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What is a Marketing Funnel and Why Your Small Business Needs One

What is a Marketing Funnel and Why Your Small Business Needs One
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Marketing funnels are tactics that marketers use to increase the odds of turning a potential customer into a paying customer. As we dive further into this digital age, brands and companies are needing to find better tactics to get a customer’s attention, and building strong, powerful relationships with leads is essential in gaining momentum and repeat customers. Marketing funnels are becoming essential nowadays, especially for small businesses and entrepreneurs who wish to avoid high advertising costs, as they encourage the use of more efficient tactics to ensure profitability. 

Lazy Digital Marketing

In theory, creating ads online is quite simple. You pick your platform, demographic and send them straight to the sales page. Nothing to it right? Well, in reality, this often leads to losing money and potential customers. The average American sees anywhere from 4000 – 10 000 ads every day. The chances that your advertisement will stand out from the rest of the marketing tsunami is quite slim. Even highly targeted ads have little chance of being profitable. Yes, lazy digital marketing only requires a fraction of the work in comparison to a fully optimized marketing funnel. But you are building an efficient marketing system that will work time and time again for a prolonged period of time if done correctly. Isn’t that worth investing in?

Step Up Your Digital Marketing Game

In the early days of the internet, it was very inexpensive to run ads online. CPC (cost per click) rates were in the pennies. But these days, there has never been so much competition, and the big companies with massive marketing budgets always come out on top. So what if there was a more efficient way? A way to not only gain sales, but to build a lasting relationship with customers. Customers who will not only buy your products or services, but who will also rave about you to their friends and family. There is no better marketing strategy than word of mouth, especially from someone you know and trust. Therefore, building relationships should be the top priority, in turn maximizing your word of mouth marketing. 

Trust is not just given, it is earned. So how can you expect people who have never heard of your business to buy your products or services after seeing your ad for the first time? Even if they are a perfect fit, the timing may not be right. Your potential customers need time to digest what you have to offer, and once properly informed, they will be more likely to purchase from you. This is why you want to direct your them to a free piece of digital information that offers a tremendous amount of value. No pressure or obligation to purchase, and in exchange they enter their email address. By offering this free piece of information, you will greatly increase the CTR (Click Through Rate) and customer conversions.

Sections of a Marketing Funnel

As you go down the funnel, it gets narrower and narrower with fewer leads. But the leads further down the funnel are the most interested in your company, and will most likely buy your products. You want to focus your time on engaging with these people. There are three main segments of a marketing funnel which can be divided further into smaller subsections. Even though they are independent of each other, they must work together in harmony to ensure maximum profitability. At the top of the marketing funnel you have the lead capture section. This is where you get potential customers to enter the marketing funnel. Next, you have the lead engagement section. This is where you will engage and build a relationship with your leads. The final part of the marketing funnel is the converted leads section. This section is focused on continuous engagement with your customers that have purchased your product or service.

Lead Capture

At the very top of the marketing funnel, you have the lead capture area where you will see the largest audience of potential customers. This area focuses on receiving lead contact information. To gather potential leads, you will want to drive traffic to a landing page that offers a free lead magnet. The most common ways of sending traffic are Facebook and Google ads, but there are so many different advertising platforms out there to pick and choose from. A new and popular method is by using influencers in your niche to promote your free digital offer. Once the lead sees your ad, they will be directed to your landing page, on which you will promote your lead magnet. Simply writing down all the features of your digital offer isn’t enough to convert most potential customers. You need to answer their questions and concerns with proper copywriting techniques. Once they go through your landing page and would like to receive the free digital offer, they enter a form with their contact information.

Lead Engagement

So you finally receive a lead. What next? ENGAGE! Email marketing or SMS (Short Message Service) marketing is the focus of this section. The first step is to deliver the lead magnet to your lead. This can be done in multiple ways. If you have a mini online course, they could access it through your website with their own login. You can deliver guides, checklists and other PDF documents via email. This method is great because it gets them to open your emails and continue to engage. They could also view your lead magnet in another window on their browser. After completing the contact form and clicking the submit button, this would send them to a PDF that would pop up in a new tab. Upon receiving your lead magnet, the key is to keep engaging with them on a regular basis. With your email marketing platform, you can set up automated emails with triggers depending on your lead’s actions. The emails should be clean, easy to read and straightforward. The last thing you want is for them to unsubscribe. Using a jab jab punch method will prevent losing subscribers. Jab jab punch is when you send two to three valuable insights or content for every sales pitch you send them. Your goal is to provide value first, with the sale to follow.

Converted Leads

Congratulations, you made a sale! So do we stop engaging with those customers after they have bought our product or service? The short answer is no and here is why. Customers who have previously bought your products are the customers who are more likely to buy again. So by not continuing engagement, you are potentially losing future sales. You want your customers to invest in you, someone they know and can trust, as well as your products and services. Without regular engagement, they may feel abandoned and less likely to promote your products or services to their friends and family. Which as we said earlier, word of mouth marketing is the most powerful form of marketing.

Conclusion

Sales funnels are becoming more and more essential for small business owners and entrepreneurs. But what is a marketing funnel? It’s guiding potential customers down a path you created to maximize sales and relationships. Consumers will be much more likely to buy what you have to offer if you provide value first. Running ads straight to a sales page simply won’t cut it. Successful businesses have innovated by using this process in their marketing plan. What will your marketing funnel look like?

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