What is the “Inbound marketing funnel?”
The inbound marketing funnel is a tool that attracts the journey of your customer or buyer. When properly used, it can turn strangers into loyal customers. This funnel takes someone from the introduction of your product or company to conversion.
Like a funnel, broad marketing tactics will attract a large number of prospects. Throughout the process, the prospects are nurtured through purchasing -ultimately making it to the end of the funnel. The funnel is important because once you reach then end, the funnel will begin at the top again. Now, we will take you through the inbound marketing funnel stage by stage, explaining the importance of each.
Stage 1: Awareness
Awareness is the broadest stage of the marketing funnel. However, it is usually the first impression made on the consumer. In the awareness stage, strangers and prospective customers are made aware of your company. You can further establish your brand in the minds of consumers through SEO campaigns, research, publicity, and more. You should start positioning your company as an authoritative leader in your industry in order to gain a trust amongst consumers. To do this, use tools such as social media posting, keywords, eBooks, media mentions, social media ads, and content/blog posting to gain a rapport. Consumer research is essential to ensure that you are targeting the correct consumer through the correct medium. This is the stage where lead generation happens. Create content that will attract strangers to your page or business. By doing this, the strangers turn into visitors.
Stage 2: Interest
Once the lead has been generated, the stranger can gain more knowledge of your company and the products offered. You can stimulate the consumer interests through newsletters or other informational content. You should be sure to show your prospects where your product fits in the market and how it can help them.
Stage 3: Consideration
In this stage, you need to convert the customer by giving them a call-to-action. Gather their contact information by offering them a special deal if they fill out a short form. The consumer is a valuable prospect that is interested in your product. The prospect should be sent more information about the products, including email newsletters and/or be targeted through email campaigns. In order to build a relationship with the new prospect, introduce them to your product or service, and nurture them with contextual or targeted content such as free trials, user experience stories, and more. The prospects will read reviews and even get to compare your product or service with others. Through the feedback that you have collected, you should be able to send more targeted and specific content that speaks to the consumer. This will show the prospect just how valuable your product is and will present the product or service as a solution to their problem.
Stage 4: Evaluation
You have generated visitors and converted the right leads, but now you need customers. Once the prospect has made it to this stage, that means you’ve captured their attention. They are actively trying to solve their problem, and they are considering that your product or service will be the answer. At this stage, they may have even put the product in a cart, but have not yet proceeded to checkout. This is the stage where you should give specifics on how your product solves their pressing problem. This is also the stage where prospects can determine if your product is not a good fit. Don’t fret – this will decrease your churn rate in the long run. (Churn rate is the percentage of customers that cancel or fail to renew a subscription.)
Make sure to keep nurturing your prospects in this stage. Continue to share focused content to further build a relationship with the lead and to further establish your brand as a thought leader throughout the industry – email, email, email.
Stage 5: Purchase
You’ve made it! If you’ve succeeded throughout the previous four stages, your prospect has now made it to the purchase stage and is well on their way to becoming a customer! However, the work on your part is not done just yet. If the new customer had a positive buying experience, this can lead to referrals–or advocacy–that will refill the top of the funnel. Remember, referrals are the best kinds of leads because a recommendation from a friend or peer is twice as compelling and believable. The customer has been generated into a free promoter for your company! The more prospects your promoter brings will lead you to the top of the funnel once again.
Now that you’ve learned the inbound marketing funnel, master the craft and go find some future promoters for your business!