digital marketing sales funnels
By Carrie-ann | Jun 27, 2023 | Marketing

Do you need digital marketing sales funnels?

If your business doesn’t have a digital marketing sales funnel, you’re doing something wrong.

That might sound harsh, but marketplaces are competitive and you need to be doing everything you possibly can to capture and convert as many qualified leads as possible.

After all, without conversions, your business isn’t going to thrive.

If that sounds overwhelming, don’t panic. Almost everyone feels that way. But the good news is that a digital marketing sales funnel can help you to successfully capture and convert leads.

I know it almost sounds too good to be true but digital sales funnels are proven to deliver results. So, whether you’re already on board or remain unconvinced, keep reading to learn more.

What is a digital marketing sales funnel?

It’s best to think of a digital marketing sales funnel as an umbrella term that sits over the top of a series of individual marketing tactics. We’ll delve into the nitty gritty shortly, but for now, I just want you to know that these tactics will perform several interlinked roles, including:

– Securing a visible spot in relevant search engine results pages (SERPs)
– Driving qualified and engaged traffic to your website
– Nurturing website visitors in ways that convince them to convert
– Creating a customer base filled with people who are loyal to your business and actively advocate for you online

I know it’s a lot to take in, but right now, you only need to remember one thing: a digital marketing sales funnel is an essential business tool that will help you to convert your web traffic into loyal customers.

How? Well, let’s start by taking a brief tour of the history of marketing. Stick with me, I promise it’s actually interesting.

Digital Marketing: A History

When was the last time you upgraded your computer? I ask because even if your computer is several years old, I’m willing to bet that you aren’t using an old PC with Windows 98. While that technology was cutting edge in its day, it just can’t compete with the new tech we have available to us today.

The same way of thinking also applies to digital marketing. As technologies have changed, so have the needs and desires of users, which now means that old marketing tactics just aren’t able to capture leads and drive conversions as effectively as they once could.

Digital marketing provides the businesses of today with a range of ways to connect and communicate with their ideal audience. All you need to do is determine which of those methods are best suited to your business and which are equipped to work in harmony to create a seamless funnel that maximises conversions with ease.

Now, let’s move on to answering what I imagine is your first question.

How exactly do digital marketing sales funnels work?

In many ways, the ‘funnel’ part of the term digital marketing sales funnel is the element you should be focusing on when getting to grips with its functionality. We use funnels in our real physical lives when we want to pour something from one vessel into another.

A digital marketing sales funnel works similarly, just digitally. So, in this case, you want to take qualified traffic from search engines and essentially pour it directly into a conversion container.

To do this, your sales funnel must be built in a way that will allow you to achieve a very specific objective which is likely to be something along the lines of: ‘I want my customer to purchase x product or service from my business.’

When you know what you want to achieve, you can work out how to fill the top of your sales funnel with relevant traffic and use effective digital marketing tactics to steer that traffic from the top to the bottom of your funnel.

It is at the bottom of this funnel that visitors will convert into paying customers and, ideally, become advocates for your business by recommending you to family, friends, and their wider social networks.

The AIDAA Formula

Many marketers use a formulaic approach to digital marketing sales funnels, with the five-stage AIDAA formula often coming out on top.

What is AIDAA?

Every letter of the AIDAA formula refers to a distinct stage in a digital marketing sales funnel.

A = Awareness
I = Interest
D = Desire
A = Action
A= Advocacy

It works on the premise that in order to successfully convince a visitor to become a paying customer and go on to advocate for your business, they need to be sufficiently nurtured at several points between the top and the bottom of your funnel.

The AIDAA model isn’t without its flaws. For example, it doesn’t serve non-linear customer journeys or impulse buys. And, obviously, there will be occasions when a visitor doesn’t convert into a customer.

But no funnel is 100% leak proof. If they were, I wouldn’t be here writing this and you wouldn’t be here reading it.

However, by investing in the creation and development of a sales funnel, you will significantly improve your chances of forming those all-important connections with your ideal audience.

What does a good digital marketing sales funnel look like?

It goes without saying that talking about digital marketing sales funnels is easier than actually creating one that works. So, let’s delve into the components that make up a strong funnel and why they work.

Digital marketing sales funnels can be segmented into three central elements: the foundation, the floodgates, and the actual funnel.

1. The Foundation

Everything related to marketing should begin with a period of research. Without this information, you’re going to find it impossible to adopt a strategic approach to the creation of your sales funnel and, frankly, it won’t work.

