What Is An Online Marketing Funnel? (And Why You Need One)

The Benefits Of An Online Marketing Funnel

To understand the concept of an online marketing funnel, think about a regular, everyday funnel. The idea of a funnel is that you can focus a large quantity of something down into a very narrow flow. That’s why funnels are wide at the opening and extremely narrow, sometimes even pointed, at the bottom.

This upside down pyramid shape also works extremely well online for building your business. Let’s look at how an online marketing funnel works and why your business needs one.

Why Do You Need An Online Marketing Funnel?

The attention span of people online is extremely short. There are so many marketing messages, social media sites, consumer electronics and other media vying for the attention of your prospect. This is exactly the reason why an online marketing funnel is so important. You focus, or funnel, the attention of your prospects in a very specific way, providing value, building a relationship and eventually presenting an offer.

Start with a Large Prospect Pool And Narrow the Focus

online marketing funnel

Your funnel helps your prospects to become customers.

Before you ever create your online business, you have to narrow your focus. Much like a funnel directs a stream or flow into a very narrow channel, you want to ideally focus on a specific niche. This makes the marketing funnels you develop much more effective. In other words, instead of getting into weight loss, or even weight loss for women, an online business will be more successful if you offer weight loss products aimed at overweight women over 50 years old.

Once you focus on a niche market, you need to build your online marketing funnel. This is going to take your prospect through the following 5 stages.

FREE Checklist: Create An Effective Sales Funnel
The 5 Stages Of An Online Marketing Funnel Template

1. Discovery

The people in your market need to discover your website or blog. You accomplish this through paid advertising, word-of-mouth referrals, search engine optimization that sends you free traffic and a multitude of additional marketing methods both online and off. Here you’re filling your funnel at the top.

2. Interest

Now you have some traffic to your online piece of real estate. Offer them something for nothing. This is known as an opt-in bribe or opt-in freebie. Get your audience interested. In exchange for signing up to your newsletter or email list, you send your subscriber something of high-value. This could be a  report, checklist, e-book or list of resources, or some other piece of content that solves a big problem or answers a big question in the minds of your target audience.

3. Relationship

Your online marketing funnel has now directed a large group of people into a smaller group that makes up your email list. Here’s where you begin to build your relationship with them. Offer them a lot of value. Continue to answer questions and solve problems. Send out emails, videos, articles, blog posts etc on a regular basis.

4. Make the Sale

Early in your email autoreponder sequence, make an inexpensive offer that is to hard to passmarketing funnel up. Later on, after sending several additional emails that deliver a lot of free value, make a bigger offer. If your list purchases either your smaller or larger offer, immediately offer them an upsell, which is a pricier option.

5. Re-Funnel

You should now be building 2 lists. You will have buyers and non-buyers. Have one marketing sales funnel for your buyers so that you don’t needlessly make them the same offer they already responded to. For your non-buyers, continue to send them valuable free content in your email sequence, as well as offers to purchase your products that they passed on the first time. Continue to build your relationships.

The Marketing Funnel Concept

At the beginning, at the discovery stage, you may have 1,000 people visiting your website every week. You may only have 50 or 100 people each week sign up to your email list, accepting your free incentive. As you build a relationship with that small group of people and make an offer, you may see only 5 sales per week. The funnel is always a trickle down process. It’s where you eventually end up dealing with a smaller number of very interested people rather than a huge group of people that are mildly concerned about what you have to say.

The key  to online business success is to constantly fill your funnel at the top. Google and the other search engines send you lots of free traffic, based on the quality content you put on your website, and your efforts at SEO. However, search engine algorithms can change and your free traffic can grind to a halt.

You should constantly spend some of your online business proceeds filling your marketing funnel at the top with paid traffic, because the greater the numbers at the top of your funnel, the greater your sales and profits will be at the bottom.

Free Checklist For Your Online Marketing Funnel

At its core, an internet marketing sales funnel is a defined series of steps you design to guide and inform potential customers as they become familiar with your products or services, and then decide whether or not to make a purchase. The marketing funnel stages are used to get your business from unsuccessful and unprofitable to profitable success.

An effective funnel strategy puts your business on autopilot and consistently turns prospects into paying customers if you structure it the right way. To learn more, you can download my free Sales Funnel Checklist which outlines the best practices for making your online marketing funnel produce the intended result, lots of traffic, lots of prospects and lots of sales.

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