When somebody uses the word “funnel” the first thing that pops into my head is the engine bay of my car with a funnel poised for an oil change. This still happens even though I’m thoroughly familiar with the idea of a funnels marketing and I know the concept confuses lots of other folks too. The good news is, marketing funnels really aren’t that hard to understand.
What Is A Marketing Funnel?
Going into great detail can make marketing funnels deceptively complicated; they really are very simple tools. In fact, simplicity usually works in a funnel’s favor. Some of the best marketing funnels I’ve ever seen use just three steps. The more complex a funnel gets and the more steps you add, the greater the odds of potential customers falling out along the way instead of following the funnel to its operator’s goal.
That goal is a key concept in understanding a marketing funnel. It doesn’t necessarily have to be making a sale. Other common funnel goals include generating a lead, a sign-up, an opt-in, or a phone call. As a general marketing rule, all of these goals are united under the umbrella term “conversions“.
A website can be working as a sales funnel even if the owner doesn’t understand the marketing funnel concept. Say someone creates a website with a specific marketing intention, such as advertising and selling products. If that owner then buys ad space on other sites and those ads work to send customers to the site and eventually purchase the product, he or she has set up a working sales funnel.
Basically, any advertising, promotional, or marketing steps taken to capture some attention and send traffic to a website can be parts of a funnel. Examples of effective parts of an online marketing funnel include social media outreach, forum activity, article publication, podcasts, marketing videos, and webinars. From the broadest possible group of online users that are touched by the funnel, a certain percentage will click, visit, or take whatever steps are necessary to move closer to the funnel’s conversion goal.
Remember, conversions take many different forms. Making a sale, collecting an email address, or simply sharing a certain piece of information can all be valid conversion goals at the end of a funnel.
Funnels can grow very complicated, either by design or by accident. As a general rule of thumb, the fewer steps are used, the more effective the funnel will be.
How Marketing Funnels Work
A great way to understand what a funnel does is to think of how you would guide a visitor onto and through your website if you were right there with them. You’d want them to click here, go there, or buy a certain product. And as long as you could demonstrate that you were offering good value in exchange for your visitor’s time and money, you’d get your fair share of conversions.
A sales funnel essentially performs this “tour guide” routine for you, automatically. You need to craft the funnel to make your case (or your sales pitch) in the same way you would yourself.
The Parts That Make Up A Funnel
Every funnel begins with an idea. This is usually a way of communicating with the visitor: a blog post, a video, a podcast, a webinar, or a presentation.
Next, you need to establish a clear goal for your funnel. What sort of conversion are you looking for? Do you want to make sales? Collect information? Share information?
Once you have a tool for addressing visitors and a preferred action you’d like them to take, the next step is making your idea as persuasive as possible. When you build the funnel out and create additional steps, keep your goal in mind and keep your ideas persuasive!
We hope these sales funnel tips help you better understand the power that a proper funnel can bring to your business.