One of the most important concepts to learn when trying to build an online business or sell anything online is marketing funnel.
Lack of the understanding of funnel and the ability to building marketing funnel is the reason why people struggling to sell their products or services online.
If you are going to be selling to a total stranger online, people who you dont know, people who are not even on your friend list you need to understand marketing funnel, you need to learn how to use the right tools and resources online to build funnels.
In this post, I’m going to explain to you what funnel is all about and how you can use it to start building an automated online business that sell whatever you have to offer.
Lets get started on it.
What is a marketing funnel?
When dealing with marketing, funnel is all about designing a pathway your customers or potential customers need to travel with your business from the point of a total stranger, awareness, to the point of doing business with you, buying customer.
It’s a marketing concept that deals with building online experience for your customers and potential customers at every stage of their buyer’s journey.
You know, the way business operates in the offline world is quite different from the way it operates in the online world.
For instances, when it comes to doing business in a physical store or office, potential customers or clients can get to know your business may be from a friend and they can locate you. In some situation, it might be that your prospects are passing around the neighbourhood and maybe they find your office or store and decide to walk-in to get more information about your business or brand.
In a situation like this, the customer or prospects has the opportunity to talk to a sales representative in the physical office or store, ask questions, access your offer and get the clarity that can help them make buying decisions.
This is a little bit different when it comes to selling online, in the online world potential customers or clients can find out about your business online in many possible ways, it can be through cold sourcing, content marketing or paid advertising on various online platforms.
To Build good experiences which is much easier with physical store or office can be challenging online, this is just because of lack of physical presences.
This is where the funnel comes in, funnels are what you can use to guide customers and prospects through your business or brand, products or services, it’s made of definite steps that your potential customers can take from the point they became aware that your business exist online to the point they become buying customers and even a raving fan.
Understanding funnel is one of the most important marketing concepts you need to understand if you are going to be successful selling anything online and learning how to build a funnel that converts I believe is a skill that can transform your life forever.
Now that you know all these let me further break the concept of funnels in more details to help you understand it much better.
Buyers Behavior online Vs a Marketing Funnel
If I may ask have you ever bought something online, I don’t mean something that you have planned for already, I mean something you have never had of before but saw maybe on any of the social media platforms and ended up buying it, how did it all happen?
If you have not done this, just know that a lot of people buy things online on regular basis through this way, they log in to their favourite social media platform and probably saw a post of a product or service by a business or brand or maybe through content marketing or paid advertising.
Some people will decide to learn more about the products, validate the vendor and end up buying that product and service.
Personally I have bought physical and digital products in this manner.
If you are going to be successful selling online you need to understand this possibility and even if you have not taken the experience like you haven’t bought things online before, you need to do that to get the experience, it will help you when it comes to designing and creating your own marketing or sales funnel.
Marketers understand these possibilities that is why the goal of every marketer online is to optimize every possible step customers or prospects take through their business or brand and one of the tools they use to achieve this goal is funnel.
There are 3 major stages people go through when buying online, understanding the activities in these major stages is what you need to build marketing funnels for your business if you understand these stages you will be having the understanding needed to sell anything online.
When people buy things online there are high chances that they go through these stages, if you have bought things before online you probably have gone through these stages.
3 major stages in the marketing funnel
- Awareness stage
- Consideration stage
- Conversion stage
Let’s get a little detailing with them:
1. Awareness (Also known as Top of the funnel TOFU)
The awareness stage is when a potential customer who was a total stranger gets to know about your business or brand.
A potential customer might be scrolling on his/her favourite social media channel, and maybe you are running a paid campaign or maybe you posted a video or images with a caption on your business page in the same social media channel they are (content marketing). and let say your post caption or copy captured their attention because it addresses some of their likes, interest, needs, wants, desires, fear or challenges that is probably the reason they decided to give you attention.
By reading or watching your post he/she might find you or your products or services interesting, maybe even go-ahead to save your link online or your name for reference, in some cases, they might decide to give you their contact details for you to communicate with them or they screenshot your post, follow your business or even share your page with their friends and family.
This is a typical example of an awareness stage in the marketing funnel, it’s when a stranger gets to know about your business or brand.
When it comes to buying online, people don’t go ahead to order for products or services they just came across a few minutes ago, they always like to move to the next stage.
2. Consideration (Middle of the funnel MOFU)
On this stage, your potential customers try to see if your business, brand, product or service is the best suit for them.
All these happen to different people in different ways, but the psychology is pretty much the same.
Some business like to break the consideration stage into more stages like research and evaluation, just to distil the actions people take when they come across products or services they like in the online world.
Consideration for most people online include research maybe to confirm some of the claims made in the post or advertising that got their attention, some it includes evaluation, checking other vendors or store that offers the same or similar products or services, compare quality and price, for some people consideration is just an internal dialogue with their self, like asking questions such as does this product or service solve my problem, meet my needs or satisfy my wants, can this person or business deliver, can I trust this person and so on.
These are some of the things people try to clarify before making buying decisions understanding this is the key to building a better experience for potential customers online because you will be able to address some of them and position yourself or business in a way that will make people trust and want to buy from you.
Most times potential customers go-ahead to contact you in the consideration stage, they can ask further questions about your offer, it’s when they have reached a level of certainty that they get to move to the bottom of the marketing funnel.
3. Action/Conversion (Bottom of the funnel BOFU)
On the bottom of the funnel, the potential customer has considered your offer and decided to make a buying decision.
After there consideration they have decided to take action of exchanging their money for your offer.
These are the 3 major stages people go through when buying online, to successfully sell online you need to learn how to craft experiences that can lead total strangers to become a buying customer and even to becoming a raving fan by travelling through these stages.
When you represent these stages in a diagram below is what it looks like:
How to use marketing funnel for your online business or brand
The marketing funnel is more like a blueprint for business owners, it’s designed to help you put in place the right experience for your prospects in their journey to becoming a buying customer of whatever your business.
A marketing funnel is a little bit different from a sales funnel, while sale funnel focuses on conversion stage of the entire marketing funnel, marketing funnel is more concerned about your business entire plan to reach out to total strangers, build trust and credibility that will make prospects to converts to buying customers.
To use marketing funnel for your business you need to use the understanding you have gotten here to map out an online customer blueprint for your business, this blueprint is going to contain detail understanding of the products or services you are going to be offering to your prospects, a clear understanding about your potential customers, the platform where they hang out online and the right marketing tools to reach and design a path for them that leads to profitable actions for your business or brand.
To be able to create this funnel is a different skill that you need to learn and I will talk more about this in subsequent posts.
For now, I hope you have understood what funnel or marketing funnel is all about, it’s an online marketing concept that deals with designing experiences that lead total strangers to become a customer and a fan.
If you have learnt one or two things in this post share it with your friends they might benefit from it and I will be grateful for helping me reach more people with this content online.
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