What You Need to Know About Marketing Funnels

Dec 11, 2019 | Commentary, Strategy

You’ve probably heard or read about “marketing funnels” or “click funnels.” The idea isn’t new and is pretty simple – when someone engages with your website, your web design and call-to-actions seek to move a user towards a key action or purchase. However, the art of “funneling” potential customers and leads isn’t as easy as it might sound.

The problem with the funnel concept in the digital context, is that people jump in and out of the purchase process frequently. A funnel isn’t a one-size-fits-all tactic especially when people are often at different stages of the consideration process when they ultimately get to your website. Some are just browsing, some will likely purchase but aren’t in any hurry, some are considering your brand compared to others.

The point here is that you can’t create a singular funnel and expect the flood gates to open. But let’s take a step back and break down a funnel more explicitly.

What Is A Marketing Funnel?

A funnel is a set of marketing assets (website, email, social, Google Ads, etc.) that that work together to drive key customer actions from your website visitors. For instance, you might want to capture leads via a contact form. A funnel will bring people to your site and push them towards that form as they browse your website.

If they aren’t ready to take that specific action, a secondary action like schedule an appointment, download a report or sign up for a webinar can be integrated into the funnel. The funnel typically ends on some kind of “thank you” page once the action is taken.

So simply put, a funnel is a series of marketing tactics that seek to capture customer information or drive online sales. The art of funneling your users is much more nuanced than just your website. It is the design, media assets, language, branding, colors, call-to-action, value, etc. All of that plays into the power of your funnel.

Funneling the Smart Way

The more challenging approach to funnels is creating a more user-centric approach. Yes, your business wants leads, but the better you can understand the mindset of many types of customers at many stages in the process, the better you’ll be able to speak to them and move them into and down the funnel.

To me the important thing to understand is where people most often enter your website. Odds are the majority of people come via the homepage, however, if you’re executing Google Ads, ranking well for various keywords, promoting content on social media, sending email blasts, etc., then you’re probably capturing traffic to other pages as well.

The type of page that someone enters your site from can tell you a lot about where they are in the purchase or consideration process. For example, if someone enters your site on a blog post you shared on social media that explains a common misconception in your industry, they are probably higher up in the funnel and are simply learning more about what they need to know. This kind of traffic should be treated differently than someone that searched directly for your brand on Google and entered via the home page.

I would argue that both of these types of users are valuable. One is valuable today, the other is valuable tomorrow. But any business that wants long-term sustained growth will need to focus on all types of customers and create paths that make sense and aren’t annoying or obnoxious.

My advice to you is to own your funnel and make it yours. There are marketing tech companies that want to sell you their funnel templates, but by investing in your own custom built funnel, you can maintain your brand experience while also improving conversion rates on your website.