The ability to stay on top of change has never been more integral than today, especially in digital marketing, where you must be nimble and constantly adapt to a rapidly evolving landscape. Modern customers have high expectations of businesses and brands. So to ensure you give your users the best possible experience, you need a full funnel marketing strategy.
A full funnel strategy helps you better engage existing and potential customers by segmenting your market into a framework (often visualised as an upside-down triangle) that covers the various stages of your consumers’ journey, from being a prospect or lead to conversion and beyond.
In this article, we will explore the key stages of the marketing funnel and what a full funnel strategy entails.
You’ve probably heard of the AIDA marketing model developed by Elias St. Elmo Lewis in the late 19th century. It stands for Attention, Interest, Desire, and Action and aims to map a buyer’s journey. Later on, William H. Townsend blended this model with the idea of a funnel to create the first discernible marketing funnel. And over the last century, there have been many variations – all with similar principles.
The basic idea is that you have an awareness stage at the top of the funnel. Here potential customers have a problem and no fix. (Think of someone browsing in a brick-and-mortar store.) Ideally, this is where you want them to discover your product or services and identify it as a solution so that they will take interest and progress further down the funnel to take action and convert into a customer.
However, make no mistake. The marketing funnel might be linear, but customer journeys are rarely that straightforward. Prospects can come in at any stage, skip stages, or even remain in a certain stage for an unlimited time. Therefore your marketing strategy must aim to capture leads (whilst building a better experience) at all stages of the marketing funnel.
Every organisation’s funnel will not be the same, but the basic framework will consist of the following stages:
In this stage, potential customers become aware of your product or services and want to learn about the problems you can solve.
When customers know what the problem is and how they might solve it, they will start considering possible solutions. This is where your marketing activities should illustrate an understanding of the consumer’s needs so that you can build on a relationship with an actively engaged user.
At this stage in the funnel, decisions are made, and therefore your messaging needs to be crystal clear about the benefits and show exactly why your offering is the best solution.
At Flint Studio, our marketing funnel (see below) corresponds with these three stages, but it also extends past the traditional BoFu and looks more like an hourglass. This is because we believe a full funnel marketing strategy should expand in the area after the sale has gone through to generate brand loyalty and advocacy.
A full funnel strategy is not just about a marketing campaign, it is a complete shift in a brand or business’ approach to marketing. It means all your marketing team’s efforts are aimed at building a better user experience and tailoring messaging (and marketing activities) to the particular stage of the funnel the customer is in.
Our founder and director, Kenneth Sun, explains it best:
“You can’t stack all your marketing at the bottom of the funnel as you lose people if they aren’t ready to make a decision. You need to spread your tactics starting from the bottom and working your way up”.
Simply put: You need a plan to help you say the right things at the right time and on the right marketing channels. Not a simple feat, but definitely doable if you put in the work to understand who you are talking to. We cannot stress enough that a full-funnel marketing strategy is all about the customer.
Furthermore, when you are working on yours – don’t just assume – engage with your audience and utilise tools to access audience insights to inform data-backed decisions.
Staying on top of the meaningful metrics will help you and your team to track progress and quickly identify areas in need of improvement. Let’s say you notice a steep drop-off after users initially engage with your landing page. It is very likely that the majority of these website visitors are not ready to take action (for example, make a purchase). So to remind them of your product or services, you can employ a popular marketing tactic called retargeting or remarketing.
If you don’t have an internal marketing team that can head this kind of research and endeavours, an experienced marketing agency can assist.
A full funnel marketing strategy is important because it allows businesses to nurture potential customers through the entire customer journey, increasing the chances of making a sale. With a thorough understanding of every stage of the funnel, businesses and brands can also better engage and retain existing customers.