Online marketing funnel process

Online marketing is a funnel process.

Actually I guess this applies to most marketing but given that online marketing is what we know about then that’s what I’m talking about.

Imagine if you can a funnel – here’s an image of one in case you can’t!

Plastic funnel

The bottom of the funnel – the tip, that’s where someone buys something from you. A big something. Your core product and the one where you make your money.

Higher up the neck of the funnel are lower priced products that get the client used to buying from you and gradually building up their confidence in you. In our case that might be something like hosting or an email newsletter.

The bit where the neck meets the bowl (the collar?) – that’s the fulcrum point. It’s where they stopped being a prospect and became a customer.

Higher up in the bowl, that’s where the client has been aware of you, perhaps engaging with you in some way but no money changed hands. As they descend the bowl the interactions get more significant.

So at the very top would be something like Twitter. People follow you, read your tweets (maybe sometimes) and think you are interesting or relevant enough to be worth not stopping following.

Facebook and the various other social networking sites would be a little lower down the bowl. There’s more involvement in following you here both in terms of the quantity of content and the strength of your relationship. In the case of Twitter you may not know or know anything about the people following you more than their profile and what they are saying themselves if you have chosen to follow them back. On Facebook there’s a fair chance that you know (or have at least met once) the people who are your “friends” and likewise with Linked In.

Nearing the bottom of the bowl are email newsletters and blogs. They are similar but different and tend to have similarish content in them. People have different takes on these although general consensus does seem to be that a lot of email newsletters are annoying – particularly the ones you didn’t sign up for (well unsubscribe – but that’s another blog post).

Newsletters come to you and you probably dismiss most of them immediately – so like big tweets!

Blogs you tend to go looking for and if you value them you will go back. For me the blog is the point closest to the bottom of the bowl where a prospect is interested in you, in what you say and do and whether now or in the future is easiest to convert into becoming a customer when they have a requirement for your services.

If someone has a requirement for what you do (you can’t force that it just happens when it happens) then if they have spent the last x amount of time reading your tweets, posts, newsletters and blogs then the relationship has already been growing even if you weren’t fully aware of it.

When they are then ready to enter the neck of the funnel and put their money on the table, 3/4 of the selling process has already been done.