The marketing funnel is the cornerstone of Internet marketing and online business. All Internet marketing activities and every online business are based on the foundation of marketing funnels.
In this blog post – and the accompanying video tutorial you can find at the end of this blog post – I explain what the marketing funnel is and how it works.
The marketing funnel is the system that drives strangers into visitors and leads, and eventually turn your audience into paying customers. It is the process your entire online business is based upon.
Every entrepreneur and business owner operating online need to understand the marketing funnel. In essence, the marketing funnel describes an overview of the steps a stranger takes on his or her way towards becoming a customer.
The marketing funnel contains several steps:
- Attracting strangers to our website, blog or web shop
- Converting anonymous visitors into leads
- Turning leads into customers
- Happy customers become evangelists who spread the word to new strangers
Turning strangers into visitors are done through various types of marketing activities, such as organic/SEO search engine traffic, paid ads, or referrals from social media or content platforms like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube (videos), SlideShare (PowerPoint presentations), Amazon (eBooks), iTunes (podcasts), etc.
The next step is to convert anonymous visitors into leads; these are people who have given us their contact information. The most common lead generation technique online is to offer something desirable for free (typically a PDF file, such as a cheat sheet or a checklist). This is called a lead magnet, and sometimes an opt-in bribe.
Visitors only get the desirable lead magnet if they submit their contact information in a registration form; the lead magnet is gated behind a registration wall. If your visitors want the free lead magnet, they will have to register in a form to get it. This is how you build an email list or leads database.
With an email list, you can start to send automated marketing emails to nurture your subscribers and warm them up for a future purchase. Using marketing emails, and other activities, you can push your subscribers closer to a purchase decision, and finally trigger the purchase.
Turning a visitor into a lead, or a lead into a customer, is called a conversion. The rate at which your conversion point successfully converts the potential customer such that he or she performs the desired activity and take one step further down in the funnel is called the conversion ratio, or conversion rate.
To get more customers, you have two options:
- Attract more strangers to visit your website
- Increase the efficiency of the marketing funnel such that more visitors turn into customers
The first point above requires additional marketing activities. With the second point above, you can get more customers without having more website visitors.
You can optimize the efficiency of the conversion points, such that more people take the next step on their path to become customers. This is called conversion ratio optimization, or CRO.
Conversion rate optimization (CRO) can involve things like changing the text on the landing page, changing the color of the submit button, providing a more enticing lead magnet, etc.
With a better understanding of how the marketing funnel is the foundational process that drives your online business, you will be able to create a more efficient Internet marketing system that gives you more leads and customers.
If you aren’t already fully aware of how the marketing funnel works, I strongly recommend you watch this video tutorial!
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