When it comes to navigating the world of online presence for your business, there’s one factor that is critical for success that almost never gets discussed. All the tactics designed to draw people to your website aren’t going to be worth anything if you don’t then have a plan for converting casual browsers into long-term viewers, subscribers, or customers. A funnel is maybe one of the most valuable things you can set up for your online business, and the following aims to explain why that is and how funnels work.

What Is a Funnel?

A funnel is a visual representation of all the stages a website visitor will go through before they make a purchase of your produce or service or subscribe. It’s based on the steps developed by John Dewey in 1910, including the process of recognizing a problem or need, a search for information, an evaluation of the options, the purchase decision, and the post-purchase behaviour. A funnel is with customers each step of the way, presenting the needed information at the stage the customer is currently in. This means that during the recognizing the issue stage, viewers aren’t encouraged to put something in their cart, but they’re encouraged to understand the issue or need that they have and to complete the next stage, which is search for information.

Marketing Funnel Benefits

Marketing funnels are ideal for anyone who has a product or service they want their customers to buy. Not only will a funnel allow you to learn more about your customers’ journeys and notice any issues like everyone leaving your site during the evaluation of the options stage, but it will also help you improve your conversion rate.

Stage One: Awareness

This is likely the stage you’ve spent most of your time on. The awareness stage is when potential customers learn about your business, brand, or product. This involves widespread social media tactics and traditional online advertising. The goal during this stage is to simply be able to continue to market to people. Gaining an email address or subscribing is a common goal during this stage.

Stage Two: Interest

This stage of the funnel involves nurturing people’s interest in your products, again without leading them directly towards the checkout part of your site. Often email marketing is a great way to build a relationship with potential customers as it offers exclusive branded content that’s relevant to them and their needs. Remember, Dewey’s first stage of the purchase decision involves recognizing a need or problem.

Stage Three: Information Gathering

Once someone has been introduced to your business and is aware that they have an issue or need that they want to address, they frequently begin the process of researching their options. Depending on your target demographic, this stage could be incredibly lengthy (in which case you want to provide lots of information for them to read and ponder) or on the shorter side of things. This is an excellent point to offer trial details, blog posts, tutorials, and webinars that can help potential customers see how what you’re offering meets their needs without requiring purchase from them to figure it out.

Stage Four: Prospective Customer

At this stage, customers begin to present signs of an intention to buy. This might include trying out your product or demo, asking questions to staff, or placing an item in their shopping cart. If you have coupons that offer 20% off or free shipping and/or content designed to show why you’re a better option than your competitors, now is the time to lead them to it. At this point, people usually require just a little marketing encouragement to make the purchase.

Marketing Funnel

Stage Five: Purchase

At this point, the purchase is made by the customer if your funnel has provided them with what they need at each stage in the process. You cannot skip these stages, as each is critically important in the buying decision. Many companies now include a sixth stage, which is designed to encourage repeat purchases or gain reviews from customers, which can help future customers during stage three.

The above tips should have broken down what a funnel is, why it works, and what is involved at each stage of the process. If you are losing customers at a given stage, you will need to work on that stage of the process, crafting content that answers the questions future customers might have and presenting people with all that they need to successfully complete that stage of the process.

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