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Marketing funnels explained: where does a funnel fit in your marketing mix?

Marketing funnels explained: where does a funnel fit in your marketing mix?

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Funnels play an integral role in any marketing campaign. It provides a useful guide through which marketers can analyse a business and identify areas for improvement. In this article, read about marketing funnel explained and understand the role that it places in a wider marketing programme and within the customer journey. 

The marketing funnel explained

A marketing funnel is a model that illustrates the virtual path that every client takes from awareness to a sale. From the initial stages when a consumer learns about the business, to the buying stage, marketing funnels map conversion routes and beyond.

Marketing funnels are called different names including “lead funnels”, “sales funnel”, “conversion funnels”, “purchase funnels” and other similar terms. While these terms slightly differ in the definition it has one aim – to convert leads into actual customers. The main distinction lies within what objectives the brand has.

The goal of an marketing funnel could be something like:

  • Selling a product or service (digital or physical).
  • Building a contact list.
  • Promoting a paid or free webinar.

Why are marketing funnels important?

With a marketing funnel report, you will see where you are losing customers. It will also help create useful and actionable key strategies to step up business growth.

Businesses who do not understand their funnel, will not know how to optimise it. By fully understanding your marketing funnel, it helps the brand to influence how visitors move through the funnel and whether they eventually convert.

The best example is a basic SaaS business funnel:

  • Leads visit the site
  • Leads sign up for a trial 
  • Leads use the product
  • Leads upgraded to the paid version

The customers in this funnel do not need to pay to use the product but it is really a good idea to track if the upgrading to the paid version is a roadblock. 

What types of businesses can benefit the most?

All types of businesses can benefit from using a well-built marketing funnel. Digital marketing funnels help brands turn leads into customers, which is the aim of any operating business. Take a look at a few examples of businesses that could benefit from using marketing funnels and how they do it.

Local businesses

Local businesses can benefit greatly using a marketing funnel, for example, brands that offer a wedding planning service. 

At the top of the marketing funnel, brands likely will focus on generating traffic to a specific landing page, such as through Facebook ads. From there, brands can turn these visitors into leads by offering them content like a downloadable wedding preparation checklist. 

Once leads sign up, they enter an email sequence that consists of several messages including ideas for a stress-free wedding. This is the middle of the funnel stage. 

After reading the content, the subscribers might realize that organizing an amazing wedding will take a huge amount of time and effort, and they might not want to do all that on their own.

How you can maximise every stage of your marketing funnel
How you can maximise every stage of your marketing funnel
Source: Newscred

That’s why sometime in the sequence brands can generate an offer – the services that’ll make the customers feel like a guest at their own wedding. This stage is the bottom of the funnel. Whoever is interested in a grand and stress-free wedding can buying wedding plans packages right off the website or can reach out to the brand directly via email. 

Ecommerce business

Consider an eCommerce business that sells vegan food. 

The top of the marketing funnel can be set up using a landing page and a lead magnet. The lead magnet can be an ebook of vegan recipes. The business can drive traffic to the funnel by using social media ads. 

In the middle of the funnel, leads can be nurtured using a sequence of autoresponders with cooking tips and more recipes. 

At the bottom of the funnel, the brand can drive the email subscribers to a sales page where they can convert into paying customers. For those who haven’t converted right away, brands can send another offer several days later and amplify their campaign with social media ads. 

Coaching business

Coaching businesses who sell online memberships or courses can also benefit greatly when using a marketing funnel. 

This is a marketing funnel explained for coaching business
Source: Medium

At the top of your funnel marketers can set up a landing page featuring a lead magnet, for example, an ebook on how to land a customer. To generate traffic into the landing page, the brand can set up a social media ad campaign and reach out to a targeted audience. 

Once leads fill out the form, the will receive an ebook along with drip emails featuring additional tips on how they can get more customers. After several emails, it’s time to present the upsell offer, a paid course or a membership program.

This is the bottom of the funnel and the time that brands will drive traffic from your emails to the sales page. To improve the conversion rate, brands should include an exit-intent form and also track which users filled out the form and completed the order.

To complete, retarget those who haven’t committed – maybe they abandoned the page or haven’t clicked through to the sales page.

Driving traffic to the marketing funnel 

As shown in the examples above, the marketing funnel still plays a central role across any marketing campaign. It is the mechanism that converts the leads to actual paying customers. To make a really effective marketing campaign, it will be helpful if you have a full understanding of how to drive consumers into the funnel.


Source: Oberlo

To have a successful conversion funnel brands must pull (not pour) leads into it. This can be done by making consumers aware of the company. Several well-known techniques have been proven effective for this stage.

  • PPC campaigns – acquire consumers who are actively searching for a solution. A well-executed PPC campaign is a brilliant source of qualified traffic.
  • Social media – brands can find users who are already pre-determined to be likely interested in a product or service through this platform. It is one of the best ways for brands towards reaching out to potential targets.
  • Organic search – search engine ranking allows brands to offer products or services s to users who are actively looking for a solution to their problems.
  • Influencer marketing – these people or organisations have an incredible way to make audiences know the brand. An influencer’s presentation and storytelling skills are the perfect vehicles to make consumers understand about the brand’s features and benefits.


Once prospects are pulled into the funnel, brands need to continually build their interest. The best tool for this phase is using a content-rich website. To show that you are an expert in this area, you can create content that will address the customer’s questions or needs. Some of the tactics that can be used during this phase include:

Source: GetResponse
  • Content marketing – online content is one of the best ways to keep consumers engaged because it is a valuable source of information. Some of the tactics that can be used in content marketing are blog posts and articles, videos, infographics and more.
  • Datasheets – provide leads with details that they are looking for analysis or information such as cost-in-use, energy usage, size, etc.
  • Checklists – provide leads with helpful information by showing them the best way to do an action. 
  • Webinars – meeting the customers online will allow you to combine visual and audio in a very digestible way. It is the best chance to outline and educate leads to a new product or service. Moreover, it can be used to highlight why this brand is superior to the rest.


This is the perfect time to make leads interested in the product or service. Some of the best tactics to use in this stage are:

  • Email autoresponder – an email drip campaign can build the relationship between you and any potential customer. Additionally, it can highlight specific problems that the brand can solve and focusing on how the solution is different from the competition will also help. At this stage, leads are often comparing multiple brands to see which offer is the best.
  • Comparison blogs – these type of blogs can help leads decide which brand offers better features and benefits.
  • Case studies – showcasing real-life examples of how customer’s life was improved when they used the brand’s products or services.
See how you can set up your email drip campaign
Source: Envato Tuts


Last but also the most important part. In any marketing funnel, only a small percentage of leads will make it to this level. But using an improve marketing strategy, you should be able to maximise the number of leads and customers.