Small Business Marketing Funnels Need Multiple Channels

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Perhaps the hardest part of running a business, big or small, is attracting customers. Marketing has long been the solution to this, although “marketing” as a concept is extremely varied. You may have even heard of something called a “marketing funnel”. That “funnel” is just a bit of marketing jargon that describes the journey potential clients or customers take, from becoming aware of your brand to purchasing a product or using your services.

Your marketing funnel can take many forms, but it’s important your small business utilizes a funnel that includes multiple communication channels. From ads to social media to SEO-driven content, you’ll need to reach new customers and clients in a variety of ways to increase how many potential customers or clients your funnel will reach. 

What is the Marketing Funnel?

A client or customer’s journey from the discovery of your product or service to conversion is rarely straightforward. In fact, old-school marketing experts have long noted the Rule of 7, which states that a potential customer or client needs to be exposed to your brand, message, offers, or marketing materials 7 times before they’ll really act on it.

The Rule of 7 is not entirely visual, however, which is where the marketing (or sales) funnel works well. The funnel is a good way to explain what the Rule of 7 looks like in practice. Which is to say, your marketing efforts need to be broad, like the opening of a funnel, but should also be designed to filter potential clients or customers down toward a specific point (conversion).

In most cases, you’ll find the marketing funnel described as the buyer’s journey toward conversion. As potential customers get closer and closer to buying your products or using your service, it’s important to help move them along through that journey in a meaningful way. 

The marketing funnel is often described using three (sometimes more) distinct sections: Top of Funnel (TOFU), Middle of Funnel (MOFU), and Bottom of Funnel (BOFU).

Top of Funnel (TOFU)

The top of the funnel is where brand awareness exists. This is where potential clients or customers first encounter your brand. The brand introduction needs to be impactful enough to entice them to keep moving along through the funnel. The top of the funnel answers the essential question, “Who are you?”, and is designed to generate leads, or individuals who may be interested in learning more about you.

Middle of Funnel (MOFU)

In the middle of the funnel, potential clients and customers should learn more about your company or brand. The middle of the funnel is integral to help clients understand how your company is differentiated in the market, and how it solves a particular problem or adds value. The middle of the funnel helps answer the question “Why do I need this?”. This is the part of the funnel that generates prospects, or individuals who are aware of your brand and may be willing to buy with the right convincing.

Bottom of the Funnel (BOFU)

When you get clients to the bottom of the funnel, you’ll have a much better chance to make a sale or sign up a new customer for your services. This is where you present your strongest calls to action that make sense for someone who is potentially interested in your products or services, and helps answer the question “How do I purchase” or “How do I sign up?”. This is the part of the funnel that generates sales.

That said, the sales funnel and the buyer’s journey are never the same. You may get some leads that are immediately interested, while others may circle the drain for quite a while before converting, or never convert at all.

Nonetheless, you can’t have an effective funnel or an effective buyer’s journey without multiple channels. Different channels add value or are effective at reaching buyers on different parts of their journey. You can also create marketing content and materials for the same channels that are designed for different parts of the funnel.

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Best Marketing Channels for a Marketing or Sales Funnel

In marketing, there are always multiple paths to reach the same goal. The ultimate point is to convert, so which channels you use, and how you use them, fully depend on the type of clients or customers you’re trying to reach.

That said, there are a few potential channels you want to employ for an effective multi-channel marketing approach. 

Digital ads

Digital ads are a commonly-used marketing channel. Large businesses love digital ads because they are often cheap campaigns to run, depending on which service you’re using to run them and what kind of competition you’re dealing with.

You can run ads on Google or other websites using Google AdWords, or run ads on social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. 

Ads are common and good for Top of Funnel marketing. That said, some types of long-form ads, such as video ads on YouTube, can be effective for Middle of Funnel or Bottom of Funnel marketing.

Remarketing

Once someone has become aware of or even interested in your product or service, you’ll need to ensure they run across that content again. This is where remarketing comes into play. Remarketing is a Middle of Funnel or even Bottom of Funnel technique that involves getting your marketing material and offers into the hands or into the sightline of those who have seen already seen that content.

Google Ads is one of the best options for remarketing. The service has built-in tools that help you target individuals who have already visited interacted with your content, such as by visiting your website or app or may have seen your ad in a Google search. Those individuals can be fed more content with your brand or offers, helping move them along the journey and distinctly aiding in your efforts at aligning to the “Rule of 7”.

Need help getting started with and navigating Google Ads? Contact Madison Ave Media for a complimentary consultation.

Email marketing

Much like digital ads, you can market your brand through email. Of course, that involves getting access to a potential client email first. Unless you’re buying email contact information (not recommended) you’ll need to collect it yourself. That means email marketing is not a great Top of Funnel marketing technique.

Email marketing is most effective when applied with Middle or Bottom of Funnel messaging. You should assume the reader knows who you are with email marketing. This gives you elbow room to provide more detailed offers and CTAs.

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Newsletters

Newsletters are a great way to maximize the benefit of collected contact information. Alongside email marketing, newsletters offer the opportunity to build brand loyalty and help remarket your brand to those who’ve handed over their contact info. You can also use newsletters to provide valuable information about your services, updates on your business, and provide unique and exclusive offers that may help convert prospects or help create returning customers or clients.

SEO web content

Search engine optimization (SEO) is a bit of a buzzword these days, but it’s the broad term used to describe how well your website appears on a Google search. Small businesses may have a particularly hard time competing in SEO, but you can still make some inroads by ensuring your content is search engine friendly, and focusing on what’s known as local SEO

SEO web content can take many forms but should include landing pages that describe your business services, product pages for products you sell, and an on-going, regularly updated blog that provides useful information for prospects.

Some of the beauty in web content is that each piece can be used to impact all three parts of the marketing funnel. A blog article, for example, can help answer the who, what, and why of your business, and end with a strong CTA that helps transform leads into sales.

Direct mail

Believe it or not, direct mail is still an effective marketing technique. Not only that, direct mail also has the highest response rate among other marketing methods. Direct mail is often ignored in the excitement surrounding digital marketing, but it’s an important consideration for your marketing funnel and should be a part of your marketing channels, especially if your business is distinctly local.

The best part of direct mail is that campaigns can be cheap to operate with a good return on investment. Direct mail is also great for all parts of the funnel and can feed into your digital presence through personalized URLs (pURLs).

How to Get Started Building a Multi-Channel Marketing Funnel

To start building your marketing funnel across multiple channels, do the following:

  • Make a complete assessment of your current marketing strategy

  • List out which channels you’re currently using for marketing (if any)

  • Analyze your marketing messages, offers, and CTAs

  • Create an audience profile to get a better understanding of your current and potential client base

  • Create varied marketing messages for different parts of your marketing funnel

  • Sign up for and begin drafting ads and marketing material for different channels

Multi-channel marketing is a step-by-step approach and may seem overwhelming at first. Thankfully, you don’t have to go at it alone, and you don’t have to rely on massive marketing companies that lack personalized attention. If you’re looking for a one-on-one approach toward building a multi-channel marketing funnel, contact Madison Ave Media for a complimentary consultation.