I am going to infuriate or at least slightly annoy 8/10 readers
“Do you want to build a snowman?”
This iconic line perfectly encapsulates bad marketing.
In this pivotal scene in Frozen, Anna inquires whether Elsa would like to build a snowman. Based on the fact that she could literally kill her sister at the touch, I would guess that no, Anna, Elsa would not like to build a snowman with you.
Despite Anna’s constant efforts, Elsa does not want to build a snowman and will not build a snowman no matter how many times Anna asks.
This how many businesses who do not know about the marketing funnel target their customers. A blind sweep of different marketing techniques targeting every which way.
Understanding your marketing funnel is one of the most important things you can do for your marketing campaigns. Marketing without this knowledge will leave you wasting money and destroying your brand reputation.
Alright enough free Disney promotion, let’s get to the meat of this.
What are the different parts of the marketing funnel?
Knowing these 5 stages of the marketing funnel will help you build a healthy foundation for your brand.
Here is what each of these stages mean and how your business should interact with potential customers at this point.
The first thing you should be focused on getting as many eyeballs onto your business as possible.
Actual conversions are not the focus at this stage, but builds the foundation for your brand. By now you should know exactly who your target audience is (If you don’t shame on you, your family and your cow).
Where are these people? Do the research to understand where the largest group of your target demographic will be. For example if you want to market your brand-new Pokemon Go fanny pack, where do you think you should go?
- A Tony Robbins convention
- That bakery on your Yelp bookmarks
- A Pokemon Go Facebook group
If you picked C congratulations! You’re on your way to becoming a fantastic marketer.
Remember, getting eyeballs is not enough. You need to be getting qualified eyeballs. This is why knowing who your audience is so important.
Understand who your audience is and what their pain points are. This could be as simple as standing where your target demographic frequents with a megaphone. Or can be as technical as running a display campaign on Google AdWords that shows your banner to millions of people a day.
- Know who your target audience is
- Know what problem of theirs you’re going to solve
- Have fun and be creative with how you get people’s attention
People know about your existence! Great. So what?
This is the question you need to answer in the second stage. Create interest around your brand. Communicate to these customers how you’re going to help them. What about your Pokemon Go fanny pack is going to make their lives better or easier?
Customers are in research mode here. Is the pain point that you think you’re solving really a problem for these people? The interest phase is where you’ll find out.
List how your product or service is solving a problem. Remember, people buy products to make themselves feel better. How do you service that need?
The interest phase greatly varies in length depending on how complex your sale is. If the stakes are high you’ll need to really be comprehensive about how you’re providing value to these customers if the stakes aren’t as high, being clear and concise can go a long way.
- Describe how you’re going to provide value/solve a problem
- People buy to make themselves feel good
- Consider how much of a commitment your product/service is
Usually an exclamation of despair, is the question you should be asking yourself at the Desire phase of the marketing funnel.
How do you differ from the hundreds of other alternatives out there? The third phase is where businesses usually have a problem because this really tests how well you know your target audience.
What makes you different? What makes you stand out?
Highlighting your unique selling points about your specific product/service comes in here. Show the world how great you are! This can simply be another pain point that alternatives fail to address or some way your offering is superior to other brands.
This is also a great place to highlight awards or accolades that your company has received. A delicious acronym I personally use is the EAT framework.
By differentiating yourself you start to show the customer why you’re the right alternative for them. A match made in heaven. Their knight in shining fanny pack.
- Establish ahead of time what makes you different from your competitors
- Go the extra mile and provide another layer of value or explain how you’re superior
- Use the EAT framework to establish quality around your brand
This is it. The moment you’ve been waiting for…
Let’s get some sales!
This is the prime place to push all of your selling messaging. Customers at this stage are ready to buy from you. They’ve gone through the entire journey of finding out about you, understanding the value you provide, and why you’re the obvious choice. So now get out of their way and…
Let. Them. Buy.
Unfortunately, at this stage many people get in their own way by creating landing pages that don’t work. Just because customers are in this stage doesn’t mean you can’t mess things up from here.
This is where you should pay the most attention because this is where you can lose the most valuable customers.
Be sure you have a clear call-to-action. This is clear directions about how the customer can purchase/sign up for your product. If you’re selling on a website, make your check-out experience as easy and simple to find as possible. If you’re selling at a farmer’s market, hang a neon flashing sign that says “BUY HERE” above your cash register (trust me this is always a good idea).
The key here is to reduce cognitive friction. Meaning you need to make it as easy as possible for someone to get your product/service.
- Have a clear call-to-action
- Reduce cognitive friction
- Sell, sell, sell
“What? I thought it was AIDA?”
You’re right! But since you’re a marketing superstar you know that ensuring that customers are satisfied with what your product/service is just as important getting the sale. Because to create a sale all you need to do is make the sell, but to create a brand you need to create an experience.
The retention stage is where addressing any questions or pain points customers have after purchasing your product or service comes into play.
Monitor reviews, send survey, get feedback and constantly improve your product/services.
If you create an experience as compelling as your sell, you’ll have no problem creating a powerful, self-sustaining brand.
Continue to show value and improve your products so that people become returning customers.
- Address common post-conversion pain points
- Monitor and collect feedback
- Constantly reiterate and improve based on feedback
Congratulations! If you’ve followed all of these steps for your business, you’ll be ahead of 70% of other businesses and be creating a marketing strategy that scales, provides value, and effective use of your marketing budget.
Remember, people are in different mindsets at different parts of the funnel. This isn’t to say you can’t show people in the Action phase unique selling points, it just isn’t as effective at moving customers down the funnel.
There is no single magic solution to marketing to people throughout these different parts of the funnel effectively.
Take your customers on a journey and tell them a story as to why your product/service is the one for them.
Tired of flashy numbers and useless reports? Make sure your AdWords and SEO campaigns aren’t wasting you money. Take this step-by-step checklist to make sure you’re getting the most out of your marketing budget.