How to Develop a Powerful Digital Marketing Sales Funnel

How to Develop a Powerful Digital Marketing Sales Funnel

If you want to generate revenue for your business, then you will need to increase your conversion rate by designing a solid digital marketing sales funnel. Converting potential customers is an uphill battle and if you don’t plan and personalize their journeys, you won’t convert them. This is true for all modern customers who are overloaded with options for products and services.

Additionally in digital marketing, competition is cut-throat with over 3 million ecommerce websites. With so many businesses to choose from, consumers are skeptical and often conduct thorough research before purchasing from any new business.

This is why you should concentrate not just on your product or service but also on the entire sales experience you’re providing. For this, it’s crucial to set up and constantly modify your digital marketing sales funnel. Before we get into how you can create one for your business, let’s first try to understand what a digital marketing sales funnel is.

What is a Digital Marketing Sales Funnel?

In simple terms, a digital marketing sales funnel is a depiction of the buyer journey from being a prospect to a customer.

It’s called a funnel because the number of people at each stage becomes lesser than the previous one. That’s why the digital marketing sales funnel has a wide mouth in the prospecting stage while the bottom is narrow and has only a handful of customers.

Digital Marketing Sales Funnel

Image via Keap

As visible above, the digital marketing sales funnel has three major stages – top of the funnel, middle of the funnel, and bottom of the funnel.

The top of the digital marketing sales funnel is the stage when a prospect gets introduced to your brand. It’s thus called the awareness stage. Typically, this stage has the largest number of people.

From this stage, a handful of people move on to the middle of the funnel. In this stage, the prospects turn into leads, and they start evaluating your brand.

This is the reason why this stage of the digital marketing sales funnel is also called the evaluation stage. They’ll check your products, services, reviews, etc. to ascertain if they should purchase from you.

Finally, a select few move from the middle of the funnel to the bottom of the funnel by making a purchase. Usually, this number is a very small percentage of the number of people in the evaluation stage.

Now that you know the basics of what a digital marketing sales funnel is, let’s try to understand why it’s necessary to have one.

Why is a Digital Marketing Sales Funnel Necessary?

A digital marketing sales funnel helps you acquire and retain your customers. Without a plan in place to move your audience from being prospects to customers, it can be difficult to sustain your business.

The goal of a digital marketing sales funnel is to chart out the customer’s journey in advance so that you’re better prepared to communicate with them at each stage.

For instance, you may need to make them aware of your brand in the awareness stage. However, the way in which you engage with them in the evaluation and purchase stages will be drastically different.

A digital marketing sales funnel helps you get a deeper understanding of your audience and the way they interact with your brand too. You can accordingly tailor the sort of content that you need to provide them to seamlessly move them from one stage of the funnel to the other.

Now, let’s take a closer look at each stage of the digital marketing sales funnel in depth.

Stages of a Digital Marketing Sales Funnel

As mentioned before, there are three major stages of digital marketing sales funnel. Each stage requires you to take a different approach to communicate with your consumers. So let’s try to understand how each stage differs from the rest.

The Awareness Stage: Top of the Funnel (ToFu)

The awareness stage is the very first stage of digital marketing sales funnel. In this stage, you essentially try to get the attention of your target audience and increase your brand awareness.

In this stage, you could use high-quality content that’s optimized for search engines. Alternatively, YouTube videos or infographics can be great modes of spreading brand awareness.

Your main focus here should be to create content that will help you catch the attention of your target audience. This is why the content you create must add value to them. Through this, you can also start building your authority in the industry.

A few major marketing channels are social media marketing, search engine optimization (SEO), content marketing, pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, etc.

Any marketing channel through which you can expand your reach can fall into this stage of the digital marketing sales funnel. For example in content marketing, the best content medium or type for this stage are  blog posts. Nearly 73% of B2B marketers claim that this is the most effective form of content.

