Digital advertising finally overtook traditional ad buying last year. Companies now put most of their marketing budgets into digital spaces.
There are several reasons this makes sense. Digital marketing often comes with a lower price tag, as well as a much higher potential for reaching an audience.
The point of marketing isn’t to draw people in, though. It’s to convert traffic into leads and, hopefully, to paying customers. To do this, most marketers use digital marketing funnels.
There are a few different approaches to making a funnel. Most of them follow the same basic structure, and all of them promise results.
Classic Four-Step Digital Marketing Funnels
The classic funnel is used in both sales and marketing. It’s been around since the late 1800s, so you can consider it tried-and-true. It has four steps:
This model, sometimes called AIDA, works well for both sales and marketing teams. At the top of the funnel, your job is to create awareness and interest.
As the prospect moves down the funnel, they enter the decision-making phase. There, you can provide them with more material to support their decision.
Finally, the prospect will be ready to take action.
AIDA in Action
To see how AIDA would work for a digital marketing team, imagine you’ve opened a new pizzeria in town. You’re using digital marketing to advertise your new business.
The first step is to create awareness. People can’t buy pizza from you if they don’t know you exist.
At this stage, you might create an ad campaign to let people know about their great new pizza options. You might create ads that invite them to try the “new” pizzeria. You might run an ad that says, “Now open!”
At the interest stage, you want to get people interested in trying your product. Maybe you have a great deal, or maybe you’re getting rave reviews. You might even have a special menu item they can only order from you.
Now the customer is interested. They need to make a decision. Why should they order from you and not any other pizzeria in town?
Your next set of content would give them a good reason. Do you have a “money back” guarantee or a discount that will entice them to try?
Finally, the customer is ready to take action. You provide them with a “call now” or “order here” button. They click the button and place their first order with you.
More Complex Funnels for More Complex Buyers
AIDA still works, but many marketers have noted today’s buying decisions seem much more complex. Some have proposed buying mazes or buying cycles, rather than a linear funnel.
In these models, there are more stages for a lead to move through before becoming a customer. Just as leads can enter the funnel at any stage, these models also suggest people can move backward through the process.
In the pizzeria example, this might be a prospect who clicks on an ad and looks at the menu. They may even get as far as the order page, but they decide not to order tonight because they’re still not sure.
This lead has taken a step back in the process. A savvy marketer would follow up with an extra offer to convince this person to take a leap of faith and place an order.
How to Build a Marketing Funnel
With AIDA in mind, it’s time to build a digital marketing funnel. It can sometimes help to work backward, so start with your call to action.
When the consumer is in the action phase, what do you want them to do? This could be signing up for a newsletter, downloading a free eBook, or placing an order with you.
Next, you’ll build a landing page around this action. The landing page is where your lead will land after clicking a link on Google or through an ad.
You’ll also need an ad or compelling copy for the search engine results page. Tell users why they should click your page.
In the pizzeria example, the owner built an ad campaign to raise awareness of their new business. They promoted this all over Facebook and Instagram, raising awareness.
When people click the link, they arrive on a landing page that tells them about the difference they’ll taste when they order from this pizzeria. The landing page offers them a 10 percent discount on their first order, then invites them to “order now.”
Playing the Long Game
The pizzeria example is direct. The hungry consumer sees an ad and is enticed to order now. Often, the buyer’s decision-making process can be much more drawn out.
This is especially the case for business-to-business sales. The consumer may need to do extensive research and compare products. They may need to consult with a team of top executives before they decide.
Digital marketing funnels adapt to fit these buyers’ needs. Support people in the early stages with content like blog posts or videos. As these buyers research different solutions, they learn about benefits and compare offerings.
These prospects may reach out to your team or sign up to download an eBook. Your sales team can then get in touch with these high-quality leads and offer more support. Product demonstrations, discussions, and more go a long way to convincing skeptical leads.
Tips for a Better Funnel
Digital marketing funnels can be great lead-generation tools, but not every lead is a great prospect. Be sure to add some metrics so you can check the quality of your leads.
This way, your team can follow up with the people most likely to convert. They can also choose their responses based on how likely someone is to make a purchase.
Your funnel should be designed to draw people in and retarget those who click an ad. Remember that building lasting customer relationships is a marathon, not a sprint.
Funneling in More Sales
Building a successful digital marketing funnels doesn’t need to be difficult. With the right understanding and the right team on your side, you can turn more of your visitors into leads and customers.
Not sure where to start? Get in touch and let the experts assist you with your next marketing plan