Digital marketing has become the dominant channel for marketing efforts, so much so that “digital” almost goes without saying. The fight for attention is at an all-time high as the online space has become more saturated than ever. Marketers have to stay on top of the latest trends or risk failing to connect with their audience – a sure way to kill any business.
To complicate matters, there is no shortage of options to go digital with your message. The challenge comes when you have to decide which channel(s) you will invest your time, energy, and money. It’s when you start using multiple channels that things get tricky.
Enter the marketing funnel. In its most basic form, the funnel was a way to represent your audience and their relationship to your business. The idea is that at any given point, your audience falls into a specific place in your funnel (more on that in a bit).
The funnel is a great way to make sense of how to turn strangers into customers. Implementing a marketing funnel in the digital space has quickly become mainstream for good reason. A simple series of steps can fast-track your marketing efforts – at least that’s what you’ve been told.
The traditional view of marketing funnels is often short-sighted when it comes to real-world implementation. This idealistic, linear view of your customer journey may look great in theory. In practice, however, you’re often left confused when things don’t always go according to plan.
It’s time for a new perspective on marketing funnels.
The Foundation Of A Marketing Funnel
One thing that I want to make crystal clear is we are not abandoning the foundation of marketing. If anything, this brings back a closer connection to the root of all marketing that was lost over the years. The rise of artificial intelligence, automation, chatbots, and the like have traded speed and convenience for one core principle: human connection.
Who Are You Talking To?
You see, no matter how advanced we try to get in the digital era, at the end of the day we are still humans talking to humans. The problem with mixing technology, data, and intelligence with our marketing is it can easily miss the mark. When it does, it’s obvious and leaves your audience with the bad taste of distrust that’s not easily erased.
I’m sure you’ve heard of the phrase “fake ’till you make it,” but if you fake it and get caught, it’s your reputation at stake. In marketing, your reputation determines your success. That’s not something I’d be messing with for the sake of convenience. For example:
Just-in-Time – You’re about to start a webinar that will change my life in 13 minutes, and there’s limited seating? How lucky I am to stumble upon this at 3 a.m. when you’re “going live!” I better grab a spot or miss out… until the timer resets in 12 minutes 30 seconds.
Limited Quantities Available – Only 78 copies of your book are left? Of course I want one! Wait a minute; what do you mean you’re going to email me a copy?
Offer Ending Soon – Oh your too-good-to-be-true deal ends at midnight tonight? Unfortunately, I got busy and missed it. Wait, what’s that you say? Your tech team messed up and the offer is still up for six more hours!
If you’re starting a relationship with deception, it probably won’t end very well. You will be found out eventually and your audience will grow tired of your tactics or worse, just ignore you. Say the webinar is recorded. Give away as many copies as needed, or legitimately set a limit. And if you’re going to end an offer, end the offer.
Remember that you’re talking to people. Assume they are smart and be honest. This will serve you much better than a cheap trick.
5 Stages Of Awareness
What Do They Know?
One of the legends of copywriting and marketing is Eugene Schwartz. His book Breakthrough Advertising was first published in 1966, and the gold nuggets Schwartz left us inside are still valuable (and relevant) today. One of the most-referenced concepts from this book is the 5 Stages of Awareness.
Quite simply, the stages of awareness help you to understand what your audience knows. Here’s a quick rundown:
Unaware – The person is in darkness. They don’t know they have a problem, much less who you are or what you can do for them. To this person, everything is fine.
Problem-Aware – This person recognizes they have a problem, but they don’t know what solutions exist. They may be doing initial research for answers. Most likely, they are merely aware of the problem but not actively looking for a solution.
Solution-Aware – Once a problem is identified, most people start looking for a solution. This person knows solutions exist and are weighing their options. However, they are not aware of your solution.
Product-Aware – Now the person knows about your solution. They are still considering all options – including your competitors. This person needs to understand why you are the best option for them.
Most Aware – This person knows exactly what solution they want. At this point, they are looking for the specifics of your offer: price, deals, etc. They may have even started to purchase your solution but stopped for some reason.
Knowing what your audience knows will help you understand what to say to them.
3 Levels Of Your Funnel
What Should You Say?
