Marketing is a part of making sales and garnering business. It takes careful planning and research. A great tool for your marketing efforts is the marketing funnel. The marketing funnel is a depiction of a customer’s journey to making a purchase. As a food, catering, wedding or events business, using a marketing funnel or funnel marketing is a key part of gaining customers and making sales.
Think about an actual funnel. When you pour something in, it starts at the top and gradually (and sometimes quickly) makes it way to the bottom. A funnel is usually large on top and gets narrower toward the bottom. Now apply this concept to sales. Finding potential customers is a more general task but as the funnel gets narrower, the marketing efforts become more specific and tailored to an individual or group of individuals.
A question many ask is how do I get more clients for my business? Fortunately, if used correctly, the marketing funnel is instrumental in not only helping you make sales, but it will also help you get and keep clients. If you successfully make a sale and if those customers enjoyed the product, service and/or experience, they will more than likely come back again.
The Marketing Funnel helps you obtain and keep a consistent stream of clients, find and develop leads, make connections and build long-lasting relationships. This means reaching out to customers with relevant content, learning more about their needs, checking in regularly with them, answering questions, being accessible and of course, delivering a great service or product.
Throughout this blog, I will walk through the purpose of the marketing funnel, pain points the funnel solves for, the parts of the marketing funnel and how you can create your own successful funnel. Let’s dive in!
The Purpose of the Marketing Funnel
The marketing funnel makes the customer journey simple as well as makes the journey easy for businesses to follow. You may ask yourself do I even need to follow the marketing funnel model and what benefits does it have for me? I’m here to tell you that you most definitely would want to follow a marketing funnel method and use it regularly because there a quite few benefits attached to it. Some of those benefits include:
More customer insight
Helps create brand awareness
Overall, the main purpose of the marketing funnel is to help increase sales and increase clients.
A marketing funnel not only allows businesses to follow a customer’s journey, but it also allows them to measure their marketing success. The funnel breaks things down into stages so you can see at which stage things went wrong if you happen to lose a customer or don’t get that sale you were looking for. This allows you to recreate your marketing strategy if need be and to also pinpoint exactly what part of your marketing efforts need to change.
Equally important, a marketing funnel allows you to build credibility as well as a relationship between your business and the customer. When a potential customer comes across your business, they need to be convinced that they are making a good decision by using your products or services.
For example, let’s say you’re a restaurant in the area and you notice some people have expressed interest in your store. They’ve made it clear they are looking for a spot to grab a quick lunch. Your name is on their purview, and they may have even perused the menu a few times.
These potential customers are in the first phase of the funnel and are slowly being exposed to your business. So if you want to draw them in further, show them why they can put their faith in you. If you know they are looking for quick lunches, you know they don’t have time to really dine in and take their time. This would be an opportune time to reach out to them and share about your express lines that get people in and out during heavy lunch rush hour times. Maybe you can share a company policy or motto that you aim to cook customers’ food within 5 to 10 minutes.
Without a funnel, it would be difficult to know when and how to convey that information to potential customers. Thankfully a funnel model will lay it all out on the process of marketing your services well.
Pain Points that the Marketing Funnel Solves
A pain point is a problem or an issue a potential customer experiences. The marketing funnel, however, alleviates some of the stress that comes with these pain points. When a business helps fill these pain points, it attracts more clients. These issues can be specific to a person’s situation, but here are some of the main pain points that the marketing funnel solves for:
The Financial Pain Point
I think everyone can relate to spending too much money on a product or service and trying to find ways to cut down on costs. The financial pain point has more than likely been felt by everyone at some point. How does the marketing funnel play into this? The marketing funnel for one narrows down the best option a customer can take for his or her needs. The financial pain point may be solved in the middle of the funnel when the customer is learning how a particular business may solve their problem.
For example, let’s say you’re looking to get more clients for your catering business and you’ve found someone whose been spending quite a bit of money on catering for the annual Christmas party at his or her office. You connected with this person through a lead and you’ve discovered that this person has been using a particular caterer for quite a while now, but the cost is getting to be an issue.
Through using the marketing funnel, your catering business can snag this person’s interest in your services instead. You find out this potential customer is trying to save, so the marketing funnel allows you to present more-cost effective options that are still the same quality of the product he or she has been using.
The beauty of it is your business in a way does the leg work for someone looking for a cheaper option. In this case, you would send out content that focuses on your good prices and maybe even some holiday deals that others don’t have. The potential customer looking for a better deal won’t have to try to look high and low for a better option because your business has already put what they need right in front of them.
In a nutshell, the marketing funnel is a great way for people to find products and services that still fit their needs but is also a little easier on the wallet.
