The Inbound Marketing funnel is used to describe the stage in the buying process the potential customer is in. Below you can see what the Inbound Marketing funnel looks like:
Let's break down each stage of the funnel.
- Driving Prospects: In this stage, you should be focused on getting qualified traffic to your website. This can be done through social media marketing, email newsletters, mobile marketing, blogging, SEO, pay-per-click advertising, etc.
- Convert Prospects: Once prospects are driven to your website, it is your job to convert them into leads by having them fill out some type of informational form. You will leverage content offers and promotional offers to get them to convert. Once they are converted, they will be in your Inbound Marketing "system" and can be nurtured into a great lead for your sales team.
- Top Funnel: This is the first and most broad lead category. Typically this is where the majority of your website visitors will convert into leads. The content offer for top funnel prospects should be purely educational and teach them more about the industry your company operates in. In this stage, prospects are simply trying to educate themselves.
- Lead Nurturing: Once a website prospect is converted into a lead, they enter your Inbound Marketing funnel. Now in order to effectively move them down the funnel, you can leverage lead nurturing campaigns to push leads down the funnel and get them to convert on the next level offer.
- Middle Funnel: At this stage, leads have already made up their mind that the products and services a company in your industry offers is right for them. Now they are simply deciding which company in your industry is best for them. In this stage, it's your job to educate them on how to evaluate the industry to find the best company for them. This will help establish your authority and qualify these leads.
- Bottom Funnel: At this point the lead is educated on both the industry in general and the companies within the industry. Now is where you will ask them to make the jump and convert into a qualified lead or even a customer by offering them some type of promotional offer. This could be a free trial, a consultation or even ask for the sale.
There's a good chance that your website is strictly focused on the last step, converting website visitors directly into customers. But this only represents a very small portion of the total traffic your website is getting. There are hundreds (or thousands) of website visitors who just aren't quite at the step of reaching out for services. This is even truer in premium, big buy niches such as the Joomla web design niche our company is in.
Many times these visitors are either looking for additional information on the industry, product or service or they are trying to qualify your business to see if your particular company is a good fit to solve their needs. By creating special content offers to the website visitors who fit in the top and middle funnel, you now are dramatically increasing the number of people you're engaging.
Then once a top or middle funnel customer converts into a lead and is entered into the funnel, it is your job to help nurture them down the funnel and get them to convert on the next offer, eventually finishing with them converting on the bottom funnel offer. At this point, you can turn this lead over to the sales team and the lead is highly qualified, educated and engaged to your company. Sounds like the perfect lead to me.
Below are a number of good links to learn more about Inbound Marketing. Additionally, I would encourage you to subscribe to our RSS feed to receive great educational content so you can continue to learn how to leverage Inbound Marketing to build your business.
- What is Inbound Marketing and How Does it Drive Leads?
- 7 Reasons Inbound Marketing Rocks
- Inbound Marketing Terminology – Terms You Should Know
- Choosing a Inbound Marketing Agency