Businesses that crush at lead nurturing generate 50% more qualified leads at a 33% lower cost. How’s your lead-nurturing campaign looking?

Nurturing isn’t just about answering questions and being nice. It takes a lot of thought, strategy, and creativity to launch an effective campaign that makes people want to stick around for the long haul. So what’s the magic formula? What’s the cure-all in nurturing your leads? 

It’s called the marketing funnel. We know, it doesn’t really have a riveting ring to it. Even if it might sound a bit drab, it works, which is why we’re going to give you an up-close and personal look at the marketing funnel—how does it help you attract, connect, and convert your leads? 

What Is a Marketing Funnel?

A marketing funnel is a model that walks you through the customer journey—from the moment someone becomes aware of your business to the moment they become loyal customers. 

There are five main stages to the marketing funnel:

1. Awareness

People can’t purchase something from you unless they know you exist. So how do you attract your target audience? How do you get in front of them? The awareness stage helps you build brand awareness to connect with the right folks.

2. Interest

Once your prospects know you exist, they’ll hopefully want to learn more about you. That’s when they enter the interest stage. 

People in this stage want to know more about what your product/services can do for them. They’re not ready to purchase, so the interest stage is all about building trust.  

3. Desire

If your leads reach the desired stage, not only have you gotten them interested in your brand, but you’ve also made them consider choosing you over your competitors. 

This is the time to keep the relationship alive and guide them towards that purchase. 

4. Action

Action is where all of your leads’ hopes and desires turn into reality. You’ve given them everything they need to finally realize that you’re the one for them. 

Your prospects purchase your product/service, officially becoming a customer. 

5. Loyalty

Here’s the thing about the customer journey—there really isn’t a conclusion. In fact, there shouldn’t be.

Just because someone is now a customer doesn’t mean you can wipe your hands clean and call it a day. You need to continuously nurture your customers to a point where they want to repurchase your product/service, not because you told them to but because they want to. 

If they genuinely like your product and brand and identify with it, they’ve reached the loyalty stage.

Why Use a Marketing Funnel?

Every business, including yours, needs to have a marketing funnel as a part of its foundation. The funnel helps you: 

  • Keep your campaigns centered on your buyer persona. If all of your initiatives, services, and messages don’t cater to the needs of your prospects, your products won’t matter to them. 
  • Prioritizes your customer journey. The funnel helps you visualize the entire experience and build out relevant tools and tactics that encourage your leads to convert.
  • Plan more wisely. Mapping out the entire buying process can help your team identify any gaps in the system that need to be filled. 
  • Align your marketing and sales initiatives. In a survey, over half of sales and marketing professionals expressed that alignment between both teams generates better customer retention and financial performance.

Still on the fence? Let’s take it a step further with some statistics:

1. 48% of businesses say the majority of their leads require a long nurturing cycle that involves influencers. 

It’s competitive out there. People are comparing you to other businesses, so you need tactics that help you stand out. 

Moreover, there are a lot of people to connect with! Take the B2B tech industry for instance—roughly six people are involved in the buying process. Is your team prepared to help these groups make informative decisions?  

2. 79% percent of leads never convert to sales.

Why? Probably because 68% of businesses haven’t mapped out their sales funnel. 

With no funnel comes no effective lead-nurturing strategies. Gaps aren’t being filled, and there are pain points and needs that still need to be addressed. 

3. Nurtured leads make 47% larger purchases than non-nurtured leads.

Why wouldn’t you want a better ROI? By planning and measuring your funnel, you can create unique strategies that work. 

Worried you won’t have the time? No worries, with the right marketing software, you can save time AND make more money. We’ll dive more into this in the next section. 

How Do You Drive Leads Through Your Marketing Funnel?

So how do you actually use the marketing funnel to your advantage? What are the tools you need to succeed?

Driving your leads through your funnel is all about building relationships—you need to get to know your prospect and build trust to cultivate a powerful companionship. The key to achieving this is using a culmination of digital marketing strategies. 

Specifically: 

  • Search engine optimization (SEO)
  • Content marketing 
  • Social media marketing 
  • Reputation management 
  • Marketing automation 

These strategies can help you customize your marketing funnel in a way that initiates authentic and impactful conversations. And the best part? They can help boost your bottom line. If this isn’t loved after a rough 2020, we don’t know what is. 

So below, we’ve got the funnel stages listed out again, but this time, they come with goals and marketing strategies to help you stay on track. Use them to attract, connect, and convert. 

