Marketing

The marketing sales funnel explained

September 2020 Written by Papirfly

Think of your marketing funnel like the journey your consumer takes from being totally unfamiliar with your brand, to becoming a customer. The more this journey is nurtured, the more problems you solve for them, the more content they are exposed to – this all helps them to narrow down their purchasing decision so they make it through the end of the sales funnel. 

At each stage, through awareness, consideration and conversion, there are certain marketing activities and mediums that are known to be successful in helping the consumer feel confident and informed. In this article, we will explore this journey in greater detail and the types of strategies you can undertake to nurture your prospects in the most effective way possible…

What does a typical sales funnel look like? 

You will see many variations of this online and in books. Some may even have several more stages than what we have outlined below. But it’s important to remember to keep things simple to begin with, perfect the basics and then you can delve further. Awareness, consideration and conversion are your fundamental layers, so let’s start with those. 

 

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The Awareness Stage 

What is it? 

At this point you will have to make an assumption that someone hasn’t interacted with or heard of your brand, product or service. This is where you determine what problem you can solve for them, and what answers you can give them through multi-layered content. 

What you need to know about the prospect at this stage of the marketing sales funnel…

  • They have a problem they don’t know the solution to
  • They need educating on said problem and the solution 
  • Volume of these types of leads is likely to be the highest
  • As they are the least qualified, they hold the least value until nurtured

Types of activity to consider

Optimised blogs 

If you have an SEO team, they will have likely already put content pillars and clusters in place for you. The purpose of having optimised content, rather than content for content’s sake, allows you to capture intent through using terms that people are searching for. Your content can be tailored to provide answers to their burning questions. Though this single interaction will unlikely result in a lead, you will begin to build a relationship with the prospect. 

Sponsored blogs

When you have a very specific audience persona, you can easily identify publications to promote your content on. Having featured or paid-for content gets you in front of the right people very quickly, but can be difficult to sustain if your budget is limited. Publications usually want unique content, so if you’re exploiting one or two angles a month, the story could soon lose its lustre across multiple publications. 

Use the below template as a starting point for your audience personas. These may evolve over time, but getting the basics established will hold you in good stead for all the activity you engage with moving forward. 

 

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Advertising 

Whichever medium you pursue to get people into the sales funnel, there are now tons of metrics available to help you hone in on the demographics available to you. While out of home advertising can’t always be as sufficiently measured as digital, it can be very effective when strategically coupled with other activity. 

Digital advertising, whether through banner networks, social media, retargeting or search engine ads, can give you a breadth of insight and measurement when set up correctly. You can get in front of people whose digital profile matches the demographics of your audience or capture intent through the search engines. 

Social media 

Using social media advertising to get new prospects into the sales funnel can be highly targeted and highly effective. Organic social is great once you have established a following, but it is often much harder to get the reach you need without investing in paid promotion alongside it. 

By promoting a gated resource you can capture email addresses and a few key details to bring new people into the marketing sales funnel. The subject of the gated asset can help you qualify that they will find your product or service relevant. This could take the form of a whitepaper, guide, e-book, checklist or a suite of educational videos. 

How well does this activity work? 

These methods are used in the initial stages of raising awareness, getting in front of consumers and highlighting a way for them to solve a problem. The key to building this initial layer of trust is that the messaging isn’t trying to sell a product or service, but to provide education, be helpful and build an initial rapport with the prospect.

The Consideration Stage 

What is it? 

This is where your prospect has been exposed to content that has opened their eyes to their issue in more detail, and potentially shown them some solutions and information. They are now aware and actively seeking more information about companies that can help them. 

While you will continue to serve them content, you will now take it to the next level and differentiate your brand from the competition. Any doubt they may have you should be ready to quash, any question should be answered and every USP should be highlighted. 

