Sales Funnel

How to Build a Marketing Funnel: The Complete Guide

Wondering how to build a marketing funnel?

You’ve come to the right place.

A marketing funnel is a tool marketers use to increase your number of leads by sending more qualified prospects your way.

There are different steps in this process, which include capturing leads, nurturing them with high-quality content, showing value, and persuading them to buy.

If you're not sure where to start, our step-by-step guide on how to build a marketing funnel will walk you through the process from beginning to end.

Let’s get started.

What is a Marketing Funnel?

A marketing funnel is a tool that businesses use to map out the customer journey from awareness to purchase, and beyond. The funnel is made up of various stages, each of which represents a different step in the journey.

The stages of marketing funnels can vary depending on the business, but typically they include

  • Awareness
  • Interest
  • Consideration
  • Decision or Action

Image via Hello Digital Marketing

Understanding the Stages of the Marketing Funnel

Let’s now try to understand each stage of the funnel shown above.

Awareness

Awareness is the stage where prospects are first exposed to your brand or product. This can happen through paid advertising, organic search results, social media, or word-of-mouth.

From there, they progress to the interest stage, where they learn more about your products or services and start to develop a preference for your brand.

Interest

Interest is the stage where leads become interested in what you have to offer. They may learn more about your product or brand, and start to compare it to other options.  They might visit the company’s website, read more reviews, or do some research.

Consideration (or Desire)

Consideration is the stage where potential customers weigh their options and decide whether or not to buy your product or use your service.

They may do additional research at this stage, looking at reviews and testimonials to help them make their decision.

Action

Purchase is the final stage of the marketing funnel, where potential customers become paying customers. Once a customer has made a purchase, they enter into the post-purchase stage of the funnel.

At the post-purchase stage, when you nurture your customers, they may become brand ambassadors or repeat customers.

Before proceeding further, it’s important to know the difference between a sales funnel and marketing funnel. While a sales funnel focuses on boosting sales and conversions, marketing funnels are focused on generating interest and brand loyalty.

Let’s understand this better with some examples.

Why Should You Know How to Build a Marketing Funnel?

For every business, generating qualified leads and converting them into customers is the top priority.

In fact, according to a 2021 survey, 73% of marketers said acquiring a higher number of new customers is their top goal.

Yet, marketers also name lead generation, conversion, and demonstrating the ROI of their marketing activities as their top challenges. Even when businesses do acquire leads, most of them don’t convert to sales.

The lead-to-sales conversion statistics in this table prove the point. As you can see, the conversion rates are between 3.3 to 5.6% for most industries.

Image via Ruler Analytics 

And, what are the reasons behind poor conversion rates?

  • Leads are not qualified
  • They are not yet ready to buy
  • There is no long-term lead nurturing strategy in place
  • There is a lack of consistent and timely follow-up with sales leads
  • Lack of knowledge on which type of content and tactics to use at different stages of the buyer’s journey
  • Lack of visibility of the customer journey

It is important for every marketer to know how to build a marketing funnel using ClickFunnels alternatives because it helps businesses:

  • Get full visibility into their customers’ journey and pain points
  • Create tailored marketing and content strategies for each stage with greater precision
  • Become more relevant to their target audiences
  • Develop an accurate picture of the effectiveness of their marketing strategies
  • Generate more conversions, value, and ROI

Convinced about the importance of knowing how to build a marketing funnel?

Let’s now talk about the different stages of a marketing funnel before getting to learn how to build one.

Steps to Build a Marketing Funnel

Now that you are ready to learn how to build a marketing funnel for your content, there are a few steps you can take to make sure it's successful.

1. Determine Your Goals

Why set goals before knowing how to build a marketing funnel?

Well, setting goals helps you create a strategy and establish processes that set you up for success. With clear goals outlined, you’ll know exactly what needs to be done to reach them.

Don’t believe us?

According to CoSchedule’s research, marketers who set clear goals are 376% more successful than those who don’t.

