Marketing Funnel 101

Marketing funnels are important!

Marketing funnels are important!

Creating a marketing funnel is essential to sustained business success, but it's easier said than done. Before we move forward, though, let's clarify the terminology: A marketing funnel is a process designed to raise awareness of a business and then guide potential customers along the road to becoming active buyers of a company's goods and services. The customer's journey from initial awareness to the actual purchase can take anywhere from 5 minutes to 5 years. For example, a hot dog cart has a much shorter marketing funnel than a financial advisor! No matter the business, though, the marketing funnel is still a useful concept.

An effective marketing funnel has two parts:

  1. A strategy to continuously introduce potential customers to your business (the top of the funnel)

  2. A comprehensive plan to convert people entering the funnel into paying and profitable customers (the rest of the funnel)

The top of the funnel is typically the most expensive aspect of marketing. Why? As indicated in the image below, multiple types of advertising and outreach are necessary for a full funnel. It's time-consuming and resource-intensive to attract fresh customers whereas existing customers require limited follow-on marketing in most cases. The challenges associated with topping off your funnel should also give you one more reason to keep current customers happy! ("Churn" is a term for the process of replacing lost customers with new ones. You may hear churn discussed by subscription-oriented businesses in particular.)

The top of the marketing funnel should never be empty.

The top of the marketing funnel should never be empty.

Once you have filled the top of the funnel, you need to reduce leaks throughout the rest of it! Not everybody who calls, emails, or visits your firm (either online or in-person) will buy something. Every marketing funnel thus leaks out some potential customers, including our own funnel. The simplest way to eliminate the worst leaks, however, is to ask yourself, "How can I make it as easy as possible for people to do business with me?" Don't expect customers, especially in the 21st century, to do very much work in order to give you a sale! Guide people through the buying journey with clear information, a fast website, and an easy way to ask you questions. Today's consumers demand an efficient funnel, even if they're unfamiliar with that specific term. It's your job to reduce funnel friction!

In summary, remember to keep your marketing funnel full and as leak-free as possible. Full funnel, full cash register! Don't hesitate to ask us to assess and grow your funnel!

What's your favorite idea from this newsletter? Do you have any burning questions you want us to answer? Let us know! As always, we welcome your feedback on this article! Feel free to suggest topics for future articles, too.

Nathan Yates

Nathan Yates has been fascinated by technology and finance since he was young. He was the kid devouring the business section of the newspaper (remember those?) while others read everything else. Nathan believes that the American economy is built from the bottom-up, meaning that small businesses and local nonprofits are the foundation of our nation's success. These organizations are the lifeblood of towns and cities across the U.S. Unfortunately, most consulting firms overlook companies or organizations that don't have eight-figure budgets. Nathan thought Forward View Consulting should be different. And we are. As Lead Consultant, Nathan works with each client to deliver only the best financial and/or website development services. Nathan's years of web design experience and his business degrees ensure that professional expertise is brought to each project. Our network of contacts can offer additional specialized guidance if needed. Before creating Forward View Consulting, Nathan worked for an independent equity research firm as a Research Associate covering the industrial and energy sectors. This work involved preparing quarterly 15-40 page reports on multi-billion dollar corporations along with timely analysis of M&A activity and industry-wide news. He also managed research distribution and the company's online presence. Nathan also spent a summer serving as a local financial adviser's Research Intern. Nathan earned a Bachelor's degree in Economics and Finance from Southern New Hampshire University, graduating summa cum laude. He then earned a Master's degree in Finance from Southern New Hampshire University, where he was named the Outstanding Student in his particular concentration. Now, Nathan is an adjunct professor teaching economics and finance for his alma mater. In his spare time, Nathan enjoys fishing, reading, time with family and serving as a volunteer webmaster for the Clintwood United Methodist Church.