5 Top-Notch Stages of Marketing Funnels for Your Small Business
Marketing strategy – what’s that? If you’ve been approaching your marketing campaign haphazardly, you aren’t alone. A social media post here, an email signup there, but no real cohesive strategy for your small business?
What’s worse – all these things take up lots of time. Are you managing various contractors who are doing them? Maybe you’re working late into the night to get them done yourself. No doubt, it feels like you’re getting nowhere with quite a bit of time and money on the line.
At Maggie Writes Copy I bring you cohesive marketing strategies that work together to get you the best results – audience building and conversions. Understanding the Stages of marketing funnels is critical to your success.
Today we’ll talk about:
The full marketing funnel from top to bottom.
What strategies are in each section?
When you should use each specific strategy.
How the strategies can fit together cohesively.
Let’s get your marketing strategy back on track – rather than just spinning your wheels.
Overview of a Marketing Funnel for Small Businesses
Marketing funnels are a targeted strategy for getting people from point A to point E.
Point A – never heard of your brand or your business.
Point E – a happy repeat customer who loves your business and products.
The nice thing about marketing funnels is that they speak to your audience where they’re at. If they really haven’t heard of your brand. Or if they have been eyeing your products and services for years but haven’t pulled the trigger.
Let’s start with the basics.
What is a Marketing Funnel?
As we touched on above, marketing funnels are the stages your customers go through on their journey to buying with your business.1
Your funnel will start wide at the top then narrow down towards the bottom until your ideal client makes a repeat purchase. The funnel represents the customers you lose on the way toward your goal.
You may wonder why you want to lose customers. This is because they were never going to buy anyway. If you did get them to the bottom of your funnel they’re more likely to be dissatisfied as they weren’t really the person your product was for.
Marketing funnels are broken down differently by different marketers. I choose to break it down into 5 parts so you can really target your audience where they’re at.
Today we’ll look at an overview of all five parts of the marketing funnel. In future posts, I’ll address each individual part more in-depth.
The 5 parts of a marketing funnel:
Keep in mind, your customers can enter your funnel from many different points. Just because you didn’t see a Nike ad doesn’t mean you aren’t aware of their existence. If you’re a fitness fiend, you may skip the first three steps and go straight towards action.
Technically you didn’t skip those steps. You just entered their funnel so long ago you don’t remember. This is because a marketing funnel doesn’t have a timeline. You can make conversions that you gained as leads years ago.
Let’s talk in-depth about the top of the marketing funnel.
Building Awareness for Your Brand – Marketing Funnel Stage 1
This is one of the most important stages of marketing funnels. It’s important for you to optimize these strategies to target the right audience.
Organic Tactics to Build the Top of Your Inbound Marketing Funnel
There are several ways you can reach your audience organically and make them aware of your brand. Organic traffic comes to your business without the use of ads or paid influences.
This means you’ve used Search Engine Optimization (SEO) or organic social media posts to attract your target audience. This can be done by:
- Using SEO in your web copy to show up on Google for keywords
- Maintaining a blog that also utilizes SEO tactics
- Posting on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, X, LinkedIn, etc
The nice thing about these strategies is that if you are using organic methods they can interconnect.
If you write a blog post you can then cross-post that same content on every social media channel sending people back to your article.
Some social media platforms work best if you make multiple posts back to your site to the same article. Remind me to write an article about the power of Pinterest
Getting social media traffic to your post in turn will boost your SEO telling Google you’re relevant.
All of these strategies are at the top of the funnel because they are channels that often introduce your business to your audience.
How many times have you been mindlessly scrolling on social media when a post caught your eye from a business you’ve never heard of? No doubt it prompted a social media follow.
Social media is great for getting eyes on your content from people who don’t even know they need your product.
On the flip side, blogs and web copy are great for your audience who knows they need a solution to something. You target the keywords they’ll eventually search.
That’s why these two strategies work well together. But organic strategies aren’t the only way to gain an audience.
Build Out the Top of Your Inbound Marketing Funnel With Paid Tactics
If you want to get eyes on your business fast, paid tactics can help a lot. Ads, influencers, and business features can all gain you a lot of traction. We’ll focus on ads today.
The key is making sure the copy in your ads always focuses on your actual target audience.
Ads can bring you lots of leads. But the cost per lead can vary based on the copy you use and how you run your ad. If you wind up paying out a huge amount of money per lead, and then the lead isn’t even your target audience, you are going to waste a lot of money.
It’s important to use metrics and really dial in on what your target audience wants in order to make ads effective. The other side to ads that is frustrating is you never stop paying money when you run them.
Organic vs Paid Strategies – Which Is Right for Your Small Business?
Keep in mind, no right or wrong answer fits all scenarios. Part of an effective marketing campaign is to learn from the results you receive. Whether that is doing all paid strategies, all organic strategies, or a mix of the two.
The above charts give a good representation of the pros and cons of each.
Let’s move on to the next stage of marketing funnels.
The Middle of Your Marketing Funnel Stages – 2. Interest and 3. Desire
These two stages go hand in hand which is probably why a lot of marketers like to lump them together. But I really believe that to get the most out of your marketing funnel, it’s important to break it down.
Understanding the psychological process of your customers can go a long way toward getting the conversions your business needs.
Marketing Funnel Stage 2: Interest
Building interest for your audience is crucial to warm up a cold lead.2 The interest stage involves warming up your audience with information:
- Continuing blog posts and social posts.
- Giving solid evidence of your product/service effectiveness.
- Capturing their email with a landing page.
