The Great Funnel: What Do Businesses Depend On?
For some this might be a familiar term and for others a new alienated word.
So, let’s address this, what is a marketing funnel? Some may call it sales funnel or even a conversion Funnel. In simple words a marketing funnel is a buyer’s journey from a prospect to a costumer or consumer.
If a business depends on consumers or customers then knowingly or unknowingly you have a marketing funnel. Having a funnel and creating one are two completely different things, creating a funnel is even harder than it seems. Whether it is Social Media Marketing or Digital Media marketing or even the conventional methods of marketing all of these have their own Funnels.
For marketers it is very important to understand a business’s marketing funnel and customer journey so that right steps can be taken to increase the conversion rate. Earlier a method called AIDA was used to measure a customer’s journey but in the current times the funnel has been flipped over its head. Let’s understand what AIDA is before going on to the current methods.
AIDA Awareness: The prospect becomes aware of the problem they have and the solution to it. Interest: Since the prospect has found a solution the prospect looks at the group of services and products available which can solve the problem.
Desire: The prospect has an inclination and increased interest towards the products/services of a particular brand.
Action: The prospect goes on evaluating the Pros and Cons of the brand chosen and evaluate whether it is the right product/service to solve the problem, if it is then the prospect becomes a customer and if not, then the journey goes on.
Like any other theory or model researchers continued to research and came up with several other models. Some of the most famous models are:
ToFu, MoFu, BoFu: This one is popular amongst marketers. It divides the funnel into 3 parts, The Top, The Middle and The Bottom, Eliminating the interest and desire stages from the AIDA and combining them to create a stage called Consideration.
ToFu: Awareness MoFu: Consideration BoFu: Decision
Another one was created by Aweber who wanted to have a close look at the customer journey. This one is called The Customer Experience Funnel which inverts the entire funnel. This is all theory, when it comes to implementing and calculating the results it’s a whole different ball game. For a business to run efficiently they need to gather knowledge from all the possible sources and pick the best out of them which suits their industry and their target audience.
For easing up the task, The Marketing funnel was deconstructed and researchers came up with an Hourglass model which includes Awareness, Consideration, Purchase, Loyalty, Advocacy. Here’s how a basic model can be implemented and modified according to every business’s need.
Awareness Stage: The first thing is when a prospect gets aware of the problem they have and they start finding a solution. The goal: The prospect puts up a name on their problem and start exploring possible solutions to the same. This is The prospect’s goal Here is where you come in picture and put your brand forward in front of them as a worthy solution and a clear USP or advantage over other brands. They might just subscribe to your newsletter or register for your offers but now as a brand you have a prospective customer. Now from here onwards for a brand it is necessary to maintain a good rapport in front of the prospects and showcase not only the brand’s products/services but also it’s values and morals in order to build a relationship.
The Consideration Stage This stage is the one which has been the there in every model till date. From Being there in AIDA till now and it remains the same as it was in AIDA. Unlike other stages, this stage is the most time consuming and the lengthiest one. This is a very crucial time in the prospects journey. At this stage the Prospect determines which brand or product or services can help them solve their problem and evaluate the brands and their services or products. At this stage it is very important for a brand to nurture that lead with targeted emails and blogs and prove that they and their products and services are capable of solving the issue or their problem, that too effectively and efficiently. This is the stage where the baton is handed over from the Marketing team to the sales team
The Purchase Stage This is the stage where the prospect converts into a customer when they choose a product or service from a particular brand over the others in the market. This is where the now costumer decides whether they made the right choice and the product or service is actually the solution to their problem, if not then where did they went wrong. At this stage it is very important for a business to show their customers that how exactly their product or service is the solution and meets their needs and which product suits their needs the best. There are a lot of ways to showcase this but the one with a bit of personal touch remains on the top. This is the stage where good reviews, testimonials and ratings can persuade a prospect to click the Buy Now button and turn into a customer.
The Loyalty Stage Let me put this in the simplest term possible, this is the Honeymoon stage. The customer just bought something; they are excited & happy. But slowly the excitement withers down, they need to know that your brand is a reliable option or they’ll abandon it and choose a different one. This stage varies from the size of business to business. The customer here is using the product regularly and finding new and unique uses for the same. They also test whether the commitments and promises which were made to them are they true or false. At this stage a brand needs to provide product education and support so that the customers will remain loyal and their value to the brand will grow. If you can’t, this stage has the potential to be the shortest in your entire funnel.
The Advocacy Stage This is the stage with the most potential to grow your marketing funnel, and ironically, it’s the one you have to work the least in. The “advocacy” stage is your reward for all the work you put into the stage before. When you keep your customers happy, they’ll not only remain loyal to your business, but they’ll recommend you to friends and industry contacts facing a similar problem to the one you solved. Once your customers become your marketers it is the best asset a business can ever have. If you follow the above steps, over time you’ll start to notice something peculiar about your marketing funnel: It’s not a static funnel, or even an hourglass. When you draw it out, it’ll start to look like an upside-down, ever-growing funnel which will surely help you take your business to new heights.