Well, most marketers focus on driving traffic but fail to go the distance and convert that traffic into cold, hard cash. So how can your B2B site be one of the few that actually sees significant online sales? You can optimize your digital content for the marketing funnel.
In this guide, we're going to lead you through the marketing funnel and share actionable steps for you to take at each stage.
What is “The Marketing Funnel”?
A marketing funnel is a blueprint for the path you want your customer to take on their journey with your brand. It allows you to map out and understand your customer's journey so you can serve them better with custom content.
A well-crafted marketing funnel for your brand will detail each stage of the funnel as experienced by your customer. It starts with their first contact with your brand and follows them through to final purchase.
If you search “marketing funnel,” you’ll quickly realize that there are several versions out there with varying stages, but they all follow the same basic principles established in the late 20th century. What has changed are the tactics marketers use and the content found at each stage.
Why marketing funnels matter
The primary purpose of designing a personalized marketing funnel for your brand is to help you create custom content at each stage to generate more leads and increase conversion. Other benefits of a brand marketing funnel include:
Simplifying the customer journey – A marketing funnel maps the journey you want your customers to take with you. It covers every step as well as the tools and tactics you will use to move the prospects further down the funnel.
Connecting with customers – Funnels can apply to all types of customer interactions and bring visibility with every step. Some users fly through your funnel while others hang back for a while before converting. Meeting your customers where they are with custom content establishes a more personal experience and encourages them to follow through.
Optimize your targeting and content – If you’re having trouble getting your audience to convert into customers, a marketing funnel can show you where people are dropping off. You can then adjust and improve your strategy and approach to increase desirable responses from the traffic.
Marketing funnel stages
Every market funnel has three main stages:
Top of the Funnel (TOFU) – This funnel stage is also called the Awareness Stage. It focuses on lead generation and the visibility of your website.
Middle of the Funnel (MOFU) – This is known as the Consideration Stage. It nurtures the leads you get from the awareness stage by creating engagement through targeted content.
Bottom of the Funnel (BOFU) – Customers at this stage are ready to make a Decision and want to make a purchase. All you need to do is give them the right incentive to buy and close the deal. If you do it right, the sales transaction is completed.
The awareness stage is about connecting your business to the right people within the vast universe of potential customers. You want this audience to know you exist and that you have the best solutions to their unique problems.
To make the most out of your marketing efforts at this stage, it's imperative that you first identify your target audience as well as the criteria your ideal customer must meet. Refer to your customer personas for this step.
Obviously tailoring your awareness stage content to your audience will give you a better chance of getting them to the next stage. You want to capture the most relevant traffic at this stage because they’ll be more likely to convert into customers by the time they reach the end of your funnel.
After identifying your target audience, you will then use your Awareness-specific marketing tactics to capture their attention. This may include:
Social Media - Chances are, your target audience is spending a significant amount of their time on social media. Find them and engage with them.
Blog Content - Blogs advise and provide helpful insight on the topics related to your business. Through blogs, you can attract people who are interested in this type of information.
White Papers - White papers are long-form written pieces of content that inform readers about specific problems they face and (often) how your product or service can solve that problem.
Ebooks - Ebooks are another way to make industry-rich content digitally available to your audience. What better way to teach them something new about you and your field.
Infographics - Posts that include visuals have a 650% higher engagement than text-only posts. Infographics are a great way to leverage the impact of color and pass your message quickly with numbers and quips.
Lead Magnets - Offering your target audience something in return for their contact information often helps you capture more leads than anything else. This offer could be a discount, a freebie, or a digital download.
Videos - Video content is hot right now. From YouTube to TikTok, videos are a great way to engage your audience on a visual level and provide detailed information on you and your product (just don’t forget to add captions).
How-To’s - Instructional content can serve your audience in a multitude of ways and answer a lot of their questions before they even have a chance to ask. It’s an effective way to show off how your product works.
