Virtually every business today leverages a marketing funnel to help them organize and visualize their inbound marketing strategy. If you work in marketing, you definitely know which funnel we’re talking about.
Most marketing funnels outline a series of actions customers take from first awareness of your business, through engagement and to committing a purchase.
The names of each phase may differ slightly, but the funnel looks like this:
This model provides marketers and non-marketers alike with a clear understanding of the customer journey from marketing to sales. Everyone knows they need a marketing funnel—but here’s where most businesses go wrong.
The traditional marketing funnel is too simplistic.
The traditional marketing funnel model, wherein leads are fed through Awareness all the way to Conversion, is easy to understand and widely used by most marketing gurus. However, its simplicity can be its own weakness. This basic marketing funnel does not fully encapsulate the many pathways that customers take on their road to conversion, or what happens after a conversion occurs.
The reality is that your marketing processes are missing a lot of information when all roads lead to conversion without a clear pathway for what happens next. This model only really makes sense if your business goal is to make one sale with no follow-up. It can cost up to five times as much to attract a new customer compared to retaining a current one—so why would you rely on a traditional marketing funnel to plan your marketing strategy?
The traditional marketing funnel gives no direction for what happens after the sale is made. How do we build better relationships with these clients? How do we turn customers into advocates of our brand? After converting a lead, key phases to customer success are far from over.
Key phases to consider and supported by your marketing efforts after the sale should include:
- ongoing customer education about your other services or business updates
- customer retention efforts
- encouraging customers to adopt your services into their high-level strategy and become advocates of your brand
Your marketing funnel should have an “engine” at the bottom to recycle customers.
Now, we’re not saying you should throw out the proverbial marketing funnel baby with the bath water. Marketing funnels are incredibly helpful tools for organizing the types of content you’re putting into market and identifying the audiences for which these pieces of content are most relevant. The problem with the traditional model is that it’s missing the key distinctions you need to better understand your customers after they convert.
Here’s how you can update the traditional model to better serve your business. Imagine an engine sitting beneath your marketing funnel. This engine is fueling your sales by constantly recycling customers through the funnel. As leads convert and enter your marketing ecosystem, you can now leverage these customers to:
- test new marketing content to see how converters respond to it
- strengthen your relationship with your audience and better understand consumer interests
- educate your customers on how to get the most value out of working with you
By leveraging insights into how your customers respond to your content, you can start to challenge assumptions you’ve made about your marketing strategy. You can determine which personas respond to what types of content, create upselling opportunities, and foster a culture of clients eager to refer you to their personal network.
Marketing funnels have so much more potential to benefit your business than simply getting leads to commit to a sale. You can use any captured insights to offer personalized experiences, cycle high-performing content through your pre-conversion marketing funnel for testing, and ultimately, communicate more effectively with your audiences. When you reach the end of the funnel, the work doesn’t stop there. You should be asking, “What do we do now?”
Depending on your business, you may need more than one type of marketing funnel.
By expanding your understanding of the traditional marketing funnel, you can easily expand your approach into segmenting your audiences to cycle through multiple funnels.
Each of your sub-audiences have their own unique buying cycles, pain points, entry points, and outcomes. Ditching the conventional Marketing Funnel model enables you to better visualize and tailor your content for each of these audiences while identifying gaps in their onboarding experience.
Using multiple funnels means that a lead ‘falling out’ of one funnel isn’t a total loss. Instead, it’s an opportunity to present customers with content from other funnels to measure their interest and eventually move them into the marketing funnel that most aligns with their pain points and desired outcomes. After all, users may only be interested in one aspect of your business. Blasting them with content they don’t care about only hurts your relationship in the long run.
Ultimately, a lack of response from users should be seen as a response. Maybe your messaging needs work or perhaps the offer you’re giving them doesn’t align with their needs and interests. Only by testing and remixing your processes can you really get under how to best connect with these audiences at any scale.
Your marketing funnel must consider your long-term business strategy and goals.
Captured attention is the new currency. The businesses that win are the ones claiming the screen time and interest of their customers, so identifying what customers want should be a crucial part in your marketing strategy.
The two marketing funnels we outlined above are much more effective than the tradition model because they’re not just feeding leads. They’re identifying the types of content those leads are interested in and giving them more of it. By offering content that directly aligns with your audiences’ interests, you accomplish a lot: you demonstrate that you understand your customers’ desires and pain points, build trust in your customer relationships, and establish your brand as an authority.
At the end of the day, what these marketing funnels enable you to do is customize a richer brand experience for leads in your system. And as you know, it’s the great experiences that end in a sale.
Want help mapping out your marketing funnel strategy? Give us a shout! We’re always happy to help.