- Capturing their email with a lead magnet – how to guide, quiz, template, etc
This stage is all about proving why your product works, what makes you different from your competitors, and why you are the obvious choice for them. Once they know all of these things it’s time to go a step further.
Marketing Funnel Stage 3: Desire
Your audience knows who you are, what problem you solve, and why you’re the obvious choice. Now it’s time to keep nurturing. But how do you do that?
An Email Marketing Funnel
Email marketing can do so much for your business. This is an engaged audience who wants to hear from you. So don’t waste the opportunity they’re giving you.
Use email marketing to nurture your audience effectively:
- Introduce more about your company values and origins.
- Share positive social proof of your business – case studies, testimonials, and product reviews.
- Break past objections before they form.
- Reveal your subject authority by sharing blogs and resources.
- Get personal with email segmentation to make them feel valued.
- Build trust with consistency.
- Give strong Calls To Actions (CTAs) that funnel people to the next marketing funnel stage.
Not every person in your audience is going to need all that long on an email list to move on though. They may need no time at all.
Cue the bottom of the marketing funnel.
Stage 4 Action – The Bottom of Your Marketing Funnel
We’ve reached the bottom of the funnel. By this point, people:
- Know who you are.
- Know what their problem is.
- Know how you solve their problem.
- Want the solution to their problem.
- Need the extra push to buy the solution to their problem.
Yes, it’s true, some people will just buy it. But every customer journey is different. So it’s time to look at tactics that get you the sale with a reluctant audience.
This is where a sales page comes into play.
A Sales Page Funnel
If you have a rock-solid product and you know your audience is ready to buy, then you may capture their email but then send them directly to a sales page.
Sales pages are standalone pages that don’t link out to anything except a shopping cart. Some even have a shopping cart embedded to make the sale even easier for the buyer.
A sales page uses direct copywriting to initiate an immediate sale. The only difference between a landing page is a landing page wants a customer to take an action not involving a sale. A sales page just wants a sale.
Keep in mind, a landing page that isn’t a sales page can be considered middle of the funnel or even top of the funnel depending on what the ask is.
While all industries are different, the conversion rate of landing pages can vary on average from 3% all the way up to 20%.3
- Big difference right? A lot of this is dependent on:
- The size of the ask: price point, email list, form they have to fill out, etc.
- If you warmed up your audience enough at the top of your funnel.
- If you hired a good copywriter to write your landing page.
- Hiring a good designer to design the sales page or landing page.
- If it was too long or too short for your industry.
But either way, most landing pages and sales pages beat the conversion rate of normal web pages by a lot.
And conversions are what you’re looking for once you’ve gotten people all the way to the bottom.
But conversions aren’t the last piece of the funnel.
Loyalty – Step 5 of the Marketing Funnel
Your end goal with your business should be to deliver exactly what your audience wants and needs. With this in mind, you want to foster loyalty in your customers. This can help you:
- Get referrals for more business.
- Get good reviews and social proof of your products.
- Get repeat customers when you roll out new products.
Are repeat customers even important? Yes. Yes, they are. A recent study found that half of the revenue for 61% of small businesses comes from repeat customers.4
That is a huge amount of money on the table. The cost to generate new leads for your business is a lot. So being able to keep them happy and coming back for more is the best way to maximize your marketing dollars.
Now that we’ve discussed the marketing funnel, let’s talk about how to audit yours.
Marketing Funnel Metrics – Is Any of It Working?
Is all well and good to put your stages of marketing funnels in place. But if it isn’t working then you will need to change and tweak parts of it.
To do this, you’re going to track Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).5
- Leads: How many people are entering at the top of your funnel? Also, are these leads performing any actions in the funnel? Clicking links, signing up on opt-ins, following your social media, attending webinars, etc.
- Conversion Rates: This one seems fairly obvious. Are you making money from your leads?
- Sales: How much are you selling? Do you need to refine some of your offers?
- Costs: How much does it cost you to obtain a lead?
- Entrances: Are your leads coming from social media, blogs, landing pages, ads, etc?
- Brand Awareness: Do people already know your brand name? Are they typing your name into Google directly? Remember, the Nike example above? They have brand awareness.
- Brand Experience: Giving the customer the best experience over your competitors so they want to come back. This also means supporting causes they care about: environmental, social, etc.
- Brand Loyalty: Are people coming back again and again to purchase?
All of these metrics can be tracked and tell you a lot about where you’re marketing funnel needs work. Check out the chart to see some of the ways to track them.
Not getting leads from your landing page? Rewrite the copy or redesign it.
Not getting conversions on your checkout page? Write a new product description highlighting benefits over features.
Not getting repeat customers? Send out surveys asking why with incentives to get responses.
There are so many ways that metrics should shape the way you build your marketing funnel.
Marketing Funnel Strategies That Work
Your marketing funnel stages could go in so many different directions. It depends on what works for your business and your customers.
While it may seem like a lot to process, you don’t have to do it alone. Hire a funnel copywriter to get the lowdown on where your funnel is breaking down. Then take steps to fix it.
Let’s chat to see how I can help you with your marketing efforts. Learning about your business will help me build out the stages of your marketing funnel successfully.
‘If you want something you’ve never had, You must be willing to do something you’ve never done.’ – Thomas Jefferson.
He may not have been talking about marketing, but it still applies!
1 What is a marketing funnel – Semrush
3 What is a good conversion rate for your landing page – Square2Marketing
4 How important are repeat customers? – Surge social
5 Funnel Metrics how to optimize your sales – Business Adobe