Image via CoSchedule

The goals for building a marketing funnel can seem obvious: improving conversions and sales.

However, your marketing funnel objectives need not be restricted to getting your leads to purchase.

You can use marketing funnels, for instance, to see how your website visitors move through the site. This engagement can uncover insights that might help you to drive more sales in the future.

Other goals for building a marketing funnel can be:

  • Tracking the signup for your newsletter (seeing the signup form > filling and submitting form > providing emails)
  • Page conversion (Visiting the signup page > completing the sign up).
  • Ebook or app download (Visiting the download page > filling the signup form > downloading the app or ebook)

Take some time to think about what your goals are before building your marketing funnel.

2. Create Buyer Personas

Once you determine your goals, you need to identify your audience and what they want to see from you. This is the key to ensuring your sales and marketing efforts are aligned with your prospects’ preferences and piques their interest.

This ensures you're making the most effective use of your time, money, and resources.

Creating a buyer persona requires research and input from various stakeholders within your organization. You can do this by conducting market research or using a survey to find out:

  • What your target customers’ goals are
  • What problems they have
  • What solutions you can provide for them
  • What type of content they consume
  • Which is their go-to source for news, entertainment, and networking?
  • Who influences them?
  • How often do they buy from you or your competitors?

Once you know who your ideal customers are, you need to segment them.

It’s important to remember that not everyone who completes the first 1 or 2 stages will automatically convert into paying customers. This is where the term “marketing qualified lead” or MQL comes in.

These are leads that have been determined to be more likely to convert into a paying customer than other leads.

This determination is typically made based on indicators such as the lead's behavior (e.g. engagement with marketing content) or their profile (e.g. job title or industry).

Marketing qualified leads are important because they represent a higher quality of lead than non-MQLs. You can use automated lead qualification tools to find out which leads are more likely to convert into customers.

The idea behind finding buyer personas is to understand each persona’s journey to become a customer. This can help you craft better-targeted funnels.

3. Use the Right Marketing Campaigns at Each Stage

There are a number of marketing tactics that can be used at each stage of the marketing funnel to move a customer through to purchase.

Let’s see the strategies you can use for each stage.

Top Of The Funnel (TOFU)

Marketing campaigns you need to leverage at this stage need to raise awareness of your brand by showing your audience what you have to offer.

Instead of a hard-sell, you should focus on providing information that is relevant to your audience and relationship-building.

The idea is to create opportunities for your target audience to get to know what your brand is all about, your values, and offerings.

Here are some top-of-the-funnel marketing tactics that can help you reach a large number of people.

Social Media Outreach

There are many ways to use social media to create awareness and connect with prospects organically, including:

  • Hosting contests
  • Offering freebies
  • Showing a demo of the product or service
  • Creating shareable content
  • Leveraging user-generated content
  • Telling your brand story
  • Contributing to a cause
  • Posting infographics

Here is a social media post from Harley-Davidson which showcases the stories of their riders in addition to information about their new models:

Image via Instagram

And here’s how Blendjet uses contests to promote awareness:

Image via Instagram

You can also incorporate your offline activities in the digital marketing funnel to create brand awareness. These offline activities can include sponsorship of events, charity work, or making corporate donations.

Take a look at how Honda uses social media to showcase the musical fireworks event called the “Celebration of Light” that it sponsors each year.

Image via Instagram


Blogs

Blogs are yet another great way to create brand awareness for your business. By creating valuable content, you can attract new readers to your website and give a boost to your SEO.

To use your blog as a marketing tool,

  • Start by defining your target audience and what you want to achieve with your blog.
  • Structure your blog post with headings, sub-headings, and bullet points.
  • Do keyword research and include the relevant keywords to boost search rankings.
  • Ensure the blog post’s length is aligned with search engine optimization best practices. According to HubSpot’s research, the best performing blogs have between 2100 and 2400
  • Create content that is visually appealing and easy to read, and include calls to action (CTAs) throughout your posts so readers know what they should do next.
  • Promote your blog on social media and other channels to get more eyes on your content.

