So here's the deal. You only need one funnel. I know "funnels" are a popular marketing system that business/marketing "coaches" and consultants are teaching these days. However, honestly, it's gotten really confusing and unnecessary. Most of what they are teaching are tactics that fit into a specific area of the only marketing funnel your business will ever need. By breaking each tactic into a funnel, you will only overcomplicate your efforts and create confusion.
So the first question is, what is a marketing funnel?
A marketing funnel is a series of touch points that make up the customer journey from initial contact with your business through the retention and loyalty phases.
Below is a breakdown of each stage of the marketing funnel using my 5A Method.
The first A and largest section of the funnel is AUDIENCE. Identifying your most profitable customers is the foundation of your success as a marketer. I always recommend that businesses start here before undertaking any marketing initiative. The reality is, there are 7.3 billion people in the world, not all of them are going to be interested in your products or services. The most efficient way to execute your marketing campaigns and spend is to find the people who are most likely to desire the emotion or feeling that your product solves for (also known as your customer pain point). These are your people; stay focused on them.
Generating AWARENESS is the second A in the 5A Method. This section of the funnel will include your official introduction to your prospective new customer or the general market. If your goal is to become a "household name" you will spend a lot of time or money in this section of the funnel. This is where "brands" are created. This is where people in mass will formulate a collective opinion of what your company stands for. Position yourself as a market leader/industry expert, create value, and drive engagement in this phase of your marketing. You may also continue to tweak your target audience demographics, psychographics, and behavioral insights during this phase.
Tactics that work well in the Awareness phase include: PR, Social Media Ads, Television, Radio, Print, Inbound Marketing
Capturing your audiences ATTENTION is the third A (also called the Consideration phase). Once people are aware that you have a product to sell, your next step is to get them to pay attention to or become interested in your products or services. In this phase, your research conducted during the Audience phase becomes critical. What pain points does your product solve? How does your product perform better or differently than similar products in the market? Effectively communicate these ideas/solution, being sure to providing value and begin to nurture these relationships with your customers and prospective customers.
Tactics: Targeted Social Media, Content Marketing, Search Engine Marketing, Targeted Email, Gated Content
The fourth A is ACTION. The entire goal of your marketing strategy/funnel; getting your target customers to take action, to make a purchase. The action phase is where your marketing begins to pay off and where you drive ROI. At this point, you have maintained your prospective customer engagement through various tactics, and they understand the value of your product. You know them better, they know you better, so what's the tipping point? Go beyond showcasing product features and explain how your specific customer will benefit in a way that no other product or service can solve for.
Tactics: Email, Retargeting, Content, Search Engine Marketing, Free Trials
Lastly, the fifth A is ADVOCACY. When your customers not only continuously purchase, but also tell their friends and social networks about your amazing products or services, you've reached the holy grail of marketing. By implementing an effective customer loyalty platform, your company will become an integral part of your customers' life; creating value beyond your initial product offering. This is where "Lifestyle Brands" are built. In this phase, you will create a system that maintains itself and continues to drive new business as long as your products are relevant and provide value.
Tactics: Email, Rewards, Strategic Partnerships, Surprise & Delight
Ideally, your funnel will become a living breathing entity within your company that continues to replenish itself. As the market changes, you will make adjustments, but the general strategy will ALWAYS remain the same.