Getting Started With Funnel Marketing
Whether you are marketing a B2B or B2C product or service it’s important to always look at your marketing channels from the holistic view of the funnel. The three core parts of your funnel are top of the funnel, middle of funnel and bottom of the funnel. Each of your marketing channels should play a role in a least two of these phases of the buyer’s journey. And depending on your sale cycle they will likely have multiple touch points in leading to a conversion.
Top of funnel traffic will often come from users who are in the research phase of their buyer’s cycle and are looking for more information surrounding a problem they have. During this phase, they are often not sure what the exact solution is. That is why it’s important to build out informational resources that can assist them in this process and provide immediate them value up front. This phase is often called the awareness stage. Key metrics to look for the top of the funnel is your overall cost of traffic as well as the size of your remarketing pools.
The middle of the funnel is known as the evaluation or consideration stage as users are aware of different options but have yet to make a purchase. During this stage, you should be nurturing prospects through the funnel while providing them additional resources and pushing them down towards more conversion oriented offers or pages. The middle of the funnel is where remarketing and email begin to play a large role in staying top of mind with users.
The bottom of the funnel is where users are making their decision – this is where email and remarketing play an even bigger role as you A/B test different messaging and offers to see what will make the biggest impact on conversions. If you are in the B2B industry this will likely be handled by your sales team and if you are eCommerce this is where a special offer or abandoned cart email can push users over the edge to convert.
Three Core Pillars: Paid Social, Content + Email
When it comes to curating a powerhouse cross-channel marketing strategy, you’ll want to ensure that you integrate at least three core pillars into your strategy; paid social marketing, content, and email marketing. By incorporating these three pillars into your strategy, you’re essentially building the framework of an SEO optimized site, which is supported by paid social ads driving new and returning users to your site. Once the new users you’ve been prospecting via social media channels are familiar with your brand/visited your site, you’ll be able to stay top of mind via retargeting on social platforms and Facebook’s partner apps. Essentially, you’re continuing the engagement stage of the buyer’s journey – building a consumer affinity with your brand.
Once consumers on sold on your brand and/or product, you’re able to further nurture them and provide value as you continue pushing them down the funnel. Its integral you prioritize building your email list as you want to build relationships with consumers through the highest converting channel, email marketing.
Content marketing is easily the dark horse when it comes to your cross-channel marketing strategy. A lot of brands miss the value in content marketing because the thought of “starting a blog,” is daunting and can seemingly feel like wasted effort…but it’s not! Content marketing is beyond a blog, it’s supporting SEO efforts and putting your site in Google’s favor when it comes to ranking for target keywords. Content that you curate as part of your digital marketing strategy can then be leveraged cross-channel as a means for introducing your brand to prospects and nurturing your existing list by serving them this content via paid social and email marketing.
Paid Social Overview
Paid Social is marketing across social media platforms, specifically leaning heavily into Facebook, Instagram, Linkedin, and Pinterest. Paid social allows you to build custom audiences to prospect as new customers to your brand or business. Paid Social Media Marketing also enables you to retarget users who have visited your site or engaged with your social channels to ensure your brand stays top of mind. Paid social is a huge driver in sending new traffic to your site and ultimately guides consumers down the funnel during every stage. A well crafted paid social strategy integrates well thought out messaging that speaks to the personas you’re marketing to and acknowledges the stage they are at within the buyer’s journey to maximize the impact.
Email Marketing is one of the original digital marketing efforts and still remains the powerhouse sniper because IT WORKS. Email marketing is essentially consistent inbound communication between a brand and their consumers. After users have been prospected through paid social and visited your site, they’re now familiar with you and your company. If they’re on your list, they’re giving you the OK to further their engagement and relationship with your brand or business. Email is responsible for building that 1:1 personal relationship between the company and the consumer. Email marketing is also a key driver in revenue and influencing repeat customers. Paired with the other marketing channels, email can be seen as the ultimate “closer,” in the consumer buyers’ journey.
Marry Your Paid Social + Content Strategy + Email Strategy
Email marketing is known for generating the highest return on investment from the bulk of digital channels. It’s also a critical piece of the puzzle in frequently connecting with current and future customers by building and optimizing their brand loyalty. Email encourages and secures repeat purchases, optimizing your bottom of the funnel/hot audience and increases overall lifetime value. You don’t have to build the Taj Mahal either when it comes to getting your email campaigns set up for commerce. These are the KEY email automations to consider when looking to scale your business and drive revenue.