By following these tips, you can use your blog as an effective marketing tool to build brand awareness and drive traffic to your website.

Optimize Your Website

Another useful strategy at this stage of the funnel is to optimize your website content for the right keywords to improve your organic search rankings.

Here are some tips for optimizing your website and landing pages for SEO:

  • Use keyword-rich titles and descriptions. Make sure your titles and descriptions include the keywords you want to rank for.
  • Structure your URLs. Use keyword-rich URL structures that are easy for both users and search engines to understand.
  • Optimize your images. Use image compression tools to help pages load faster and include keywords in your image file names and alt text.

Paid Ads

PPC ad campaigns are effective TOFU marketing strategies that help you create brand awareness. These ads are shown to your target audiences who either are using related search queries or are of a certain demographic that you want to target.

For instance, Facebook’s brand awareness ad campaigns allow you to reach the maximum number of people within your defined budget.

Image via Facebook

Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing can be a fantastic way to boost brand awareness. Influencers have huge followings, which you can tap into for increasing your reach.

One of the most important aspects of influencer marketing is finding the right influencers to work with. It's important to find influencers who have a large following and are relevant to your industry.

Once you've found the right influencers, you need to build a relationship with them and establish trust before you start promoting your products or services through their channels.

Here’s an example of how Capital One, a credit card company, has partnered with influencer Skyler Bouchard Oppenheim who has over 250K followers on Instagram.

Image via Instagram

It doesn’t have to be a mega influencer if you are low on budget. Many brands, like Sony, successfully use nano influencers with 1000 or less followers.

Image via Instagram

Middle Of The Funnel (MOFU)

At this stage, it’s important to continue building on the awareness you’ve already generated and get customers interested in your product or service. Essentially, you need to convert your audience into leads.

Marketing campaigns that work well at this stage involve providing more information about your product or service and explaining how it can help solve the customer’s problem.

Content Marketing

The content you create should be able to capture their attention and keep them engaged.

According to a Semrush survey, 44% of marketers say “how-to” guides generate the best leads, making them ideal for both TOFU and BOFU.

This is followed by product-oriented content, case studies, and web page content.

To nurture the leads already acquired at the TOFU stage, marketers mostly use email marketing.

Image via Semrush

Ideally, you’ll need to offer different types of convincing materials and provide social proof to convince prospects to make a purchase decision.

These types of content work well at this stage:

  • Detailed blog posts
  • Product comparison guides
  • FAQ content
  • Case studies
  • Whitepapers
  • Ebooks
  • Email newsletters
  • Video tutorials
  • Infographics
  • Checklists

When writing any type of content, remember to analyze the top performing content in the industry to create compelling and set that as a benchmark to create unique content. A recent study shows that these factors make the content engaging enough for leads to make a sales call:

  • A strong story that resonates with prospects (55%)
  • Uses research and data to support claims (52%)
  • Loaded with quick-hitting insights and shareable stats (40%)
  • Is personalized to the targets’ needs (32%)

Webinars

By hosting a webinar, you can provide valuable information to your audience and establish yourself as an expert in your field. Additionally, webinars are a great way to nurture leads and turn them into customers.

According to a study, a webinar, on average, generates anywhere from 500 to 1000 leads in addition to converting 55% of attendees.

Image via Zippa


Case Studies

Case studies are very effective in establishing credibility and converting leads into sales. We, at Attrock, have dedicated an entire section to case studies that showcase the real results we have achieved.

Write detailed case studies that include the problems, the solutions you offer, and the results. You can include case studies in your email marketing campaigns or share them on social media platforms such as LinkedIn.

Demonstration

Demos give your customers a closer look at your product or service and help them come to a decision.

This could involve setting up a booth at an industry event or creating a video demo that walks viewers through your product’s key features.