Buyer's Journey CMI

Image via Content Marketing Institute

 Other types of content include:

  • Infographics: An infographic that’s relevant to your brand and provides valuable information can go viral on social media. You should consider adding it to your website and social media accounts.
  • Videos: Videos can be highly engaging pieces of content on social media and may help you get the attention of your target audience. While their creation process can be expensive and time-consuming, they can help you spread brand awareness quickly.
  • Podcasts: Podcasts can be very informative, and while their creation process is long as well, you can definitely benefit from them.
  • Curated Content: While you don’t create curated content, it can help show that you follow the latest industry news and trends. You must make it a point to add your viewpoint to this content to make it more unique.

The Evaluation Stage: Middle of the Funnel (MoFu)

In the evaluation stage of the digital marketing sales funnel, you need to put effort into converting your prospects into leads.

This is the time when your prospects will start analyzing your brand and verify your authenticity. Your goal in this stage should be to capture their contact information to turn them into leads. This information, in most cases, is their email IDs.

By converting your prospects into leads, you can convert them into your customers. Due to this reason, the content that you create for this stage must be educational. It should also show how your product or service can solve their troubles.

The content in this stage is usually called a lead magnet and is given to the prospects in return for their contact information.

The most useful type of content in this stage is whitepapers. Nearly 53% of B2B marketers claim that whitepapers are the best type of content for this stage.

Other forms of content that you can use in this stage are:

  • Case Studies: Case studies can be very informative pieces of content that usually have loads of statistics and data. Additionally, they show how your product or service helped solve a real-life problem of your customers. This is why it’s essential to center the case study around your product or service too.
  • Ebooks and Guides: ebooks and “How-to” guides can be extremely helpful pieces of content for your prospects. They will help them understand the problems they face and equip them with a possible solution. Again, you must make it a point to include your product or service in them.

The Purchase Stage: Bottom of the Funnel (BoFu)

The final stage of the digital marketing sales funnel is where you convert your leads into customers. This stage is critical as it helps determine your conversion rate and revenue. That’s why the content here must be of impeccable quality and should be able to convince your leads to purchase from you.

One thing which is very different in this stage is personalization. You need to customize your communication with your leads to ensure that the content at this stage resonates well with them.

A great way of doing this is by using an email autoresponder sequence to send in drip emails to them. This can help you bring them to the point of purchasing from you.

Additionally, reviews and testimonials can work very well at this stage of the digital marketing sales funnel. They act as social proof and can push your leads to make the purchase.

You could also use demos and free trials of your product or service to give your leads a hands-on experience. This can push them even further to buy from you.

However, this stage doesn’t end right there. You must not abandon the customer once they’ve purchased from you. Instead, you should do everything in your power to ensure that they feel valued.

A loyal customer will help you get you more customers and repeat sales. This is why it’s crucial to provide them with the best customer service possible. You could also ask them to write a review or testimonial.

To make them even happier, you could provide them with a discount coupon for their next purchase. This way, they’d be more inclined to stick to your brand.

You should also consider developing a referral strategy through which they can recommend your product to their contacts. This can increase your brand awareness and customer loyalty.

Now, let’s take a look at how to create a digital marketing sales funnel from scratch.

Create Your Digital Marketing Sales Funnel

You’ve seen why a digital marketing sales funnel is necessary for your brand. Now, it’s time to understand how you can build one for yourself.

1. Understand Your Target Audience

The first step in building your digital marketing sales funnel is to identify your target audience. Without knowing the requirements of your target audience, you can’t create your product or sales funnel.

You can define your target audience based on geographic, psychographic, and demographic parameters. In addition, you should identify their pain points, interests, and preferences. This can help you tailor your marketing content for them.

It’s also necessary to monitor how they interact with your brand through different channels such as your website, social media profiles, and landing pages. Remember, the more you know about your target audience, the better will you be able to customize your offerings for them.

One way of doing this well is by splitting your target audience into different buyer personas and tailoring your content to their requirements.

2. Create Your Content Strategy

You need to create a solid content strategy to create your digital marketing sales funnel. This must outline a timeline of creating and publishing different forms of content. Based on the buyer personas that you’ve identified, you can create a variety of content to suit their requirements.

The content could be blog posts, infographics, whitepapers, videos, podcasts, case studies, etc. Your content strategy must also describe which content works better where.

