Funnel Marketing A to Z

Tristan Ramirez
By Tristan Ramirez

Quick Funnel Marketing Overview

Funnel Marketing can be tricky, but it doesn’t have to be. By properly learning what a funnel, and funnel marketing is, you’ll be able to master the technique and lead buyers through the purchasing process in no time at all!

With a properly designed funnel, you can turn individuals who’ve never heard of your brand into lifelong customers in just a few simple steps!

What exactly is a marketing funnel?

A marketing funnel is a simple way to break down the customer journey from the “awareness” stage ( when they first learn they have a problem that needs to be solved and are introduced to your business) to the “Purchase” stage (when they learn that your product/business is the perfect solution to their problem and are ready to buy)

No matter what the business or type of product all consumers follow a relatively similar path when It comes to deciding to purchase. It is very unlikely that a consumer will come across your business/product and immediately decide to buy. In fact, for most consumers to make the decision to purchase, first, trust must be built and they need to know that it is a good investment.

Before implementing a funnel marketing strategy it’s crucial that the marketing team is aligned on brand messaging and thoroughly understands the customer’s personas they’re wanting to target. Having cohesive messaging in place will ensure that the content/ads/and messaging created is fully optimized and will result in customer acquisition.

Implementing a Messaging Hierarchy

The messaging hierarchy will be the basis for your messaging and content throughout the funnel. Think of it as a branding guide – it lays the guidelines for all future assets or initiatives that your business produces. While the branding guide is a set of rules for your business’s aesthetic presence, the messaging hierarchy provides a guide for what your business puts out there as well as why and how it is communicated. This will help your business identify your USPs (unique selling points), answer potential questions from consumers and support them, and lay the framework for an effective funnel that takes buyers from the attention stage all the way down to the action stage in a consistent manner with little to no information gaps along the way. Additionally, this exercise will help keep your efforts aligned across all channels and aspects of the business from content to paid social to email and more. Consistency is key, and consistently communicating the right message is even better.

So how exactly does it work?

The messaging hierarchy accomplishes a few things:

  • It effectively answers potential questions at a high level and at a granular level.
  • It aligns your messaging and purpose in all aspects of your business.
  • It helps specifically identify your USPs (unique selling points).
  • It allows you to preventively address concerns by putting out content that answers questions before they are asked.
  • It paints a crystal clear picture of your business to yourself and your consumer.
  • It reveals pain points and areas of opportunity for your business to either fix or capitalize on.

So how do you do it?

First, you will want to create an outline that identifies a main point of discussion or key question. This may be something along the lines of: ‘How does your product work?’, ‘What makes your product different?’, ‘Why are you doing what you are doing?’. You get the idea.

Second, outline three key points that answer the key question or address the main point of discussion. Try to keep these short and to the point. For example, if a key question is asking how your product is different, a potential key point could be something along the lines of ‘it is natural’ or ‘healthy’.

Third, add any supporting points underneath each of the key points to further elaborate on those. This should leave you with a type of drill down approach that allows you to thoroughly answer a question to the point where the answer is clear and understandable.

Here is an example of the flow below:

  • Key question/Main point of discussion 1
    • Key point 1
      • Supporting point
      • Supporting point
      • Supporting point
    • Key point 2
      • Supporting point
      • Supporting point
      • Supporting point
    • Key point 2
      • Supporting point
      • Supporting point
      • Supporting point

There are many different ways that this can be formatted – use what is most intuitive to your business.

Top of the Funnel (TOFU)

The top of the funnel is your first touch with your prospective audience. The goal is to attract a large audience with interests relative to your business at a higher level and engage them in a way that facilitates awareness of a need or want. This is the earliest stage in your relationship with prospective customers, so you want to make your first impression a good one.

Leveraging varying types of content and channels to reach a large pool of potential buyers means focusing less on your products and services and more on your buyer’s interests and needs. Often times, your audience is not even aware of their needs. As a business, you have to subtly make your audience aware of the need or interest for which you provide a solution for before they even know you can provide the solution. Top of funnel content should ultimately provide value in some way shape or form to your audience to establish your business as a value provider. This will make your audience much more willing to listen and engage, allowing you to reel them in and establish a positive relationship – because a good first impression goes a long way, right? This translates down the line to the willingness of the audience to communicate and provide their information later on in the form of emails and other valuable data your business can leverage.

Creating TOFU Content

So, if the goal is to provide value up front, what is the best way to do so?

There are many different ways that your business can provide value up front to your audience. There are some important characteristics that should be present in your top-of-funnel content:

  • Be engaging
  • Be easily digestible
  • Focus on the buyer
  • Ultimately provide value – give, give, and give some more

Keeping these characteristics in mind when creative top-of-funnel content is critical to a successful campaign. The more value you can provide, the better. This goes back to building that relationship and increasing the buyer’s propensity to opt in and facilitate an exchange of value. The more you give, the more you will get – plain and simple.

So, what do you actually give to your audience?

This value-based content can take a number of different forms so there is no right answer. This is where you, as a marketer, need to be creative. This may take a bit of research, but try asking yourself some of these questions:

  • What is my audience interested in?
  • What does my audience want to know?
  • Will my audience find this engaging?
  • Is this content easily digestible?

