A Guide to Full Funnel Marketing

Full-funnel marketing has morphed into an omnichannel giant that requires your brand’s presence everywhere your customers are. As they watch CTV and shop all over the internet with their smartphones in hand, your brand identity and voice need to follow them.

The old linear approach to full-funnel marketing doesn’t work very well in our online world filled with many choices. Today, consumers see your ad on CTV, search their smartphones to see if your brand’s values align with theirs, and check out what other people say about you before even examining your product. 

After all, in today’s mature marketplace, they can probably find other similarly priced products that provide the same functions. And they can do it all with a quick Google search on their smartphone. 

As it’s increasingly difficult to stand out in a crowded and noisy marketplace, building brand equity — or social value — is vital for the long-term success of your marketing funnel. Your brand equity will later translate into increased sales and customer retention as loyalty grows. 

With a storehouse of brand equity behind you, an effective omnichannel platform that provides seamless channel access and the latest programmatic technology can allow you to capitalize on instant brand recognition as your presence follows consumers on their modern customer journey.

What’s the Deal With Full-Funnel Marketing?

A better question might be, “Why is full-funnel marketing so critical to my bottom line?”

Because without a balanced, full-funnel approach, your brand identity and voice will diminish. Since modern consumers can begin their customer journey at any touchpoint, it’s important to cover multiple touchpoints across channels. If you don’t, your lower funnel may not generate as much revenue as it could.

When you establish substantial brand equity at the top of the funnel, your products appear more valuable to consumers in the mid/lower funnel consideration and conversion stages across all marketing channels.

It can be difficult to quantify results from top-of-funnel efforts to build brand awareness and stay top of mind. However, the market often forces businesses that neglect the awareness stage to return to search engine optimization (SEO), content marketing, and social media marketing when they see competitors outperforming them. 

Breaking Down the Marketing Funnel

So what exactly is full-funnel marketing today?

Between social media, email, and other digital channels, consumers have the potential to see thousands of advertisements a day. For this reason, the old way of viewing marketing funnels as linear doesn’t make sense.

As consumers cycle through their habitual browsing, you want them to be exposed to your brand image as much as possible to build awareness. That way, when they’re ready to move on to the consideration and conversion stages, your business will be top of mind. You can capitalize on this cyclical consumer behavior to build awareness early.

All you need in the new marketing funnel cycle are the three steps: awareness, consideration, and conversion. If you get these right, retention and advocacy will come naturally.

Awareness Stage

In the awareness stage, you don’t focus as much on your target market as you do in the coming funnel stages. You want to cast a broad net to begin building new relationships that will blossom into increased sales later.

Effective awareness stage content builds an unforgettable brand identity and voice while delivering the information consumers need to develop trust in you. In the coming consideration and conversion stages, you can use that trust as equity to increase qualified leads and sales revenue.

Consideration Stage

The consideration stage is critical because you’ve captured a potential customer’s full attention. They may not know precisely what they need, but they know they have a problem, and you’re on their radar as they search for the best solution. 

Now is when they’re researching you. SEO and discoverability become critical in their search for the information they need regarding product specifications, customer experience, and social proof.

Product Specifications

How does your product stack up against the competition when it comes to factors such as function, price, and durability? Does it solve their problem?

When you know what your customers want to know about your product, you’ll be able to determine the best content type, keywords, and platforms to deliver product information. Browsing the questions asked on Amazon about products similar to yours is a goldmine.

Customer Experience

In a saturated market, customer experience is the crucial deciding factor that enables you to stand out from the competition. Consumers won’t do business with companies that provide a poor customer experience because they have a multitude of other options.

Customers may not be using metrics like NPS, CSAT, and churn rate. They’re more likely to evaluate these key points:

  • How easy is your checkout process?
  • Is shipping free?
  • How easy are returns?
  • Is customer service responsive, polite, and effective?

While consumers check out your product specifications and customer experience, they have an eye out for social proof. Knowing what the buzz is about you and your product provides answers from their most trusted source — other consumers.

Social Proof 

When people are uncertain, they search for others who have similar experiences to share. You can provide the opportunity for happy customers to provide social proof on:

  • Your website
  • Social media
  • Review sites 

Once consumers decide your business ticks all their boxes in the consideration stage, they are already thinking about buying. But they may need an additional nudge to convert in the bottom of your funnel.

