What is a digital marketing funnel?
A digital marketing funnel is a strategy that businesses use to attract, engage, and convert customers online. It is a key element in any digital marketing strategy.
The digital marketing funnel is composed of four stages:
– Awareness: This is the stage where potential customers are first introduced to your brand or product.
– Interest: This is the stage where your target audience starts to develop an interest in what you have to offer.
– Decision: This is the stage where potential customers make a decision to buy your product or use your service.
– Action: This is the stage where potential customers take action and actually purchase your product or service.
A successful sales funnel will help you streamline your processes and take potential customers through all four of these stages until they reach the final stage of action – and purchase from you!
Why do businesses need a digital marketing funnel?
Business owners are very busy! They are often pulled in many different directions and it can be difficult to know where to focus your time and energy. A digital marketing funnel provides a clear digital marketing strategy for your business to follow so they can attract, engage, and convert more customers online.
Rather than chasing shiny objects and throwing money at random digital marketing tactics, businesses that use a digital marketing funnel can focus their efforts on the activities that will move potential customers through all four stages of the funnel until they make a purchase.
In short, a digital marketing funnel ensures that businesses are making the most of their digital marketing efforts and are seeing a return on their investment.
The Anatomy of a Digital Marketing Funnel
Now that we know what a digital marketing funnel is and why businesses need one, let’s take a look at the anatomy of a digital marketing funnel. In other words, let’s move away from the theoretical and into practical action that you can start implementing today.
Let’s say you’re a dentist and you’re trying to get more clients. Let’s assume that you’ve read our article on the perfect entry point offer and you’ve decided that you’re going to offer a $39 teeth cleaning service for new clients.
What are all the things that you need in order to move a new prospect through all 4 stages of the funnel?
This is generally advertising, and it’s what you use to introduce yourself and your brand to new potential customers.
For our dentist example, they might run a Google Ads campaign targeting people who live in their city and who are searching for things like “teeth cleaning” or “dental checkup.” Or you could run a Facebook ad targeting people who would be likely to need a dentist – like people who have recently moved to your city, or people who have children. The goal here is to introduce potential customers to your business and get them to visit your website or at the very least start to identify with your company.
Once potential customers are aware of you and what you offer, they’ll start to develop an interest in what you have to offer. This is where you can test a bunch of different messages to see what resonates with your audience and gets them to take the next step.
For our dentist example, we want to get prospects onto our website. So we’d want to create a landing page offering a free teeth whitening kit for new clients. We’d want to highlight our legitimacy as a business by including things like social proof (testimonials from happy customers) and trust factors (members of associations or how long we’ve been in business) and we’d making it easy to contact us and schedule an appointment.
At this stage, potential customers are starting to make a decision about whether or not to buy from you. They’ve been introduced to your brand, they’ve shown interest in what you have to offer, and now they’re trying to figure out if it’s the right decision for them.
For our dentist example, we might ask for an email address so that we can send a coupon for an even better discount on their first teeth cleaning visit. We’ll want to run retargeting ads to anyone that’s visited our landing page but didn’t schedule an appointment, so that we stay top of mind. And, above all else, we want to make sure it’s really easy for people to opt in to our offer.
This is the stage where potential customers finally take action and buy from you. In our dentist example, this would be the point at which someone schedules their appointment and comes in for their teeth cleaning.
But your work isn’t done yet! Just because someone has bought from you once doesn’t mean they’ll buy from you again. In order to create lifelong customers, you need to ensure that they had a great experience and are eager to come back in the future!
Pro tip: If you can get them to leave a review, even better.
How To Develop a Profitable Digital Marketing Funnel
You might be reading this thinking, sure I could sell $39 teeth cleaning services, but if that’s all I did then I would go out of business! I’ve got to sell more than just a cheap entry-level offer in order for my business to grow.
If you’re thinking that, you’re absolutely right.
Think about it this way: the most valuable thing that you can have as a business is a customer list. If someone has bought from you in the past, they’re much more likely to buy from you again in the future.
The digital marketing funnel that we’ve just walked through is designed to do one thing: get more first-time buyers. In order to be truly profitable and scalable, we need to turn these first-time customers into lifelong, loyal customers.
So while our dentist is starting out selling cheap teeth cleaning services, we are actually looking ahead to braces or wisdom teeth surgery, periodic checkups, and all of the more expensive services that will come later.
Strategies for Top of the Funnel Digital Marketing: Awareness and Interest
The digital marketing strategies that we’re going to focus on in this section are:
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
- Social Media Marketing
- Digital Advertising
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
The goal of SEO is to get your website to rank as high as possible in the search engine results pages (SERPs). The higher you rank, the more traffic you’re likely to get.
There are two main types of SEO: on-page and off-page.
On-page SEO is all about optimizing your website so that the search engines will want to rank it high in the SERPs. This includes things like making sure your website is fast, mobile-friendly, and easy to use. It also includes making sure that your website is filled with high-quality content that’s relevant to what people are searching for.
Off-page SEO is all about building relationships with other websites and getting them to link back to your website. The more high-quality websites that link to yours, the higher your domain authority rises, and the more likely you are to rank in the search engine result pages.
