Digital Marketing Funnel: How to create An Automated Funnel

A words cloud about Digital Marketing Funnel

How does a digital marketing funnel work?

A digital marketing funnel details the necessary steps to convert a website visitor into a customer. The types of funnels may vary regarding the marketing strategy suitable for a given business. Two different marketing strategies seem to produce results: full-funnel marketing exposing the prospect 7-10 times to your brand and a one-page sales designed for targeted traffic.

A full-funnel marketing strategy exposes the prospects to different types of content according to the stages. The framework focuses on the customer journey and often prioritizes soft selling over hard selling. An effective full-funnel marketing strategy goes from brand awareness to follow-up with customers.

The role of the top of the funnel (ToFu) is to capture new visitors. In digital marketing, the middle of the funnel (MoFu) is optimized for micro-conversions and helps qualify the leads. At the bottom of the funnel (BoFu), each action that the prospects take could result in you making money: these are purchases and macro-conversions.

Image of Marketing funnel automation:
Digital Marketing Funnel Strategy_ToFu, MoFu, and BoFu

Top of the funnel

The top of the funnel in marketing is the first stage of the customers’ journey. The goal is to attract visitors into the funnel to generate leads and create brand awareness. It contains mostly educational and informational content to help visitors discover a brand.

The customer journey stages begin with the top of the funnel marketing. You acquire new leads for your business through different means and promotional campaigns. It is where you start to classify your visitors into multiple groups.

For example, an online survey funnel is one of the most effective marketing strategies to utilize at the top of the funnel. An online survey is a smooth process that entices people to get your lead magnet while collecting valuable information about prospects entering your lead funnel.

SurveyMonkey and Outgrow are two well-known survey tools that let you create high-converting surveys. You can also use an autoresponder or one of the funnel builder software I review later in the article.

Middle of the funnel marketing

The middle of the funnel is an essential stage of the customer buying journey because you start to separate yourself from the competition. Your goal is to turn visitors into qualified leads. The prospects move from generic informative-educative content to content that showcases the value they can get from using your products.

The resources you use in a mid-funnel also aim to create trust in your brand or the products offered by your business. The marketing strategy gradually incorporates sales tactics to promote the right products to a potential buyer in the middle of the funnel.

Bottom of the funnel

The bottom of the funnel intends to convert prospects into customers. The content is about specific products and should persuade a potential customer to buy from your brand. The marketing efforts are to get the most people at the BoFu and implement an effective sales strategy showcasing the benefits and features of your products.

At this stage, including testimonials and offering a discount are common enticing sales tactics.

Marketing funnel stages

Irrespective of the item you choose and the amount of money you spend, the theory behind any purchase remains more or less the same. In 1910, John Dewey introduced the sales marketing funnel process, which is still the foundation of marketing funnel automation.

Though a lot of modifications have been introduced, a few people rejected this buying process, but overall psychology remains the same. There are many other sales funnel in the market, some with 3 stages or others with 6 tiers, but the core concept of all these are the same.

Let’s briefly discuss all stages of the marketing funnel, from awareness all the way down to purchase and post-purchase stages.

1st Stage- Awareness

People who need to solve a problem or want to buy a product browse the internet looking for relevant information. Your role is to intercept them on social media or get found on search engines. At this preliminary stage, you answer a specific query and provide relevant information.

You help people discover your brand, educate them and help them understand the value they can get from consuming your content. You do have a few choices depending on how people discover your content:

  • ask them to join your email list and offer a lead magnet
  • send them to another piece of content, then to an opt-in form

It would be better to give all visitors a solid reason to ‘Like’ and understand the benefits of choosing your brand before trying to sell. 

Marketing funnel automation often starts by convincing visitors to sign up for your email list, but sometimes the prospects are simply guided from one piece of content to another. Many experienced marketers use quizzes to pre-qualify leads.

2nd Stage- Interest and evaluation

After acquiring leads, your prospects fall in the interest and evaluation stage. They keep consuming your content, and a precise market positioning should positively distinguish your brand from competitors. People understand why your products are beneficial, unique, and stand out compared to other products on the market.

People learn more about your business or company at this stage, and you need to nurture a business relationship. For example, you can use email marketing and send people to specific content that showcases your brand. Building trust and showing people how to get the desired result is more important than telling them that you have a good product.

Free tutorials and case studies are potent ways to convert potential buyers to consumers.
Whenever possible, your content should tell a story to which people can relate. It could be your success story or also the one of someone who succeeds by using your product. People who can project themselves accomplishing a goal are more likely to purchase.

marketing funnel diagram, sales funnel stages, digital marketing funnel stages, marketing funnel stages.
Stage 1: Awareness
Stage 2: Interest
Stage 3: Desire
Stage 4: Action
Stage 5: Post purchase

3rd Stage- Desire

Now, your prospects are aware of your product and brand. They are also mindful that you have the solution that can help them solve a problem, but they might be in touch with your competitors.

It is one of the most crucial stages of marketing funnel automation, where the prospect is going through the decision-making phase. Now start sending transparent sales materials to influence their decisions.

Send them customer testimonials, free samples, advanced white papers, and any related material such as case studies. These testimonials and case studies should be super-relevant to your product.

