No matter what business you’re running today, the concept of “Funnel” stays relevant to your business. Why? Well, before customers buy your product (and this is relevant for all the brands, even the big ones); they are ought to go through a specific sequence of activities before making the final purchase. Those set of activities is what we call today is the Marketing funnel.
So, what is a funnel?
Again, like we said, it’s a sequential set of activities that lead to a sale. But do not be mistaken, that’s not the final stage. To build your brand, you must promote advocacy, and the advocacy my friend is what the final stage is.
Anyway, before we jump in the sequential set of stages, let’s do this a layman’s way? Given we’re locked at home, let’s consider an online funnel.
You feel like eating a strawberry biscuit. Given the fancy choices you have, you google “strawberry biscuits” and a few brands pop up. Your mom calls and you go out.
While googling your biscuits, you left a cookie on your browser. No pun intended. Now, these brands know you’re looking for strawberry biscuits and they start targeting you while you’re busy browsing your feed on Facebook, LinkedIn, what not. That is where you get to know about a brand. And “Awareness” happens.
Now, given how attractive these biscuits were, you feel “Interested” and you click on the ad and you get redirected to the website. Now this is where you get to see the brand, their price and other grammages. You naturally ignore the fats section. What you are doing is called “Evaluation or Consideration”. You feel all is set and you make the purchase aka “Conversion” for the brands.
If you fail to purchase looking at the hefty fat volume, what they do is re-targeting. They know you were just about to buy the product but you changed your mind for one or the other things! They try to offer you discounts, alternative variants, etc.
But that is not where the job ends for them. Now they must make you used to their product and so they introduce “Loyalty” rewards to ensure you stick to them. And finally, given that you care more about the loyalty than that of fats; You recommend the product to your best friend. And this is where the first cycle ends for them.
So essentially, your each and every activity is analysed by the brand marketers. This helps them understand their audience and improvise on their services. But the question remains, how do these activities constitute a funnel? Keep along.
Summarizing this for you:
Awareness: Here, the product/service is exposed to a wide range of audience. For this step, a lot of strategies are implemented which ensures people become aware of your presence. This includes various advertising, campaigns, referrals, SEO, sponsorships, emails etc. The basic underline here is – the prospect has to become aware of their problems and your solutions.
Related: Take a look at how Kia motors India generated awareness, becoming India's fastest car maker in a mere 11 months.
Consideration/Interest: So there are a lot of people selling the same service as yours. Out of the people you just introduced about your brand; 70% are actually interested to hold on a bit longer to hear more about you. While, 30% will drop off! And so, you need to make sure that you use your content marketing effectively.
Conversion/Evaluation: Now this is a crucial stage which decides if your customer will stay with you or not. Quality! Yes, the customers will actually take a trial here and only if they find it useful, they’ll continue. Here is where Online players use retargeting. Offline folks have fewer option here.
Next few steps are to retain the customer
Loyalty/Commitment: Once the customer develops a preference for your brand, they are likely to continue buying and be your long term client. Remember the loyalty reward points that brands give you sometimes? Yep. That’s how this stage works.
Advocacy: In this stage, they are more likely to recommend your products to their friends and relatives. Your marketing sales would be by word to mouth. This is where every brand wants to be and should be. Would you buy something if your friend tells you OR if a sales person you don’t know does? Yep.
Related: Take a look at Dollar Shave club's unconventional advocacy technique
You see, at every stage, a chunk of people keeps dropping off and the size of the audience narrows, exactly like a funnel! While the conversion rate may be higher for retail stores, it doesn’t apply to e-commerce platforms. The average conversion rate of eCommerce websites is only 2.86%.
This is because, when folks are looking up content online, they’re mere prospecting most of the times. While in offline they’re actually there to shop. You can essentially apply various strategies in order to retain the folks that drop off on various stages. That is, if not a lot of folks are making it to the shelf, you add a banner showcasing the discount. If they’re not checking out with product, you add attractive offers, etc.
Now this can be applied if you want to track newsletter signups on your website or kind of audience you’d want to target.
Let’s take CaseReads as an example. Here’s how a funnel looks for us:
- You became aware of the platform. Here, there might be numerous ways of how you discovered us – Organically i.e. you found us on Google, Social Media, from a friend, or an email
- You like the intro you see and you develop the “interest” to read more
- Now you go through the platform and read more content, what you are doing is “evaluating” – we’re sure you already love the content by now
- You see a sign-up form and so, you subscribe; this is where you “convert” – hypothetically
- Now you share a piece with your best friend, because you would like to see what you have discovered. This is where the advocacy happens.
The last stage also keeps a check on your customer retention rate; hence it is really important to build good relationships with your clients; and essentially you.
For more such concepts, head here.
Have a good one!