Have you ever felt like you’re sinking loads of money into your marketing program and seeing minimal results? If so, you’re certainly not alone. We hear this on a fairly-regular basis from businesses we’re visiting with. They know how much they’ve spent but they’re not sure if they received what was promised or what they expected. There are a number of reasons this happens including they’re not setting defined, implementable goals or measuring results ongoingly. However, it’s also likely they don’t understand how their customer’s buying journey fits into the marketing funnel.
A marketing funnel is simply a way for you to break down phases of your customers buying journey. While the components of a marketing funnel remain the same for most businesses, your customer’s buying journey doesn’t. It is completely unique, and is affected by many things included your industry, customer demographics, the product or service, the sale price, and many other factors. The bottom line is: having a real understanding of the marketing funnel and how your customers move through it will help you spend dollars at the right phase and on the right tools, creating more return on investment. Who wants to throw money away on efforts that aren’t effective? No one.
There are dozens of variations of this funnel but for today’s discussion, we’re using this the marketing funnel in its simplest format (and prior to sale): Awareness, Interest, Consideration, and Purchase. As you work to understand the marketing funnel in relation to your customer’s buying journey, keep these ideas in mind.
How Long Customers Spend in Each Phase of Marketing Funnel Matters
The length of time your customers stay in a phase is important to know because it can help you identify what phases need the most attention and effort. If you’re struggling to create awareness but know once you find the right customers the time for consideration is minimal, you should focus your efforts and dollars on the Awareness phase of the funnel. Alternatively, if you’re offering a high dollar, one-time purchase product, you may have thousands of customers in the Awareness and Interest phases but are having a hard time getting them pushed through to Purchase. In this case, you should take a look at your Consideration phase and find ways to improve your communication and engagement with your potential customers.
Define Your Goals for Each Phase of the Marketing Funnel
As your customers move through the marketing funnel, your goals should change. Your marketing and communications efforts should reflect these goals.
Awareness – Lead Generation
During the Awareness phase, you’re trying to make as many prospective customers aware of your brand and product or service and quickly communicate the value or importance to them. Living in a world of content saturation, this can be a difficult task. You have to catch them and make them interested enough to learn who you are and what you’re offering.
Interest & Consideration – Lead Nurturing
Once you’ve made prospective customers aware of your brand, you need to ensure they understand the features, differentiators, and solution you’re offering. You should begin developing a relationship with them, tell your story, answer questions, be available, and ensure they understand why your product or service is better than any competing brands. You need to tell them how you’re solving a problem for them, one they may or may not know they have.
Purchase – Sales
Now is the time to make the purchase as easy as possible. Understand how your customers like to physically buy and create the easiest way to do it. Offer support and help through the entire process to ensure you are available for any questions or hiccups.
The Tools You Use for Each Phase are Different
Just as there are differences in length of time your customers spend in each phase of the marketing funnel and the goals in each phase of the marketing funnel, the tools you should use are different too. You wouldn’t use the same tool to attract a customer as you would to entice a purchase. Some tools are effective for reaching mass audiences while others serve to develop and nurture personal relationships. Knowing which tool to engage in each phase will focus your marketing efforts and create greater success.
Getting an understanding of how your customer’s buying journey fits into the marketing funnel is key into generating greater revenue. Focus on one area at a time until you know what’s working and are comfortable and confident moving on. Before you know it, you’ll have an effective marketing program.