1. Awareness

Goals

The awareness stage is where it all begins. Start strong by aiming to:

  • Identify your target audience. If you haven’t already done so, research, decipher and document your primary audience. What are their demographics, behavioral traits, and interests?
  • Find out their goals. What do they want to achieve? What topics open them up and get them talking/interested? 
  • Understand their pain points. What’s getting in your audience’s way of achieving their goals? What keeps them up at night? What are their top three “triggers” that create their problems?  
  • Get in front of them. Where are they hanging out? Wherever they are, that’s where you need to be to get their attention. That’s how they become aware of you.

Strategies You Need

Here are four strategies you need to get in front of the right people and build awareness: 

1. Competitor analysis

The key to winning more business is doing things bigger and better than the competition. So what are they up to? 

Find out by conducting a competitor analysis. This is a great starting point in helping you target the right people and ideating ways to connect with them. 

2. SEO

Eighty-one percent of people search online for a product or service. What’s your audience typing when they’re searching for services/products like yours? What are some of the specific phrases, terms, and questions? 

With SEO tools, like Google Search Console and SEMRush, you can conduct keyword research to discover those key terms. These terms unveil the goals your audience is looking to achieve. 

When you weave those phrases into the contents of your site, your website can start showing up for relevant searches. Better yet, you’ll bring in relevant traffic—your target audience—to your site. 

Remember, shoot for the first page—75% of people never scroll past the first page of search engine results. 

3. Content Marketing 

To really bolster your search engine rankings, you need to build a collection of high-ranking content that targets the topical interests of your audience. Using the keywords and topics you discovered through your SEO research, build a content marketing strategy around them. 

For example, say you’re a CBD company and your audience frequently searches for “CBD dog food recipes” or “how to take CBD.” You may want to create content around these topics. 

We’re talking:  

  • Blog posts: 77% of online users read blog posts. They’re a great way to educate your audience about your brand. 
  • Infographics: Elevate your blog posts by supplementing them with infographics. Since 90% of information transmitted to our brains is visual, infographics can help your visitors retain relevant information about your brand. When web content is accompanied by images, it gets 650% more engagement. Not to mention, they can boost site traffic by up to 12%.
  • Videos: Videos help marketers reach a 54% increase in brand awareness. Better yet, adding them to your landing pages can boost your conversions by 86%. Similar to infographics, videos offer an engaging and interactive experience that offers value. 
  • Quizzes: Quizzes are a fun way to engage your audience and give them an idea of how their brand fits into their lives. Going with the example of a CBD company, you can offer a quiz that helps consumers decipher which method of absorption would be a good fit for them. The average quiz brings in a 33.6% lead capture rate

Note—keep the sales talk to a minimum in your content. It’s still early in the process, so ease into it. Educate them; offer value. Use your expertise to build trust. 

4. PPC Ads

To really bolster your exposure efforts, use the power of PPC (pay-per-click) ads. PPC ads offer guaranteed reach. 

For example, when you set up an ad via Google Ads, your prospects will see your ad when they’re looking up specific search phrases. And if you find your audience is on social media, you can even set up Facebook Ads to gain exposure on these platforms.

Though PPC campaigns don’t offer guaranteed results, they’re good to lean on for short-term objectives, like getting your name out there. 

2. Interest

Goals

Ninety-six percent of those who visit your site aren’t ready to buy.  So the interest phase is all about:

  • Engaging
  • Providing solutions to problems
  • Winning trust 

People in this stage are seeking information to help them solve their issues. More notably, they’re comparing you against the competition. The more you cater to their pain points, the more people will be inclined to move down your funnel. 

Strategies You Need

Since your leads aren’t ready to purchase, offer things that don’t require much of a commitment. 

Level up your content marketing efforts just a little with how-to guides and webinars. Make them insightful and helpful. Encourage—don’t push—them to sign up for your newsletter or email list for more updates. Those interested will take this action. 

Start bringing in more digital marketing strategies to the table: 

1. Social Media

Social media channels are great platforms to bolster your messages and get people interested in your brand. 

You don’t have to pour too much time and effort into this either—you can repurpose the materials in your content marketing efforts to share on social media.

2. Email Marketing via Automation

All those people who signed up to be on your email list? Make them a priority by sending them regular emails. 

With the help of marketing automation software, you can segment your list (those who execute segmented campaigns generate up to a 760% increase in revenue), personalize your messages, and test variations of your copy, design, and buttons. 

For more help with your email efforts, be sure to read up on our 10 email marketing tips for 2021

3. Retargeting

If 97% of first-time site visitors leave without making a purchase, how do you woo them back? Retargeting. 

Retargeting is a PPC method that reminds your past visitors of your business. So no matter what site they’re browsing on, your retargeting ad will show up. It’s a great way to stay visible and get people more interested in your brand. 

4. Reputation Management 

Don’t forget to keep an eye on your reputation. How you look and the content that circulates around your brand can either make or break your lead’s perception of you. 