Pro tip: Once your pages start getting traffic from Google and other search engines, go back and make sure that you’re highlighting your offer on that page. Don’t forget that your blog posts are part of your sales process!
Social Media Marketing
Social media marketing is all about building relationships with potential and current customers on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
The goal of social media marketing is to build brand awareness, create an engaged community, and generate leads and sales.
To succeed with LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook marketing, you need to post high-quality content that’s relevant to your audience, and you need to be active on social media. You’ll also need to use social media advertising (boosted posts) to reach a larger audience.
Digital advertising is the process of using digital channels like Google Ads, Facebook Ads, and LinkedIn Ads to promote your business.
Digital advertising can be extremely effective when done correctly, but it can also be very expensive if you don’t know what you’re doing. You need to have a clear goal and a well-defined target audience. You also need to make sure that you’re using the right channels for your business, and you should test everything to see what works best.
Pro tip: Run an awareness campaign to get in front of lots of people, and then run a retargeting campaign to get your offer in front of the people that engaged with your awareness ads. That’s a great one-two puch that both generates brand recognition and sales.
Strategies for Bottom of the Funnel Digital Marketing
Now that we’ve got people interested in our product, it’s time to start converting them into customers. The digital marketing strategies that we’re going to focus on in this section are all about matching the right person with a compelling offer and making it REALLY easy for someone to do business with you.
- Email & SMS Marketing
- Landing Pages
- Booking Calendars
- Payment Links
Email & SMS Marketing
Email and SMS marketing are great ways to keep in touch with your customers and make sure that they don’t forget about you. You can start building your list by offering to send out coupons and special offers. You can also use it to build relationships with your customers by sending out valuable content that’s relevant to their interests, pain points, or needs. Email and texts are very inexpensive compared to other forms of digital advertising, so it’s well worth it if you can get an email address or phone number from your prospects.
A landing page is a standalone web page that’s designed to facilitate some sort of conversion. A good landing page will have a headline, subheadline, strong call-to-action, and some kind of offer (like our teeth cleaning service). I also like to include a video on my landing pages if I can, and I like to show off customer testimonials to help build trust.
Landing pages are great because they’re very focused on a single offer. This makes them much more effective at getting prospects to take a particular action than your home page, which is designed to be a general overview of your business.
Ideally, you should have a landing page for every offer that you have.
If you know me, you know that I like to automate everything that I can, and there is nothing worse than the back and forth that comes with trying to book an appointment.
That’s why I love booking calendars. You’ll sync your calendar and have a link that you can share with prospects and customers. They can choose a time that works for them, and it will automatically book the appointment on your calendar. No more back and forth.
This is great because it saves you time, and it also makes it much easier for people to do business with you.
Depending on what you’re selling, it can make a lot of sense to go ahead and collect payment through your website. An ideal entry point offer is generally at a low enough price point that it is almost an impulse buy, and it makes sense to try to gather payment when they’re in a buying mode. In our teeth cleaning example, we might have a payment link where someone can go ahead and pay the $39 for their teeth cleaning. Now they’re taken care of and you don’t have to worry about collecting payment when they come in. (A dentist might be a bad example due to insurance claims, etc, but hopefully you get the idea).
Putting it all together
Now that we have all of the pieces of our funnel, let’s put them together.
First we’ll run ads to people likely to buy our teeth cleaning service – either because of their demographics or because they’re explicitly searching for this service.
If anyone interacts with our ads but does not schedule their teeth cleaning appointment, we’ll show them a new set of ads and possibly offer a steeper discount to persuade them to make a decision.
Once they make it onto our website, they’ll come to a landing page for our offer. There will be a short form for them to claim our offer, and we’ll redirect them to our calendar link where they can actually go ahead and schedule their appointment. Once they’ve scheduled, let’s go ahead and send them to a payment link where they can go ahead and make the payment. If at any point they fall off, we’ll follow up with email and/or sms messages to help push the process along.
Not only do we have a thoughtfully crafted funnel that will generate new customers, but we’ve also automated the entire process so it will continue to generate customers and revenue, even while you sleep.
A couple notes before we go:
1) If your digital ads are bad or you’re targeting the wrong audience, everything gets more challenging. I’d encourage you to talk with us – we’ve started a relatively new service where we’ll run and manage social ads for your business starting at $600/month. We take a fee of 16% of ad spend, and I can assure that in almost all cases, you’re better off having it managed professionally.
2) If you love the sound of this, but are not sure what software you need to set all of this up, I’ll direct you to two services. The first is one of our very first technology partners, HubSpot. They have excellent software and do an incredible job of serving mid-range and enterprise companies. I generally suggest them if your annual revenue exceeds $1 million, or if you have a fairly complicated sales process. For small businesses, less than $1 million, I recommend LeadShip (a small business marketing software that we own), which isn’t quite as polished or full-featured, but is really cost-effective and will take you pretty darn far. If you’d like to get set up with either, contact us.
Happy selling, and let me know what questions you have in the comments!