What is a Marketing Funnel?
A marketing funnel is a visualization of the sales process. All your marketing efforts are focused on ultimately having a company or an individual to become your customer. Customers then help drive further awareness and leads towards your products and services through word of mouth and brand loyalty. Basically, you have a big pool of your target audience at the top and they’re interested in your products through your marketing efforts and they are funneled through all the way down to become customers.
Let’s briefly talk about each stage. Awareness is obtained through content and ads. You attract your audience to your website, you share content on social media. And as we have discussed, content can be a variety of articles, videos, podcasts, magazines, email newsletters. You drive this awareness into a focused interest in your services and products. What is your offer? How are you different? What are your costs? The intent in consideration, also known as leads, is obtained through educational resources, free downloads, giveaways, checklists, guides, webinars, targeted ads, case studies, email campaigns, customer feedback, and reviews. After a purchase is made of your product or service, you’ll need to continue a relationship with your customer to maintain retention and drive brand loyalty and advocacy to increase awareness. So in other words, brand loyalty and advocacy feeds into awareness.
Leads Through Giveaways
One of the best ways to obtain customer leads is with a Lead Magnet. A lead magnet is a free service or product that you give away in exchange for contact information. The lead magnet must be strong enough to attract (“the magnet”) and the content of the giveaway must be focused on your target market. The content must be valuable, useful, and relevant.
Examples of a lead magnet – checklists, cheat sheets, blueprint/roadmap, templates, free trials, samples, training, and cast studies.
Real World Example
The International Security Driver Association uses case studies on vehicle ambushes and free eBooks as a way of generating leads. These two types of giveaways helped grow the email list from 1500 to close to 5000.
The lead magnet example we’ll use is a free eBook – 24 pages filled with tips and advice on social media. Our target market is protection professionals. In exchange for the free eBook our target market must supply at the very least an email address, and if they’d like, a first name. The less information you ask for the more likely the target market will sign up to receive the giveaway.
Creating the Giveaway Page
In our example, we decided to use a page on our website for our target market to sign up and receive the free eBook. Does it have to be a page? No. You could use social media ads, other hosted page platforms like Click Funnels or Lead Pages, or even your email management provider’s own hosted website or landing page.
On the lead magnet page we include a picture of the eBook, a description of the content included in the eBook, what will they learn from the eBook, and most importantly, a simple sign-up form from our customer relationship management (CRM) tool Mailchimp.
How do we let our target market know about our giveaway?
In the interest phase of the marketing funnel, you should have garnered some awareness into who you are, your brand, what you do, and whom you do it for. You can communicate about your giveaway through social media networks – organically or paid ads, email audience (previous sign-ups, customers, etc.), through other content such as videos or podcasts.
Once a lead signs up to receive the free giveaway, we immediately send them to a custom thank you page on our website. The thank-you page includes the giveaway download link as well as a short welcome message. The reason for the redirection to the thank-you page is two-fold – immediacy of the giveaway, and they have the ability to explore our website, services and products pages, about us, and articles.
Additionally, our lead gets added to our list in our CRM with a special identification applied such as a label or tag. This helps us organize what lead has received what giveaway and sets up the bigger part of the giveaway equation.
Signing Up is Only Part of the Equation
Getting your target audience to sign up for the giveaway is only part of the equation. The second and more important component once you have the target audience signing up for your free giveaway is converting your lead to a customer. You shouldn’t go right into a hard sell. You want to nurture your newly acquired audience to purchase your products or services.
You’ll need a strategy to take them by the virtual hand and walk them down the sales funnel. You do that through a series of emails. These emails, depending on your CRM, are usually automated with a time and schedule. The first email content should include a thank you message and an introduction. The introduction should include information of who you and your company are, and if your subscriber needs any help or assistance or questions answered on the information contained in the giveaway. The last email in the series is your offer – the product or service you want your lead to purchase.
Over the course of the next few emails, you want to personalize your emails. Focus your content on understanding your potential customer’s problems and how your services and product can help solve those problems. You want to be supportive and inclusive of your potential customer’s needs – put yourself in the customer’s shoes. Build your trust factor.
Set up goals and use the analytics from your email campaigns to understand what content interests them. What emails are they opening? What time are they opening the emails? What links are they clicking on? Your series of emails or “nurture sequence” is not a set it and forget it. Depending on your CRM, you may want to use decision trees, paths, or journeys to help nurture your leads down the sales funnel using analytics. For example, if a potential customer clicked on a particular link, use the logic from paths or journeys to send a different email with content specifically on that subject.
After the Offer
After your offer email and a lead becomes a customer your email communication does not end. It is only the beginning of your relationship with your customer.