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  • Writer's pictureDan McAulay

A 5-minute guide to the marketing funnel



A 5-minute guide to the marketing funnel: grab a cup of tea and learn more about how to weave together all of your marketing tactics to lead to repeat purchases.


The marketing funnel explained: what is it and why is it used by businesses?


The marketing funnel is a management tool that can be used by businesses large and small.


It can be a really useful way of helping to visualise and monitor how your marketing activities are actually leading to sales.


In practice, the steps in the marketing funnel show the process that a customer goes through when making a purchase. Something like this:



What are the stages of the marketing funnel?


The marketing funnel has six stages which reflect customers' buying behaviour:

  1. Awareness

  2. Interest

  3. Consideration

  4. Intent

  5. Evaluation

  6. Purchase

From speaking to businesses and marketers, I think the sales funnel is a bit underrated and underused. For me, using it helps to see how well your marketing activities are linking together and where you can invest to get the most value out of your marketing budget.


The six stages of the marketing funnel


1. Awareness


Someone is in this part of the funnel is simply just aware of your product. They don't necessarily have an opinion on you, either way.


From my experience, when small businesses think of "marketing", this is the stage that is focussed on the most. Promotional methods like marketing methods such as advertising, paid social media, PR and trade shows can be used to boost your message and get people to be aware of your product/service.


There's some quite new research around the importance of using a more emotional message when communicating at this stage. For me, it is more about reinforcing your brand than super-targetted messaging.


For the experts' thoughts, read more about Field & Binet's study into brand building and the 60/40 rule.


2. Interest


At this stage, you want to be focussing on getting your target audience to engage with your business. Email sign-ups, event sign-ups and social media follows are a good way to capture potential customers and get them to learn more about your products and services.


By tailoring your message carefully at this stage, you can help trim down on customers that aren't quite the right fit for your company too.


3. Consideration


At this stage, customers are considering buying your products or services.


I think it's really useful to find out more about your prospects who have reached the consideration stage. Do these people share common characteristics or interests? Do they behave similarly? Once you have more information, you can understand your audience better and base your marketing messages on evidence.


This is the stage to educate interested potential new customers on your products or services. If you can personalise this information to fit their specific needs, you are more likely to nudge them along to the next stage: intent.


For marketing tactics at this stage, think offers, free trials and targetted content.


From my experience, I've found that this is the toughest part of the marketing funnel to progress people from, and takes the most time to get right. Trial and error is unfortunately your best friend here!


4. Intent


At the intent stage, you have done enough to interest your potential customers and they are looking to buy your (or your competitor's) product.


Success here is determined by how easy it is for a customer to access your service. As consumers become more and more demanding, ensuring your order process is 'frictionless' is going to become all the more important.


Consider where you are selling your product or service, both online and in-person, and the pricing sensitivity of your target customers. If your marketing isn't quite right, this can result in missed opportunities. Get it right though, and you will be right on track for getting sales.


5. Evaluation


Once a customer is ready to purchase, they will evaluate the alternatives.


This could be buying from a competitor ("I like this other bike"), choosing a similar product/service in a different category ("I'm going to take the bus instead of buying a bike"), or going without completely ("I'm staying at home and watching Netflix").


Customers will be considering all sorts, but this is where delivery charges, guarantees and warranties are an important part of standing out.


6. Purchase / conversion


If you do all of the above right then you're on track for reaching this stage: converting potential customers into paying customers.


Again, I think it's important to take insights from this stage of the marketing funnel; consider what customers have made it to the purchase stage and what has helped you secure the sale. Doubling down on the right customers, with a product that fits their needs, is where the money is.


You should also keep in mind the post-purchase stage. What after-sales care do you have in place? Are you asking for feedback? Encouraging reviews? Keep in mind that it is much easier to sell to an existing customer than a new one. In fact, it can be more than 5x as cost-effective to retain customers compared to reaching new ones.


Using the marketing funnel


To take your marketing to the next level, you can do research into each of the stages to see how many customers are 'leaking' out of the funnel.


❗️ Are 10,000 people aware of your brand, but just 500 people see it as a legitimate choice?

✅ Do some more work on step number 2!


❗️ Getting loads of enquiries, but no orders?

✅ Take a good look at your order process and find out the barriers to purchasing.


The more work you can do further down the sales funnel, the bigger the impact you are likely to see in revenue.


Thanks for reading


If you learned something new, make sure to click like and leave your thoughts in the comments.


If you have any questions about the above, drop me a message at danmmarketing@gmail.com.

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