Podcasts - Podcasts are ever-growing in popularity. People love listening to them on the go, so if you have enough content to share in an episode or two, sit down and record a conversation.
Webinars - What better way to introduce your audience to your brand than to put on a webinar and meet them face-to-face. You can give them a taste of what you have to offer and hopefully establish a good relationship right off the bat.
Sponsorships - Partnering with popular events, organizations, and people can give your brand a public boost and get more eyes on you. Just make sure whatever you’re sponsoring is being watched by your target audience.
Testimonials - Word-of-mouth has been one of the most reliable marketing tactics since the beginning of time. People believe other people who have no stake in your brand, so sharing positive testimonials will establish your credibility and authenticity.
SEO -search engine optimization involves the creation of optimized content to help you rank higher in Google search engine result pages when users search for keywords and phrases that describe your content. .
The goal in the awareness stage is to reach out to as much of your target audience as possible. Success at this stage is measured by specific key performance indicators (KPIs) like
Reach - how many individuals actually saw your content
Engagement - how many likes, comments, shares, etc. your content received
Click through rate (CTR) - what percentage of people followed your content and moved through to the next phase
Consumers at this stage are interested in your business and what you have to offer. They are considering whether or not they should buy from you or if there’s a more suitable option out there. Interest is often expressed by signing up for an email list, requesting a white paper, following you on social, etc. At this stage, the consumers are considered leads.
The goal of the consideration stage is to create content that helps potential buyers consider your products or services as a possible solution to their problem. At this stage you're also looking to build trust, so you need to create content that establishes trust to help you convert the leads into customers.
Some effective tactics that you can use at this stage of the marketing funnel to achieve these goals include:
Landing Pages - Creating custom landing pages to appeal to different customer personas gives you a better chance of seeing them follow through on your CTAs. Appeal to their specific needs and problems with your copy.
Use Cases - Don’t just tell your users about your product, show them what they can do with it! Especially if your product has multiple offerings, show your users how others get the most value out of it. Airtable, Loom, and ClickUp are all great examples to reference.
Comparison Guides - At this stage, your leads are looking at you, but they’re also looking at your competitors. Creating a comparison guide will get you one step ahead as you call out all the benefits your product has over your competitors’.
Case Studies - A case study is an effective way of validating the effectiveness of your product. Showing them a real example of how other consumers have benefited from your solution shows your leads how you deliver tangible results.
Video Content - Videos in the Consideration stage can include product spotlights, compassion guides, testimonials, and about us videos. It’s all about giving your lead as much information about the benefits of your product and brand as possible.
Checklists - Graphics in the form of product and brand checklists give a simple visual for leads to quickly ascertain the most important information about you. Choose your top selling points and break them down into the best features.
Calculators - If your product or service includes conversion mathematics, provide your leads with an onsite calculator. This is an invaluable resource that will increase on-site time as well as further establish your credibility as an industry expert.
Industry Reports - Become the number one source of information on your industry. Your leads want to do the least amount of work possible to solve their problems and answer their questions. Include everything on your site or through emails for them.
Email Marketing - With email marketing, you can create personalized content to appeal to consumers considering specific products or services, provide more value to your audience, have an avenue for self-promotion, and cultivate your own contact list.
There are several ways to determine if your consideration tactics are working. You can measure how many email sign-ups you have, how much more time consumers are spending on your site, your bounce rate, or pages per duration.
The decision stage is also called the conversion stage. At this part of the journey, the buyer will be making their choice whether to buy from you or not. It’s your job to obviously convince them to take the right action and make them your client. More often than not, the lead has begun to favor you at this point and you should focus less on educating and more on promoting.
Just as in the other stages, you need to employ tactics that will improve the chances of the customer making the intended decision:
Free Trials - Giving a lead an opportunity to take your product for a test drive can be risky for your company, but they let you demonstrate to your customers that your word is good and they can trust you to deliver once they do make a purchase.
Live Demos - Offering to walk your customers through their pre or post purchase process with a live demo proves to them that there are people behind this brand who are here to help. It can also serve to answer any questions your customers have had.