Ikea’s desk assembly video is a good example:

Image via YouTube

Free Samples

This marketing strategy typically involves providing access to your product or service for a limited time period so that potential buyers can experience its value first-hand.

Freebies can be a physical sample, a digital lead magnet, or a free consultation. Take a look at the free consultation offer from Blk Bld & Co.

Image via Blk Bld & Co

To run a successful free sample campaign, start by identifying your target audience and determining what type of free sample would be most appealing to them.

Then, create an eye-catching campaign that will grab attention and incentivize people to take action.

Customer Testimonials

Reviews and testimonials are a great way to show prospects that your product or service can deliver on its promises. They also create social proof, which can help persuade undecided customers to convert.

When selecting customer testimonials for your MOFU campaigns, look for ones that are:

  • Specific and detailed about what your product or service did for the customer
  • Written in the customer's own words
  • From existing customers and influencers

Retargeting Ads

Some ideas for retargeting campaigns include:

  • Creating ads specifically for users who have visited your pricing page but didn't convert
  • Sending personalized ads to people who have engaged with your brand on social media
  • Running ads featuring customer testimonials or case studies

Bottom of The Funnel (BOFU)

We have now reached the purchase stage, where customers are ready to buy your product or service.

Content Types to Use

Semrush’s survey found that the best performing content forms, in terms of conversion, are case studies and customer-generated content. The other types of content marketers rely on include:

  • Email marketing (73%)
  • Product overviews (51%)
  • Customer reviews (49%)
  • Success stories (43%)
  • Use cases (30%)
  • Case studies (25%)

Apart from these, paid ads and organic search are also effective in converting.

In-depth blogs, case studies, customer testimonials, and product demonstration are all excellent at motivating your prospects to take action at this stage. In addition, you can:

Offer Discounts and Coupons

According to a recent study, 74% of budget-conscious consumers admit they get swayed by a discount or coupon.

Affluent consumers, too, love coupons. Most importantly, 64% of consumers say discounts or coupons speed up their decision to purchase. So, these work well for BOFU conversions.

Image via Vericast

Provide Unambiguous Pricing Information

Now that you’ve convinced your prospects to buy from you, the next thing they’re going to do is to look for pricing information.

If they feel the price is too high or if you are not transparent about the pricing, they may decide to go to a competitor.

Ideally, you should offer flexible pricing that meets the unique needs of your customers. Vimeo’s pricing plans are a good example:

Image via Vimeo

4. Ensure You Have a Customer Retention Strategy

It's not enough to simply convert a prospect into a paying customer — you need to work hard to retain them and make them your brand evangelists. Here are some tips on how to do just that:

  • Keep your promises. If you say you're going to deliver something, make sure you do so — customers appreciate reliability.
  • Go the extra mile. There's always room for improvement, so aim to exceed customer expectations whenever possible.

This could involve asking for feedback, responding to queries/complaints promptly, and offering bespoke solutions where appropriate.

  • Keep things fresh. Keeping your brand fresh and exciting is a great way to keep customers engaged — no one wants to be associated with a boring, stagnant company.
  • Regularly introduce new products/services, update your branding, and keep up with industry trends to ensure you're always ahead of the curve.
  • Keep them engaged. Keep in touch with your customers even after they've made a purchase. Some types of content and tactics you can send at this stage:
    • Thank you notes
    • Follow-up emails
    • Coupons
    • In-depth service or product advice
    • Exclusive content
    • Insider tips
  • Leverage referral programs. Identify your loyal customers and encourage them to become brand advocates.

5. Track Performance with Marketing Funnel Metrics

The final step in building a marketing funnel is analyzing its effectiveness and tweaking it accordingly.

There are a lot of marketing funnel metrics that you could track, but which ones are most important?