- Welcome email
- Abandoned cart email
- Email nurture
- Post Purchase Sequence
- Cross-sell sequence
- Re-Engagement email
Your welcome email will be the first email someone receives when they join your email subscription list! This is inclusive of only people who have voluntarily subscribed to your list, not to be confused with the first purchase email. The content of your welcome email should do just that….welcome new subscribers! Additionally, I always recommend offering them an incentive to purchase and give them an idea of what’s to come from your brand in the emails following their subscription. Include CTAs as a quick easy pathway back to your site to buy.
A great way paid social can support this initiative is to set up email capture campaigns to help in building the list outside people who have already been to your site. This is an extremely effective way to prospect new customers AND build your email list. One key component to call out in your ads specifically is the incentive that would give people a reason to subscribe in the first place. You can actually sync your email CRM to Facebook and have your ads drop anyone who submits their email through a lead form directly into the welcome sequence to avoid any manual uploads or emails getting lost in translation.
A key component in bridging the gap between email marketing and paid social is that you can also use these segmented email lists to further drive existing customers back down the sales funnel after they’ve already purchased from you.
For example, the abandoned cart email is just one reminder for customers to purchase the product they added to their cart. On top of that, they’re getting supplementary messaging about products they’ve added to cart on Facebook through DPAs (dynamic product ads) speaking to the message that they still have items in their cart they need to purchase. Essentially you’re nudging them from inbox to social network. One key metric you can look at within your social campaigns is the “add to cart” KPI. This will help you identify how many opportunities you have to close the sale. When it comes to actually executing on the abandoned cart email series, it’s important to not just send 1 email and hope for the best. The key here is to set up a short series of emails in conjunction with paid social abandon cart messaging.
Setting up a simple series of reminder emails segmented by time will ultimately help close the sale. My recommendation would be to send the first email 1 hour after they’ve added to cart, followed by a day later reminder and 48 hours after to maximize the impact. The first email should speak to whatever the consumer left in their cart and include a CTA linked to the product to streamline closing the sale. From there if they still haven’t converted – think about yourself as a consumer and what your objections are to potentially not wanting to purchase. Address those issues head-on in email 2. If they STILL haven’t converted through paid social or email, the final email could potentially offer a small discount or promo code that will be a last ditch effort to compel them to purchase.
In conjunction with your reminder emails, your paid social campaigns should also be capturing these consumers on email, delivering a targeted message and a DPA ad that will showcase the products they’ve added to their cart. The key takeaway after setting up your abandoned cart email sequence is to analyze the data behind it. Data will ultimately determine whether you should continue sending the abandon cart emails (based on conversion rates) AND will help you determine the frequency and timing of the emails. The same thinking applies to paid social. If you’re running ads to people who have “added to cart” but it has a low conversion rate, you’ll want to reassess those efforts and look to how you can better improve your messaging to more effectively speak to the buyer persona.
The next key automation you’ll want to set up for your business is the email nurture sequence. This sequence is a pivotal part to continuing and maintaining consumer engagement. I always recommend leading with value driven content. If you’re an e-commerce brand, this is where you can leverage your blog content, curate educational content around your product or what problem your product solves, and showcase your knowledge of the industry.
You want your consumers to come to YOU for the answers to questions around your product and the industry itself. You need to give them all the answers to the reason, WHY they should buy into your product or service offering. Here is where CONTENT MARKETING comes into play. Building out content strategically is crucial in improving your organic SEO rankings which translates to more visibility to your business. Content marketing is essentially searching for target keywords which leads to building blog content clusters that are around those keywords. When Google is crawling your page, it recognizes the trigger keywords and content in multiple places on your site which results in improving the overall rankings for the keyword on your page. So when someone searches the trigger keywords you built your content clusters around, Google will favor your page and site. All of the content that you build out and optimize to rank for specific keywords can be content you leverage for your email nurture sequences.
Conversely, this content can also be used on paid social as a first touch for prospecting potential new clients. For example, if you’re a Juice company you’ll want to prospect new customers on social by leading with value driven content. Likely, you’ll have built out content optimized around keywords like “juice cleanse” or “Benefits of a juice cleanse” which will be great introductory content for anyone who hasn’t done a juice cleanse from your company. Leading with ads driving to your blog post about “The Benefits of a Juice Cleanse” will likely yield a high conversion rate, driving people directly to your site and THEN you’re able to retarget them on paid social with messaging to actually PURCHASE the juice cleanse.