Live Consultations - Either through Zoom or on-site, in-person consultations can also establish strong relationships with your audience and convert them into customers. Working out a personalized plan for them can make all the difference.
Audits - For B2B brands, offering to audit your potential customer’s business will let you identify exactly where your product or service can improve their business. You can also do a competitor audit if you want to prove that you can offer more.
Discounts and Promotions - A small incentive can eliminate the sense of risk and encourage the customer to buy. The incentives you can offer depend on your position in the market and the type of products or services you have.
Vendor Comparison Charts - Make sure that your product stands out as the best possible solution by using a graphic like a Harvey Ball Chart to grade your offering across multiple criteria, and against your top competitors.
Fact/Sales Sheets - Breaking down your products into a digestible fact and/or sales sheet makes it easy for leads to view and understand what exactly you have to offer.
During the decision stage, keep in mind that your prospect is comparing available vendors and products that are similar to yours. This is your opportunity to make your products or services stand above the rest.
Conversion rate is a critical metric to track. It measures how many consumers end up making a purchase and is the culmination of how effective your marketing strategy is. You can track the conversion rate back to specific marketing tactics and use the numbers to determine the methods that are most effective and double down on those.
Other important metrics that can indicate effective decision stage content include page conversion percentage, meetings or demos scheduled, proposals sent out, and proposals won.
Critical Marketing Funnel Metrics That You Should Track
It's not enough to have your marketing funnel up and running. It has to be effective, and you have to constantly make changes to ensure you see a high ROI. There are a few metrics you can monitor that will help you determine the value of your market funnel strategy:
Impressions are the most basic measure of brand exposure for top-of-funnel marketing. They refer to the total number of times your ad or post is served to users on a screen. The figures from the impressions are the base requirement of building brand awareness. Your target audience has to see your content to be aware of your existence.
This metric refers to the total number of unique people that your ad has been served across different digital platforms.
Reach can be used to determine the performance of your marketing campaign. If the ads reach a broad audience but are not converting into customers, it's a sign that you should consider making changes for better performance, either to the content or the audience.
Website traffic is easily the most important metric you can use to assess the success of your marketing funnel strategy (for both ecommerce and brand sites). Although not all traffic results from your marketing efforts, a significant spike can be a sign that you're doing something right. In website traffic, there are two core categories you will want to keep an eye on:
Users – Users are the unique visitors that have visited the site at least once over a specific period. For example, a user that visits your website daily for a month is counted as one unique user.
Sessions – Sessions are counted each time a user visits your website, regardless of whether they are new or not. The sessions can provide insight into users who are interested in your products or services and give you a more accurate lead pool to target.
Average time on page
The average time on page measures how much time visitors are spending on specific pages on your site. Tracking this metric can help you understand the interaction between your visitors and the websites and which pages on the website are receiving the most attention.
This is the percentage of users who have viewed at least one page of your website and then left without performing any other action.
The bounce rate can be a clear indicator of how potential customers are interacting with content like a blog, product description page, or landing page on your site. If the content on the pages is irrelevant or provides a poor user experience, you're likely to experience a high bounce rate. A healthy bounce rate should be somewhere between 30-70%. Of course it can depend on the type of content and your historical metrics.
Build your funnel
Statistics show that 79% of marketing leads are never converted into sales, and 68% of marketers feel their top priority should be converting leads into customers. Creating an effective marketing funnel can increase your sales drastically and allow you to venture into new markets.
It's important to note that your marketing funnel shouldn't only rely on one avenue of marketing. You need to cast your net wide and experiment with different tactics at each funnel stage. It can seem like an arduous task as this process takes a lot of time and resources. If you’re not sure whether or not your business is set up to create an effective marketing funnel, that’s what we’re here for!
Steel Croissant is in the business of helping your business. We can work closely with you to design and optimize a marketing funnel your customers are going to want to follow. Want to learn more? Contact us today.