Last Updated: July 7, 2018
Marketing funnels are the blueprints to your lead generation strategy. In this article, I’m going to describe a full funnel marketing approach that you can take to get more customers online.
What is Full Funnel Marketing?
Full funnel marketing is a comprehensive customer acquisition strategy that targets leads at each stage of the buyer’s journey. By creating content designed to help potential customers at each stage of the buyer’s journey, and targeting customers with content relevant to the stage they’re in (using different ad targeting methods) you can drastically increase revenue.
I use the following three funnels:
- The Awareness funnel. Designed to attract prospects.
- The Consideration funnel. Designed to drive prospects down the funnel.
- The Decision funnel. Designed to close the deal.
In this article, I’ll explain each funnel and include a visual marketing funnel template you can use to build your own funnels. Lately my Facebook newsfeed is filled with ads from lead generation gurus offering access to huge libraries of funnels. I think that’s over complicating things a bit.
I’m going to break things down for you here, and by the end of this article you’ll know all the basics. Then you can make up your own mind about the gurus and their funnel libraries.
What is a Marketing Funnel?
Like I mentioned earlier, marketing funnels are like blueprints. A marketing funnel maps out the route you’ve charted for your traffic to become sales. Ask yourself these three questions:
- Where will your traffic come from?
- Where will it land?
- What happens next?
Now, some would argue that there’s just one big marketing funnel. But I think it’s helpful to think in terms of multiple funnels since leads can enter the funnel at different stages of the buyer’s journey.
How to Get More Customers Online with Marketing Funnels
Here’s an in-depth description of each of the three primary funnels I typically use. To get more information on these three marketing funnels, along with a fourth funnel designed to rapidly grow the size of your funnel, check out the Inbound Marketing Funnel Template.
Awareness Stage (Upper Funnel Marketing)
You’ll use upper funnel marketing to start building a relationship with likely prospects. At this stage, your prospects don’t know you. They might not even know exactly what their problem is (or that they even have one).
But without these people, you’ve got an empty funnel and no one’s buying. So how do we get to them?
The Awareness Marketing Funnel (AKA the Lead Generation Funnel)
You’ll start generating upper funnel leads with an Awareness marketing funnel. Then you’ll nurture those leads through your other funnels.
SEO is a great option for upper funnel marketing if you can rank highly for relevant terms. Unfortunately, that’s very difficult for most people and it takes time, so we’re going to focus on paid traffic sources.
Paid social (e.g., Facebook) and native advertising (e.g., Outbrain) are great for this stage.
The best choice depends on the targeting options you need. If your target market is fairly broad, native advertising might be a great choice. You can do some targeting, but you usually can’t get as granular as you can with Facebook or LinkedIn, for example.
A blog post can work especially well at the Awareness stage. It can build your brand and increase your credibility. And, perhaps most importantly, every person who visits your blog will be thrown into your remarketing list.
Be sure to include at least one call-to-action somewhere in your blog post. Often you’ll see the call-to-action as a graphic at the bottom of a blog post.
But a HubSpot lead generation study found that only 6% of leads came from graphic CTAs at the bottom of blog posts and between 47% and 93% of a post’s leads came from the anchor text CTA alone.
(An anchor text CTA is “a standalone line of text linked to a landing page.”)
Action? What Action?
For the blog posts that you use to put together your core funnels, these CTAs should lead to the landing page for the offer that corresponds to the stage of the buyer’s journey you’re targeting with the post.
With other blog posts, your calls-to-action can take them to blog posts, your social media accounts, an email signup, etc.
You’ll want to use a very short form for Awareness stage offers. First name and email address only, unless you absolutely need more information for some reason.
The key here is to get their email address so you can contact them again in the future. If they leave without giving you that one piece of information, not only can’t you contact them, but you won’t have any idea what else they’re doing on your site.
Certain tools (e.g., HubSpot) allow you to track a user’s movements on your website and their interaction with your ads. For instance, you could see that a user found you through a particular one of your ads for a particular keyword, then they filled out a form to download an Awareness stage offer.
It’s very powerful information, but you can’t track it if you don’t have a contact to track in the first place.
At this stage, stick with something simple like a checklist (e.g., “Top Ten Things to Look Out for When It’s Raining”). The offer should be related to problems you solve.
Thank You Page
Here you’ll include three things:
- Access to the offer
- A way for prospects to share the offer through email or social media (make sure that it sends them to the landing page, not right to the download- you want to collect their friends’ emails too!)
- A second offer
The second offer can be another Awareness offer to allow you collect more information on the prospect, or it can be a Consideration offer so that you can see if your prospect is ready to move onto the next stage of the buyer’s journey.
This email serves as a trapdoor to drop them into the next stage of the funnel (if they’re ready). It will include a link to a Consideration stage offer. You’ll want to send these from time to time to make sure the top of your funnel doesn’t get clogged up.