So make sure: 

  • You’ve got profiles on directories like Yelp and Google My Business, and YOU control them. Make sure you have good content and reviews on there that help illuminate your brand in the best light.
  • You conduct social listening. With tools like Google Alerts and Mention, you can look out for brand mentions across the web and address bad reviews promptly. 

desire stage

3. Desire

Goals

Pat yourselves on the back. You’ve cultivated a positive relationship with your leads that they want you. But keep in the mind, the work isn’t over yet. You gotta keep at it until they seal the deal. It’s a lot of pressure we know. 

Just be sure to stay centered on your goals: 

  • Alleviate your lead’s fears to make them feel comfortable about taking the next step
  • Highlight your value proposition and establish a sale
  • Convince your leads to purchase ASAP

Strategies You Need

This is the time you can start to pepper in some sales language and materials. The key is directing them to the right products and conveying their value. 

1. Content Marketing

How can you show your lead they can benefit from your products/services? Offer materials like: 

  • Product videos
  • Case studies
  • Customer reviews/testimonials
  • Product descriptions
  • Purchasing guides

These items can help make your lead’s decision-making process much easier and build trust. 

2. Email Marketing/Automation 

Keep up with your email marketing by sending out the right messages at the right time. Marketing automation can make this happen. 

Say someone abandons their cart. Your automation software can send out an email reminding them of the item that’s waiting for them. 

It can also send out some product descriptions or guides to help them make a decision. Consider customizing these product options in a way that caters to their pain points. 

4. Action

Goals

So your lead is finally ready to make that purchase. Make their experience in this action phase just a bit easier by: 

  • Setting them up for success with your product/service
  • Helping them feel confident in their decision
  • Offering a high-value, low-risk experience

Strategies You Need

Though you might think you could sit back during this phase, as your contacts make their purchase, think again. There are always ways you can help them out. 

1. Content Marketing

We just can’t get enough of content. After all, the options are limitless. In this action stage, offer useful content like: 

  • Special offers/discounts 
  • Free tutorials
  • Customer success tips 
  • Bundled product packages 

These materials can help your new customers use their new products to their advantage. 

2. Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO)

The user experience matters. When it’s done right, you’ll have happy people who are ready to buy—CRO tools have an average ROI of 223%

CRO takes the site traffic your SEO brings in and gets those people to take action. The layout of your website plays a crucial role when it comes to your bottom line. 

Some site elements might work, while others might create barriers in the customer journey. Here are a few questions to get the CRO ball rolling: 

  • Are your CTAs in good shape? Do they compel people to want to take action? 
  • Do the colors of your buttons incite people to click? 
  • Is your site navigation simple enough that visitors can get to where they need to be? 

Use CRO tools, like VWO, to help you test out different variations to see what elements are most impactful. For more tips on improving your onsite experience, check out our 16 quick tips on boosting your CRO

5. Loyalty

Goals

Attracting a new customer can cost five times more than retaining an existing customer. So invest wisely, and keep the customer journey going. 

This is where you need to find ways to: 

  • Continue to engage with relevant content 
  • Help your customers cultivate a personal identity with your brand
  • Help them create a sense of advocacy with your brand

Strategies You Need

Here are three key strategies to help you achieve these loyalty goals: 

1. Social Media

Use social media channels to initiate community engagement. Are there any social initiatives you’re a part of? Consider involving your customers. 

Whether this involves starting a hashtag movement that highlights customers with their eco-friendly packaging or helping out third-party vendors, illuminate these positive moments. This can help customers build a more personal connection to your business. 

2. Reputation Management

Customers are essentially the people who make and break your reputation. Send out an email a few weeks after they’ve received their product. Kindly ask them to leave you a review. 

Consider throwing in a discount code in exchange for a review. Throw in a bigger code if they are willing to record a video testimonial for your team. The more current reviews you have, the better impression you can build. 

For reference, here are some facts from a Trustpilot study

  • 16% of consumers believe reviews are too old after three months
  • 36% of consumers believe reviews after six months are too old
  • 65% of consumers believe reviews that are over a year old are too old

3. Marketing Automation 

Try to re-engage your customers with referral programs or product recommendations that pair well with their past purchases. 

Marketing automation software like Hubspot can help you establish segmentation strategies and lead-scoring models to help you achieve this. 

Attract, Connect, & Convert More with Big Leap

Creating a stellar customer journey doesn’t have to be a solo endeavor. In fact, it takes a trusted team by your side to make sure everything is in order. And guess what? Big Leap can be that team. 

If you need someone to bounce ideas off of as you’re mapping out your marketing funnel, contact our digital marketing team. With over a decade of helping businesses like yours empower their online presence, we can help you accomplish your goals this year.

Janet Lee