What you need to know about the prospect at this stage of the marketing sales funnel…

  • Prospect recognises their problem and need for a solution
  • Explores options and seeks more in-depth information
  • Consider them to be ‘shopping around’ 

Types of activity to consider 

Webinars

Hosting webinars has become increasingly popular in the last couple of years, and been made ever-more prevalent during the COVID-19 pandemic. Promoting your webinar on social media to new prospects, or to those in the middle of the sales funnel through email marketing, will showcase your brand as an authority on a specific topic, humanise your company and encourage reengagement. 

You may choose a platform that only streams to your prospects, and while a two-way conversation isn’t always viable, you should at the very least offer the opportunity for prospects to submit questions in advance or in an accompanying chat manned by a person other than the webinar host. 

Case studies 

While reviews are often one of the first things a prospect will check up on, this alone isn’t always enough to convince them to invest. Having well-written case studies for clients across multiple or specific industries can start to demystify any unknowns and help the prospect see how a real-world example can unfold. 

Email nurturing 

This is one of the most important strands to hone in on during the consideration stage of the sales funnel. When you have the verified email address of a potential lead, there are countless possibilities. Your email nurture journeys could range from generic or tailored newsletters through to product update emails and information triggered by certain actions on your website.

We all lead busy lives and should your brand be at the back of an individual’s mind, a considered email in their inbox could bring you right back to the fore. 

How well does this activity work? 

Each of these hold merit in getting a prospect through the middle stage of the marketing sales funnel. Whether used collectively or in isolation, they each work to establish your brand as a real contender for the prospect when making a purchase decision. 

The Conversion Stage 

What is it? 

At this stage, you have the prospect firmly hooked, you just need to delve that bit further and provide information that’s tailored completely to their needs and provide a point of interaction. 

What you need to know about the prospect at this stage of the marketing sales funnel…

  • Actively interested in your product or service
  • Qualified and nurtured enough for your sales team to start engaging
  • Potentially ready to buy 
  • Highest in value 

Types of activity to consider 

Trials and demos 

If you have a digital product, you can book in a dedicated time slot to go over all the features, functions and walkthroughs with an interested prospect. This may be one-to-one or with a few stakeholders at their company. They will get the opportunity to ask more in-depth questions, and your team will be able to provide tailored answers unique to their situation or industry. 

Quotes

Sometimes the only barrier between a prospect and a sale is getting an accurate price. If your pricing is fixed or determined by a set amount of factors, you can enable prospects to generate their own quote online, while inputting additional information. Alternatively, you may offer a bespoke consultation with the final outcome of a quote or proposal. 

Discounts/sales prompts 

If you have access to data that shows your prospect’s behaviour, such as items sitting dormant in their online basket, it being emptied, filled again and then abandoned, you may choose to trigger a discount or promotion that will encourage them to convert. 

Form optimisation

Conduct regular audits of your website forms to make sure there are no barriers to conversion. You can test multiple messages across different call-to-actions, monitor which performs well and adapt others accordingly. 

How well does this activity work?

The good news is that your team will have done the hard bit by getting the prospect to this point of the sales funnel – now it’s over to your sales team (with support from marketing). Ultimately, if your messaging has been accurate and honest to this point, and your product or service lives up to its expectations, you should see your prospect finally convert. 

Beyond the marketing sales funnel 

Once you have turned your prospects into clients, you will need to think about retention and loyalty. These strategies can include ongoing nurture journeys, investing in customer support teams and resources, and rewarding customers with loyalty schemes and discounts.

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The landscape of the marketing sales funnel is vast and ever-changing, but with the power of BAM by Papirfly™ you can be proactive and reactive to all of your digital and print marketing needs. 

  • Create an infinite amount of design assets from pre-approved smart templates. 
  • Allow teams anywhere in the world to adapt campaigns specifically for their markets, with dedicated imagery, translations and more. 
  • Centralise your entire company asset library and make it easy for teams to find, share and edit materials anytime, anywhere. 
  • Educate your teams on your brand assets, guidelines and strategy documents such as brand personas, campaign plans and more. 

If you would like to hear more about how BAM can help you nurture every stage of the sales funnel, get in touch today or book a demo

by Papirfly

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