Content at this stage must be delivering value to your ideal customer; don’t think they will make purchase your product or not, instead as much value as you can to spark their desire. Once desire is aroused, now your customer will be at the final stage of the sales funnel, where you will be getting the output of all the above marketing designs.

Make them feel confident and give the prospects a reason to invest in your product instead of another. At the (BOFU) bottom of the funnel, try to eliminate anything that can prevent a purchase.

4th Stage- Action and conversion

It is the last call to action and your last opportunity to offer a discount or free trial. If you did a great job qualifying leads, it could be easy sales. The prospects are ready to buy, and you need to ensure a smooth transaction. Make sure to have a secure and friendly checkout page.

Now that you have a new customer, things do not end there. Since research has proved that it is more accessible to sell to an existing customer than to acquire a new one, you need to maintain a business relationship.

You don’t have to follow them personally, thanks to marketing funnel automation, which we will be explaining in the latter half of this writing.

5th Stage- Post-Purchase Behavior

In addition to customer support, follow-up with your customer is crucial if you sell consumable materials, memberships, or have multiple products. All your customers are free leads that have already passed the awareness stage. 

If your products live up to their expectations, you may have return customers for free. This is also how you build a reputable online presence, and your brand will start benefiting from word-of-mouth. 

Here are some common ways to keep in touch with customers:

  • surveys on products and user experience
  • product updates
  • new offers/launches 
  • special deals and coupons
  • reports
  • free tips and tricks 
  • tutorials
  • live events
  • add them to a Facebook group

It is essential for people who have monthly subscriptions or need to buy from you monthly. 

Marketing funnel automation

A marketing funnel automation uses an automated process to capture leads, nurture relationships, and increase revenue. It involves the use of CRM tools, email automation software, and computerized payment systems. A new trend is to use AI or chatbots to improve visitors’ engagement and simulate human interaction. 

Some of the best marketing automation tools and sales funnel software are built with drag-and-drop features. You save time creating your sales funnel and you do not need to spend countless hours answering emails. You can boost your marketing even with no prior tech skills. 

How do you automate funnels?

To automate a funnel, you need to follow these four steps:

  • Produce content that answers a specific question and has a related product that solves your buyer persona’s problem.
  • Give your visitors a reason to enter your sales funnels: lead magnet, tutorials, or another enticement. 
  • On your landing page, use an automated chatbot or/and capture emails through an opt-in form.
  • Email your list regularly. 
  • Use analytic tools and feedback to update the process.

The secrets of building a profitable marketing funnel consist in combining a good funnel structure with excellent copywriting skills. It is also important to learn how to use call-to-actions to guide the prospects.

Marketing funnel automation is not just generating sales but ensuring all-around performance including a good UX. A happy customer becomes an ally that will genuinely advocate or promote your brand. You will get more social media shares and word-of-mouth recommendations. Plus, WOM marketing is a powerful strategy that any business should utilize.

Businesses usually face three significant challenges regarding new customers acquisition: 

  • how to get traffic
  • how to convert leads into customers
  • getting return customers to maximize profits

Building an automated marketing funnel helps to solve these issues. Managing the sales process using funnel builders improves your inbound marketing strategy and converts more leads into customers. 

Marketing funnel automation. How to use sales funnel software to increase sales

Marketing funnel automation is the process that takes people from the awareness stage and converts them into buyers. Marketers use tools like sales funnel software and autoresponders to capture leads automatically. An automated system directs the prospects to take a specific action. Plus, leveraging email follow-up is effective in improving profitability.

Sales funnel automation offers many extra advantages, such as reducing manual interferences and lowering costs. Whether you use free organic traffic or paid advertising, there are a few fundamental principles: 

  • create valuable content related to your products
  • qualify your leads
  • offer a helpful lead magnet
  • use a strong call to action
  • create an engaging and responsive system

A complete marketing strategy consists of many stages. Further, I will review some of the most common funnel builders like Groovefunnels and Clickfunnels that will help you automate your sales process. 

Within this article, I share my experience as an online entrepreneur who had to find an effective strategy to build a sustainable web-based business. However, if you are looking for professional advice and marketing courses, you can try the Todd Brown program and Edx training

Final thought: Why building a marketing funnel 

Building an automated sales funnel helps to:

  • improve the overall marketing strategy of a business
  • build an email list and create a customer base
  • nurture leads and sends follow-up emails to clients
  • get a better ROI
  • enhance branding
  • boost sales

Any business can benefit from a marketing funnel even if it is more vital when you run paid ads.  

Inbound marketing relies on creating worthy content to attract new prospects and convert them into loyal customers. It leverages SEO, SEM, pulls marketing, and PPC to drive traffic to a funnel that exposes the leads to tailored content. 

In order to create an affiliate marketing funnel in WordPress, you only need a funnel builder like WooFunnels and an autoresponder like Getresponse. I recommend using Gutenberg or Elementor as the page builder. Here are what to include in your funnel:

  • relevant content around the product you promote
  • a landing page or a squeeze page with an opt-in form
  • a thank you page or a bridge page
  • an automated email sequence 

There are more advanced tools and tactics to use for your affiliate funnel but try to keep things simple at the beginning. 

Digital Marketing Funnel

A digital marketing funnel details the necessary steps to convert a website visitor into a customer. The types of funnels may vary regarding the marketing strategy suitable for a given business.
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