According to a Semrush research, here are the most important metrics that indicate the marketing funnel’s effectiveness:

Image via Semrush

Conversion Rate

Conversion rate tells you how many people are taking the desired action out of the total number of people who visit your site or see your ad. You can find it by dividing the number of conversions by the number of visitors or clicks and multiply that by 100.

Conversion Rate By Channel

If your marketing goal is to know which channels to focus your efforts on, this metric is important.

You need to track the number of leads and conversions from different channels including:

  • Paid ads on social media and search engines
  • Email marketing
  • Influencer marketing
  • Referrals
  • Organic search

Cost Per Acquisition (CPA)

This metric tells you how much it costs your business to acquire a new customer, and is a key factor in determining whether or not your marketing efforts are successful.

To get your CPA, divide the overall cost of your marketing campaign by the total conversions.

ROI

To calculate the ROI of a marketing campaign, you first need to identify the cost of the campaign. This includes both the money spent on the sales process (advertising and production) and indirect costs, such as staff time and overhead.

You can then track the number of leads by using metrics such as website traffic or newsletter signups, while sales can be tracked using revenue figures.

A simple formula to calculate ROI is to divide the total value of sales by the total cost of the campaign. This will give you a percentage figure that represents how much return they got for every dollar spent on the campaign.

For example, if a marketing campaign cost $100 and generated $500 in sales, then its ROI would be 500% ($500/$100).

What is a good ROI?

A ratio of 5:1 where you get $5 for every dollar you spend is generally taken as a good ROI.

Lifetime value (LTV)

This is the average amount of money that each customer spends on your brand over their lifetime. LTV is important because it allows you to calculate how much money you can afford to spend on acquiring new customers (acquisition costs).

Based on these insights, you can decide to tweak your marketing funnel to drive better results for your campaigns.

FAQ

Q1. What are the 5 stages of the marketing funnel?

A. The 5 stages of the marketing funnel are:

  1. Awareness
  2. Interest
  3. Consideration
  4. Intent
  5. Purchase

Q2. What are the 3 stages of a funnel?

A. The marketing funnel can also be divided into three stages:

  • Top of the Funnel (TOFU) stage where your prospects become aware of your brand and what you have to offer.
  • The Middle of the Funnel (MOFU) stage where they start to learn more about what you have to offer and develop an interest in it.
  • The Bottom of the Funnel (BOFU) where they decide to purchase your product or service.

Q3. How does funnel marketing work?

A. A marketing funnel is the visual representation of the process that prospects go through from the point they become aware of your product or service to ultimately deciding to purchase it.

By creating a well-defined marketing funnel, you can more effectively track and measure your results, and make better informed decisions about your marketing strategies along the way.

Q4. What is a marketing funnel example?

A. A marketing funnel starts with generating awareness through traffic sources like Google ads or blogs.

Once someone clicks on your ad or links, they are then sent to a landing page where they can learn more about your product or service. If they are interested, they will then be sent to a sales page to make a purchase.

Q5. How do you build a marketing funnel?

A. To build a marketing funnel that converts, you need to start by identifying your goals and ideal customer.

The next step is to use marketing tactics and content to create brand awareness, generate interest, and entice them to purchase.

Go through this blog post on ‘how to build a marketing funnel’ to know the steps to take.

Keep It Going

A marketing funnel is a powerful tool that can help you increase your conversion rate and grow your business.

By building a well-designed funnel, you can nurture leads and guide them through the buyer's journey until they're ready to make a purchase.

Remember to track the metrics and adjust your tactics accordingly on an ongoing basis.

And if you need more help, our team of digital marketing experts are always here to lend a hand across all stages of the marketing funnel.

Gaurav Sharma

Gaurav Sharma is the Founder and CEO of Attrock, a results-driven digital marketing company. Grew an agency from 5-figure to 7-figure revenue in just two years | 10X leads | 2.8X conversions | 300K organic monthly traffic | 5K keywords on page 1. He also contributes to top publications like HuffPost, Adweek, Business2Community, TechCrunch, and more.

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