Now that you have an understanding of your audience’s awareness, you can organize them into three primary levels. Your message – the content you create – should also match these three levels. Let’s break it down:
Awareness – This audience is Unaware according to our stages of awareness above. At this level, deliver content that educates to increase their awareness to Problem Aware and Solution Aware. Your goal is to get the person to understand a problem exists, that there is a solution, and they should start evaluating the best options. This happens to be the next level in our funnel.
Evaluation – At the evaluation level, your audience is actively looking for answers. One thing you are NOT doing at this level is selling. You are simply facilitating a purchase decision. If you handle this correctly, you will simultaneously help people and filter the audience to your ideal client. This moves the people you want as customers down to the next level in your funnel.
Conversion – This level has your most focused audience. They are now Most Aware and are ready to get out their credit card. All this person needs to know is why you are the best for them. This is where you dig deep into your product benefits and outshine your competition.
The holy grail of marketing is giving the right message to the right audience at the right time. These foundational principles of awareness and position in your funnel will allow you to do just that. But how do you apply this in a clear, easy way?
If you can plan out your perfect customer journey, you’ll have a very successful marketing campaign. The problem is we’ve relied on limiting models that have hidden flaws. Once exposed, you’ll quickly see how badly we need to rethink things.
A Limited Perspective Will Fail You
Once you decide to implement a funnel into your marketing campaign, you’ll already be ahead of 80% of the content on the internet. Congratulations! Now the real work begins to maximize your efforts.
The following is how most people approach the execution of a marketing funnel.
A quick internet search will uncover dozens of funnel types with a basic outline. Who knew marketing funnels were so simple! You’re just a few page-builder templates and copy-generator text blocks away from big money. How unique is your message when there are thousands of marketers using those exact same templates?
You start by picking a traffic source (like Facebook or your blog), a piece of killer content, and a few pages that will define your marketing funnel. This is a very straightforward path. What happens if someone falls off of your straight and narrow path?
No doubt you’ve been told by gurus that a simple funnel is all you need. Once you build this perfect funnel, the cash will pile up, and you can retire on the beach sipping fruity drinks with little umbrellas in them. How many potential customers will you lose by sticking to this simple funnel?
What You Assume Will Happen
You’ve seen the statistics that a certain percentage of your audience at each stage will move to the next stage in the best-case scenario world you’re still living in. After all, that’s why it’s shaped like a funnel, right? Are you satisfied with hitting close to average statistics?
A New Perspective Will Change Everything
Can you see how following the same tired approach to marketing funnels will only hold you back? Even if you’re just learning about funnels, you need to know that the market is becoming more sophisticated than ever. What you’ve been told about needing a funnel is absolutely true – you just have to adopt a new way of thinking.
A Funnel Flow redefines marketing funnels. Everything that fails about the traditional funnel model has been eliminated.
Execute With A Purpose
Put intention behind that generic plan. Know exactly who you’re talking to. Know what they want to hear and tell it to them. Implement each stage of your Funnel Flow with a specific purpose that’s crystal clear. This will begin to mold your unique customer journey.
Learn To Be Flexible
Remember who you’re marketing to. Humans are emotional, scrutinizing, hesitating, free-will beings that rarely take the most direct path as you planned. Offering a variety of content at each level of your Funnel Flow gives people the permission to take in everything you’re saying until they are ready to move to the next level.
Once you learn to be flexible, you’ll be better prepared for any scenario. You will have multiple entry points for your Funnel Flow at every level, inviting those that inevitably dropped off a way back. Your content is strategic and speaks to audiences at any stage of awareness.
With a new, multi-faceted approach, there is one key component you must never forget: tell them what the next step is. A call to action is the only way people will progress through your Funnel Flow. Your audience should never be left wondering what to do next.
Always Start With A Funnel Flow
To get results from digital marketing, thinking in terms of funnels is a start. To get the best results, you have to look beyond the traditional model. You must have a deep understanding of your customer experience and a strategy to match.
You need a clear plan with the perfect balance of simplicity and detail. This plan is intentional, flexible, multi-faceted, and conversion-focused. A funnel flow will give you the competitive edge you need to produce results from your digital marketing.
Ready to level up your funnel game? Get the education, strategy, and tools you need to grow your business with Funnel Flows.