Unlike billboards or magazine ads which are just “one and done” for the viewer, digital marketing allows you to gently guide your audience down a path that (hopefully) leads to them being a lifelong customers. It’s unusual for a person to see an ad for a company they never heard of and immediately purchase – so how do you find your target audience and turn them into loyal, repeat customers? The common term for this journey is the Digital Marketing Funnel. There are three main levels that are broken down below.
Top of Funnel – Awareness
This is where the journey begins. The top of the funnel is the widest, since this is where you cast your net for potential new customers. Start by clearly defining your audience. Create a spreadsheet of their likes, interests, influences, age and other demographics. This is the learning stage so don’t be afraid to A/B test different audiences until you find the ones that really click with your brand. The ads you create targeting this group should be a gentle, but eye catching presentation of your brand. You really want them to stop scrolling and take notice, click on your ad and learn more about your company. This is not the time to be pushy or go for a hard sell, this is merely an introduction, meant to peak their interest. This is the awareness stage where you present them with a problem they’re facing and show you’ve got the solution. Use the “Learn More” button as a Call To Action so clicking doesn’t feel like such a big commitment. These ads can lead directly to the product page or to a specifically designed landing page. A landing page is a great idea for more complicated items and services since it can clearly and directly answer all the key questions the customer might have so they don’t get frustrated or overwhelmed on your website. Making their quest for information as simple as possible is key to keep them moving down the funnel.
Middle of the Funnel – Consideration / Research
After your initial audience clicks through to your website or interacts with your ad in any way – you now have a warm audience, congratulations! This group of people have viewed your video, commented on your post, clicked onto your landing page etc and now have a basic understanding of who you are and what you do. The only problem? They haven’t committed to buying yet. Since this warm audience knows what you’re about you can be more direct with your retargeting ads. This is the perfect time to use review ads, social proof works wonders and may be the right thing to convince them to hit the “shop now” button. This is also a great time to provide a value offer. Offering a free ebook, a discount code if they subscribe, or a webinar are just a few examples of ways to get people more engaged with your brand while growing their trust and interest in your company. While they’re winning by getting free content from you, it’s also a win on your end because you’ve gained another way to retarget and keep them in the loop about your products and services.
Bottom of the Funnel – Decision / Upsell
Once people have purchased your products you now have a bottom of the funnel. These are your tried and true customers, they’ve already bought your product so there’s no reason to beat around the bush with them. Ads targeting previous purchasers can be direct and personalized. For example, you can target those that purchased a certain item with ads for a companion product. Offering exclusive deals and discounts to this audience can create some impulse sales since they will most likely jump on the opportunity to purchase without needing to do further research. This is also a great audience to promote brand new products to because chances are if they liked your old items they’ll be interested in your new ones as well. While gaining new customers is a worthy endeavor don’t neglect your BOFU audience since keeping current customers engaged will always hold a much greater value.