The Productivity Pain Point
Just like the financial pain point, those with productivity pain points are also looking for a way to save. This pain point is not about saving money but saving time. Using some services and products can be time-consuming for people and these people want a better option. Luckily, the marketing funnel offers a solution for that as well. Just like the financial pain point, this issue will best be addressed when the customer is in the middle of the funnel.
Let’s take the same example of the potential customer who’s been using a particular catering service. Not only has this customer been spending too much money, but the process to order from this service is also time-consuming. The marketing funnel allows businesses to speak to that specific issue. As a catering business, push out content to this potential customer that outlines a quick and efficient service. Maybe that’s your specialty.
Process Pain Point
Similar to the productivity pain point, the process pain point is when a potential customer struggles with the process of using a product or service. No one likes a long arduous process with a lot of steps or process that’s confusing.
Let’s take the catering example once again. This person is not only looking for a service that is reasonably priced and saves time but also is also simple to utilize. Let’s say the first catering business he or she has been using requires a lot of hoops to jump through or just too many steps to make an order. If you’ve connected with this type of potential customer, speak to solving this pain point. What makes your catering business more efficient and easier to use? Using the marketing funnel you can explain this well.
At the top of the funnel, you can send out messaging that reflects your user-friendly service. Once the customer shows interest, you can start expanding on that messaging with testimonials and content that shows other customer’s satisfaction.
The Support Pain Point
The pain point of support deals with customer service within businesses. People experiencing this pain point feel that they are getting the support they need in the buying process. Questions are left unanswered, no one is around to offer assistance, emails and phone calls are left unreturned or the service is just simply slow.
The marketing funnel should allow businesses to address this problem throughout but this pain point is normally solved near the end of the funnel. Right before a customer makes a final decision, he or she will more than likely weigh their options once again. They’ll look at product reviews, compare prices, and look at the quality of the service or product. This is when you need to give them as much support as possible. Look to impress your potential customers with good and fast customer service, and of course, always be available after a customer purchases your product or service.
The Parts of the Marketing Funnel
The marketing funnel can be easily broken down into three parts: Lead Generation, Lead Nurture and Sales. A more simple way to look at the model is the top of the funnel, the middle of the funnel, and the bottom of the funnel. These three parts are essential to any successful marketing plan. Here’s how it all breaks down:
Lead generation is where it all begins in the marketing funnel. This is where businesses work to pique the interest of a potential customer in hopes of gaining a sale.
Within the lead generation is awareness, the first stage in the marketing funnel. In short, the awareness stage is when customers become aware of the product that’s being sold to them. They can gain this awareness through many different avenues including advertising, marketing, and public relations.
Awareness deals with buyer curiosity. It’s the moment when a customer realizes they may have a problem, issue or challenge to solve. For businesses, this is the opportune time to ask questions and gather information on what a potential customer might be looking for. Find out what’s not working for them and what you can do to help them find what works.
The lead nurture phase is when businesses begin to develop and work on maintaining a relationship with their leads or potential customers. There are two phases in this part of the marketing funnel:
Interest: Now that the business is in the customer’s purview, the customer’s interest has been peaked. The customer is now looking for reviews, information about the company, information about the product, pros, and cons, etc. Businesses can capitalize on this stage by working on developing a relationship with a customer. Businesses should also take the time to monitor reviews and testimonials. The interest stage is a critical one - if not the most critical stage. During this time, customers are deciding if they want to purchase from the businesses or abandon ship.
Consideration: This stage is just how it sounds. The customer is considering if they want to actually go through with purchasing a product or service.
This part is where the magic happens. Sales is the final part of the marketing funnel, where potential customers are taking steps to making that final purchase. Businesses are also taking steps to ensure potential buyers have all the information and details they need to make a good decision. There are three stages in this part of the funnel:
Intent: During the intent stage, customers are moving forward toward making a purchase. For example, if they are buying a product online, they may put a product in their cart. They could also ask questions on how to go about making a purchase.
Evaluation: During this stage, customers are making that last-minute final decision on whether they want to go forward with purchasing a product or service. Here a potential customer may put together all the information they have gathered about a specific product, weigh all their options or even list out the pros and cons of making a purchase.
Purchase: This is the final phase of the marketing funnel, and if you’ve made it this far, job well done. After a customer has purchased your product or service, keep in contact and continue a relationship with them.
After a customer buys a product the goal is to get them to come back again. If they do, you can take them through the funnel again, just make sure to switch up your approach. You won’t have to worry about finding a lead since you’ve already in contact with this customer.