I always recommend starting with competitor analysis, which will give you a broad understanding of what is and isn’t working for other businesses. From here, you can work on the development of SMART goals and identify clear buyer personas, both of which will allow you to create specific stages that will appeal to your ideal customer.

If you’ve already worked on a value ladder, information learned here can be invaluable to the development of a sales funnel that works. Don’t panic if you haven’t – here’s a quick value ladder 101.

– Value Ladders

The concept of a value ladder essentially refers to the process of sharing value with your potential customers incrementally. This is done with a view to guiding a customer up the ladder, with each rung representing an increased level of commitment to your business.

Sharing here can come in many different forms, including digital content, programmes, services and physical goods, and work with your sales funnel to nurture engagement and trust.

2. The Floodgates

This phase is all about filling your sales funnel with qualified traffic and the great news is that there are so many options to explore.

Remember that awareness is the first stage of the AIDAA formula. As the widest part of the funnel, it should be kept broad and cover general marketing tactics, including identifying a target audience, understanding any problems currently facing the market, and devising unique solutions to those problems.

By avoiding getting too caught up in specifics too soon, this stage of the funnel should effectively capture the attention of potential customers who actually have an interest in what your business can offer but may not already be at the buying stage of their personal customer journey.

But where exactly can you find qualified traffic?

Online traffic can come from numerous locations, including search engines, email campaigns, in-person events, advertising, and social media. And I’m sure you already know what I’m about to say, but it’s worth emphasising that the best sales funnels leverage a number of sources to drive traffic.

Here are a few best practices to keep in mind.

– Social media

Social media is a great way to guide potential customers into your sales funnel. When creating social media content, ensure that you are regularly sharing educational, entertaining and engaging posts that don’t directly ask anything from your audience. Get this right and you’ll build an engaged audience that will be receptive to your offering and readily sign up to enter your funnel.

– Search engine optimisation (SEO)

SEO remains one of the most powerful and sustainable methods for channelling traffic into a sales funnel. When your website ranks well for relevant keywords and phrases, which is something that can be achieved by sharing high quality information that fully addresses a searcher’s query, you will earn more organic traffic to fill your funnel.

Interest is the second stage of the AIDAA formula and in order to pique your ideal customer’s interest and guide them through your intended customer journey, you need to incorporate clear calls-to-action (CTAs) into your content.

3. The Actual Sales Funnel

It might seem as though there are a lot of stages to navigate before you reach the actual sales funnel itself. And that’s true. But each stage has a purpose and ultimately supports the stability and success of the funnel.

A sales funnel should have three components:

– Lead Magnet

This is where the desire stage of the AIDAA formula comes into its own. Lead magnets can come in many forms, including eBooks, coupons and discounts, and educational content. They essentially offer something that your ideal customer wants to the extent they are willing to give you their contact information in exchange.

Lead magnet designs should be created with a clear objective in mind, which will help you to eliminate distractions and keep people on the page. The most important thing to remember here is that your chosen lead magnet needs to be clearly described, relevant to your audience, and enough to allow you to retain a competitive marketplace position.

– Amplification

While your lead magnet should draw visitors into your funnel and encourage them to stick around, the amplification process must take everything up a notch and compel visitors to take action.

Amplification can be achieved in many different ways, including sharing reviews or testimonials from existing customers and showcasing product/service demos. Here your objective is to reaffirm the interest your visitors had that got them to this stage of your funnel and remove any anxieties or doubts about converting.

– Conversion Events

It takes a lot of work to develop a sales funnel that successfully channels potential customers to this point. Now you need to ensure that you have everything in place to facilitate the conversion event.

The key to getting the action part of the AIDAA formulation right is to keep it simple.

Remember, if there are numerous barriers that visitors need to get through in order to gain access to the thing they want, they’re probably going to give up and take their business somewhere else.

Firstly, you should ensure that all buttons are clearly visible on the page. Secondly, it’s important to only ask for information you actually need. In most cases, a name and an email address is plenty, but you can always ask for more the further a person progresses through your funnel.

The Stage is Set

Whew! We’ve reached the end and the stage is set for you to start developing a powerful digital marketing sales funnel that actually works.

You’ll know you’ve done everything right when your customers start to advocate for your brand and start recommending your products or services to their friends. In turn, this will allow you to increase the number of reviews and testimonials provided by your customers, which can be used to further strengthen your sales funnel at the conversion stage.

Breaking each stage down into bite sized pieces can help to avoid overwhelm, but remember that your ultimate goal here is to explain why your business can deliver better experiences, products and services than your competitors. When you’re armed with these facts, you’ll find it easier to share the information that your potential customers need in order to take action at precisely the right times in their journey.

So, go get ’em!