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What is Funnel Marketing?

What is Funnel Marketing?

When we mention Funnel Marketing to Entrepreneurs, we’re usually looked at with a blank expression. Funnel Marketing isn’t a new concept, marketers have been using it for over a decade. Then why do so few  businesses know about it? Often an entrepreneur setting out in business, knows their skill or product well, but don’t have marketing or sales training to get their product or service out to the market. Often Entrepreneurs fall into their business and when it’s up and running, it can become all-consuming and they can’t take the time out to study marketing. They know they need a website and will turn to a web development company to build one which is great but if nobody sees it, it will be a waste of time and money.

The reason we have a website is, so our visitors can take certain actions; usually to buy our products or book our services. When this happens, we call it a conversion. The website visitor converts from browsing to taking the action we want them to take. Therefore, a funnel is the set of steps a visitor needs to go through before they ‘convert’.

The set of steps to the conversion is called a “funnel” because at the beginning of the process, there are a lot of people who take the first step. Then, as the people continue along and take the next steps, some of them drop out, and the size of the crowd thins or narrows.


If you think of it like a high street shop, the widest end of the funnel is the ‘passing trade’; people walking past the window seeing the shop but maybe not even acknowledging it.

Then there’s the ‘window shoppers’, stopping to look in the window but not actually going in, these make up the next, slightly narrower part of the funnel.

Next are the ‘browsers’, these people go into the shop, spend some time browsing but then walk out, the funnel is narrowing again with this group of people.

Then you have the ones you’ve been waiting for, the ‘shoppers’ the people who come in browse and then purchase! This is the narrowest part of the funnel, the actual customers.

We can often think of the other people higher up the funnel as time wasters. Instead, think about timing. On another walk down the street, the passers by may actually notice the shop and stop to look in the window, moving into the ‘window shopper’ part of the funnel. The timing for the window shoppers or browser may not have been right to make the purchase there and then, some of the window shoppers will move down the funnel to become browsers and some of the browsers will move down the funnel to actually make a purchase and this could be after their 2nd, 3rd, 4th or even more browses until they’re ready. It’s very unusual for someone to bypass the other steps of the funnel and walk straight in yet often our expectation is that this happens. Therefore we need a funnel that is full all the way along and to be able to nurture people at every step of the funnel before they even become customers.

If we translate this analogy to a digital marketing funnel and using Facebook as our high street. We have lots of passing trade on ‘Facebook Street’ and the great thing about Facebook, many of the passing trade won’t be interested in what we have to offer, so we can choose which of the passing trade see our shop sign in the form of a Facebook ad.

We can choose to show our shop sign to the people who have the problem we are solving with our product or service and who either don’t realise they have the problem until we tell them or know they have a problem but not know the solution for it exists, so they haven’t started looking for it. These are people in the first 2 levels of ‘Schwartz’s 5 levels of customer awareness. When people are aware of the solution to their problem and go searching for it, this is where google ads come in and SEO and you’re now competing with the other providers of that solution.

The same as on the real high street, some will see our sign and pass by, others will window shop and read the ad, others will click the ad becoming browsers, now taking a look at whichever shop we’ve chosen to let them enter in to. Some of the browsers will leave returning to Facebook Street. Now they’ve entered our shop once and shown some interest, we can now show them our shop sign again and again by re-marketing to them. For some of the browsers, they’re so interested in our product, we give away something of value to them for free, in exchange for their details. This means we can keep in touch with them directly and share valuable information with them about the product they have already expressed an interest in, until they’re ready to move into the bottom of the funnel and make a buying decision!

Zoe Allen
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