Are you a small business owner looking to boost your business’s online visibility? Do you want a concrete plan to help you reach your target market? If so, what you need is a digital marketing funnel.
If the COVID-19 virus continues to threaten public health and the economy, many more small businesses may be forced to shut down in the upcoming months. Because of the situation, small businesses are digitizing to continue to make sales. However, many small business owners haven’t enough experience with online marketing yet.
A digital marketing funnel helps you reach your target audiences faster and better. This guide will discuss the digital marketing funnel and how you create one.
What Is a Digital Marketing Funnel?
A digital marketing funnel is a framework that turns strangers into customers. As a small business owner, you know you can’t get everyone to buy your products or services. However, that isn’t to say you can’t make your business known to everyone.
That is the idea upon which the basis of the framework relies. A digital marketing funnel gives you a plan for making that happen through digital online means. Some may take a while to adapt to it, but small business owners must embrace technology as we advance.
The digital marketing funnel has three stages or parts. First, they define your audience’s journey as strangers until they become customers. Below, we’ll discuss them further.
Benefits of Using a Digital Marketing Funnel
How will a digital marketing funnel help your business during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond?
When you’re creating a marketing funnel, the first thing you learn about is your audience. Who are they, what do they want or expect, and how will you best appeal to them? If you understand your audience better, you become a better salesman.
It also helps if your audience knows you understand them. This helps them trust you more easily and become comfortable with your brand quickly. The way to do this is to create personalized content to attract your unique audience.
Let’s say you know a little about SEO and digital marketing already. However, it’s not enough for you to make haphazard use of that knowledge. Like all successful business owners, you need to follow a plan.
Now, you must make the best use of all your resources for your business. With a digital sales funnel, you optimize your generated traffic through marketing. Then, instead of wasting time trying things out without a plan, you have a coherent guide to follow.
Parts of a Digital Marketing Funnel
No matter what type of digital marketing funnel you want to use, they all have the same parts. As you’d expect, a funnel has top, middle, and bottom parts. You use various strategies at each part or stage until you sift your audience into a loyal customer base.
The top part is about increasing awareness and visibility with your target market. Your goal is to reach and attract new targeted visitors to your business. The tasks here can be as simple as making a blog post or creating a YouTube video.
For small businesses, this can be challenging, especially if you have a local store. But, don’t worry because the internet is your most useful tool. Later, we’ll discuss the strategies you can apply while you’re in the various stages of digital marketing.
Once you have your target audience’s attention, you move to stage two or the middle of the funnel. Again, your goal is to nurture the leads you’ve made by keeping people interested. This is an often-overlooked yet vital step by many startups and small business owners.
This is where you hook them in further by providing useful information. That includes your contact information, such as your email address or phone number. It can also be free content, such as an online newsletter.
Finally, we arrive at the bottom of the funnel, or the last stage of the digital marketing funnel. Note, at this point, your audience must have some form of trust in your business already. The essence of this stage is a call to action (CTA).
This is where your leads convert into sales or clients. This is where your target audience sees your products as a solution to their problem. This CTA can be a limited-time or first-time buyer offer.
Strategies for Creating the Top of the Funnel
Like traditional marketing, you want to attract as many targeted visitors as possible. Another goal here is to use content relevant to your target audiences. For example, if you own a cleaning business, you want to attract everyone with a home or office to your business.
Using social media is one of today’s best tactics to attract people to your business website. The various social media platforms are also free and easy to use. The challenge here is creating creative, shareable, and valuable content.
Search engine optimization (SEO) takes more effort and time to understand. Yet, this is what will put you at the top of a Yahoo or Google search page. Seeing the results of SEO takes time as well, so be patient.
A 2019 report says 36% of small businesses had an SEO strategy while 38% planned on investing in it. So SEO is more important than ever, especially for small businesses and companies. This is your master key to digital marketing.
Other strategies include paid advertising, PR or press coverage, and influencer marketing. Look for media outlets that need interesting angles and pitch your unique idea to them. When you partner with or hire influencers, make sure they’re in the same or related industry.
For example, let’s say you own a small installation company for cars. Make interesting content for car owners, like making their cars look like luxury cars. Small businesses in real estate can use social media to share posts on the best places to stay in during a lockdown.
Strategies for Creating the Middle of the Funnel
In the middle of the digital marketing funnel, you need to capture and help convert leads. In layman’s terms, this is the stage when you give your visitors your contact information. As we mentioned, this is when you nurture the relationship with your visitors.
