What is an Online Marketing Funnel?

It’s more than likely you have used a funnel, so you're familiar with what one looks like.

The idea is that you use a funnel to focus a large quantity of something down to a narrow flow. That's why they start out wide at the top and narrow down more and more until they reach the bottom which may even come down to a point.  What does that have to do with marketing?

The reality of things these days is that people’s attention spans, especially online, are extremely short. There are SO many marketing messages, social media sites, and other media bombarding people that it’s tough to get their attention.

This is very the reason that online marketing funnels work so well and are so important. First, you focus, or funnel, your prospect's attention along a very specific path in the funnel. An example would be to start by providing something of value, then building a relationship through website content or a series of emails and then eventually presenting an offer for them to purchase something.

Begin with a Large Pool of Prospects And Narrow the Field

Before you ever start up your business, you will need to carefully define your focus in order to be successful. Much like a funnel directs a large stream or flow into a very narrow channel, you want to focus on a tiny niche inside a small niche inside a large niche. This will help make the marketing funnels you create more effective because it helps you better identify your customer and their needs and wants.

In other words, instead of going for the very broad niche of weight loss, or even the smaller niche of weight loss for women, you will be more successful if your marketing funnel focuses on offering weight loss products targeted for overweight grandmothers over age 50.

Once you focus on a tightly targeted niche market, then you can start to build an effective online marketing funnel.  This should take your prospect through the following stages: Discover, Interest, Relationship, the Sale, and Re-Funnel. We'll go through these stages in more detail.

First, your potential customers in your market need to discover your website or blog. You can accomplish this via paid advertising, word-of-mouth, search engine marketing where you get free traffic from search engines and a multitude of additional marketing methods both online and off line. At this stage, you are busy filling up your funnel at the top with as many prospects as possible.

Now that you have some traffic coming to your online piece of virtual real estate, it’s time to offer them something of value. This is generally known as an opt-in “bribe" or freebie. At this point, your job is to get your audience interested. In exchange for signing up to your newsletter or email list, you send your new subscriber a report of high-value, a case study, checklist, e-book, list of resources, or some other piece of content that solves a big problem or answers a big question for your target audience.

Now that you have now funneled a large group of people down into a smaller group that is now on your email list, you have then chance to begin to build a relationship with them. Provide a lot of value to them via your emails. Answer their questions and solve their problems. Send out emails on a regular, consistent basis through an autoresponder that handles the task automatically.

Make the Sale
Early on in the autoresponder sequence, offer your subscribers a real super deal that is inexpensive and tough for them to pass up. After sending several more emails that have given them lots more good, solid value, make a bigger offer. When your subscribers make a purchase, either the smaller or larger offer, immediately offer them an upsell, which is a pricier option. The more they come to know you and appreciate the information you share with them the more likely they will be to make purchases from your emails.

Once you start making sales from your subscribers, you will now be building TWO lists: A Buyers List and a Prospect List. Start funneling your Buyers to a new autoresponder sequence so that you don't keep making t same offer to them that they already responded to and so that you can offer them other products related to what they have purchased. The Prospect List should continue to get valuable free content, as well as offers to purchase products they passed on before. Always continue to build your relationships with both types of lists. The longer they stay on your list, the better opportunity you have to build strong relationships with them.

When it comes to funnels, keep in mind that it’s a “numbers game.” At the beginning of the Discovery stage, you may have 1,000 people visit your website every day, but may only have 50 people a day accept your freebie and sign up on your email list. As you send out emails and build relationships with that small group of subscribers, you may see only 4-5 sales per day. Funnels are always a trickle down process, where you end up dealing with a smaller and smaller number of people at every stage along the way to your ultimate goal.

The key to a successful online business is constantly filling up your funnel at the top with as many targeted prospects as you can possibly round up. And, the key to making that happen is a multi-faceted traffic strategy that will bring traffic to your site from a variety of paid and free traffic sources.

It is alway sweet to have Google and the other search engines send you loads of free SEO traffic, based on quality content on your site, and your efforts at SEO. But, search engine algorithms can change like the wind and your free traffic dry up overnight. So, it’s always a good ideas to set aside a portion of your online revenue keep your marketing funnels filled with paid traffic, because at the end of the day the more traffic you can put into the top of your funnel, the greater your sales, and therefore your profits, will be at the bottom.

Leave a comment: