Understanding the Marketing & Sales Funnel

The funnel is all about the journey you want the customer to take. Whenever I am visualising what marketing materials such as signage, store displays, brochures, promotional videos, sales staff training, website content I need to produce, I always think about the journey a customer goes on when they purchase.

A marketing/sales funnel is the tool to use when deciding what type of marketing content you need to produce, where to position it, and also to see where you are loosing traffic or business. It is a visual tool, and an exercise in finding a problem and identifying areas of improvement.

The marketing/sales funnel helps me work out my marketing strategy, and is an invaluable tool to plan out what I do, what my communications look like, and where.

Start by asking yourself, “What is the goal of my marketing activities? What will success look like?” By now, you should know who you are targeting. So you will start to have an idea on what your marketing materials will look like. See What drives me mad about digital only marketing.

Digital Marketing Nerds will often spruik you with a digital campaign to make millions of people aware of your products. Big whoop, because their talent tends to stop there.

A marketing funnel consists of 4 to 5 stages:

Awareness

Does the population of your target audience know that you, your company or your products exist? Can you be found easily in search? Have you promoted yourself? A lot of wannabee marketers only get this far thinking it is all that is required.

Consideration

Are you interesting enough to be considered alongside other options? Are you priced in the ballpark? Do you do what people looking for your type of product want?

Preference

Are you the best in the consumers’ eyes? Are there negative reviews online you should address or do you need a case study for the buyer to feel confident?

Purchase stage

Are you priced correctly? Does the buyer need an incentive?

After purchase

Possibly the most important. How can you support the customer after they have bought so that they recommend your product to more potential customers? How can you make the customer a free sales representative for the next customer?

We call it a funnel because of the shape. You’ll always have more people aware of your product than those that actually purchase.

When you are starting your business, you’ve probably made something, be it a flyer, brochure, social post or digital ad tailored to your target market that makes them aware.

Don’t try and overdo things by creating a 1 size fits all piece of work for all stages of the marketing funnel. Small businesses are notorious for creating very busy printed ads or brochures with too many images and way too much text that says everything.

Create something for awareness. Do something else help people along the consideration and preference stages. A good promotion for the right stage of the marketing funnel should be like a good meal in the target customer’s mind. They’ve seen enough to enjoy, now they want a little more. That little more should be getting them to click “Sign Up” or wanting to talk to you about proceeding with doing business with you.

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