Breaking Down The Internet Marketing Sales Funnel: Understanding User Flow

by Figaro Digital

When a user visits your site, you probably have an end goal which you’d like them to meet. Whether it’s making a purchase, or filling out a contact form. But do you understand the set of steps, or the ‘funnel’, this user must take in order to reach this goal completion?

Here we break down the marketing sales funnel. Detailing the user’s needs at each stage, and how you can ensure the journey through your site is as easy as possible.

Top Of The Funnel: Capturing Attention

The top of the online sales funnel is where everyone enters, however, not everyone’s journey will continue. This is where your net is cast widest in order to capture the attention of personas, or similar audiences. Think of it as an age of discovery.

At this level, your activity should be lead gen led. It is important to launch cross-channel marketing campaigns to raise awareness of your brand and build its authority through link building.

You should utilise everything from content marketing and SEO to social media, PR and PPC ads. Tip sheets, checklists and how-to videos and guides often work well at this funnel stage.

Identify your persona’s needs and problems, and how you can capture their attention by addressing these through onsite content. Then, you can use other marketing efforts to get as many eyeballs on this as possible.

Example: A person considering purchasing a new car may be interested in content such as ‘The Most Economic Small Cars Costing Less than £15,000’, PPC ads for 0% APR deals, and may search for terms such as ‘small cheap cars’.

Middle Of The Funnel: Building Trust

When a user’s interest is piqued, and they want to learn more, they will move deeper into the middle of the digital marketing funnel. This is where you should nurture this lead and maintain their interest.

Users in the middle stage of the funnel should be targeted with authoritative content that builds brand trust. It should effectively demonstrate key USPs, as this is where they’re likely to compare your business with competitors.

This can be done through white papers, webinars, case studies, and newsletter emails. Users in this stage of the funnel are also likely to visit an FAQ page.

Example: Our car buyer may search for content such as Ford Fiesta vs Vauxhall Corsa in hope of finding a comparison of the advantages and disadvantages, before browsing an online sales brochure with vehicle spec. This could include short videos showing how easy to manoeuvre the car is.

Bottom Of The Funnel: Converting Interest

If a user gets to the bottom of your funnel, then they’re very interested in your product or service. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean it is a done deal and they’re ready to commit and convert. It’s time to bring out the big guns; ROI metrics and other sales collateral.

This is the ideal time to give a trial of your product or service, give a demonstration, display trusted reviews, or show videos of the product in use. Content should help the user feel confident that they are making the right decision and incentivise them with discount codes.

Example: Lastly, our driver may look into finance deals and search for reviews from those who already drive your vehicle.

After The Funnel Ends: Rewarding Loyalty And Building Advocacy

Once a conversion is made, work does not stop. It is here that many experts believe you should flip the funnel.

Users who regularly visit your site will find it difficult to go elsewhere, and if nurtured correctly they may actively recommend you to other potential customers.

You can do this in a number of ways, including:

• Sending thank you confirmation emails asking users to share on social and review products
• Offering discount for return custom for those who share a relevant image and tag your organisation on social media
• Personalised engagement via marketing campaigns and community development
• Signing up users, with permission, to regular email newsletter updates which will provide information on releases and promotions
• Providing repeat purchasers with loyalty points which can be exchanged for goods or services
• Offering the ability to purchase an annual or monthly pass which provides unlimited delivery for a set fee.

Understanding Your Funnel

Sometimes, brands and marketers know what they would like their funnel to look like, but user journeys simply don’t match this.

Therefore, we would recommend diving into your Google Analytics data to see the most common steps users make on your site and where the biggest drop-off points are. You don’t want to fill a leaking bucket, after all.

While here, ensure your goals are inputted and being tracked correctly. This will allow you to have an accurate view of whether your existing funnel works, and what affect any changes may have in the future.

Lastly, remember, B2B and B2C funnels may follow a similar route, but there are some key differences.

B2B is likely to be a longer funnel which requires buy-in from managers or senior staff. It will likely require a trial period, whereas B2C tends to be quicker and more emotionally led.

Want To Learn More About User Flow?

If you’re looking to fine tune your sales funnel stages, then why not sign up to one of our marketing events? Our seminars and conferences are run by industry leading experts who can offer digital marketing solutions that are tried and tested.

Discover our company directory to learn more about our marketing event partners.