Conversion Stage

After doing all the hard work in the initial stages of your buyer’s journey, conversion can seem easy as you guide prospects through your sales process. No wonder so many marketers try to skimp on awareness and go straight for conversions!

Prospects often need a little help making their final decision to buy. That’s why the conversion stage is a good time to offer:

  • Free trials
  • Discounts
  • Coupons
  • Free shipping

It’s also a profitable place to use your best testimonials and reviews strategically.

How the Customer Journey Affects Your Marketing Approach

The customer journey is no longer linear. Multiple paths to your buy button are now required to reach your full marketing potential because you must meet your customers where they are. 

And customers are scattered about as they hop around the online universe. Some will be able to go directly from an ad to the buy button while others need to become aware of your brand, be educated and nurtured to build trust, and then be sold to. 

Full-funnel marketing with an omnichannel approach allows you to meet customers wherever they begin their journey and follow them across channels while presenting multiple touchpoints. Each consumer can follow the journey that suits their browsing style to arrive at buying your product.

Because marketing efforts are spread so widely using disparate channels, building brand recognition becomes critical. Brand-building is about building relationships that enable you to market your products to the same consumer repeatedly and make a brand ambassador out of that consumer. 

With conversion marketing, the focus is on offers, conversions, and sales that produce immediate results. Brand-building can employ those same tactics, but the primary focus is on relationship building to win a loyal brand supporter. Growing brand equity requires nurturing consumers throughout every funnel stage on their customer journey, which we can best view as cyclical rather than linear. 

Taking a deeper look at full-funnel marketing tactics will clarify which activities bring the best results at each funnel stage.

Top of the Funnel Tactics

Proven top-of-funnel tactics create awareness by informing and educating while building trust and belief in your brand. SEO, content marketing, and social media marketing are the top three tactics.

Search Engine Optimization

SEO is critical for building visibility. When you own multiple top-ranking listings for high-traffic keywords, you’re assured credibility — not to mention a flow of highly-targeted, organic traffic that has an excellent conversion rate. 

To maintain those listings, you need to do two things: build an internal, external, and backlinks structure for your killer content and provide the best content created around the keywords your audience is using. As voice search grows, ranking for long keyword phrases also increases in importance.

Content Marketing

Content marketing requires an upfront investment of time and effort and the results aren’t as immediate as the results from paid search. But when done right, you will be perceived as a trusted expert and go-to source. You’ll receive a constant flow of targeted traffic because consumers will understand you value them enough to solve their problems without selling anything. This is also how you build brand equity. 

Types of content proven to work well at the top of the funnel are blogs, social media posts, videos, and podcasts. Content marketing is all about using the different media forms to attract, build, and nurture relationships. Social media is a valuable adjunct for promoting your content to drive traffic. If you use these tactics, your brand will be top of mind when it’s time to buy. 

Social Media Marketing

Social media is the place to build a loyal following. This is because when you post content on your website, you can drive traffic to it from social. If the content is search engine optimized, Google reads the traffic and boosts your content in SERPs. This helps you get even more free targeted traffic. You should also use paid ads or boosted posts to get the reach you need instead of relying solely on free organic social traffic.

Effective Tactics for the Middle of the Funnel

At mid-funnel, you’ve succeeded in getting prospects’ attention. Now you need to zero in on them by offering appealing content and presenting the information they need to move on to the conversion stage. 

White Papers 

White papers work best to establish professional thought leadership and expertise. They can be a few pages long or run to hundreds as they explore a problem and present a solution. White papers work well for B2B marketers who need to:

  • Display expertise
  • Provide thought leadership
  • Present an original product or research
  • Harvest leads
  • Grow an email list
  • Increase a social media following

White papers require an investment of resources, but there are few other types of content that carry as much weight.

Case Studies

Growing in use among B2B marketers, the case study is popular because it presents a common problem faced by customers and outlines how your product solves it. By the end of a successful case study, you should be able to clearly show the benefit your product provides your customers. 

Case studies are usually around 800 words long. They are widely read and shared because businesses tend to be interested in how others have solved problems.

