How to master the marketing funnel: A simple guide for businesses
What is a marketing funnel?
A marketing funnel, also called a purchase funnel or sales funnel, is the customer's journey from awareness to purchase. It starts when a customer discovers a brand and progresses through different touchpoints before they finally make a purchase.
Marketing funnels look different for every company. For example, yours may be a digital marketing funnel, whereas other businesses may use offline channels and mediums too, such as print and broadcast media to reach prospective customers. Ultimately, your marketing funnel will depend on your budget, your target audience, what information they need and the product or service you offer.
Initially, most funnels aim to reach as many potential customers as possible. The audience size shrinks at each stage as customers trickle down to the bottom (giving it the "funnel" title).
Understanding each step of the marketing funnel provides insight into what drives customer decisions at each stage of the buying process. You can then use this information to increase sales, improve customer loyalty and create better brand awareness.
What are the 3 main sections of a marketing funnel?
There are 3 marketing funnel stages - top of the funnel, middle of the funnel and bottom of the funnel:
Top of the funnel (TOFU)
The top of the funnel describes the stage in which people become aware they have a problem that your product or service can address. During this awareness stage, you want to introduce potential customers to your company and illustrate how your product or service solves a problem.
TOFU content is primarily educational to attract a large audience. It includes formats like blog posts, infographics, white papers and ebooks and may be published on social media.
Some examples include:
an infographic outlining the “benefits of eating gluten-free” for a health food store
a white paper discussing the “future of AI in business” for a software company
sponsored content on “the importance of sleep” for a mattress retailer in a lifestyle publication
Middle of the funnel (MOFU)
In the middle of the funnel, customers identify a problem and compare possible solutions. During the interest phase, your goal is to position your product or service as the best choice and highlight its unique selling points.
MOFU content is often a mix of educational and product or benefit-led material that adds value and promotes your offer. Popular formats include product comparison charts, and educational material such as webinars, videos, ebooks and whitepapers.
Some examples include:
a blog post highlighting “5 ways to manage customer contacts”
a case study on how “company X boosted revenue by 50%” with a software product
a webinar about “mastering social media marketing” with social proof of success.
Bottom of the funnel (BOFU)
At the bottom of the funnel, buyers are ready to purchase but need final assurances. Those in this consideration stage have already gone through the TOFU and MOFU stages, so they’re likely an excellent fit for your company.
BOFU content is designed to close the deal. It can include content formats such as product demonstrations, product comparison tables, tutorials, specific use case data, client testimonials, discount offers, and additional value-add services.
Some examples include:
a tutorial video on how to assemble a home gym
a landing page outlining the features and benefits of your product
a testimonial from a satisfied customer that shares “before and after.”
Why are marketing funnels important?
Marketing funnels provide insight into the buying cycle so that you can develop effective strategies for attracting and nurturing leads. You need to know what information people require at each stage to avoid losing them to competitors.
Using a funnel, you can better understand your brand’s customer journey, what tactics work at each stage and make content creation more efficient. The results are a deeper understanding of your clients, stronger customer relationships and a higher conversion rate.
What’s the difference between a marketing funnel and a sales funnel?
The main difference between the sales and marketing funnel is its scope. The sales team manages the sales funnel, and this is primarily concerned with closing the deal.
In contrast, the marketing funnel encompasses the entire customer journey, from initial awareness to post-purchase activities and loyalty-building efforts.
What are the 4 primary marketing funnel stages?
In the awareness stage, leads become aware that your business or product exists. They may not be aware of a problem that requires attention or may only be beginning to realise that one exists. During this stage, you're trying to get your product or service in front of potential customers so that you're top of mind when they're ready to buy.
At this stage, social media campaigns and SEO-driven blog posts are a great way to get leads’ attention.
Customers enter the consideration stage when they realise they have a problem and seek information on how to solve it. During this stage, they weigh up their options and compare possible solutions, so you want to position yourself as the best option.
Marketing materials at this point should address common pain points, compare your product or service to similar offers in the market, and address any hesitations leads may have.
The conversion stage is the final push to purchase. At this stage, sales and marketing may work together to help customers see that they made the right decision and provide reassurance that choosing your company will be the right choice for them.
At conversion, your content should tackle last-minute objections and make purchasing easy. You might publish a page of testimonials, share a one-pager highlighting your product’s key benefits or incorporate an FAQ section on specific product or service landing pages.
The marketing funnel doesn’t end when a customer makes a purchase. Your most valuable customers are those that keep coming back for more. During the loyalty phase, your aim should be to nurture existing customers, encourage future sales and provide ongoing support.
To encourage loyalty, you can email nurture campaigns, set up a loyalty programme or deliver personalised product recommendations based on a customer’s previous purchases.
There may be additional stages beyond loyalty, such as account management for products with a long lifecycle or a high initial or ongoing investment. The next critical step is advocacy: your customers become ambassadors for your brand and drive new business.
How to build your marketing funnel
Create your content
Each stage of the marketing funnel needs different content. The first step is deciding what content you'll create at each stage and how to deliver it.
Start by choosing your channels — for example, search content and social media platforms are great for TOFU content but not as effective for BOFU content. Instead, you should use channels like email and your website for leads further down the funnel.
Then, map out what information your leads need at each stage to move onto the next. Someone just becoming aware of a problem might benefit from a blog post outlining why they need to take action, while someone comparing three alternative solutions might need a chart highlighting the differences between your product and a competitor’s.
Automate content based on activity
People move through the marketing funnel at different speeds. One person might go through all stages, while another skips the MOFU stage entirely and heads straight to checkout. Delivering automated content based on a lead's actions as they move through the funnel ensures they get the right content at the right time.
Customer relationship management software allows you to configure specific automated actions based on certain activities. For example, you can automatically create welcome sequences for people who sign up for your newsletters or deliver content based on actions taken on your website, responses to previous emails or campaigns or data collected during the customer journey. Personalising the funnel for each lead makes them more likely to purchase.
Understanding your customers' needs at each stage of their journey will help you better serve them. By analysing their responses to specific tactics, you can predict your audience's needs at each marketing funnel stage.
Use an analytics tool to collect data as leads move through the funnel. For instance, you can collect information about the links they click, the products they view and the content they interact with. Comparing this information to metrics like website traffic and click-through, bounce and conversion rates can reveal which stages of the funnel work well and which require improvement.
Optimise your funnel
Make use of the collected data and insights to improve your marketing funnel. Adding more content, changing the purpose of your content or changing your automation triggers may be necessary to get the best results possible.
Use a CRM to manage your marketing funnel
Use a CRM that’s part of your MYOB business management platform to gain visibility of what’s happening across your entire business. Connect all your business-critical workflows - covering customers and leads, suppliers, employees, projects, finance, accounting and tax - with MYOB.
Cloud-based, you only pay for the functionality you need. However, as your business grows and your needs evolve, you can scale your use and extend your platform. You can also add-on additional integrations via MYOB’s App Marketplace to get the tech stack that’s right for you.
Disclaimer: Information provided in this article is of a general nature and does not consider your personal situation. It does not constitute legal, financial, or other professional advice and should not be relied upon as a statement of law, policy or advice. You should consider whether this information is appropriate to your needs and, if necessary, seek independent advice. This information is only accurate at the time of publication. Although every effort has been made to verify the accuracy of the information contained on this webpage, MYOB disclaims, to the extent permitted by law, all liability for the information contained on this webpage or any loss or damage suffered by any person directly or indirectly through relying on this information.