To build an online marketing funnel, let's first define this:
"What is an online marketing funnel?"
An online marketing funnel is a process, a buyer’s journey to attract, convert, nurture and close leads, based on data driven decision making.
Many companies focus on two things: attract and close. Do they work? Yes, Do they work well? No. Here’s the logic:
To attract visitors, you want to have them organically land on your site, or through an external link (referral traffic) from another site. Therefore, by definition, the visitors to your site, or at least the majority of them, are new-ish to your site, your brand, your company, hence there is little trust established, and people are reluctant to buy from you. The reason why this rudimentary funnel still seemingly works is because among that organic traffic or organic visits, there are people who googled your name, and had a “pre-existing condition” to buy from you, without the intent to research or find something new.
What does a typical online marketing funnel look like
A typical online marketing funnel usually consists of these steps
There are many different ways of online demand generation, SEO, PPC, social media, online referrals, etc..
SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is a familiar term to many people, but few know what it entails in-depth.
Many people have told me: “My SEO is great! When I searched for my company’s name, we were on top of the SERP (Search Engine Results Page)”
Well, you should be… If you aren’t, you have a big problem. But do these searches mean anything? You can ask yourself the question: “Do I only want to market and sell to the people who already know me, or even are planning to buy from me?” If your answer is yes, then you’ll find growing your company is a very difficult task. And if the people who’ve searched you on Google ended up buying from someone else, then your problem is even bigger.
Your SEO efforts should be evaluated by how many strategic keywords you are ranking for, how much organic traffic you are getting and how many organic marketing qualified leads, sales qualified leads you are getting.
For example, for the company Moz (a famous SEO tool), if people search for the word Moz, they already know them and are very likely to buy/subscribe, and this is but a very small percentage of people who have SEO needs.
Instead, if when people search for “SEO tools” or “How to do keyword research?” during their marketing research, then Moz shows up on top, then their SEO has contributed lots to their grand marketing efforts.
Social media, online referrals, etc., are other ways to generate demand, which require a much more established online presence. Social media will require followers, and real ones, whereas online referrals usually require content generation to be valuable enough that other sites would like to cite it or blog it. Both of these in turn help with SEO.
Not only does your demand generation need to generate traffic, it needs to generate qualified traffic, the kind of traffic that has the visiting intention well aligned with what you have to offer on your site. For example, if you sell shoes, you want your traffic to be interested in “best shoes to wear to a wedding”, “top 10 affordable but trendy shoes”, and probably not “why were shoes invented?”, “were shoes brought to us by aliens?”, even though these are all various keyword phrases containing the keyword “shoes”.
Lead Nurturing is the part most companies are missing in their marketing campaigns.
When talking about email marketing, most people think about email blasts, or newsletters. They are important, but they are far from being the main pillars of your email marketing strategy. (When was the last time you were so excited about being blasted by emails?)
Email campaigns, when done right, are reportedly generating up to 4,000% ROI (return on investment); and some industries are seeing a 20% sales close rate from people who click on the emails. In other words, this is simply something you cannot ignore.
Your website is your ambassador, it should always give people a customized experience so that they can go through a nurturing journey. The UX on your website needs to tell a story, and it needs to ask for the sale, but it needs to do so in a way that people do not feel forced, but instead, they feel educated and empowered. See our blog on Effective Website Designs.
Content marketing is also an important part of your lead nurturing. When people are in your pipeline, instead of asking them to buy every day, there should be a regular content service, to simply offer help to people. This process will also help you establish thought leadership and build credibility. The more credit you have with your leads, the easier it will be for you to convince them to make a decision to purchase down the line.
Sales Enablement and Sales Closing
There are many ways of closing. In digital marketing, your closing strategy should depend on your buyer’s journey and your buyer persona.
If you have a relatively short sales cycle, there should be bottom of the funnel CTAs (Calls-to-Action) on your site providing the opportunities to convert. If you have a longer sales cycle, you wanna make sure you close them after having nurtured them properly. These can be done in ways described above. There should also be detailed communication between your sales and marketing team (sales enablement), so that the sales team understands well enough:
Where the leads came from
How they behaved on your site
What kind of content interested them the most
What was their pain point(s)
Why did they decide to change vendor, etc.
Almost all the companies experience growth with properly built marketing funnels, detailed by their buyer personas, sales cycles and industries. These funnels also need to be updated regularly, based on data, trends and product offerings. To talk about building a marketing funnel, schedule a free consultation with Dali Marketing here.