The inbound marketing funnel is the process your customers go through when they find you and your products online.

Unlike with other marketing processes in the physical world, there are many different elements and avenues your customers can take. This can cause several problems for your marketing team and business.

However, by understanding the inbound marketing funnel and implementing the best strategies for each step of the process, you can better adjust your campaigns to develop strong leads and convert numerous website visitors.

This article will describe the inbound marketing funnel and how you can use it to grow your business and customer list.

 

Step One: Entry Point

The entry point of your customers can be highly varied. The three main entry points are through search engines, social media and word of mouth. However, there are other methods such as direct entry (i.e. the visitor entering in your address straight away) or from review sites or business directories.

Search engines have the greatest contribution because not only does it include organic searching but also any pay-per-click campaigns.

Organic searches are very effective as a traffic generation path as some businesses report that over 80% of their traffic is generated this way. To create more traffic from organic searching you must optimise your website for search engines. There are several main elements to improving your website’s SEO and these include:

  • Keywords: Picking a single keyword (or phrase) per page and ensuring that it has a density of between 1.5 and 3.0%. Keywords should also be used in the title tags and captions of any images you have on the page.
  • Page titles and meta tags: Need to be optimised so that they have the keywords inserted.
  • Website speed: Google wants the websites it ranks on their search result pages to be of high quality. Part of Google’s assessment on the quality of a website is the speed it takes to load. If your site takes longer than 3 or 4 seconds, you are likely to lose a significant amount of traffic, leads, and revenue.
  • Submit your site index: Through your Google Webmasters Dashboard, submit your Site Index so that it is easier and quicker for your site to be indexed and ranked by Google.
  • Social media: Social media is becoming very important when it comes to SEO. The better the social signals you have (likes, followers, comments), the better the chance your content will be ranked highly.
  • Inbound links: Developing inbound links through your content and getting quoted by other articles will raise the rank of your site. This is because Google sees inbound links as a sign that your website has quality and accurate content.

In addition to search engine optimisation campaigns, you should also have a strong social media campaign directing new and old customers to your website. Do this by advertising useful content on your site and conversing with those who have a strong interest in similar topics to your products or services. Don’t forget to thank those who have interacted with your brand on social media.

Also, you can generate traffic by offering a great service and having previous customers spread word about their experiences with your brand. This can be highly effective as it builds trust early with your key customer group.

 

Step Two: Lead Generation

Once you have attracted the customers to your website you need to subscribe them to a mailing list or an RSS feed. This is more important than you realise because 70% of those who visit your website are unlikely to visit your site again, unless you regularly remind them of your brand.

There are several ways you can obtain the visitor’s contact details. The first is to offer the visitor something valuable in exchange for their contact details. The valuable item could be anything from a free quote, whitepaper, ebook or gift. This is highly effective because most individuals are attracted to free gifts.

Another way is to simply ask for the contact details when they land upon the page. This can be done with an option on the side of the webpage or via a pop-up that requests their details after they land on the page.

 

Step Three: Converting The Lead Into A Customer

The next step is to convert the lead into a customer. Regular contact should always be kept up with the contact so they do not forget who you are and to help with conversion. This can take several points of contacts (i.e. emails, social media updates, blog posts) and could require you to offer more free gifts.

In addition, each piece of content you are sending to them should provide further details why they should be buying from you. Eventually, your campaigns must lead them to a sales page where they can make a purchase.

Knowing when to do this can be difficult, but you should be monitoring the contact’s interactions with your email content. If they are regularly clicking through to your website, it is likely that they are ready to make a purchase.

 

Step Four: Delight

The final step is when you have finished providing your contact with your product or service. You should have given them excellent service and ensured that they were happy with what they have received.

Then, you keep in contact with them providing the past customer with more useful information. At every opportunity, you should invite them to spread word about your brand. This could be by forwarding on your email content to their friends or family or by mentioning your business on social media.

A good example of this is with Amazon. After you have made a purchase they offer you the chance to tweet, or publish an announcement on Facebook, about your purchase. Later, when you have received your order, they will send an email to request a review of the purchased product.

This process attracts new potential customers to your brand and starts the process again (along with SEO and social media content).

 

Conclusion

The inbound marketing sales funnel is all about generating traffic to your site and selling products by using your content and previous customer experiences to attract potential customers. The inbound marketing funnel can take several weeks or months to complete. However, the return on your initial investment can be better than most outbound marketing strategies.

Start your business’ inbound marketing sales funnel and see your business’ growth over the long term while you reduce costs and improve profits.

Jake Burdess

Director at Aflua
This post is by Jake Burdess, the founder of Aflua and HEROIC. Jake is an English designer who lives in New Zealand with his wife and three kids.

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