Once you have narrowed down the subject matter of your TOFU content, it’s time to put it into production. Some examples of easily digestible content include:

  • Interactive quizzes
  • Infographics
  • Blog content
  • Video content
  • Downloadables

A successful top-of-funnel strategy will aid in the awareness stage of the consumer journey and kick off the value exchange with an up front form of value to the buyer.

TOFU Content Example

This TOFU content generates awareness around the product and around the problem other products face. If the consumer wasn’t aware that there was a problem, they are now, and they’ll be searching for solutions immediately.

Middle of the Funnel (MOFU)

So you’ve introduced buyers to your product, now what? Once buyers are aware that there is a solution to the problem they’re facing, it’s your job to assure them that your product is the BEST solution.

MOFU, or middle-of-the-funnel content is the step of the funnel in which businesses are focused on nurturing leads and buyers are focused on conducting research. In this stage of the funnel, it’s crucial to strategize ways to help customers move from the research stage to the decision stage… quickly! Because the time spent in this stage varies drastically based on the purchase being contemplated, it’s important to provide all the information needed to make the consumer’s decision as easy as possible.

The middle of the funnel is the point in which buyers start comparing the alternatives and use their research to form an opinion about your product. By looking at what consumers are interested in and providing the content to match, you’ll be able to guide them to the point of purchase easily. Are your customers searching for how-to videos around your product? Or seeking comparison guides between your product and competitors. Whatever information they’re seeking, it’s your job to discover how to make the MOFU content answer their questions and concerns before they purchase. Remember, at this stage in the process that the customer is already educated on the product. Now it’s about showing why your product is the best fit.

Creating Mofu Content

When planning out MOFU content it’s crucial that the content is persuasive, educational, and highly targeted. All content should be centered around the product and why they should buy.

Some examples of effective MOFU content are:

  • Video content
  • Blog Posts
  • Email Marketing
  • Reviews
  • Comparison blogs

Here are two examples of Middle of the Funnel content used to educate consumers on why Single serve honeycomb is a better purchase than its competitors.

(In this infographic raw honeycomb is being compared to other honeys.)

The compelling image and diagram quickly catch the viewers attention while also providing answers to the questions they have. We’re one of the most frequently asked questions “How is honeycomb different than honey” and has answered it in an easy to understand infographic, that will not only provide value to the reader but also help them make the decision to purchase honeycomb rather than traditional honey.

By using this infographic as our middle of the funnel content. It allows the consumer to connect with the product before purchase and establishes the brand as a credible source on the topic. Thus making them much more likely to purchase honeycomb from Pass the Honey, rather than a competitor.

Testimonial Posts

Testimonial posts are a great way to reassure consumers that the product is a perfect fit for them. By providing insight on how your product has helped other’s problems they’re provided with the social proof needed to make the decision to purchase.

By using an already established messaging hierarchy centered around the most frequently asked question we were able to choose testimonials that address consumers concerns.

Through the use of these testimonials, we’ve provided social proof stating that the product solves the problem consumers face and that it solves it better than competitor brands. Testimonials are extremely important at this stage in the funnel as this is when consumers are doing the most amount of research and discovery. By using emojis and bolded text, we’re able to call out the information that is most important to potential customers.

Bottom of the Funnel (BOFU)

At this point in the consumer journey, the prospective buyer has become aware of a need or want that needs fulfilling and has actively looked for a solution to fill that void. Your business has provided value in advance to kick off the value exchange cycle and has shown how your product fills that void better than everyone else in the game. If you have effectively built out the other parts of your funnel, consumers will feel much more obligated to purchase from your business versus another.

But they still haven’t bought in.

In the BOFU stages of the funnel, you need to be transactional and product-focused. Have a clear, strong call-to-action and drive your prospect to make the purchase. If the consumer is hesitant at this point, your job is to identify any reservations that the potential still has and address them. Refer back to your messaging hierarchy for any points of discussion or FAQs that may not have been addressed yet. Often, the questions that buyers have at this point in the funnel are much more logic-based.

Your job as a business is to address any reservations preventing the user from buying, provide evidence that explains exactly how your product can be a solution to their needs, and induce a sense of urgency or scarcity. Creating urgency and scarcity around your offer will help to push consumers to make a buying decision. Ultimately, the goal at the bottom of the funnel is to persuade prospects to make the purchase.

BOFU Content Example

This product focused content provides a call to action with the “Shop Now” button, as well as a 10% off discount incentive to purchase now.

Wrap up

In an age where information on a topic can be found at the click of a button, buyers are now operating on their own terms. They can – and will do their research before purchasing a product. Because of this, it’s essential that marketers cater to leads at various stages of the funnel. It wouldn’t be profitable to deliver awareness content to a consumer nearing conversion, nor would you want to deliver ads featuring discount codes to an individual who’s never heard of the brand.  Setting up an effective marketing funnel and knowing when and what content to deliver at each stage, is a crucial step in acquiring lifelong customers.

By Kylie Carrasco & Tristan Ramirez

Digital Marketing Assessment