A Basic Guide to the Marketing Funnel: Increase what you Know so you can Improve the Flow
When it comes to running a successful business, the most important aspects are often so obvious that they end up getting overlooked. We tend to take such subjects for granted, getting lost in the little details and being oblivious to basic mistakes in the fundamentals.
The good news is that there are always those who do take the time to notice these principles, and many of them have been kind enough to lay out their findings for the rest of us to learn from them.
The bad news is that those who do identify these overlooked areas often do so in their own unique ways, individualizing their findings to the point that different sources can offer very different interpretations on the same subject.
Take the Marketing Funnel, for example.
Or, as some call it, the Purchasing Funnel.
Or, as some others call it, the Conversion Funnel.
As you can see, we’re already off to a rough start. We can all agree it’s difficult to study a subject when those teaching it can’t all agree on what it’s called, leaving those looking for knowledge so busy comparing what they’ve learned from one source with what they’ve picked up from another that they end up with more confusion than comprehension.
If you’re reading this blog, you’re probably facing a similar challenge, so allow me to save you the trouble. I’ve taken everything I know about the marketing funnel and broken it down as simple as I can, preparing a basic foundation for you to stand on before you journey forward on the many wild and winding roads that cover this topic in more detail.
Let’s begin with an acronym: AIDA
It stands for Attention, Interest, Desire, and Action
Should you pursue this subject further, you’ll find other sources list more detailed funnels that break this list down even further, separating the four main points into specific steps depending on what specialized aspect they’re covering. As for now, we’ll stick to the basics.
This is the beginning of the funnel, and as such, is the widest part. Think of it like people walking into a store. They all know they want something, but as anyone who has ever worked retail can tell you, not all of them actually commit and make a purchase. Just because a storefront or website has a lot of traffic, that does not guarantee it is making a large amount of sales.
Identifying how much traffic you have to work with, who it is, and where it is coming from, is the first step in increasing your revenue. Once you understand these fields, you can address which ones are stronger and which ones are lacking, giving you a direction to pursue when it comes to improving your outreach and advertising campaigns.
Now that we’ve moved down the funnel, it has begun to narrow somewhat. Some of the visitors have already left, but there are still many who remain. They are walking up and down the aisles or browsing through the webpages, searching for whatever it is they want.
Again, not all of them will buy something, and that’s something you need to accept. However, they are interested in what you have to offer, and taking advantage of that is definitely in your control. Study which aisles or pages get the most traffic, learning why it is people are going there will help you see what it is they are after, as well as what it is you’re lacking that causes them to leave.
Some of the people who were browsing around have decided they aren’t satisfied and left, but there are still some remaining. They have found what it is they wanted, they’ve picked it up and are examining it closely, and they are hoping you can give them the most value.
The sad reality is that you won’t always be the best bargain. The sheer amount of businesses big and small mean consumers have more options than ever before. Sales, coupons, and membership programs abound, so it’s up to you to be familiar with what your competitors offer so that you can adjust your own strategies accordingly.
Some of the shoppers will have decided they can get a better deal somewhere else, they’ve put the product back down or changed their mind about hiring your services. The funnel has narrowed considerably, but thankfully, there is still a flow. Of the many who first came in, here we find those who have decided to buy. The question is how convenient you’ve made it for them.
A website with an inefficient check out system is like a busy store with few registers and even fewer cashiers working them. Long wait times, requiring aggravating amounts of information, and clunky steps involved in the transaction process threaten to end your sale right before it could be finalized. Nothing is worse than frustrating consumers right at the end, as those who left in the beginning are likely to come back and try again, but those who went through the entire process only to be let down at the end will have a very negative impression and may very well decide not to return.
The type of business you work in and the nature of your model will all affect how you marketing funnel operates, with each variable bringing in added steps that are unique to both your industry and your procedure, but they all still flow the same way.
Remembering AIDA will be highly useful when looking for leaks and adding solutions to seal them up, letting you profits pour long and strong.