Other types of email content you’ll want to consider when building out your email nurture sequences are fleshing out your brand story, A personal note from the Founder or series, success stories and/or testimonials, and follow-ups based on site behavior and consumer actions.
The post-purchase sequence is a very important piece in your email automation. First, You’ll want to ensure that post-purchase email includes what the customer purchased when they can expect it to ship and/or deliver, return policy so they’re at ease, and your first chance to potentially upsell them on later and a thank you!
Following the post-purchase email #1, you’ll want to check in with email #2 to see how the purchase went after its been delivered. This will be your first indicator if there have been any issues so you can resolve and address before email #3 requesting the product review so you can win over the customer with resolving any issues prior to them writing a review. Another way you can increase product review visibility is with social proof. Leveraging paid social in this way is a strategic move to get social proof on the product testing to how great it is.
One way to do this on paid social is to use your segmented email lists and target past purchasers and your CRM by prompting them to comment on your ad how much they love it. Once you accumulate a ton of social proof and comments on the ad, you can dark post that to your cold and warm audiences. That way, the quality and sentiment toward the product speaks for itself.
Lastly, you’ll want to make sure you set up a re-engagement email campaign. The Re-engagement email automation sequence is to do just that…re-engage your list! After multiple emails and as time passes, some consumers might start to ignore your emails. You’re likely also paying a premium to actually send emails to the entirety of your list – so it’s really beneficial to both the consumer and advertiser to run this type of campaign.
One of the biggest ways to ensure that your list is efficient and effective is to run a re-engagement campaign. Not only is this beneficial to you as the advertiser/business owner so that you’re only sending emails to people who are actively engaging with your content. But this is also a huge value-add to Google and email providers that prove your a legitimate business. In order to execute this successfully, you’ll want to lead with an extremely compelling offer and reminder on why they should remain on your list. LIkely if they haven’t engaged with your emails in weeks or months, you’ll need to get creative on how to spark their interest again. You’ll want to lead with email #1 promoting a strong discount and invitation to re-engage. From there, I recommend sending a follow-up email #2 reiterating the offer and if they still don’t bite, follow up with email #3 giving them the option for feedback or unsubscribe.
Mapping Your Customer Journey
When thinking about your consumer journey it’s crucial to map out what that looks like from a business standpoint. The first thing you need to understand is WHO are you marketing to? What is their persona? What could be their objections? How do you convince them? These are all fundamental pieces in mapping your consumer journey. Once you identify these core elements – then it’s about delivering content that answers these questions. When it comes to picking WHAT type of content to write – the opportunities are endless. This is where you’ll want to lean heavily into researching optimal target keywords that will be the key driver in your content clusters. The content clusters will then give signals to Google that the content is favored and relevant – giving your site a nice organic boost. Other pieces of content that are king when marketing on social are testimonial videos of compelling statements and success stories. Followed by other avenues outside blog articles or video. Product reviews are also an integral piece in the content strategy and ensuring that customer sentiment and reviews are shared. Fueling the “Flywheel” is absolutely key in ensuring that customer sentiment remains high. The trickle effect is powerful when it comes to word of mouth. The more that you can continue the cycle of “Attract, Engage, Delight,” the more successful and impactful your campaigns will be.
Additionally you should be segmenting your emails similarly to how you would segment your paid social traffic by making sure their place in the sales funnel is defined. Segmentation should be broken out into three basic tiers to start for email: Subscribers, Leads, and Customers with Lifecycle Segments. By utilizing these segments you’re able to deliver the most impactful message, to the right people, at the right time. Similarly, you’ll want to mirror this type of customer segmentation in your paid social campaigns. In order to produce the most impactful results, you’ll want to segment your paid social traffic by cold, warm, and hot, in other words: prospecting and retargeting.
To truly measure the success of your marketing funnel it’s important to ensure you have proper tracking in place so you can accurately measure the role each channel is playing at each stage of the funnel. For example, it’s very common to see paid social play a big role at the top of the funnel and email to play a larger role at the bottom of the funnel. Without proper tracking in place, it would be easy to discount paid socials role in bringing new users into the funnel and into your email marketing program.
Success will look different for everyone depending on the cost of your traffic as the top of the funnel and the cost associated with moving users from the middle of the funnel to the bottom of the funnel. To understand whether your funnel is successful you need to look at the costs against your return. If the cost to acquire new customers outweighs the lifetime value of the new customer or overall deal value you will always be upside down.