The term marketing funnel refers to a customer’s journey from learning about a business to making a purchase. In other words, marketing funnels generate conversions. But not every funnel is the same. While the objectives and core elements remain unchanged, the middle stages of marketing funnel models may differ drastically.
Here, we’ll review the different types of marketing funnels to determine which is most suitable for your business.
Traditional Marketing Funnel Elements
Before we discuss the different types of marketing funnels, we should first understand what comprises a traditional funnel. Each funnel consists of three elements: the top, the middle, and the bottom. The top of the funnel is the first step, typically raising brand awareness. At this stage, a business engages with a new audience for the first time.
The middle steps focus on convincing customers to consider purchasing your product or service. They are already aware of your brand, but do they want to become actual customers? All marketing efforts undertaken at this stage aim to make prospective customers choose you over your competitors.
Lastly, the bottom of the funnel is conversion. At this stage, prospective customers become real customers, purchasing your product or service. However, some businesses consider conversion a part of the funnel middle stage. For example, if your objective is to generate regular customers, the bottom of your funnel may carry a code name “loyalty.” In this case, your focus should shift to customer relationship management rather than convincing people to make a one-time purchase.
Lead Generation Funnel
Finding customers is one of the most challenging steps in building a new business. Even if you’ve been running your business for a while, eventually, you’ll want to reach a new audience.
A lead generation funnel is slightly different from a typical awareness – consideration – conversion funnel. It utilizes a systematic approach to acquiring new potential customers. “Potential” is an important point here, as the bottom of the lead generation funnel isn’t necessarily a completed purchase. Instead, such a funnel aims to build a strong relationship with your audience.
Like the traditional marketing funnel model, a lead generation funnel first focuses on reaching a new audience and raising brand awareness. Next, it’s your opportunity to introduce your business to potential customers and capture their interest. For example, this may be done using social media advertising or guest blog posts.
Next, you should start building customer relationships. At the middle stages of your funnel, you engage with potential customers for the first time. The goal here is to draw links between your brand and people by collecting a contact list or making people follow your brand. Think discount offer for a newsletter subscription or following on social media.
After you’ve gathered a sufficient customer database, you can start contacting them directly to determine where they lie on your lead generation scale. Not everyone signed up for your newsletter or following your Instagram account is equally ready to buy your product. With direct engagement, you can find out useful customer details.
For example, you run an HVAC system repair business in Oregon. Ann has signed up for your newsletter, but you find out that she lives in Georgia upon contacting her. Although she expressed an interest, Ann is not a valuable lead for you. Put simply, the goal is to recycle your leads.
The final stage of a lead generation funnel is convincing your audience to become customers. That’s the middle stage of a traditional marketing funnel and the ending stage of a lead generation funnel. Make your potential customers feel valued, share information about your product, and make offers they can’t reject.
Self-Liquidating Offer Funnel
A self-liquidating offer funnel is a versatile tool for reaching your objectives. Its ending stage is recouping the cost of your marketing efforts. Typically, such a funnel gives potential customers an entry-level purchasing opportunity that pushes them to make a more substantial order in the future. But even the small initial purchase should cover your ad expenses.
Self-liquidating offer funnels can be set up differently, but they all share the same core elements: promotion, the paid offer, and ad cost recouping. The top of the funnel is promotion, generating new leads, or informing an existing audience about a new product or offer.
The middle stage is an appealing low-investment proposal. For instance, you may offer a set of products worth $30 for $10. An important point here is to calculate the ad budget and outcomes correctly. Even if only a few people opt for your low-investment offer, it should cover the entire ad cost. Unfortunately, some brands attempt to upsell at the same stage, usually at the checkout.
The bottom of the funnel is ad cost recouping. Remember that your objective isn’t generating profit but rather making the ad pay for itself. A self-liquidating offer funnel effectively converts your leads into customers by making them try out your product.
Organic Content Marketing Funnel
While many marketing funnels revolve around running social media or other web ads, it isn’t mandatory. Instead, you can generate leads and turn them into customers using organic marketing strategies, like content marketing. For example, this funnel uses blog posts, imagery, or other content types to draw traffic using SEO.
Your content should offer substantial value to your audience for an organic content marketing funnel to work as intended. Of course, you should also follow SEO best practices, including backend optimization. A guest post with a backlink leading to your website or an influencer post in your brand’s clothing are examples of successful organic content marketing.
Of course, creating valuable content requires more effort than offering people a discount via a Facebook ad. This strategy also takes more time to convert leads into paying customers. However, it helps build more loyal customer relationships and costs less than paid advertising. An organic content marketing funnel also builds audience trust and helps people learn about your product more than any paid ad.
A typical organic content marketing funnel map starts with content outside your business channels. That content should then lead people to your social media or landing page, where they will find a lead magnet. A lead magnet is the top of a lead generation funnel or anything that helps to gather potential customer contact details.
Discovery Call Funnel
A discovery call funnel objective is generating sales. Like an organic content marketing funnel, it can utilize content to draw leads at the first stage. But the bottom of this funnel is always converting leads into paying clients rather than building a relationship with potential clients. This is done using a discovery call.
Discovery calls are mainly used in B2B marketing to determine further steps of the sale process. They help set up the relationship with leads, bring them value, and filter the lead list. On the other hand, direct discussions are a perfect opportunity to utilize a personalized approach to every client and make an offer they couldn’t reject.
After getting leads interested in your content or product, they should be redirected to your landing page. There, they should find a discovery call booking form. The last stage is the discovery call itself, often resulting in a sale.
Automated Webinar Funnel
An automated webinar funnel is similar to a discovery call funnel, as it gives the audience direct facetime with a business representative. This helps to boost the trust factor and inform your audience about your offer. But unlike the discovery call funnel, an automated webinar funnel doesn’t require you to spend time talking with every lead. The process is fully automated.
This funnel type is best suited to high-end products and services, both B2B and B2C. After all, selling something worth over $500 using Facebook ads alone is challenging. To set up an automated webinar funnel, you will need to gather valuable information, create appealing visuals, and record the video. In addition, performing live webinars before automating the process may help you determine what delivery tone, aesthetics, and other elements work the best for your audience.
Any automated webinar must end with a call-to-action. For example, it may be a direct link to your sales channel or a subscription offer. Often, leads receive a follow-up email sequence after the webinar to push them to purchase.
Building an automated webinar funnel may seem like too much hassle, and it used to be true. But with rapid technological development, business owners have received new automated tools for launching marketing funnels. For instance, Funnel Mates can help you create an automated webinar funnel in under 30 seconds.
How to Create a Marketing Funnel
Now that you’ve learned about different marketing funnels, you can determine which one is right for you and start building it. The first step is target audience research. Next, you should decide who would be interested in your product to develop a correct customer journey map. Feedback from existing customers, surveys and data analytics are great tools for determining your target audience.
Next, create your funnel map. You can take the traditional marketing funnel model and break it down into smaller, more detailed stages. How will you raise awareness? How will you make people desire your product or service? And how will you convince them to take action?
Lastly, bring your funnel plan to life. Until recently, this used to be the trickiest part of the process. For example, to create a webinar funnel, the business owner should have hired web developers to create a webinar landing page. Then, to create a follow-up email sequence, they should have opted for the help of professional copywriters and marketers.
Today, the process is much quicker and easier with automated services such as Funnel Mates. They offer a rich collection of pre-built funnel landing pages automatically branded for you to generate maximum conversion with minimum investment. It’s a smart solution for businesses within any industry and scale wishing to transform leads into actual customers.