This article will help you plan your digital marketing funnel strategy.
What is a digital marketing funnel, and why should you care?
Basically, a marketing funnel outlines the process for turning your website or social media visitors into customers. It lays out the step-by-step customer journey. Your digital marketing funnel strategy will help you prioritize your marketing activities, and measure their effectiveness.
The image below shows a basic marketing funnel, mapping the path a customer takes from when they first pay ATTENTION to your brand, followed by INTEREST as they explore your website, read an ebook or watch a video, then DESIRE as they decide they want what you offer, and finally ACTION as they make a purchase or sign up to your offer.
The key question as you plan out your digital marketing funnel strategy is: What marketing tactics help move my prospect from one stage of the funnel to the next one?
The very first stage of the marketing funnel is Attention (sometimes called Awareness).
This is when you first get the attention of your prospect - the first time they visit your website, click on a social media link, engage with your video, or read your blog post. This first stage is all about brand awareness - being seen and recognized by your prospect in as many different channels as possible, so they start to get comfortable with your brand as a credible source of information, products or services.
In this stage, your website visitor may not yet have expressed any interest in your product, but you have their attention, even if only for a couple of seconds!
Your main marketing goal at the Attention stage is to get the visitor to move on into the next stage - to get them to click on a link that will take them further into your website and start to show interest in what you have to offer. They are not ready to buy anything yet, so stay away from any hard selling. You just want to nudge them on into the next step - expressing interest.
This second stage is an important one. Now you have a prospect who has expressed some level of Interest in what you have to offer. They may have signed up to your mailing list, downloaded a free ebook (in return for their email) or filled in a contact form.
Your main goal from a prospect in the Interest stage is to get them to hand over their contact information (usually an email address) and sign up to your mailing list (or follow you on social media) in return for something that they want (newsletter, ebook, coupon, etc).
Once you have engaged the prospect, either as a follower on social media or as a subscriber on your mailing list, your marketing tactics now involve leading them on to the next stage Desire, where they want your product.
This third stage, Desire, is where the prospect has expressed active interest in your product or service, and desires to have it. Now your tactics can move from informational marketing to active selling. Tactics in this stage involve special sales or discounts, sales pitches, sales pages, and helping your prospect to feel safe moving forward to a purchase ("safety" is important in making an online sale - your prospect may be very interested and need what you have to offer, but if they don't feel comfortable in the credibility and reliability of your website or sales process, they won't buy).
Finally! The Action stage is when your customer takes action and makes a purchase or signs up for your paid subscription.
The most important thing you can do when a customer is in the Action stage (has just made a purchase) is to provide stellar customer service - make sure they are happy with their purchase, and will keep coming back for more.
In addition to the main funnel stages above, for most businesses there are two more important stages that come after customer purchase. This is particularly true for subscription or service businesses:
Your digital marketing funnel strategy should be an important part of your marketing plan. Your funnel dictates what types of marketing tactics will be most effective at each stage in the customer journey.
To get started with your marketing plan, download our Marketing Plan Template here.