Luring in customers with funnel marketing is a little like fishing. They don't take the bait at first, but they're curious. So you show them a little more, and they move in closer. Some will nibble at the bait, while others will hang back and wait to see what else happens. You won't catch them all, but some fish will succumb to your marketing efforts showing them that the worm, minnow or leech at the end of your line is what they really want.
Also known as "mousetrap marketing," funnel marketing targets people for more positive results than worms on a hook or cheese on a trap. It's all about drawing people deeper into the scope of what you have to offer. It's a positive experience because the potential customer makes choices based on his interest in your offerings, and you benefit by weeding out less interested people.
Top of the Funnel: Attention
The funnel marketing approach begins by bringing visitors to your site through your blog posts (the best way to attract attention), social media and web searches. When they arrive, they can provide their contact info and receive useful content such as ebooks and white papers. Call-to-action graphics help attract visitors to landing pages on your website to even more valuable content.
The idea is to create awareness of your brand, lead the reader to develop an affinity for your content, and convince him to take an action. That action could involve simply signing up for a newsletter, leaving a comment or downloading content.
Middle of the Funnel: Interest
Within the middle of the funnel, you can reach those leads who have provided their contact info with information on how they can become a valued customer. In this section of the funnel, you are showing them why they should do their business with your company. Materials here can include free trials and compelling information from webinars, case studies, testimonials and demonstrations.
Bottom of the Funnel: Purchase
Once your leads reach the bottom of the funnel, you can use a more direct approach to target qualified leads using emails, landing pages and direct outreach from members of your sales team. Offer incentives such as discounts and promotions, free assessments and consultations. Up to now, you've been marketing. Here, you can begin selling.
But don't stop there. Keep going with the customers who have made it through the funnel. Nurturing your new customers helps them feel more confident they made the right choice, which makes them more likely to stay with your company and to recommend you to others.
Funneling Potential Magazine Subscribers
Let's say you publish a magazine and want to increase your subscriber rates. You publish a blog post that interests a reader who follows a link within the post to your website. There, she discovers robust content, including a newsletter focusing on a topic that interests her, so she signs up for your mailing list.
She has moved on to the middle of the funnel, where she reads testimonials from happy subscribers and takes advantage of a free, no-strings, two-week trial subscription. In the bottom of the funnel, she considers a discount on a six-month subscription but opts for a deeper discount on a one-year subscription with a free tote bag.
Authentia, a digital marketing company, published a case study last week showing how it used “smart funnels” to channel specific traffic generated by a client's blog post that quickly earned a No. 1 ranking for an important keyword search and drew significant traffic to the client's website.
Funnel Marketing May Vary
The way you approach funnel marketing and the content you offer within each stage may differ from those of other companies; you may have four or five sections rather than three to follow a more complex path. But the principal idea is the same: to lure people in stages toward making a purchase.