Video Ads

Many successful video marketing campaigns use a series of videos to move consumers through their marketing funnel. Top-of-funnel videos are typically short and designed to attract interest. At mid-funnel, you know that viewers are curious enough to have clicked through. They want more information enabling you to increase video length.

It may be a good practice to have multiple mid-funnel videos that target specific audience segments to be more relevant to viewers.

Email Marketing

Email remains the most preferred way for people to receive marketing information. The versatility and effectiveness of email marketing make it one of the most widely used tactics in online marketing. You can use emails to:

  • Grow relationships with personalized engagement
  • Increase brand awareness
  • Promote content you’ve created
  • Segment your audience
  • Generate leads
  • Nurture leads
  • Market products

A well-maintained email list gives you a captive audience of consumers that have opted to join you.

Social Proof

The most trusted information source for consumers is other consumers through social proof. You can provide social proof in many forms, such as: 

  • Reviews. Your response to negative reviews tells people how you’ll treat them.
  • Experts. People trust expert opinions.
  • Influencers. Followers want to be like their heroes.
  • Testimonials. Ask for them and display them on your website and social media pages.
  • Business logos. Placing the logos of businesses you’ve served on your website builds credibility.

Bottom of the Funnel Marketing Efforts

People who are already informed and almost ready to purchase often need a little extra nudge to complete the sale. Here are three proven tactics:

Paid Advertising

Your paid advertising budget will yield a far higher ROI when backed up by a solid marketing effort in the awareness and conversion stages because consumers will already know who you are and what you’re selling.

Because you’ve built brand equity, they already trust you. A good programmatic advertising campaign that targets people at the right time and place to take advantage of cyclical consumer behavior yields excellent results.

Personalized Newsletters

Blasting out generic messages to all email subscribers is an excellent way to increase unsubscribes and decrease engagement and sales. Segmenting your list based on the personal characteristics of smaller, more targeted groups allows you to send highly relevant messages. This helps all your KPIs increase.

Customer Testimonials

Customer testimonials provide a highly effective nudge that many consumers need before clicking the buy button. That’s why savvy marketers place their best testimonials strategically to decrease drop-off rates. One of the oldest forms of user-generated content, a testimonial is typically more trusted as it is offered by a third party rather than from the brand itself. 

Why You Should Take a Full-Funnel Approach to Marketing

If you fail to take advantage of all the funnel stages, you’ll miss out on reaching critical segments of your market. And your competitors will move quickly to identify those underserved consumers and steal them away.

With so many touchpoints available on so many channels, every consumer can forge their unique path to purchase. Some go straight from ad to buy button. Others begin at the awareness or consideration stage. A full-funnel marketing effort helps you reach more buyers at more touchpoints on more channels.

How to Measure the Success of Your Approach

There are over 50 metrics you can use to measure the effectiveness of your marketing efforts. Framing your approach with a marketing plan that establishes clear goals will help you determine which metrics to use at which funnel stage.

Top-of-Funnel Metrics

Measuring content marketing results at the marketing funnel’s top can be challenging because it requires time to develop trust and build brand equity. Volume and percentage-based metrics are the most useful. You can measure:

  • Organic search traffic
  • Time on page
  • Click-through rate

Mid-Funnel Metrics

With their focus on the bottom line, businesses often neglect mid-funnel metrics. Still, it’s critical to measure how well your efforts are working so you can spend valuable resources creating content you know delivers results. You can measure:

  • Opt-in page conversion rates
  • Number of subscribers
  • Email open and click-through rates
  • Ad metrics
  • CTA response rates for white papers and case studies
  • Lead generation

Bottom-of-Funnel Metrics

The bottom of the funnel is where you can measure how well the entire campaign is doing using:

  • ROI
  • Conversion rate
  • Closure ratio
  • Year-on-year growth rate

Using the right metrics at the proper funnel stage gives you accurate data to base profitable marketing decisions.

Rendering the Complex Simple

Because full-funnel marketing can be a complex beast in our omnichannel, digital marketplace, it’s helpful and profitable to have an experienced partner who takes a holistic marketing approach. Leveraging our unified tech stack integrated into a seamless omnichannel platform, the expert team at AUDIENCEX simplifies and streamlines building your brand presence on the channels your customers live on and making your unique voice stand out. Let’s connect to find out how our solutions can help empower your marketing efforts today.