The Marketing Funnel
by Owner Steph Mazanowski
The secret to marketing is to deliver the right message to the right people at the right time through multiple channels.
The secret to marketing is…to deliver the right message to the right people at the right time through multiple channels. The latter is probably the easiest to grasp. The challenging part is determining what the right message is, who the right people are, and when to reach them, but those components can more easily be determined with an understanding of the marketing funnel.
Let’s start with the easy part. Neither print nor digital channels will cast a wide enough net on their own when it comes to marketing. The best marketing campaigns are made up of both. While it is a fact that we are consuming more social and digital media than ever before, it is also a fact that advertising on digital platforms has become incredibly noisy. In some cases, so noisy that we have become numb to the ads that are there. With that realization, it may not be as surprising to hear that print is actually the latest and greatest way to stand out from all of that digital noise. So, if you have put all of your marketing eggs into the digital basket, it’s time to take another look at your marketing mix. Print also creates an emotional and deeper connection with your brand which is so important because purchasing anything these days is a long, emotional journey.
The journey of turning cold prospects into long-term customers takes time. It is like a relationship. Just like it would be odd to propose on the first date, we have to understand the importance of moving our prospects from initial attraction to a buyer. Studies show that over 60% of consumers need to see something 7-15 times and engage in 3-5 pieces of content before they decide to even talk to you about your product or service. Studies also show that when a nurtured lead finally purchases, the buy is nearly 50% larger than a non-nurtured prospect. We live in a self-service world where people conduct their own research at their own speed and buy when they are ready, so we have to market to them accordingly.
In order to understand what and how to market your business, you should first understand the different stages of the buying funnel and understand that your marketing should be different for each stage of the funnel. Not only that, but you should have multiple means of marketing going at once to capture the people in each of the various stages, engaging with and providing value through each stage.
The buying funnel consists of about 60% of buyers wondering around aimlessly as unaware traffic. These people do not even know they have a problem yet. Then there are about 20% who are in the “Pain Aware” stage. This is when the buyer realizes they have a problem to solve, but they do not know what solutions are available yet. Another 17% is made up of buyers who are in “Solution Aware” and “Product Aware” stages. This is when they have identified a challenge, are looking for solutions and are comparing options. Then the last 3% is comprised of people who are ready to take action.
The biggest mistake I see when meeting with business owners and marketing professionals is the misconception that they need to invest in a bunch of short-term, call-to-action ads and coupons and need to incorporate special tracking phone numbers or codes so they know exactly where their clients are coming from only to be disappointed that they aren’t seeing great returns. This type of marketing is great for the 3% who are in the “Ready to Buy” stage, but comes across as very transactional for everyone else.
If you are dumping all of your marketing dollars into the bottom section of the funnel, you are missing out on 97% of the market share. You are also competing with your competitors for that 3%, leaving so much business on the table.
Let’s first take a look at the 60% who are “Unaware Traffic.” First and foremost, you do NOT want ALL of them to be your customer. Think about your target audience. Who are they? You only want to attract high-quality prospects; therefore, you want controlled awareness. Where do your ideal clients hang out? What are some ways to reach them? Meet them where they are. They may not even know a lot about your product or service yet, so marketing to these people involves branding and putting your logos, colors and slogan in front of them. The first goal is to increase impressions and begin providing answers to questions they are likely searching for. Magazine ads, radio, TV, social media posts, billboards, event displays booths, and business cards all fall under how to market to this category, but they should all be driving traffic to a landing page where they can find more information, become a subscriber, read blog articles, etc. Your tracking should be website traffic, subscribers, referrals, QR Code Scans, and landing page visits rather than how many people bought from you.
You have successfully moved them to the next stage of the funnel and they now realize they have a problem that needs fixed. They are now looking for information. Once you have their attention it is your job to hold it. It is your job to anticipate their problems and provide potential solutions. This is where you begin to give them a little bit of value for little to no cost and where you begin to build trust. Establish your expertise and offer free advice. “Here’s the problem and how to fix it. You COULD do it yourself, however using our product or service will make it easier.” Some examples of marketing for this stage of the funnel include expert articles in magazines, brochures, flyers, newsletters, e-books, webinars, explanatory videos, and free how-to guides.
Once the buyer realizes that your product or service is a solution, you begin to engage and develop a deeper relationship by learning the prospects’ goals and problems. As the potential customer is weighing pros and cons of the various options available and they are evaluating whether you have the best solution, you can coax them with case studies, testimonials, and product comparisons. Continue to educate and inform them as well, so you become the trustworthy source within your industry. Ratings and reviews become increasingly important because the buyers will begin researching how reputable of a company you are and the quality of your customer service. Tracking at this point includes landing page conversions, lead sources, cost per lead, lead quality, email open rates, and clicks on your social media ads.
Finally, it comes time for the purchase. You have had dialog with the client. Your job is not to sell them, (people don’t want to be sold to) but rather be sure they have everything they need to make a purchasing decision. Show them that while others could solve the problem, your solution is the best. Show them how your product works and what your unique selling proposition is that sets your product apart from the other options. Your marketing at this point consists of free trials, product demos, slide decks, product catalogs, buyer guides, spec sheets and maybe coupons. Your tracking then includes, the purchases, shopping cart tracking, referrals, reviews, recurring revenue, customer lifetime value, and coupons redeemed.
Last but definitely not least is throwing a few marketing dollars towards customer retention and loyalty. After all, you worked so hard to earn the trust with your client, you want to be sure they not only become a return customer, but also encourage them to become an advocate for you with their friends and family. Marketing for retention includes, surveys, special offers, loyalty programs, rewards programs, and email campaigns to ensure they continue to engage with your business.
If you are looking for the best way to reach a targeted audience at various stages of the buying funnel through multiple channels, let’s schedule a free consultation to explore whether our All-Encompassing Community Sponsorship is a good mutual fit. We micro-target to the homeowners with the most buying power both through our exclusive monthly publications as well as on social media. You may have the opportunity to be seen as the expert in your industry and provide the readers meaningful content throughout your campaign which educates them along the way and helps bring them from unaware, to aware, to interested in taking action. We also give you a platform to tell your business story which helps the readers get to know you and what sets you apart, ultimately leaving them more inclined to do business with you. I look forward to helping you align your brand with the good happening in the community and helping you grow awareness in your brand!