It’s thus crucial to outline the channels where you’ll be publishing your content like your blog, social media, etc. This can help you get the most out of your content.

3. Promote Your Content

Once you’ve created your content, you need to promote it in different places on the internet to reach your target audience. Thus, it’s necessary to create a content promotion plan, as well. This could also be a part of your content strategy.

You can promote your content through different marketing modes like guest posting, SEO, social media marketing, etc. However, it’s essential to check which channels are bringing you the most traffic. To do so, you need to monitor the links that you use to promote the content.

For this, you should consider adding UTM parameters to the URLs that you use for different marketing campaigns. Through these parameters, you can track your traffic in Google Analytics.

However, if you’ve got multiple campaigns running, it can be difficult to track them. In such a case, you can use tools like UTM.io for managing the UTM codes.

4. Create a Landing Page

When anyone clicks on your promoted links, they should be redirected to a targeted  landing page. This is the page where your prospects can give their information to you and become leads.

Let’s say you don’t create a landing page and instead, redirect them to a random page that doesn’t match the same content from the original ad. In this case, your prospects may leave your website without taking any action.

The landing page usually has a clear call-to-action and generally encourages visitors to enter their contact information. A lead magnet comes in handy here and can help push the visitors to provide their details to you.

You could also choose to convert your homepage into a landing page by modifying its layout. However, you should consider creating separate landing pages for different marketing channels. This will help you personalize the content on each landing page based on your audience’s requirements.

Additionally, the intent of the landing page must match your user intent. This means that your promoted content must be in-line with your landing page content. That’s why you must try to be as truthful as possible with your audience everywhere.

5. Create an Email Marketing Strategy

After getting leads, you need to put effort into converting them. For this, an email marketing strategy is essential. It helps you personalize all of your communication with your leads. Come up with high-quality newsletters that can catch their attention. You can cleverly place your products or services in these emails and motivate your leads to purchase them.

However, do keep in mind that you shouldn’t overload your leads with emails. Space out your emails so that they don’t feel overwhelmed.

The drip sequence that you set up should lead to a final email that includes a special offer for your leads. Based on the response to each email in the series, you can even personalize your emails further.

6. Design a Follow-Up Strategy

Once your customers purchase from you, it’s on you to follow up and engage with them. Ensure that the treatment that they receive after their purchase is nothing short of extraordinary.

Provide them with the best customer service possible to make sure that they stick with your brand for future purchases too. It’s thus crucial to create a follow-up strategy that highlights how you’ll be engaging with them.

Additionally, you should consider creating a referral strategy. Through this, your customers can promote your brand within their networks. You should also consider giving them incentives for doing so. That can increase your reach and improve brand loyalty too.

7. Optimize Your Digital Marketing Sales Funnel

While you may have taken many factors into consideration while designing your digital marketing sales funnel, it won’t be perfect in the beginning. There’ll be a lot of scope to improve it, and this can be done by monitoring its performance at every stage.

Doing this can help you identify any potential issues and fix them. By tracking the performance of your content on various channels, you can also figure out which ones perform the best. You should also use A/B testing to improve your landing page conversion rate.

Final Thoughts

Every business that is involved in digital marketing needs to have a digital marketing sales funnel.

This is crucial to help you ensure that your buyers have a smooth journey from being prospects to customers. And it’s essential to understand all three stages of the digital marketing sales funnel in order to build an effective one.

You must create a content strategy, email marketing strategy, and follow-up strategy to ensure that your customers are treated right at each step. Try to personalize your communications as much as possible. Lastly, analyze your sales funnel performance at each stage to optimize it.

Do you have any questions or tips to add about creating a digital marketing sales funnel? Let us know in the comments.

Dan McGaw

Dan McGaw is an award-winning entrepreneur and speaker. He is the founder and CEO of Effin Amazing, a marketing technology and analytics agency, and the creator of UTM.io, a campaign management and data governance tool. Named one of the godfathers of the marketing technology stack and one of original growth hackers, Dan has decades of experience in digital marketing, technology, and analytics. (His team won’t let him take this out even though he says it makes him sound old.)

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