There is no question about it: the advent of digital technology and real-time, internet communication has been among the greatest advances in marketing. However for many business decision-makers, marketing has become more frustrating than ever.
With countless digital channels, targeting options and means to communicate, how can one NOT feel confused and overwhelmed? From blogs to videos; from Facebook to Twitter; from traditional highway billboards to hyper-focused, internet display ads that seem to follow you wherever you go (BTW...it’s not in your head—they ARE following you!), Digital Marketing can truly cause ANALYSIS PARALYSIS in the best of us.
If this is you, you're not alone. Yes, it's overwhelming. But it doesn't have to be. The key is first to step back, and look at the big picture, and how all those multiple moving parts (digital and otherwise) fit together.
Of course, we all know the kind of funnel used for liquids. But in sales and marketing, the funnel is simply the structure your business uses to guide your leads and prospects through the process of becoming a customer (and ideally, staying a customer).
While sales and marketing funnels can take on countless iterations for different business models, they typically follow three fundamental stages (some models you see may break these stages up further, but if you look closer, they are likely “sub-stages” that fall under one of these three). Bare in mind that these stages can also overlap.
As you can see, it follows the timeless, all-too-familiar formula of KNOW, LIKE, and TRUST. Here's a very quick summary (followed by greater detail):
Now let's take a look at how each stage works in a little more detail.
This first stage is where we introduce our business to a cold, but (usually) targeted audience. This can be done with all media: print, audio-video and electronic. On the digital front (where targeting can become hyper-focused), this is where blog articles, short informational videos and other forms of content marketing come into play. For example:
Bottom line: at this first stage, our audience may fit our desired profile (i.e. if your market is women in their 20s, they are indeed women in their 20s, and you have targeted them accordingly in your media channels). However, other than that, they are still COLD. This is the stage where we introduce ourselves–ideally by delivering some form of value–and in turn they get to KNOW us. ENGAGEMENT BEGINS.
TRAFFIC CAMPAIGNS: Online (PPC, SEO, SEM) and Offline (Direct Mail, Print, Broadcast, etc.)
Once an audience member begins to know us, now it’s time to get them to LIKE us! How do we do that? Well, simply put, continued engagement is how they interact with our brand through our people and/or our content (this process began in the first stage):
Remember, prosperous relationships are based on delivering value–which means our task to deliver value of some kind continues through the engagement process. If we are successful, she doesn’t just know us…she LIKES us!
At this stage, engagement grows, and segmentation can also begin (through which you gain a clearer insight on the specific interests of the individual.
Much from the TOP, plus...(much of this would be considered “gated” content... accessible by completing an opt-in form online):
Okay, from KNOWING and LIKING us, there needs to be some measure of TRUST developed, which manifests itself in some form of transaction. This is when an order of some kind is made–and that order need not be a big ticket or full priced item! It can be a simple trial order, or other low-cost, low-commitment purchase (that can ultimately lead to something bigger).
Statistically speaking, once a prospect becomes a customer (even with a low-end purchase), they are ten times more likely to buy again! Trust itself grows, and with it, the customer relationship (through ongoing, and often larger purchases).
Much from TOP and MIDDLE, plus...
There is a saying: structure determines behavior. Energy in all forms…elements like water, electricity, and yes, even people, move and behave in accordance to an underlying structure.
Whether it’s for liquids or for sales, a FUNNEL is just such an example. This begs the question: does your business have such a structure in place to easily move people through the buyer’s journey?
That’s a conversation we would welcome to have with you. Feel free to click below to schedule your complimentary consultation.