Recently updated on August 8th, 2022

Sure, a picture’s worth a thousand words. But when that picture sparks the overwhelming dread of an endless wellspring of to-do’s, ideas, and opportunities, then having a granular guide can help you digest the big picture. In this article, we’re giving you the best of both worlds: visual depictions of marketing funnels and a step-by-step guide on how to build a marketing funnel for your business.

What Is a Marketing Funnel?

If you work in digital marketing or own a business, you’ve likely heard the term “marketing funnel.” But, what are marketing funnels and how do they work to drive business?

Marketing funnels are visualizations of the touchpoints that turn browsers into buyers.

Digital marketing funnels help you see the path that customers take from discovery to conversion. A conversion can be anything from a phone call or newsletter sign-up, to a purchase or an in-store visit. As a business owner, you define which actions help move the needle for your business goals.

From clicking on a paid social media ad to visiting your website for the first time and making a purchase, your marketing funnel can help you understand and refine user journeys that foster more powerful interactions with your brand.

Graphic of a sales marketing funnel that shows four steps to conversion: awareness, interest, decision, and action.

Types of Marketing Funnels

Sales funnels, landing pages, webinars, content marketing funnels, lead magnet funnels – all of these are just a few of the different types of marketing funnels. What’s more – they all have different strategies, tools, and assets associated with each type of funnel. While it may seem overwhelming, choosing your funnel depends on your conversion goal, your industry, and which assets you’re able to build to attract users.

If you have a web design company in Orlando, you may want to run a video series of case studies that showcase local business owners’ results and testimonials, offer a free e-book or incentive, or run paid ads for a website redesign. All of these are assets that should inspire a user to filter through different stages of your marketing funnel – and ultimately lead to a conversion.

Regardless of the type of marketing funnel, the basic idea remains the same: to get people to take an action.

The most common type of marketing funnel is a four-step process:

  1. Attention: This is the broadest part of the funnel. This refers to brand awareness. Attention is won when someone sees your social media ad, you get found in search results for a relevant keyword, or a potential customer hears about you from a colleague.
  2. Interest: The user has taken the next step and is determining whether your business can help them solve their problem.
  3. Desire: The user has done their research and decided to trust you to deliver the information, products or services they need.
  4. Action: The user takes action and converts.

Infographic that shows the AIDA digital marketing funnel.

How to Build a Marketing Funnel

If you’ve ever used a plastic funnel to pour oil into your car’s reservoir, salt into a shaker, or water into a steam iron, then you understand the basic principle of how a marketing funnel works. The idea is to turn prospects into customers by first capturing the attention of a large user base.

So, now that the basics are covered, let’s dive into how to build a conversion-making machine with the TOFU, MOFU, BOFU stages of a standard sales funnel.

Step 1: Define your conversions and choose your digital marketing strategies.

After you choose the end goal of your marketing funnel, the next step is to figure out which net to cast to create the top of your funnel. The top of the funnel, “TOFU,” is the first touchpoint with your brand, and will attract the most attention. TOFU interactions include high-level digital marketing efforts including SEO, e-books, whitepapers, paid ads, social media, newsletters, videos, and more.

Step 2: Analyze the audience and user behavior.

After your system is built, leverage the data to determine whether your TOFU tactics are attracting people and successfully guiding them to the middle of the funnel. The middle of the funnel, “MOFU,” starts to weed out disinterested spectators, while keeping the attention of true prospects. MOFU users will be taking more pointed actions such as viewing case studies, exploring more pages on your website, or tracking down good and bad reviews to see what others are saying about your business.

MOFU users don’t just want promotional content anymore – they are ready to learn if you can help them. According to Trust Radius, in 2021 nearly 33% of buyers spent more time researching products and services than last year. This means that navigating the marketing funnel is becoming more complex.

Step 3: Build relationships.

If your top-level digital marketing efforts are working, you should eventually see users trickle into the bottom of the funnel. Not surprisingly, bottom of the funnel interactions, “BOFU,” lead to those sweet, sweet conversions. If you aren’t getting conversions, then it’s time to re-examine your top-level strategies.

Graphic of silver beads that represent leads entering the top of a marketing funnel and exiting onto a bullseye.

Final Word: Setting Up Your Marketing Funnel

Each interaction with your business is packed with insight into how your digital marketing strategies are working for – or against you. Marketing funnels only work if you clearly define your conversions – aka, what actions you want users to take on your website – and map the path you want users to take to get them to convert.

If you need help setting up powerful digital marketing funnels for your business or choosing which types of funnels will work most effectively for your brand, contact Next Horizon digital marketing agency. We’ll analyze your business and competitors to build a system that converts.

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