Author: Walter Lim
Do you know what the most powerful thing about digital marketing is?
The fact that you can monitor and measure every single step of your marketing process. And the best way to do so is to create a digital marketing funnel.
If you are familiar with a traditional marketing funnel, you’d have no problems working with a digital marketing funnel.
Like the former, a digital marketing funnel helps you to analyse how well your customer conversion process is performing. From awareness to perception to engagement to conversion to advocacy.
Using tools like Google Analytics or marketing automation software like Marketo, HubSpot, and Infusionsoft, it is possible to continually streamline and optimize your digital marketing process.
Let us take a closer look at how this entire process works.
A digital marketing funnel (or sales funnel or marketing funnel) captures the different points of entry of your target audience to a web page or social media post.
This is normally divided into three sections:
Your goal is to “graduate” your online visitors to move progressively downwards towards a profitable action like an online purchase or signing up for a programme. This process is called lead nurturing
Let us take a closer look at the funnel, with my example below:
Also known as TOFU (Asians will have no problems remembering this!), the top of your digital marketing funnel is where the bulk of your visitors first encounter your online brand.
As shown in the diagram above, most of these visitors arrive at your website (or landing page) through the following actions:
The key here is to attract the most relevant and interested parties to visit your website or landing page. To do so, generate and share short but helpful content such as blog articles, infographics, and slides which address specific customer pain points or needs.
(PS – You may want to advertise some of your best content by boosting them on social media.)
Note that we normally do not ask for the sale at this stage. This is because your TOFU web visitors are likely to be fairly “cold” to your products or services.
However, you can introduce specific Calls To Actions (CTAs) to convert TOFU visitors to MOFU leads. This may include encouraging them to opt-in with their contact information for more valuable and helpful content like an eBook, slide, or template.
Unlike TOFU visitors, folks who hover around the MOFU layer are normally more invested in their relationship with you.
Often, they are the more valuable leads who have decided to opt-in by providing their contact details (normally name, email address, organisations and occasionally mobile numbers) on what we call a lead page.
In return, they will receive a valuable piece of longer-form content or a tool. Also known as a lead magnet, examples of such lead-nurturing content include the following:
At this stage, you are looking at building a strong community who opt to subscribe to your email newsletter and receive updates from you.
After they have been “warmed up” sufficiently as a beneficiary of your content marketing efforts, you may want to convert them to become actual customers.
Which brings us to the next stage of lead nurturing – BOFU.
The Bottom Of Funnel (BOFU) is where the rubber meets the road.
After you have attracted a strong following of leads and prospects who follow you religiously, you need to find the opportunity to convert them to become customers. This is where email marketing or perhaps remarketing or retargeting of your prospects could come in.
Often, an attractive offer which is highly targeted and relevant hits the sweet spot – the “Buy Now” button on your email, lead page or website.
What strategies can you apply to convert your leads to customers?
Note that getting your leads and prospects to become your customers alone isn’t enough.
Expert marketers know that managing customer experience is critical to long-term digital marketing success. Adopting a holistic view of your customer helps you to improve customer loyalty and lifetime value, giving you permission to upsell products and services to them.
Beyond this, you may also want to encourage your best customers to become your Word Of Mouth (WOM) advocates, especially on social media. You can start by giving them a small incentive (eg discounts off purchases) to involving them in designing your product. Read 9 Ways to Build Relationships on Social Media to further learn how you can socialise your digital marketing efforts.
Learned to attract your target audiences, turn them into leads, and convert them to customers and advocates? Good!
Now you need to track, measure and optimize your digital marketing performance throughout your marketing funnel. This is where digital marketing analytics using tools like Google Analytics comes in.
Let’s revisit our digital marketing funnel and add a layer of metrics and analytics.
For the example above, you can see that different measurements are needed for audiences at different stages of engagement with your brand.
At the TOFU level, there are two key metrics for you to consider:
Normally, the numbers who “bounce” off your website (ie leave after viewing only one page) is an indication of how “sticky” your content is. The lower the bounce rate, the higher your chances to converting your visitors to become readers.
This brings you to the MOFU level of the funnel. Here, the key metrics used could be defined as:
Finally, at the BOFU level of the funnel, you need to track the following:
From the example given above, you can see that a reach of say 100,000 impressions yielded 100 sales conversions (ie 0.1%).
While this number may appear small, you need to consider the value of your product. 100 sales of a $1,000 high-end software product equates to $100,000 in revenue!
More importantly, you can tweak and optimize each stage of the funnel to deliver the best conversion results. A conversion is defined as a desired action, and could include any of the following:
All of these improvements will help to increase the ROI of your digital marketing efforts.
(To learn more, do also read my essential guide to Social Media Marketing ROI.)
Now that you have learned about the different levels of your digital marketing funnel, your next step involves setting it up.
A good tool to do so would be Google Analytics. This free tool allows you to establish conversion goals for each stage of your funnel and track your customer “flow” from one level to another.
An example of how this is visualised is shown below (courtesy of Fast Company):
To learn how you can set up Google Analytics to establish goals for each stage of your funnel, watch the video below from the good guys from Kissmetrics:
Hope that my brief guide above gave you a basic understanding of how you can use digital marketing funnels to define, measure and optimize your digital marketing funnels.
Naturally, this isn’t the only way to look at funnels – there are hundreds of different variations. However, the key principles of funnel analysis remains the same.