A challenging, ever-changing beast, the world of digital marketing can be daunting, however with careful planning, the right tools and expert advice from those in the know, it can most certainly be tamed. Holistic strategies undertake a multi-faceted approach to marketing that involves all channels working seamlessly together in order to form a complete user-friendly experience.
The process includes creating an effective website, developing a strong online presence, and using tools that help business owners gain insight into the customer’s digital journey, which will ensure they are benefitting from the best experience possible.
One such tool that’s often used by experienced digital marketing experts is called the Marketing Funnel.
What is a Marketing Funnel?
A marketing funnel basically describes a customer’s buying journey from awareness right through to purchasing, and generally customers will either travel down the funnel as their interest in a product or services grows, or they’ll exit the funnel at a point at which they lose interest.
This marketing model is referred to as a ‘funnel’ because the probability of purchase gradually decreases at certain stages – some customers will lose interest immediately, some will opt out along the way, and others will continue their journey until they’re ready to commit to a purchase.
Why is it Important to My Business?
In an ideal world, all leads would turn into customers, however that’s not often the case. Your business should aim to increase the number of prospective customers that enter through the top of the marketing funnel, decrease the number that exit the funnel at any one time, and ensure those that continue through the journey are gaining the best possible experience of your brand and its products and services.
What Are The Stages Involved In a Digital Marketing Funnel?
A marketing funnel can be divided into five basic stages and in order to maximise a customer’s experience, you need a holistic digital marketing strategy that maximises the effectiveness of each stage. The ultimate aim is to turn the ‘funnel’ into a digital marketing ‘cylinder’!
Stage 1 – Awareness
Customers can be made more aware of your brand and its products and services through a range of digital marketing channels including advertising, direct mail, social media campaigns, via testimonials or reviews, and most importantly, with a content-rich website!
The more positive the information garnered, the more interested the customer usually becomes. This is a critical stage of the process because it’s where most prospective buyers choose to remain in or leave the digital marketing funnel.
Stage 2 – Consideration
Once a customer’s interest has been sparked, it’s important that your digital marketing strategy now nurtures that relationship by convincing the customer to consider purchasing your product or service, and more importantly, convincing them to choose it over your competitor’s offerings.
Search Engine Optimisation is a digital marketing buzzword often thrown around, and one that is often either misunderstood or dismissed by businesses because they simply don’t know what it means! SEO isn’t really complicated – it’s basically about optimising your online content with keywords in order for it to rank as highly as possible on search engines. By crafting relevant, targeted content on your landing pages and blog posts, you are optimising your chances of creating new traffic to your website.
Services like Google AdWords also offer a scalable, flexible platform for targeting prospective customers, based on their location, their chosen digital platform and their browsing habits, and your budget can be controlled based on clicks for certain keywords or on daily usage. Programs like Google Analytics can then offer measured results of your AdWords campaigns and help you understand exactly what content is working and what’s not.
And let’s not forget about another important factor in the digital marketing world. Not only are mobile phones now used by over 97% of Australians, seven out of ten use their mobile phone to access the internet. Meaning? Your website needs to be super mobile-friendly. This will become more and more important in the future, particularly with the recent introduction of Google’s mobile-first index – Google algorithms will now start to determine ranking based on the efficiency and responsiveness of the mobile version of a website’s content.
Stage 3 – Conversion
Stage three of the digital marketing funnel is essentially what’s called the ‘intent’ stage. This is when the prospective customer instigates action after the Consideration stage, which could involve purchase-related queries via email or ‘live chat’ forums.
Incentive-based strategies at this stage can include offering discounts and free services like shipping, and email marketing which will allow you to establish a rapport with your customer on a customizable level.
Conversion tactics will allow your customer to evaluate your brand, product and price, and this is the narrowest part of the digital marketing funnel, which hopefully leads to a purchasing decision!
Stage 4 – Loyalty
You’ve managed to retain a happy, engaged customer so your job’s done, right? Nope. Stages 4 and 5 of the digital marketing funnel are about converting those who have purchased into more than just customers. Rewards programs recognise customer loyalty and re-marketing strategies will ensure your customers keep purchasing your products or services time and time again.
Stage 5 – Advocacy
Finally, there’s Advocacy – this is where customers essentially become fans. Engaging with customers at this stage of the digital marketing funnel is extremely valuable because, without a doubt, the most effective marketing is referral marketing.
It’s important to heavily interact with your advocates at this stage – reply personally to messages, share their positive feedback online, offer incentives for their reviews, and ask them to refer their friends and family (and reward them if they do). The more you listen to your best customers, the more you’ll be able to learn and constantly improve. Feedback is funnel fuel!
Consult the Experts
The business of understanding what makes a digital marketing strategy successful can be a tricky one. The digital world continues to advance at an accelerated pace and new technologies can often leave even the most tech-savvy among us a little dazed and confused!
In fact, there continues to be debate about the relevance of marketing funnels themselves in a time where purchasing decisions are often non-linear. Customers may not enter the marketing funnel in its first stage, they may join in (and leave) on different levels, or they may even step into the funnel at the Conversion stage after conducting their own research and making a purchasing decision without any intervention on your part. That’s why a holistic digital marketing plan created by digital experts is the key. And that’s where we come in!
Working with us here at Soak Creative, you’ll not just gain access to website designers, but content creators, SEO experts, e-commerce specialists, branding wizards, social media marketing strategists and more. Our digital marketing agency is a nexus of collaboration, innovation and excellence, uniting the best professional minds in Brisbane under one full service banner – digital, brand, creative, development, design, strategy and online marketing.
We don’t just work with clients, we partner with our clients to create unique business solutions. We believe that creativity is the key to unlocking great ideas for your business, and by following our tried and tested approach, our solutions deliver results. Now that’s winning!