What is a Digital Marketing Funnel?
The term, “marketing funnel” may be an unfamiliar concept to small businesses who haven’t previously created a marketing plan or worked with a digital marketing agency. The most important aspect to understand about a marketing funnel is it’s simply the steps a customer takes from becoming aware of your business to making a purchase from you. Modern marketing funnels often include the steps that follow after the purchase stage. These follow-up steps increase customer retention and provide opportunities to cross-sell other products. The goal of every marketing funnel is to plan the steps to help your leads turn into customers.
Stages of a Marketing Funnel
Marketers often look at marketing funnels in three stages. These stages are Top of the Funnel, Middle of the Funnel, Bottom of the Funnel marketing. We’ll focus on top of the funnel marketing which is the awareness stage.
Top of the Funnel Marketing - Awareness Stage
The first stage in any marketing funnel is the awareness stage. Some people also refer to this as the exposure stage. Here, the focus is on reaching as many people in your target audience as possible to generate qualified leads. On average there are about 75,000 searches per second on Google. When a user types specific keywords, you want your website to show up among the top results. You want to produce content to help your customers see the value which you can offer to them. A strong SEO strategy is important during top of the funnel marketing to increase your brand awareness.
Content Strategy for the Awareness Stage
The content you produce should be relevant to the interested and needs of your target audience. Focus on what you can do to get them interested in your brand and move them along the customer journey awareness stage. The content you should produce in the awareness stage of the buyer's journey needs to focus on broad topics to educate your website visitors. The type of content include:
Infographics - Capture the attention of your target audience and encourage them to share your content on social media with a good infographic. Infographics are liked and shared three times more than other content on social media.
Videos - Video content has become important for brands who wish to engage with their visitors By 2022, 82% of all internet traffic will be a result of videos that are produced.
Blog Posts - Build authority and demonstrate your knowledge to your target audience that you know with informative blog posts. Create blog topics around the services you offer to show customers how you can help them.
Checklists - One of the characteristics of the awareness stage is that your target audience has a problem or a need they're trying to solve. Providing them with a checklist is a great way to offer them a solution. Offer your checklist a downloadable product in exchange for their email address. This will give you the opportunity to further expose them to your business through email marketing. Increased exposure often leads to converting them into customers.
Social media - Organic search engine optimization is excellent for increasing your brand exposure but it takes time to be effective. Social media is a more immediate form of exposing potential customers to your business. Engaging content helps you engage with new users as well as with those who are already connected to your brand.
Paid Advertising - Paid ads are one of the most efficient ways to increase traffic to your website. Focus on search ads such as through Google or Bing and social ads such as Facebook Instagram LinkedIn, and other. Both search ads and social ads are great to get your brand in front of your target audience.
Landing Pages - Small business owners often make the mistake of sending paid ad leads to their home page. When you run paid ads your leads should be directed to a specific page focused on their keyword search. Offer something valuable to your landing page visitors. This offer can be a special priced product or even a free download. Communicate the benefits of your landing page offer and how you can help them.
Understanding your target audience is the key to your top of the funnel marketing strategy. It will help you produce the type of content they find interesting to convert them into customers. Your top of the funnel marketing content should be engaging, visual, and centered around the buyer.
Top of the Funnel Metrics
Some metrics you should measure during the awareness stage of the marketing funnel are:
Traffic - The amount of traffic you're getting to your website is import to learning if your top of the funnel marketing strategy is effective. Traffic reports should include repeat website visitors as well as new website visitors. The more traffic you get to your website the higher the chances are of converting visitors into customers. When looking at your website visitor metrics, you want to see where your traffic is coming from. Your unique website visitors metric should be high on a regular basis. However, if it’s too high this could be a sign of something that is not working correctly. It’s important to focus on both new and repeat visitors.
Bounce Rate - Your website bounce rate is the metric that tells you how often someone visits your website and immediately leaves without visiting another page. If this happens too often, there’s several things you need to look at to find the problem. Ask yourself if the content you're producing is informational and useful to your website visitors. Is your website optimized across multiple devices? Does your website load quickly enough? Is your content organized in a way that's easy to find and read for your website visitors? If you answer no to any of these questions, it's time for a website redesign.
Referral Traffic - One more metric you should measure during the awareness stage is how many website visitors are coming from other channels. This includes social media such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other. You also want to measure the website visitors you receive from someone who clicks on the links you include in your email marketing.
Next Steps After Top of the Funnel Marketing
Once you begin to generate a stead flow of new traffic and website visitors you need to keep up the momentum. Top of the funnel marketing is often where most organizations begin and end their marketing efforts. To move prospects from the awareness stage to the interest stage, you need to incorporate middle of the funnel marketing strategies. We'll focus on middle of the funnel marketing in a later post and update this one with the new links.