaches the bottom of the funnel the final thing you have to do is convince them to buy at that moment. There are numerous strategies for urging a lead to commit to converting. Scarcity can create a sense of urgency. For example, an offer that’s only available for the next few hours or a limited production product.
You can also remove the risk factor. A free trial period, discounted rate, satisfaction guarantee or warranty immediately removes risk.
How to Conduct Funnel Analysis
Once you’ve built a funnel the work isn’t over. Now you have the means to conduct funnel analysis and optimize it for the best performance possible. Funnel analysis is essentially mapping the flow of users through your funnel and their behavior.
There are two key things to look for with funnel analysis:
High Exit Pages – These are the pages where the most users leave your funnel. It tells you where adjustments need to be made to boost the conversion rate.
Top Traffic Sources – Traffic sources are where uses come from before landing on your website, i.e. Google search pages, Facebook, another website, etc. This is where digital marketing comes into play. You can use the information to allocate more resources to driving traffic from sources that have the most qualified leads or those that are lagging behind.
At each stage of the funnel there are different metrics that help gauge funnel performance based on the goals you’ve set. Start measuring the metrics right from the start and keep tracking them. If you aren’t sure which metrics matter the most these guidelines can help:
- Top of Funnel – Number of total visitors
- Middle of Funnel – Click through rate
- Bottom of Funnel – Conversion rate (percentage of users that converted)
You can also choose to leverage a tool like the Mixpanel data analytics platform that can identify performance metrics that make the greatest impact on user experience. There are even ways to drill down further and find out exactly what actions users take before they drop off on high-exit pages or convert at the bottom of the funnel. The more advanced you get with your funnel analytics the better optimized it will be.
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