Also, the customer should have a good idea about who you are as a business. I would suggest starting in the middle of the funnel if you’re working with a customer who has purchased from you before. If you did the work right in the beginning, you should know more about this customer and his or her needs.
Market to those needs and find out if any new needs have arisen. Reach out to those customers with solutions and products that might be able to help them. If you haven't heard from a customer in a while, follow up with them to see how they are doing. Offer them a product similar to what they have purchased before. You can even offer some special deals for returning if they haven’t purchased from you in a while. Welcome back emails will work best for this scenario.
How to Build and Activate a Marketing Funnel
Now that we have an idea of what the marketing funnel is, let’s look at how businesses can build their own successfu funnel. Work from top to bottom and make sure to take a potential customer carefully through all stages. Allow me to break down the steps you need to take to get your marketing funnel model off the ground and working in your favor.
When you first start out, you may not have any leads to go on or an idea of who might be interested in your product or service. This is where the marketing journey begins. Start out with gathering a list of contacts. This can be from people you’ve had direct contact with or from people who signed up for emails on your website or blog. Also, look at your followers on social media for potential contacts.
As you find leads, learn more about their wants, needs, and desires. Learning your ideal customer avatar is essential. Without knowing what your potential customer is looking for you really don’t have much to build your funnel on. Try to find out what problems or challenges they might be facing.
After you find your leads, begin to think about a content creation plan. You want to make sure you have a good idea of what type of messaging you want to send to potential buyers for each stage of the marketing funnel.
For example, you want more messages about who you are as a business and the types of products or services you offer for those at the beginning of the marketing funnel. Focus on spreading awareness about your business or brand. Create content that would pique their interest to learn more about you. Fun, entertaining or educational materials will work well to snag an audience. Share a bit of your story and why you’re more than just another catering business. Maybe the business is family-run or you support certain nonprofits.
Messages for those in the middle of the funnel should be more specific to the customer’s needs and desires. Show them how you have the solution to a problem they may be having.
Did you know that 56% of consumers believe businesses need to have a deeper understanding of their needs? This is a testament that many people believe that businesses are sending out content that doesn’t relate to them.
At the bottom of the funnel, customers are close to making a final decision on if they want to purchase from the business. Content for those in this stage should be showcasing your uniqueness as a company or the uniqueness of your product or service. Essentially show them that other companies and businesses don’t quite have what you do. You can even include limited-time offers or other goodies.
For example, let’s say you want clients to select you as their cater for their next social event. You could offer a free item or a discounted price if they choose you.
Work out a plan of action for each stage
Not only do you need to know which content you want to push, you need to have a plan for how you’re going to push that content out
Top of funnel strategies
At the beginning of the funnel, you should be reaching out to your leads and sparking interest in your business and your products while finding out a little bit more about your potential customers.
Emailing is a great way to reach out, especially for those who have already expressed interest in your business. In fact, 80% of businesses believe that email marketing increases customer retention.
In addition to emailing, use your social media ad platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to reach out to potential buyers. Did you know that 54 % of social browsers use social media to research products? With that said, don’t skip on social media as a viable method of contact.
You can also use methods like Google paid advertisements to draw more visitors to your website or blog.
Middle of the funnel strategies
Potential customers in the middle of the funnel have shown interest in your business and begin to consider if they want to purchase your product or service. As a business, you help to seal the deal or move potential buyers in the direction of making a purchase.
Expand on the content you pushed out at the beginning of the funnel through follow up emails where you showcase products and highlight service details. For example, if you’re a wedding planner, share with customers some successful wedding you’ve planned. If you own a restaurant, send out or post pictures on social media of some of your best-selling menu items. Host webinars or post blog entries with product demos that show a bit of your expert knowledge to help build trust with potential customers.
Bottom of funnel strategies
The bottom of the funnel, things should be wrapping up. At this point, you don’t need to push so much but just nudge instead. This would be a good time to share specials and offers as well as customer testimonials. After you’ve sent out follow up emails and made offers, monitor your inbox and stay near your phone to answer any last-minute questions potential customers may have. Be prompt and professional as you can.
After you’ve been using the marketing funnel model for a period of time, make sure to take some time to measure the success you’ve had with it. Did your business receive more sales? Did you gain more leads than you had before? Maybe you didn’t make many sales or some potential relationships fell through. Whether the results are stellar or poor, knowing how your marketing strategies are working is essential to creating a plan that works best for you. If you didn’t get the results you wanted, you can adjust and try again.
I hope this guide is a good start for your marketing efforts! The marketing funnel might include some trial and error until you find a model that works best for you and your business.