What is a Marketing Funnel

By Lesley Christie

You've probably heard the term 'marketing funnel' or 'sales funnel' being used a lot in the online business world and wondered what it was. If you're just starting out, then perhaps you thought it was too advanced a subject to explore. Well worry no more, here's a simplified explanation of what it is and how you can apply it within you business, no matter what stage you're at.

A marketing funnel is basically the path a customer takes during their relationship with your business. From first meeting and initial impression right up to being a raving fan, buying everything you sell (ever heard of a little company called Apple?)

One model - the AIDA Model, which has been around since early 19th Century sets the goal to move a contact through four stages of marketing:

  • Awareness: When the contact becomes aware of your product/brand/business.
  • Interest: When the contact starts paying attention to your product/brand/business and wants to know more.
  • Desire: When your contact realises that your product/brand/business is the solution they're seeking.
  • Action: When your contact has their credit card in hand and decides to purchase the solution they've been seeking.

The marketing for each stage is slightly different as the contact moves from being a 'cold' lead to a 'hot' customer.

One way we build awareness is by being active on social media or by using paid advertising. We want to build our audience and get their attention.

Once we've got their attention we want to get them on our mailing list by giving them something of value, such as a cheatsheet, an ebook, a short training, a discount coupon etc, in exchange for their email address. After they show their interest by signing up for your offer, they're now 'warm'.

Your free gift/lead magnet has given you some idea of what they're interested in so you show them more of what they're interested in, whether that's your digital content (free) or products/services.

If you're selling a $20k coaching package or something equally expensive, until you have built up a level of trust, going from a free gift to paying $20k can be a huge leap for most potential customers. By tracking the actions those leads take within your email marketing software, with what emails they open, which links they click etc, you can find out what you can best help them with.

Also, someone who pays you for something is a much hotter lead than someone who gives you their email address in exchange for a free ebook.

That's pretty obvious.

So, within your marketing funnel, you may have a series of low cost offers (usually under $97) that you offer a lead just after they sign up. This can be called a 'trip wire' or a 'one time offer.' Not only does this help you guage which of your leads are the hottest and are more likely to want more from you, it also increases your income in an automated way. Yay for automation!

When just starting out, don't overcomplicate or overthink things.

Figure out the one thing that your ideal client could get value from, something that is easy to produce and is low cost to yourself and give it away through an opt-in.

Then send traffic (visitors to view your offer via social media or paid ads) to your offer.

If people sign up - it's a good offer and chances are those people want more of what you have to offer in the same category.

If nobody signs up, either it's a bad offer or the traffic you're sending is the wrong audience.

This is a very simplistic view of the marketing funnel, but it gives you an idea of what you're looking to do to both set one up, and figure out if it's working.

What does your marketing funnel look like?

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