Consideration Stage (Mid-Funnel Marketing)
The Consideration funnel exists for mid-funnel leads. These are people who know they’ve got a problem, and they’re considering different types of solutions. Imagine you’re selling umbrellas. At this stage, they’re learning about umbrellas, raincoats, ponchos, and other solutions to the rain problem.
We want to collect these leads so we can help them understand why an umbrella is the best choice (and we definitely want to be there when they’re choosing which umbrella they want (in the Decision stage).
How do they get to this point?
You’ll nurture leads from your Awareness funnel into this funnel, and you’ll also bring in new traffic through ads and SEO.
The Consideration Marketing Funnel AKA the Lead Nurturing Funnel
Many of the components are composed in the same way as the components in the Lead Generation Funnel, but you’ll focus most of your efforts on driving leads from your Lead Generation Funnel through this funnel through lead nurturing.
Again, if you can rank for your terms, SEO is always a great play.
Additionally, paid search is a great option to fill your Consideration funnel. Where do people go when they’re looking for an solution to a problem? Google, right?
With search ads, you can show up when they’re searching for “how to stay dry in the rain”. And with remarketing lists for search ads (RLSA), you can even bid more for people who have already been to your site (or limit your ads entirely to your remarketing list).
Another option is to run ads on Facebook to your remarketing list. That way people you know have the problem you can solve will see ads with your Consideration offers. They’ll click them when they’re ready to move down the funnel.
In general, remarketing is great for each stage of the funnel. Especially if you build your marketing lists based on lead scoring (we’ll talk about lead scoring later) or some other indicator of the buyer’s journey stage they’re in.
You can ask for a little more information at this stage of the buyer’s journey. Your offer should provide a real solution to their problem, so they’ll be more inclined to download it. Besides, you’ve already got their email, so you can remarket to them in the future if they don’t download the offer now.
This offer should get them closer to a solution. Whether it’s something like “Five Ways to Stay Dry in the Rain”, or “How to Make Your Own Umbrella”, or a pattern they can use to make a poncho out of a garbage bag, it needs to offer the promise of an answer to their prayers.
You’re not trying to sell them on your solution here. This is just another opportunity to establish trust and credibility with your prospects.
Decision Stage (Lower Funnel Marketing)
So far you’ve built out your upper-funnel marketing to find prospects who are just becoming aware of their problem, and your mid-funnel marketing for prospects who are beginning to search for solutions.
Now it’s time to build the final funnel that will take the leads we’ve nurtured and convert them into customers. This is lower funnel marketing, and it’s where you make your money.
Lower funnel marketing is for prospects who are ready to choose from a certain category of solutions (your category).
You’ll nurture leads from your Awareness and Consideration funnels into this funnel, and you’ll also bring in new traffic through ads and SEO.
The Decision Funnel AKA The Closer
Paid search is a great way to generate traffic for your Decision stage offers for two reasons:
- It’s very easy to bid on keywords that demonstrate purchase intent (e.g. “buy an umbrella”).
- Since the prospect is so far down the funnel, these campaigns will have a higher ROI. So as long as you do them right these campaigns pay for themselves more quickly than others
Remarketing on social media channels can also be very effective at this stage of the buyer’s journey. Build an audience based on behaviors that show intent to purchase (e.g., a visit to your pricing page), and target them with ads for your Decision stage blog posts and offers.
Case studies and comparisons make great blog posts for the Decision stage funnel. Write about successes people have had with your product, positive reviews, and how your product compares to the competition.
Phrasing comparison posts as “[insert your product] vs. [insert competitor’s product]” can be a great SEO play, because not many people will be trying to rank for that phrase, but you’ll definitely want to control the conversation if someone is Googling it.
The form here will need to include all the information you need to make a sale. If you’re using a tool like HubSpot, you can have it autofill the fields they’ve already filled out at sometime in the past, or just make it so they don’t show up in the first place. That makes lead generation a lot easier.
But if you’re not using HubSpot, make sure you get everything you need to close the deal. For example, if you need to call them to schedule a demo, make sure you get their number.
Since prospects in this stage of the buyer’s journey are more motivated, you can ask for more information if you need it. But always remember not to add any more questions than absolutely necessary.
Here, the offer should give them as much of a taste of your product as possible. Some possibilities:
- A free sample
- A free trial
- A demo
While those offers won’t work very well for a company selling umbrellas, you might find that you have a lot of success with a buy one, get one free offer. It all depends on what you’re selling.
Thank You Page
At this stage of the buyer’s journey, the thank you page can just say thank you, unless you’re looking for repeat purchases or you have some other reason to want to follow-up with them (For example, you might want to encourage them to schedule a call with your implementation team to increase user adoption.)
Starting Filling Your Funnel
This strategy should keep your funnel filled from top to bottom. The key will be getting traffic into each funnel.