Perceiving the entire customer journey as a whole is a starting point for strategizing digital marketing and driving more sales with rational spending. But to meet this success repeatedly, the digital marketing strategy must be funnel-centered. Building a digital marketing funnel starts with scrutinizing its stages to grasp what can be done to address customers’ needs and pains. These differ for the top of the funnel, its middle, and bottom.
What Is a Digital Marketing Funnel?
A digital marketing funnel is a general representation of consecutive stages that customers go through before they actually become your buyers.
In its core, the digital marketing funnel enhances the traditional AIDA funnel concept. The latter provided a broad, less specific segmentation of the buyer’s journey into Awareness, Interest, Decision, and Action. The digital funnel goes deeper into the segmentation regarding the specifics of online purchasing and customer retention focus.
This way, the digital marketing funnel encompasses:
- Awareness and Exposure. Potential customers get to know your brand, products, and services from brand awareness campaigns.
- Education & Engagement. Leads start to engage with your marketing content to learn more about the specific purposes and advantages of your product orservice.
- Consideration & Justification. Prospects acknowledge your product as preferable among other purchase options they’ve considered. They can also start interacting with your sales reps, who should help them better understand all the use cases.
- Purchase. Refers to a first-time purchase that paves the way for further retention.
- Retention. Refers to establishing and upkeeping beneficial customer relationships that encourage customers to buy again and again.
A segmented perception of the buyer’s journey deepens understanding of digital marketing as it fosters more granular audience prospecting. Marketers can define what specific needs of the audience to address to grab their attention and encourage them to take the next step towards conversion.
Granular Digital Marketing Funnel vs. AIDA Marketing Funnel
Since our guide will cover the ins and outs of a more segmented digital marketing funnel, we’d like to define how it differs from the less detailed AIDA one. Here’s the comparative table to make it clear.
Fewer stages and a more general view of sales and marketing process (Awareness to Loyalty path)
More stages that encompass both pre-sale and post-sale interactions with customers. Such an approach determines successful marketing by increasing customer retention and loyalty.
The linear order of customer progress towards the bottom of the funnel
Non-liner view on customer journey. Online interaction with marketing messages doesn’t follow the strict order. Therefore, it demands a strong and clear value proposition at each funnel stage.
Brand-focused concept of purchase: marketers persuade customers to take actions that benefit the company.
Customer-focused selling aims to fulfill and even surpass customer expectations. Putting customer experience first place boosts loyalty and retention.
Digital Marketing Funnel Breakdown: ToFu, MoFu, BoFu Overview
A genuinely successful digital marketing funnel bridges the gap between two poles of the customer relationship – initial brand awareness and becoming a brand ambassador. With that in mind, the funnel must encompass pre- and post-purchase stages. Let’s dive into more details of the Top funnel (ToFu), Middle funnel (MoFu), and Bottom funnel (BoFu) funnel stages.
Awareness & Exposure
An initial introduction to what the company does, its mission, and core values. Here, the purpose is to let the leads get the first impression of what distinguishes you from competitors and start recognizing your brand.
Education & Engagement
Educating the target audience expands their awareness and nurtures their trust at the same time. You can bring visitors to your website and offer them useful guides, how-to tutorials, and reviews on relevant topics. By publishing and promoting your educational content consistently, you keep the audience permanently engaged with your messaging.
Your educational content creates entry points for your digital marketing funnel. By carrying out purposeful content marketing, you encourage the audience to explore your website and prove yourself as an industry expert.
Consideration & Justification
The Consideration process here can be viewed as a combination of the Research and Evaluation components.
While their research, prospects recognize their need and seek solutions. At this stage, prospects seek specific solutions and compare the companies offering them, so you must detect customer pain points overlooked by competitors. Running the competitor analysis can help you get ahead of your competitors and become the most favorable solution option.
To help prospects with their evaluation, offer them free trials, affordable custom subscription plans, and similar options. Customers universally endorse vendors’ transparency, so let it contribute to your credibility.
But even after you’ve convinced the prospect to try out your product or service, their purchase decision typically takes additional consideration. Learning about the possible doubts and concerns and then addressing them in advance prevents funnel drop-offs in your digital marketing funnel.
Social approval can also immensely assist positive purchase decisions. Regarding that, it's vital to leverage the power of referrals and case studies showcasing customer success stories.
Even though purchase seems to be a finish line of previous marketing and sales efforts, there are a lot of nuances to account for. Make sure that the purchase process flows transparently, seamlessly, and without friction.
Ensuring fast and easy onboarding helps with a lasting positive experience for a post-sale period. But onboarding is just the first educational stage for a new customer. One of the most common reasons for churn is that customers – both new and those you consider your long-term strategic partners – don’t know how to fully utilize your platform or tool to its best advantage. So be sure to keep communicating, demonstrating how the new (and trusted old) features work, offering best-use practices, and a prompt connection to customer support if needed.
Customer experience is paramount for achieving higher retention and maximizing revenue from increased customer lifetime value. Financesonline.com outlines that a 5% increase in retention rate yields more than doubled revenue.
Post-sale retention practices are diverse. They can include email win-back campaigns, personalized secondary onboarding, and offering reward programs for loyal customers. Make sure you collect and assess feedback as you nurture retained customers into loyal ones.
Sales expansion is a crucial phase of the retention period, allowing you to extend your offering. To recognize it, you must thoroughly monitor the behavior of clients that already purchased your product or service. Leverage web analytics tools to source intent signals and retarget your digital ads to make customers re-enter the sales cycle.
As customer satisfaction and loyalty strengthen, people are willing to spread the word about your brand and share their positive experiences with their friends and business partners. This is the moment they become active brand advocates.