Without an effective marketing funnel, your clients will read your content, follow your social media, read your offers, but will not advance to purchase. Marketing funnels and the science behind them, are the difference between a good product that experiences consistent growth, and sporadic, surging revenue followed by unexplainable lulls. They are the reason growth slows for no reason, and responsible for some of the most extraordinary success stories in modern history.

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A marketing funnel appears as such:

marketing funnel

At each stage of this process, a prospect needs different content, created for the psychological stage that they are experiencing.The first three stages can be looked at from the prospect’s point of view as:

Awareness, Evaluation, and Purchase.

Attract – Awareness – “I know I have a problem and am in the process of looking for a potential solution.”

Convert – Consideration – “I’m looking for the best product or service for me and my requirements.”

Close – Decision – “I am ready to purchase.”

Every stage requires specific content, and this is illustrated below, as you explore each stage in more detail, it becomes obvious why some content works, and others don’t at certain stages; and where the gaps are in your own content stack.

the buyers journey

Awareness

As we bring people into the process we need to address their issue directly, demonstrate that we understand and have the ability to help. Research, educational, white papers and other high level documentation that is highly shareable and general in tone work well.

Consideration

The prospect is interested and wants to learn more. As they evaluate your offering against your competition, your expert guides, webinars and podcasts and comparison guides – both on your site and others – become important. The prospect is looking for the right solution, and at this stage not taking any action is still a potential option that you are competing with.

Decision

The prospect is ready to purchase but needs evidence, and certainty in order to take that final step. Case studies, relevant to the prospect’s circumstances, and trial downloads, or a ‘taste’ of your product are powerful at this point.

Landing pages and forms are important in guiding the prospect effectively through the process, and enabling them to reach the decision stage elegantly, without the perception of pressure. It’s important to note that depending on the value of your product, or the perceived value as referenced by Neil Rackham in his excellent book Spin Selling, there may be a requirement for several pieces of content in each area due to others being involved in the process. This is something for each business to evaluate scientifically as they build their content library.

As you study your own marketing funnel you will likely notice gaps in one or two stages, when you do, it’s likely that you’ll also discover the stage at which you’re losing prospects. These are gaps to be filled as quickly as possible in order to increase conversion, and start your client relationship off on a positive and professional note.

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