What is a online marketing funnel?

by | Jun 16, 2020 | Strategy | 0 comments

So you’ve got all of the shiny new things set up on your website to help you sell more of your products and services.

You’re writing the blogs, sharing them on social, building up your search ranking authority for your niche.

You’ve got the CTA button to drive that traffic to buy or contact you and you’re tracking that with Google Analytics.

You’re even sending out emails to your list to bring them back to your new blogs that you’re writing and letting them know that you have something for sale.

If you’re more advanced, perhaps you are retargeting users who have already visited your website.

Without realising it, you already have what’s called an “online marketing funnel” running.

In this guide I’m going to explain what a funnel is and show you examples, and you some ideas to go away and try to implement yourself.

What is a funnel?

It’s a step-by-step way of tracking every stage of that process the user goes through to convert (buy, sign-up, contact) with you.

If you have it mapped out and can track it, then you can understand how to tweak and improve it and even automate it, which is more strategic than rocking up everyday without a plan.

You can then figure out what tactics you are running are bringing you the traffic that converts on your website and you can see where you are losing users as they move through the funnel.

Funnels can be simple or they can be deeply complex.

At their simplest, they outline how you drive traffic (using ads or posting to social media channels) to an asset (like your website or a landing page) and then convince a user to convert (using content like emails and blog posts).

The Different Buying Stages of a Funnel

The different stages of that process are split into three key areas usually as your users act and behave different depending what stage they are in.

Top of Funnel
This is how you drive awareness to your website. Users may not have heard of you or your business before and so often are called ‘cold’ prospects or leads.

You could inspire them enough to visit your website, but it’s unlikely they will convert the very first time.

Instead you build awareness that you and your products or services exist and you are as educational about what you offer as possible.

Typical tactics to drive users to your top of funnel include using ads, blogs, SEO, PR and social channels.

Middle of Funnel
As your users are unlikely to stay on your website and buy from you the very first time, you need to build trust with them so that you can contact them again somehow.

If you can convince a user at this stage to hand their email over to you so that you can continue to build that trust, it means you are increasing the amount of time you spend together and increase the possibility of them buying from you.

This is called ‘lead nurturing‘.

The reason why it’s so important to develop these ‘warm’ leads i.e. users who have not bought from you, but have heard from you is because 80% of new leads never translate into sales and companies that excel at lead nurturing generate 50% more sales ready leads at a 33% lower cost.

Salesforce suggest that it takes 6-8 touchpoints before you can generate a viable sales lead, so you need to keep those emails and content coming to build that trust with your potential customers.

Typical tactics to build trust with users who are already on your site is to give them a “freebie” or “lead magnet” in exchange for their email, so that you can continue to keep in touch with them.

Netflix use a free trial to build trust with it’s users who land on their site, which is another great example of a lead magnet:



Bottom of Funnel
Once your user has initiated the buying process i.e. viewed a product page, checked out, booked a call etc then they’ve moved to one of the most important parts of the funnel. It’s here you need to convince your prospect to buy from you.

You want to give your users reassurance that they can buy from you.

Provide testimonials, reviews and make it as easy as possible to say yes to buying from you…

…and when they don’t you retarget them with emails and ads to make sure.

A typical tactic deployed to a user at this point in the funnel is an email that asks them if they want to come back to the site and complete their purchase, proving they has already started the checkout process.


Does the thought of setting your own online marketing funnel feel you with dread? Book a 1 hour Zoom call with me and I can show you that’s it’s not as complicated as you think it is.

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