The strategies often used in the middle funnel aim to build trust in your small business. For example, you can offer a free mini online course for all interested visitors. You provide them with valuable information and build your image as an expert in your field at the same time.
If you’re invested in content marketing, why not try creating PDFs or ebook lead magnets? Look at your most popular posts or videos. Put them together in a single resource audience can get after providing an email address.
For example, a business focused on fitness can give short courses on doing static exercises. A residential cleaning business can compile home sanitization tips and tricks. Small businesses in the auto industry can create a PDF on high-maintenance car parts.
You may also offer demos or trials of your services or product. This gives your visitors the chance to experience it and encourages them to buy the full version. However, some may see it as incomplete offers since these aren’t stand-alone content.
Forums and communities are another way to establish close communication with your visitors. Some people are more comfortable if they know they can talk to others who use your products/services. You can also use these mediums to check their activities, interests, and needs.
Strategies for Creating the Bottom of the Funnel
The contents you need at this point must lead the viewer to buy. Help possible leads cross that threshold and become strong conversions or buyers. You can use many tactics to help get them where you want.
You may notice that some websites display ticking countdown timers or product counters. They’re using the scarcity strategy, especially in small drugstores, as the number of COVID-19 cases continues to rise in the US. Even you must’ve used this strategy in your establishment once or often.
If you haven’t, your goal is to place a sense of urgency on the viewer. If they don’t buy your product now, they’ll miss out on the big discount or limited stocks. This is a powerful marketing strategy that all small business owners must learn to use.
If you want a subtler approach, try an email marketing strategy. For example, big savers and coupon hunters often sign up for email lists to get exclusive discounts. Of course, you can also pair this with the rest of the tactics in this segment.
Bundles and upselling are a great way to sell products that aren’t very popular with your customers. When you offer bundles, you stack the value of a set of products and make them more appealing to customers. In upselling, you add a last-minute offer for another product to strengthen your offer.
Finally, gather testimonials for your mundane yet essential services. For example, an accounting business must take testimonials from past clients. If a potential customer sees them, it can be that one last push you need for them to contact you.
Build a Digital Marketing Funnel That Suits the COVID-19 Situation
It’s not easy to design the perfect marketing funnel that’ll suit the business and the current situation. Also, as the owner of a small business, you must avoid marketing disasters because of the situation. Thus, you must understand how the situation limits you and everyone else.
One way business owners find this out is by using the AIDA formula. AIDA is a sales formula for Awareness, Interest, Desire, and Action. In addition, some business owners use an AIDAA formula, the last ‘A’ standing for Advocacy.
This guide will discuss using AIDA or AIDAA during the coronavirus pandemic. You want your audience to know that your small business exists in the awareness stage. For example, do this by offering to help others and getting on news articles.
At the next step, double down on the point you made by conveying how valuable your services/products are now. Your audience is already in the middle of the funnel during the next stage. Make your brand stand out by offering free delivery options or ‘we’ll come to you’ alternatives.
By the time you reach the action stage, you have your audience sold. Next, make sure you add valuable services or products during times like today. That can be as simple as a free roll of tissue paper or a client questionnaire modified to fit the times.
Ways of Measuring Your Funnel Success
It’s only smart to look out for the numbers that tell you if your marketing strategies work well. Often, you want to keep an eye out for metrics and analytics in digital marketing. Remember your goals and compare them with the numbers you see whenever you check the metrics.
To measure your chosen strategy at the top of the funnel, check your site’s number of sessions or visits. You may also see these numbers labeled as web traffic or traffic. Get an idea of the percentage of new visits to your site.
You also want to look out for the traffic per channel metrics and bounce rate. You want your sessions and the percentage of new sessions at the highest numbers. You also want a low bounce rate, which refers to when someone visited your site without taking any action.
You want to look out for a high visitor-to-lead conversion rate in the middle part. It’s also ideal to have a high number of leads or rapid email list growth. You can also tell that you’re successful in capturing a lead if the email open and click rates are high.
When you get to the bottom of the funnel, look for the numbers on the total revenue and the number of new customers. Don’t forget to keep an eye on the conversion rate, which is an important metric. Finally, it’ll be smart to calculate your revenue per customer or customer lifetime value.
Make Your Small Business Grow Despite COVID-19
That’s it for our guide on the digital marketing funnel and the strategies you can use today. We hope this guide helps you grow and adapt your small business to the new situation.
Do you want help with marketing while dealing with the coronavirus crisis? Give our sales & marketing automation service a try for your service-based business. Let us help you automate the sales process so you can focus on other things during this dark time.
You’re always welcome to talk to us today.