The Online Marketing Funnel

Have you ever wondered how social media helps your marketing? Have you ever wondered how websites, blogs, social media, search engines etc. all fit together, is at all? We are being continually bombarded by these terms. Experts tell us that we must have a website. Then they tell us that people must be able to find it on the first page of Google. Then we’re told we must have a blog. Then we must be on Facebook or Twitter.

Baffled? I must confess that I was at first. Just to understand how it all fitted together or, indeed, whether it fitted together at all. How can a Facebook account bring me in new business? But that’s what so-called Social Media Marketers were telling me.

After considerable thought I came up with a strategy to explain exactly how all these online-based activities can fit together to bring huge benefits to my business (and yours).

What I came up with is what I call the Online Marketing Funnel – see the diagram. It links all these online tools, applications and activities into one coherent strategy. It explains the role of social media in your marketing activities. It explains why you should give talks, why you should network, and so on.

The Online Marketing Funnel Strategy is a way of distilling all the contacts you make with potential customers down into highly qualified leads that you can follow in person.

Online Marketing Funnel

Referring to the diagram, the funnel has three sections each one with a specific purpose, The top section is where you are making contact with people, the middle section is  where you are demonstrating your expertise, and the bottom section is your website where you are showing off your products and services.

Let’s look at these sections in more detail.

Top Section

This section includes all those activities that interact directly with people: social media, email, workshops, network meetings, public speaking etc. and these interactions can be face-to-face or online.

The whole purpose of activities in this section of the funnel is to gather leads from the contacts you make. In many cases you will have just met the people so you don’t want to start making sales pitches to them at this stage. They don’t know you and you will simple push people away.

Instead you need to direct them into the middle section of the funnel, your blog which contains post articles. How can you do that? When you meet someone in a network meeting, for example, don’t just exchange business cards and hope they will visit your website. Tell them that you will email them an article or blog post that you’ve written which is relevant to their business.

Similarly, use social media to inform your followers about new articles and posts that you post on your blog. Applications such as Twitter feed will automatically post on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn every time you post on your blog.

Middle Section

The idea here is to use your articles and blog posts to demonstrate your expertise and interest your prospects enough so that they visit your website to see what exactly you offer. Not only can you publish articles, posts, videos, podcasts, but you can hold dialogues with people who leave comments. In this way you demonstrate your expertise and build people’s confidence in you.

What we’re doing is turning the cold leads that came from the top section into warm leads some of which will pass to the third or bottom section of the funnel.

Third Section

The third section is your website. This is basically your stall where you display your products and/or services. By the time people arrive at your website through the top layers of the funnel they will already be primed and ready to pay attention to what you have to offer.

The purpose of your website is to take these warm leads and persuade people to contact you directly where you can follow up offline, make a proposal and close a sale.

Applying it To Your Business

The online Marketing Funnel is a useful model to follow when you’re defining your own marketing strategy. You won’t necessarily apply it in exactly the way that I’ve described her but the principle should be the same for any business.

Cold leads into the funnel. Highly qualifies leads out of the bottom.

By Mike Brogan – Day 10 Internet


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Written by
Mike Brogan
Mike is a website developer specializiing in website design, online marketing, ecommerce design, and consutancy. He has developed website for clients for over 20 years.

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