Marketing Fundamentals

The Marketing Funnel

I get the impression that when people think of a marketing funnel, they imagine a complex system with 37 different integrations. While sometimes the actual infrastructure of the marketing funnel can get complicated, the reality is that there are three phases of the marketing funnel with unique objectives at each stage. When you break down the funnel to these phases and understand what you’re looking to achieve at each step, the marketing funnel construction process becomes significantly more comfortable.

The three phases of the marketing funnel are:

  1. Awareness
  2. Engagement
  3. Conversion

Let’s take a look at each of these phases.

Phase 1: Awareness

This phase of the marketing funnel is where you take a stranger and make them aware of your product or service. The biggest mistake that I see at this stage of the funnel is that many marketers ask for the sale in this stage. I want you to imagine that you are at a coffee shop (like I am right now, writing this blog) and a stranger comes up to you and says, “excuse me, will you marry me?

You would likely be kind of freaked out (unless marriage to strangers is your thing) and would probably think that the person is a “weirdo”. This is similar to asking for the sale at this stage of the funnel.

You’ve got to remember that it doesn’t matter if you’re B2C or B2B, it’s all H2H (human to human), and because of this, you need to respect the natural rules of human relationships… i.e. don’t ask strangers to marry you. The awareness stage is about making your target market aware that you exist.

The objective of this stage is to educate and start to build a relationship with your prospects. It’s also a good idea to show the value of your product or service at this point.

Phase 2: Engagement

Now that you’ve “earned the eyeballs” of some of your target market through the awareness stage, it’s time to start to engage with them. This phase is all about getting prospects to engage with your business and, hopefully, raise their hand indicating that they are interested in your product or service.

During this phase, the objective is to build a relationship with your prospects by nurturing them with your content. You should be sending more targeted content to your prospects in this stage, as you have usually gathered information through the awareness stage.

Phase 3: Conversion

It’s business time. This is the phase of the marketing funnel where you turn your prospect from interested to committed… and they show their commitment by handing over money in exchange for your product or service. This is the phase where it is entirely OK to ask for the sale since they are already aware of the solution you offer and have indicated to you that they are potentially interested in what you offer.

Bonus Steps!

While the above phases feature in the traditional marketing funnel, there are two more that I think should be a focus for all businesses – Retention and Advocate. I’ll cover off on these two extra phases in another blog post.

Automate, automate, automate

Now that you’re aware of the different phases in the marketing funnel, it’s good to know how automation comes in to play. Basically, at each phase of the funnel, it’s possible to deploy automation to help you move customers through the funnel. If you’re just getting started with marketing and business automation, I suggest starting at the beginning – the Awareness phase. You can automate this stage by creating an email sequence that is delivered to your prospects to educate them about your offer.

In future blogs, I’ll write about how you can use automation at each phase of the marketing funnel.

Author: Shane

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