We might have moved from the traditional marketing funnel to a digital marketing funnel, but the goal ultimately remains the same: to turn prospects into leads and leads into clients and customers. Preferably loyal clients and customers.
By creating funnels as part of your marketing strategy, you can learn more about the journey each prospect goes on as they move from first coming across your brand to making the decision to buy from you, use your services, or become a client or customer.
Also referred to as a ‘sales funnel’, ‘purchase funnel’ or ‘conversion funnel’, a marketing funnel is like a tunnel that you send your prospects down. As they go on a journey, they will encounter a series of touchpoints set up by you to elicit a response.
You can use analytics and profiling tools to build up a picture of each prospect.
Then you can interact with them using personalised content to build a relationship, integrating known sales and marketing techniques to foster their trust in you and your services with the aim to win their business/bring about a conversion or sale.
First you need to identify the buyer’s persona, then deduce what the prospect’s pain point is, and provide a solution. In our experience, it takes, on average, eight touchpoints to get a visitor to send an enquiry. But generally, you can structure a funnel as having a top, middle and bottom.
Top of the funnel marketing refers to efforts that are focused on awareness in a new market or of a new product.
Once the prospect moves to the middle of the funnel, you can make them aware of your services and products. Focus on how something you offer can help provide a solution to their ‘pain’. Tentatively push the prospect to take action. For example, you can give the option to fill in a form to receive more information or to download a brochure, newsletter or guide.
Put any marketing automation tools to good use, and even if the prospect doesn’t bite and you don’t make a sale or conversion at this point, you’ll want to engineer things so that the prospect chooses your business later down the line. Some leads may drop out, but you should take the opportunity to persuade each prospect of the benefits of your services (for example, through videos, infographics or case studies) and how those services can resolve their ‘pain’.
If you’ve nurtured the prospect effectively, making a sale or conversion should be more straightforward. They might have been more hesitant to follow through on a sale or convert earlier in the funnel, but this is natural.
Once the prospect has reached the end of the funnel, there should be an element of familiarity and trust.
You’ve spoken to their needs and addressed their concerns, so any earlier hesitation should no longer be an issue if the marketing funnel has worked properly.
Automation should be guided by the activity of the prospect. An automated funnel is one which can operate effectively on its own while being responsive to the needs, behaviours and preferences of each prospect.
From using tools like Hootsuite to schedule publication of social media posts to the automation of Facebook ad campaigns, you can set things up on various platforms so that they do the work for you.
You can use social media posts and ads on Facebook to raise awareness of your business and what you have to offer.
As the prospect moves through the funnel, you can include a call to action to get the prospect’s email address. Then you can use a tool like Active Campaign to send emails with personalised messages to prospects – Active Campaign can automate the process for you.
You can also retarget to certain prospects.
(TIP: Read our blog on What Is Retargeting)
You can also create specialised landing pages with clear call to actions to bring the prospect’s journey to a close and send automated follow-up messages with tailored content.
Personalisation is key to building a successful marketing funnel. Your messages need to be optimised to meet the needs of the prospect and operate in real-time.
The funnel should evolve with your prospects to nurture them, winning their trust and, hopefully, their business.
Automation simply aids and facilitates your marketing efforts.
Your online activities (digital marketing) should help to draw more visitors to your website. Once there, you can create a conversion funnel for each visitor to go down.
Let’s say you’re targeting buy-to-let investors. You can create a guide or report containing useful information for that specific group of visitors and provide them with it in exchange for their email address.
The same approach can be used if you want to attract more buyers or vendors. Once you’ve started to feed that prospect content and nurture them, you can remarket to them via Google or Facebook to ensure you remain familiar to them.
When the time comes for that prospect to choose an estate agent, they are more likely to choose you.