By Madeline Coast
The digital environment is a competitive one, a landscape in which your business is fighting for even a second of someone’s attention across a multitude of platforms and communication channels. So, how does a company align all of its marketing efforts in this dynamic and sometimes overwhelming digital environment?
The Marketing Funnel
The answer lies within the inner workings of your potential buyer’s decision-making process. In today’s information age, consumers are more educated and researched than they ever have been before, which means purchasing products and services isn’t purely transactional anymore — it’s a highly complex psychological process. People don’t typically see an ad, click on it, and then make a purchase right away. You wouldn’t walk into a shoe store and buy the first pair of sneakers you saw on the shelf, would you? Online buying behaviors are no different, and customers will diligently compare options, read reviews, and search for more information to solidify their purchase decision before pulling the trigger. To better categorize where a prospect is within this decision-making process, marketers have broken down the customer journey into a digestible framework that any business can follow for a successful marketing strategy.
Every customer begins this journey by first becoming aware of your business’s products and services. During this awareness/attraction stage, you should be casting a wide net to figure out who your target audiences are, where they spend their time online, and what types of messaging and creative will act as a “hook” to pique their interest. This stage is where you’ll be using paid ads to drive traffic to your website, which serves as the base of all your marketing efforts. An effective website should be fully functional, educational, entertaining, beautifully designed, and ultimately establish trust and brand recognition with your audience.
The next stage in the customer journey, sometimes called middle-of-funnel, is where the main goal is to drive interest and consideration through engaging content and supporting materials. It’s critical that your marketing message clearly communicates what problem you can solve for your customer, and any ad creative should demonstrate how your solution is unique to your competitors’. What features or functions make your product/service one-of-a-kind, and why should a customer choose you? If the answer to this question isn’t clear, or you’re unsure, it is essential that you go back to the drawing board and find a way to stand out against the competition.
Content is King
So now that you’ve hooked your potential customer, you’ll need to create content that allows them to dig deeper and find out more. Maybe they want to watch a video of someone using the product or read more about the powerful ingredients, in a blog on your site. Creating rich and captivating content isn’t necessarily easy, but taking the time to entertain and guide your customers will help support their decision to buy, which is why it is essential.
Ask for the Sale
Finally, it’s time to ask your buyer to make the purchase. If you’ve successfully executed the previous steps, they should be 90% of the way there and will only need a compelling reason to buy now. You can do this by creating a sense of urgency with limited-time free shipping, offering a discount or bonus product, or encouraging them to make their purchase painlessly within the platform using Facebook and Instagram’s “Shop” features. During this conversion stage, it’s important to remember that customers may still be fickle. If you’re marketing for an e-commerce business, a lengthy checkout process will most likely result in them getting frustrated and exiting before finalizing their purchase. Your goal should be to make the purchase process simplistic and effortless, and remember that every step is an opportunity for them to drop off.
There is no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to attracting, engaging, and converting buyers. If you haven’t created a marketing funnel yet, it’s time to identify gaps in your marketing strategy and use this framework to round out your business’s approach to selling in a digital world. By following the marketing funnel’s basic principles, you’ll be sure to find the formula that works best for your business. Marketing successfully in a digital environment is not a simple undertaking and is an investment in your business that takes time and patience. C Squared Social’s team of expert Strategists and Account Managers can help guide you through this process and will carefully craft messaging and beautifully designed creative that aligns with your brand and your business goals.