Digital Marketing Funnel: Nurture your audience online in 5 steps.
What is a digital marketing funnel?
A digital marketing funnel is based on exactly that – the marketing funnel – where ads are strategically served to an audience based on what stage they’re at in their client or customer journey.
The reality is that the online world is a saturated and noisy space for businesses to advertise, forcing us marketers to be clever and strategic in our approach and messaging. Audiences are more intelligent and sophisticated, and expect to be served information that is relevant and valuable to them, and they want to see this information on their terms. Digital marketing funnels allow you to be in the right place at the right time and work hard to nurture an engaged audience, ultimately resulting in more qualified leads or an increase in sales as your potential customers are “funneled” into actual customers.
The essence of a digital marketing funnel lies in its systematic approach to guiding potential customers through their buying journey, ensuring that every interaction is tailored and relevant. This not only enhances the user experience but significantly amplifies the efficiency and effectiveness of your marketing efforts, making the digital marketing funnel an indispensable tool in achieving a higher conversion rate and maximizing your marketing ROI in the digital landscape.
Stages of a digital marketing funnel
Not every business will have an identical marketing funnel, but we find the following four stages to be the rule of thumb – awareness, consideration, conversion and advocacy. It’s important to remember digital marketing funnel are a long game, so don’t expect to see leads or sales pouring in within the first week of launch. Have trust in the process!
Stage 1 – Awareness
We know it takes between 5 and 7 impressions* before an individual will remember your brand, so it’s important to understand how critical the awareness stage is to the success of your digital marketing funnel. You want to make sure you’re always filling the top of the funnel with brand impressions from a wide, but targeted cold audience.
Stage 2 – Consideration
This is where people will recognise your brand if they see it and they’ll likely start to interact with your content – browse your website, like an Instagram post or view a video on your Facebook page. We call this group of people a ‘considered audience’.
Stage 3 – Conversion
The lead generation phase! Whether that be ‘enter your email address’ or ‘purchase an item’ (the conversion options are many), this is where your audience takes action. They know your brand, they’re familiar with your product or service offering and they’ve done their research. Keep in mind that depending on the cost of your service or product, it can take up to 12 months (or more) to acquire a client or sale — for example, while a takeaway coffee might involve a 30-second consideration, a customer may take 12 months to consider a brand new car.
Stage 4 – Advocacy
We love this stage; you can expect to achieve significant return on investment (ROI) here. Your clients / customers rave about you, refer you to friends and share your brand on their own social media. Business that comes from referral costs you $0. This is the sheer power of a brand advocate.
5 steps to a successful digital marketing funnel using Facebook
Step 1 – Identify your client’s journey
It’s important to identify your client’s journey through the funnel to optimise your campaign strategy. Ask yourself these questions:
- What are the sources and channels of brand discovery for your target audience? I.e., Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Google.
- What are the important milestones in your audience’s journey? I.e., post engagement, website visits, video views, form submissions etc.
- What content can you pair with these milestones to match your audience’s intent? Put yourself in their shoes and ask what content would encourage them to engage at each stage of your digital marketing funnel?
- Approximately how long does it take for your audience to travel from the top to the bottom of the funnel? Be realistic. Of course, we all want leads / sales as soon as possible, but review your average conversion rate and time to optimise advertising spend and budget for the campaign.
- Also be aware of leaks in your funnel to understand where you could lose your audience along the way — for example… (eg. slow-loading webpages; broken links etc.) A constant review and reevaluation of each stage of the funnel is important to achieve the best possible results.
Step 2 – Understand Facebook Ads Manager
There are 3 categories and 11 objectives in Facebook’s advertising platform, Ads Manager. To ensure you can retarget accordingly, it’s key to select the right objective when setting up your ads.
Increase people’s awareness of your brand.
Send people from Facebook to any URL you choose, such as your website’s landing page, a blog post, app etc.
Encourage people to take a specific action on your website, such as add items to a cart, download your app or make a purchase.
Show your ad to as many people as possible in your selected target audience.
Reach people more likely to engage with your post. Engagement includes likes, comments and shares, but can also include offers claimed from your page.
Show products from your ecommerce store’s catalog to generate sales.
Send people to the store where they can download your business’s app.
Promote your brick-and-mortar business locations to people that are nearby.
Share videos of your business with people on Facebook most likely to watch it.
Collect leads for your business within Facebook. Create ads that collect info from people interested in your product, such as sign-ups for newsletters.
Connect with people on Messenger, Instagram Direct, and WhatsApp. Communicate with potential or existing customers to encourage interest in your business.
Step 3 – Setup and start capturing your Facebook audiences based on your digital marketing funnel
Use Facebook Audiences in Ads Manager to store and manage your audience groups. This allows you to utilise the Facebook Pixel to capture website users, save broad audiences using Facebook demographics (age, location, gender, interests etc.), save custom audiences that have engaged with your content and explore lookalike audiences.
Ensure your primary target audience is at the core here. Tap into your buying personas and try to reach online audiences that resemvble these personas as closely as possible. Think of Facebook audiences as the bones of your digital marketing funnel – taking the time to set them up will be game-changing to the overall results.
Step 4 – Set objectives based on the digital marketing funnel stage
Selecting the appropriate Facebook objectives according to the funnel stage is critical (see table above for guidance).
Top of funnel (TOF)
Select an objective in the ‘awareness’ category and target a broad audience to reach potential clients with an engaging piece of content. A GIF, video, topical blog etc. can work well here.
Middle of funnel (MOF)
Select an objective in the ‘consideration’ category and target the individuals who engaged with the TOF ad by using your pre-set audiences. Desired actions here could be clicking through to a page on your website or downloading a resource. Note: if your overall audience is smaller (geographically) a 2-step funnel may perform better.
Bottom of funnel (BOF)
Select an objective in either the ‘awareness’ or ‘conversion’ category to target users who clicked through and performed the desired action in the MOF ad. Again, use your pre-set audience here. You’ll need an enticing offer to encourage the action i.e., lead submission, product purchase etc.
Step 5 – Analyse and optimise your digital marketing funnel
Like any online campaign, you need to check in and review each ad’s performance within the campaign to make sure relevant benchmarks are being met. We recommend doing this at least once per week. You might need to tweak your audience targeting, budget or captions to ensure the ads are giving you the best results possible. You might have opted to use an A/B test in the campaign — how are the ads performing against one another? Is there a clear winner that needs full budget reallocation? Constant reevaluation of overall campaign performance will ensure your ads are performing to the best of their ability. It’s important to note the relevant metrics to track for each ad objective, and constantly monitor these metrics against industry benchmarks.
Need a hand creating your digital marketing funnel?
Digital marketing funnels allow you to capture and stay in front of an online audience through their entire client / customer journey, giving your ads more cut-through. If you’re interested in finding out how a funnel campaign could work for your business, or if you’d like to be guided through the setup (they do get quite technical!), just get in contact with us. We’d be happy to help you discover and nurture new and engaged audiences in your next online funnel campaign journey.