We all know what a funnel is. It’s a tube, cone shaped, nothing too special. The idea is you put something in the top and it comes out the bottom. Why they call it a marketing funnel is a bit beyond us; because that is not at all how marketing works. If you poured all your website visitors into the top of the funnel, you certainly do not have the same amount at the end.
The marketing funnel really is more of a sieve, you know like the cooking utensil with all the little holes that you use to strain pasta? And to be honest, it's a better analogy for our purposes because it's more realistic.
What does the marketing funnel look like?
Think of your wonderful funnel, and picture it divided into five parts - we’ve included an image for you.
Let's discuss each of the components in greater detail.
The Awareness Stage
Visitors at this stage will interact with your content and browse your website. They may have stumbled up on your website by accident, or visited based on research - either way they know that you exist.
It's so important to recognise that at this stage, they don't even know that they need you. They’re blissfully unaware that you have something to offer, something that they never knew they needed.
Your job here is to build a whole heap of trust. You can do this in various ways. Have a fresh, exciting website that showcases your business or products. Ensure you can be found by focusing on search engine optimisation and be ruthless with your keyword research. Write incredible blog content that really revolutionizes their way of thinking, and also establishes you as an expert in your field.
The Interest Stage
Once your visitors have realized they have a particular pain point that you can alleviate, they become interested and progress down the sales funnel (insert sieve here). They are now actively considering your product or service.
What can you do to make this stage simple? Ensure that you are easy to connect with on all platforms. Reply to direct messages and engage with followers by tagging and acknowledging their comments on social media posts. Be open to communication via email or web enquiry. Make your website easy to navigate, and have all information on display in a clear manner.
It’s an excellent idea to provide free, valuable resources to interested visitors also, which can include product samples or eBooks - consumers often appreciate that extra mile. If you already have free content, the next step is to add your own content upgrades to blog content and articles that are currently receiving the highest amount of traffic. To do this, you’ll need to check out your Google Analytics. From there, select behavior -> site content -> all pages. Now upload the free content to your website.
You will need to organise a popup feature for your content upgrade. Sumo is a good app for this purpose, and better yet it can be used on a Shopify site. All you need to do is activate the popup in settings, and then start creating your first one! The final step is to connect your popup feature to your chosen email marketing platform. Set up the automated email so that anyone who signs up for the upgrade, will receive the content you have created.
The Purchase Stage
This step is crucial. Buyers in this phase are actively ready to make a purchase, but they aren’t quite sure who to give their business to. By now they know that you exist, and they know that you can alleviate their particular pain points. But now, you need to tackle the final hurdle which is convincing them that you are better than the competition. No pressure.
There are numerous ways that you can achieve this - you can nail a better price, more effective features, a captivating user experience. Whichever it is, you need to be sure that it's good enough to convince your visitors of making that final step and purchase with you.
We suggest that you take a good look at your products, and figure out which is the most popular or turns the highest profit. Ensure that those product descriptions are flawless. Ultimately all of your product descriptions should be amazing, but if you think they're in need of an overhaul, start with your best selling products first.
To further intensify your leg up on the competition, consider the addition of trust badges, product reviews and testimonials and high quality product images. A great way to really push this purchasing stage, is to enable exit-intent popups that display a discount. The most popular discounts you could include are percentage based, dollar amount, bundle discounts or offers for free shipping.
The Repeat Customer Stage
Congratulations are in order, because if you’ve found yourself in this stage it means that your customers have already bought from you once before.
They’re back again because they enjoyed the experience the first time, and this is something to be very proud of. It means you’re doing something right. Take this very seriously, as they can now advocate for your brand through word of mouth or even referrals. Make sure that you treat repeat customers well for this reason.
Ideally, you want all of your customers to eventually reach this stage. You achieve this by refining the experience, ensuring it's the best it possibly could be. Think about instating loyalty and rewards based programs, or shout out your customers on social media. An example of this being done well is Sephora, and their Beauty Insider Loyalty Program. Their most faithful customers receive access to a private hotline and invitations to attend guest-listed events, when they reach $1000 in purchases per year. Sephora has nailed they’re target population, because who wouldn’t want to feel like a VIP?
So, it's time for you to set up a loyalty program (if you haven’t already). Shopify has a few options to make this process quite simple, one of them being: Bold Loyalty Points.
This app allows you as the storefront to create a retention program easily, where your customers will be motivated to earn points. Points can be earned by purchasing your products, sharing your store on social media, referral of new customers, signing up and reaching tiered milestones (for example: bronze, silver and gold).
Your customers will be emailed when they earn points. It's sweet that they’ll receive a birthday email with bonus points too, which makes them feel like you truly value their business.
And once your customers have collected enough points, they’ll have the option to redeem them. Redemption of points can be via percentage discounts off items, dollar amount discounts, free shipping or even custom rewards like product samples or limited edition items or content.
Bold offers a storefront widget Within Shopify that gives your customers access to their membership from every page. It reflects current point status and how far off the next reward they are. The widget is completely customisable too.
Don’t worry though, loyalty programs can generally be applied to any eCommerce platform that you're using. For example, WooCommerce uses LoyaltyDog and WooRewards, and Magento utilizes the Amasty Loyalty Program.
Whichever platform you’re using, the same principles will apply across the board. Ensure that you tailor the program to your current customer base, promote it widely and consider giving your customers a small start up points balance to get the ball rolling.
The marketing funnel is a powerhouse, and essential for the long-term health of your eCommerce business. Take stock of the stages, evaluate where your customers are at and ensure you have actioned all you can to optimise the phases that they’ll naturally move through. It’s up to you to convince your customers that you outplay the competition, and that you’re worth repeat sales.
If you’re needing some assistance with any stage of the marketing funnel, strike up a conversation - we will be able to help you make the right steps.