10 Steps to Building a Marketing Funnel For Your Online Business
A successful marketing funnel can turn a potential lead from stranger-to-your-brand, to full advocate for your business or service. Here are ten steps for building a marketing funnel for your online business.
1) Start with a Plan and a Goal!
It should go without saying that building your marketing funnel requires some planning. It also requires you to have a destination in mind. Your plans and your goals can, and should, change as you progress.
But, you should definitely have an idea of what you want to accomplish with your marketing funnel.
- Find out if there’s a market for your product or service
- Create both short and long-term goals
- Know what kind of results you would like
- Plan the steps you will need to attain each goal
When planning and setting goals, remember to stay realistic.
2) Do Your Research Before Doing Anything Else
Research is important, because these days you want to target specific people, not just anonymous groups. Every level of marketing, from lead generation, to sales, to retention, requires research. For your marketing funnel, there are many things you should look into if you want to make it work for you.
- Whom does your business serve?
- Where are those people located?
- What social media platforms do they use most?
- Who are your competitors?
- How are your competitors marketing to people?
You should know all of these things and more. That way, you will know who your ideal targets are before you start your efforts to get them to your landing page.
3) Make Sure Your Landing or Lead Capture Page is All It Can Be
You need to send all those potential clients somewhere. Before doing anything else, make sure you have a destination for them.
More than that, you should make sure you have a landing page with content that will engage people who come across it. In fact, you should attempt to make it an entity that can stand on its own. Something that will not only draw people, but also make them want to share it as well.
- Have a clear call to action
- Make it easy for leads to fill in their contact information
- Optimize your landing page for SEO
- Use relevant keywords
- Make the message sharp, clear, and focused
- Use lists, bullet points, and sub-headers
- Make use of a video
- Do not clutter your landing page
- Offer something of value on the landing page (free trial, demo, discount, etc.)
Your landing page is your ad, your pitch, your brand image, and a representation of what your potential clients will think of your business or service. It plays in integral part in your marketing funnel. Make sure it’s designed for performance.
4) Establish Credibility by Being an Authority
People will want to know that you know what you’re talking about. To this end, you should create content that establishes you as an authority on your business’ niche. You can do this through social media posts, regular blogging, or by engaging in discussions on forums and in other places.
Blogging in particular is a powerful tool for establishing credibility. A single, engaging post can stand alone as a kind of landing page in its own right. If you have relevant, shareable content, it will work for you by ranking well in search engines. It will also give potential leads an indication you do indeed know what you’re talking about.
5) Establish Awareness by Putting Your Brand Out There
Start making your business known. Create free profiles on social networking sites wherever you can. You don’t have to participate on every platform, but you should certainly create a presence wherever you can. Include a little about your business and a link to your landing page.
Since you should know where many of your potential leads are, you can focus your social media efforts on those sites with the highest concentration of them. It’s on these platforms you should create engaging content, always with a focus on getting those you engage with over to your landing page.
Alternatively, if you have other content, you can share it with your followers. You may even end up with viral content that people will share repeatedly. All of this serves to establish awareness of your business and what it’s all about.
At this point, you can also start a targeted ad campaign. Your ads should reach the people most likely to have in interest in your product or service. This is also a part of creating awareness.
6) Make Sure You Incorporate an Email Marketing Campaign
Email is still a very viable avenue for conversions. Offer a free newsletter, or let people opt in to periodic updates. Doing so can help you maintain your presence with those leads who have given you their contact information.
The more relevant you make your emails, the more likely you will see results from them. Make sure you archive your email newsletters or deals. If you allow them to also have an online presence, they too can go to work for you as shareable content.
7) Keep Your Marketing Funnel Simple
Despite all these steps, you should keep in mind that simplicity is best. The more you can fine tune your funnel, the better off you will be.
It’s easy to become bogged down chasing down every possible lead. A focused marketing funnel will help you to pare down your efforts rather than complicate them more. If at any point while you’re building your marketing funnel you feel the process is becoming too convoluted, take a step back and see if you can clean it up.
For example, you may have too many channels, and each channel has its own metrics. And even though the overall goal is the same, you may find yourself spending too much time cultivating too many individual channels.
Instead, you can cut the underperforming channels, and focus on the ones that show promise. Once you fine-tune your top performing channels, you can go back and try the other marketing channels. You can then figure out why they weren’t working for you previously.
Keep it simple for potential leads
Keeping it simple also applies to just how much work you expect potential leads to commit to. If they have to
- click a link,
- read a thing,
- click another link,
- read some more,
- sign up for more info,
- then confirm their interest with an email…
You will likely lose them very early on. Try to make things as simple as possible for potential leads.
8) Make Sure Your Marketing Funnel Fulfills a Need at Every Stage
Many view a marketing funnel as an upside down pyramid. That pyramid is then broken into sections. These sections are the stages of your funnel. At each stage, you must engage potential clients and fulfill a need for them.
The details of your funnel can vary depending on your specific goals, but it may look something like this:
Marketing – The top of your funnel should deal with marketing and all aspects of it from research to running your actual campaigns. You can also split the marketing into two different categories.
- Lead generation
- Lead nurturing
Sales – The lower portion of your funnel will have to do with sales. This is where you place your efforts on giving your leads something of value and creating conversions. However, the actual sale isn’t the bottom of your funnel, repeat business is.
At each step you should aim to fill a need, answer a question, or otherwise give your leads something of value. This will move them further through the funnel.
9) Pay Attention to Analytics and Make Changes
Pay attention to your metrics. They will let you know if your funnel is working for you or not. You should have chosen a few things to watch when you were setting up your goals.
A few of the right KPIs will tell you everything you need to know about how your efforts are measuring up to your goals. If you find your metrics and your goals aren’t complementing each other, you may need to adjust your goals. Or, you should make changes to your approach to keep your funnel viable.
10) Don’t Neglect Your Repeat Clients
The very bottom of your marking funnel consists of your repeat clients. Converting a sale into repeat sales is just as important as landing the initial lead. Your ultimate goal is to find people who will
- Pay for your product or service again
- Advertise on your behalf through social media, comments, or word of mouth
- Give you a template outlining who to target in the future
The person who pays you more than once isn’t just money in the bank. That person becomes a part of your marketing strategy. The more people your funnel brings to this point, the better off your business will be going forward.
By now, you should have a marketing funnel that’s doing everything it can to help you reach your goals. Keeping the funnel viable is an ongoing process, so it’s not time to rest. It’s time to start over from step one.
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