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Digital Marketing Funnels – Not just plugging holes

December 10, 2014
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Most of the discussions and lectures around the digital marketing funnel are about the ways to plug in the leakages that are happening. Here are few things to note about a digital marketing funnel.

  1. It’s not about plugging the holes!

    One of the most hilarious thing about funnels out there is the notion that plugging in the leakages increases sales! While that is true to some extent, this notion doesn’t provide a holistic view of things. Your users are not literally those steel balls that will come out at the other end of the funnel when left for a long enough time. So there’s always going to be a leakage no matter how hard you try to plugin the holes.

    The first thing that any digital marketer should understand is the purpose to serve which your website exists. The second most important thing that is often overlooked by marketers is the purpose to fulfil which your audience are visiting your website!! Are they coming to read more about a product? Are they coming to read reviews of a product? Price comparision, product comparision etc. without understanding the purpose of their visit, you cannot plug in the funnel and expect to increase sales.

    The best way to do this is to use website surveys. While, using indicators like search term or ad content gives you a broad idea. They don’t always provide you with the complete picture which you can get by asking your users directly.

  2. It’s not about a Single Funnel

    The sad part is, we don’t know when that “future” is going to be here! Which is why, a single sales funnel for any business is an atomistic and ineffective way to look at things.

    Once you have understood what your users are looking for, it’s time to create alternate funnels to channel them through, rather than plugging in the holes with just a single marketing activity (like newsletters). You need to develop more funnels with sales at the bottom, for this, you need to make extensive use of your analytics and the funnel depth depends on your business.

    For example, you’re a business that provides Security Systems to households. You have a blog section and an ecommerce section on the website. You observed that 80% of your traffic drops at blog and doesn’t even enter the ecommerce section. At this point you run a survey and find out that 60% of your users are on your website to read more about the technology rather than buying a product. What would you do? (Think about it and comment below before reading on…) Most of the marketers, without doing the survey decide to plug in the funnel by trying to capture their email ids and sending promotional mails or run remarketing ads. But you have an additional piece of information here, you know what the people are looking for, sending those promotional mails just won’t cut it. Perhaps, you get a sale or two out of those promotional mails but we’re talking about 60% of your traffic that is not interested in buying your product… at the moment! So how about you create the following funnel for this 60%?

    Try to capture their emails -> Mail them more content about the technology -> Ask them to sign up for a webinar on how these technologies can help them make their homes more secure -> At the end of the webinar pitch in your products and offer a discount.

    Of course, this is one possible funnel path, depending on how well you know your customers, you can create alternate funnel paths or increase or decrease the funnel depth before they come out as sales out of your original funnel.

  3. Utilizing analytics to create and optimize funnels

    If you’re going down the road of multiple funnels, you should by now understand the importance of collecting data. While you are doing this, it is important to understand that conversion time can be different for different users. You need to experiment with various funnel depths for different types of customers and conduct both qualitative and quantitative data analysis.

    By doing this you can not only improve your overall sales conversions, by tracing this back to the traffic acquisition channels, you can re-evaluate the value that each of them is bringing you, and not only your ROI figures might just change, your understanding of your customers would take a huge turn! To do this, you need to use principle of multiplicity. You need to be able to collect data at every step using various tools and integrate it all at the end.

  4. Most of this is not new. Lead nurturing programs have been out there for a long time but most of the time they’re seen as a plugs in the sales funnel and that’s a very atomistic view when you look at marketing as a whole, thinking of them as funnels gives a chance to implement more effective programs and optimize the existing ones by experimenting.

    We are implementing this at EduPristine, we'll share the numbers as soon as we have some, meanwhile, try it out yourself and let us know how this turns out for you!


About the Author

Self proclaimed Rationalist, a free thinker, an avid follower of everything that is Data and a graduate from BITS Pilani. You will find Sumanth pondering over the problems of universe when he's not busy being a Data driven Digital Marketer.


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