We talk a lot about the funnel in marketing. So, before we begin to tackle the various aspects of online marketing, let’s take a closer look at the funnel.
A funnel is really just a way to represent the customer’s journey as they move towards the purchase of your product or service.
At the top, or the widest point of the funnel, is where a buyer starts their journey.
And the bottom, the narrowest part, is where they complete it.
Our goal as marketers is to funnel prospects into buyers, moving them from the top to the bottom of the funnel.
The shape reflects the fact that a large number of people will never complete the journey through the funnel. You’ll expose your product or service to a lot of people at the top of the funnel, but only a small fraction will actually convert.
Now, we tend to segment the funnel into four areas: awareness, interest, desire, and action.
At the top is awareness. A prospect has to become aware of two things, their problem and your solution. It’s in this stage that your brand is exposed to the prospect alongside competitors.
And below awareness, we have interest. At this stage, a consumer begins to explore the products or services available to them.
Next comes desire, which we can also call consideration. It’s here that a prospect wants to make a purchase, but it may or may not be with your brand. They’re in the final stages of evaluating whether or not to commit.
And, finally, action. They’re either going to buy or not. They may select your company, another company, or, based on their findings, decide they’re not making a purchase at all.
Now, this is the foundational funnel and we often reference these different segments as top of funnel, middle funnel, and bottom funnel.
Towards the bottom of the funnel, you have a consumer who is close to making a purchase.
Bottom funnel marketing focuses on identifying consumers who are in a buying decision and then converting them.
At the top of the funnel, you’re focused on bringing in leads. If there’s zero top of the funnel marketing, there’s nobody coming out the other side.
And as you might expect, middle of the funnel marketing is keeping that nurturing process in motion, letting those leads move from the top to the bottom.
The funnel isn’t a rule, it’s just a way of visualizing various states a consumer mindset exists in and leading them through that buyer’s journey.