Last update: May 2021

4 mins to read - 2019/06/28

What Is the Marketing Funnel and How Can You Best Maneuver It?

While the first step in any marketing campaign is to get your content out there – whether it’s a website, push notifications, social media post, or good, old-fashioned email – there are a series of steps to take before you can deeper engage with a prospective customer. These steps, starting with your marketing content and finishing with conversion of the visitor to a customer, are known as the marketing funnel.

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Rainbow marketing funnel

What Is the Marketing Funnel and Its 3 Layers?

Different websites may have different names for the various stages of the marketing funnel. But they all agree: it starts with a wide range of brand awareness, and it ends with a narrow range of purchases.

Marketing Funnel Stage 1: Prospecting

This is the beginning step for everybody, where you analyse what demographics of app user, website visitor, etc. that you want to target. This is the broadest target, but as we have explained before, it’s important to do your research. Nobody likes getting spammed by irrelevant marketing, and blasting people indiscriminately with generic content will do your brand no favors.

Of course, you want to have a stellar website, blog, ebook, whitepaper, or any other content that might come in handy when it comes to educating or engaging users. But when it comes to actively taking your message to the world, it’s best not to waste anybody’s time by reaching out to people you 100% know will have no interest in your product.

This is where personalization is key. This could come in the form of market research, or, if you have a mobile channel of communication for your brand, push notifications. Push notifications are especially good at targeting people whose interests, browsing history, or previous purchases may complement your product, by leveraging data from their mobile devices. If a person is interested in health and fitness, a push notification could invite them to sign up for your free 30-day workout routine, or heart-healthy recipe regimen, and so on.

Even if your company is not in itself mobile-based, investing in an app and a push notification SDK will dramatically expand the reach and effectiveness of your marketing funnel.

A friendly hand. Will you shake this friendly hand?

Stage 2: Sales Conversion

So once a user clicks on your push notification to engage or open up your app, or a website visitor subscribes to your newsletter, or so on, do they immediately jump to being a lucrative customer? Of course not.

You have to establish trust and build a relationship with them first. And this is the goal of the sales conversion stage. Provide them with content that introduces your product, say, regular emails, notifications, or your newsletter. You might direct them towards the testimonies of reputable brand advocates, to give you that small edge on your competitors.

Once you have them interested and engaged, then you might want to reach out with a suggestion of one of your products – generally cheapest one, to begin with – that they might wish to purchase. You could even start them off with a free version of your product, which you can then suggest they upgrade.

If the visitor does not purchase (which, statistically, will probably be the case), fear not: this still provides valuable data on what you could stand to improve. You could even send them a follow-up invitation to provide feedback on what type of product or approach they would have preferred.

Stage 3: Lifetime Customer

This is the target you’re aiming for, the golden ticket, and by definition it’s going to be the marketing funnel stage that least of your visitors make it to. Let’s face it – the majority of the people you reach out to will not have the magic combination of interest + money to ultimately purchase your product. But those who do make it past Stage 2 are more likely to stay engaged with your brand if they have already bought a product that they’re happy with.

This is where push notifications are paramount. With the light-handed, personalized approach of a good push notification campaign, you can periodically remind once-off customers of your product, just to keep your brand fresh in their memory. You can also get creative, with incentives for returning customers such as discount codes, deep links to exclusive content, and more.

Once you have achieved customer loyalty, with continued engagement they may become inspired to serve as a brand advocate to help widen your funnel at Stage 1.

Overall, marketing funnels are a valuable way to analyze your rates of conversion, and to break down where specific pain points might be where you’re losing prospective customers. Push notifications are a key tool for navigating your way through every stage of the marketing funnel, reaching out to customers, converting them, and securing them as loyal customers for the long-term.

Check out OpenBack’s product page, to see how our unique, patent-pending push notification SDK can be used to help you broaden your marketing funnel every step of the way!

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