Marketing Funnel

Marketing Funnels. What does yours look like?

Irrespective of the kind of business you are in, chances are, you already have a marketing funnel. If you are a SaaS business, you most certainly have a marketing funnel. Any marketer would tell you that it is virtually impossible for them to think about growth without some serious consideration to optimising their marketing funnel. If you haven’t been optimising your funnel, this article is for you. We will show the impact it can have on your business, and as a bonus, we would also talk about scenarios when you shouldn’t worry too much about it.

First of all, let us do away with the jargons. Whether you call it a marketing funnel or a purchase funnel, it is just a simple way of describing your customers’ journey from when they found you to when they purchased something from you. So why have a fancy name for it at all? Because its shaped like a funnel. Literally.

A basic marketing funnel

Yes, I know. Us marketers are not exactly known for our ingenuity. But hey, if the shoe fits.

The reason why marketing funnels even exist is quite simple. Casual browsers look, feel and behave quite differently as compared to people who are going to buy from you. And since everything in business is a percentage, if you treat every single visitor to your website the same way, you would be giving way less attention to a potentially transacting customer than he/she deserves. You need a way to filter them out so that you can talk to them on point.

And since it is a funnel, it is only apropos to talk about ‘leaks’ in the funnel.

At every stage of that customer roadmap you see above, your potential customers would be leaking away, resulting in loss of revenue for your business. So businesses often dedicate a sizeable percentage of their bandwidth into plugging those leaks, so that more and more customers complete at least the awareness —> conversion journey.

You’ll find a ton of articles and reading material on how to create and optimise marketing funnels with few simple Google searches. I suspect even we would be talking about them sooner or later. But today, I am here to talk about the thought process you would be going through while formulating your marketing funnel and executing it.

The case against marketing funnels

Let us start with making good on our promise and talking about scenarios where you shouldn’t worry too much about marketing funnels. A situation like our business for example. We are just starting our journey, and while it is tempting to try doing all that needs to be done to keep the conversion % meter on the up and up, we had to make the hard decision of turning our back on it. We have limited resources, as do most (if not all) businesses when they start, and as such, we need to make sure we are using our resources the best way possible. We have to keep our eye on the prize, be very clear of our focus areas. And our focus area right now shouldn’t be isolating our preferred customers from our overall visitors, passing them through a funnel, or making sure more and more of them pass every step. Why? Two reasons. First. At the stage we are at, the percentage of traffic we would be getting from anything outside our target audience would be next to none. And second, our traffic would not be so high for it to qualify as a crowd, so the risk of losing out on our potential customers in the chaos just isn’t there.

So what would we be focusing on? That first transaction. Then the next, and the next, and then the next one after that. And once we have had a few, our focus would shift to a few transactions every week, from there it will shift to a transaction or two every day, and so on and so forth. It would be a while before having a well optimised conversion funnel becomes a critical priority for our business. It is all but certain that we would have our works cut out for us, and have our hands full for months to come.

The exact same logic, and thought process would apply to your endeavors as well.

Not all leaks are the same

When we do get to implementing a marketing funnel in place, and start optimising it for conversion, the next item comes into play. There are leaks at every level, but not all leaks hurt the business the exact same way.

Before we talk more about that, let us get one thing clear. Though, for the sake of simplicity, you see the conversion process as a 3-step system - Awareness, Consideration and Purchase, in reality, it is way more complex than that. While Awareness and Purchase remain the same, the consideration phase is a long and winded up journey in itself. Something like this:

Consideration phase is considerably longer now

So it stands to reason that the more far down a user is along the funnel, higher are the chances of you converting him as a customer. And that is why those leaks hit the business harder than the leaks at stages closer to the awareness stage. Hence, instead of trying to plug leaks in general, we would be working our way up the funnel, giving most priority to the leaks at the bottom. The more leaks we plug in, the more revenue we make.

The jumping jacks

The rationale in the last section would seem to indicate that we will continue working our way up the funnel, plugging in leaks as we go. But that is not really the case. At some stage, it would be more trouble than it is worth (in the moment), and since we would have the leaks at the bottom managed/contained to some extent, we would need to weigh the benefits of plugging in an early stage leak vs letting the floodgates open and widening the mouth of the funnel as much as possible.

More traffic means more potential customers passing through the funnel. Sure, that would also mean more leakage at the top, but as long as our plugs in the later stages are holding up, we would see a sizeable jump in revenue.

So, you would be finding us jumping back and forth between these two approaches quite a bit.

How do we decide the points to jump at?

That is the trickiest part. There is no set rule or formulae for it. And this is where numbers come in. We would be looking at our traffic data combined with conversion data and letting it guide us into making those decisions. We are working on some nifty integrations in Benne’s kitchen that would make it all a breeze.

Fun times await. From the looks of it.

If you have any questions about your marketing strategy or business in general, as usual, feel free to drop a tweet. I’ll be happy to help.

That’s it for today, see you tomorrow.

Cheers Abhishek

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