As a business owner or marketer, you spend a lot of time promoting your products and services to get the attention of prospects, generate leads, increase conversions, and ultimately grow your business. So how can you identify what matters most to your prospects in each stage of their buyer journey?

Marketing funnels make it easy for you to prioritize and implement your marketing strategy. Let’s look at what marketing funnels are and the types to consider for your business. 

What is a Marketing Funnel?

The marketing funnel comprises all the inbound marketing touchpoints that a prospect interacts with in a specific sequence. These touchpoints may be an email, paid advertisement, podcast, video, eBook, whitepaper, blog post, and other forms of communication that lead them through a journey to make them take action (such as buying something). 

What is a Sales Funnel?

A sales funnel is a type of marketing funnel. It refers to the journey prospects go through with the sole aim of purchasing a product or service from you. It takes the prospect from the top-of-the-funnel (TOFU) to the bottom-of-the-funnel (BOFU) to make them paying customers. 

Why are Sales Funnels Important?

Not every prospect that comes into contact with your brand or business will make it from the TOFU to BOFU. A sales funnel helps you identify the different touchpoints working with prospects, what marketing activities to improve on, and other marketing funnels to include in the journey to facilitate a purchase. 

The Different Stages of the Sales Funnel

Prospects who move into your funnel will go from one stage of your funnel to another even if they don’t end up making a purchase. The stages of the buyer’s journey through the funnel are classified based on interest. The stages are:

1. The Awareness Stage

This is the primary stage where the prospect first contacts your brand, product, or service. TOFU activities in this stage may include clicking an ad on social media and clicking onto your website after a Google search. 

Whether the prospect moves from the awareness stage to the next stage could well depend on the way that you present your brand/business.

2. The Interest Stage

The awareness stage arouses the prospect’s interest in your business, product, or service. Prospects will weigh the problems they are trying to solve with your offerings and value proposition. If they consider your offering as the best solution, they will move on to the next stage of the funnel. If not, the prospect falls out of the funnel at this point. 

3. The Decision Stage

The prospect, at this point, begins to dig deep into the middle-of-the-funnel (MOFU) activities. This could involve consuming blog posts, reviewing case studies and whitepapers, looking at product comparisons, etc. Their goal is to gather as much information as possible to decide on the product offering or packages to opt for. 

4. The Action Stage

The action stage is where the sales conversion happens and where prospects become paying customers (or not). BOFU content that can help prospects take quick actions includes use cases, testimonials/reviews, live demos, a detailed pricing page, etc. 

Even if prospects do not convert into paying customers at this point, other types of marketing funnels can be developed to nurture the interest they have in your product/service, with the goal of making them paying customers in the near future.

Other Types of Marketing Funnels

The following types of marketing funnels can be developed as touchpoints in the buyers’ journeys to drive prospects to take different actions.

Marketing funnels are essential for any inbound marketing strategy. They help bring prospective customers to your brand, educate them on what you have to offer, and convert them to new customers. The sales funnel is just one example, and it’s probably one you’re most familiar with. Stay tuned as we dive deeper into some of the other marketing funnels your small business should explore using.