I want to admit up front that this post doesn’t have much to do with funnels per se. I have been using them for close to a decade now and have grown rather fond of them. However, the new features that ClickFunnels has introduced this year have changed the game and have forced me to rework some of my old methods. In this post, I will explain my new approach towards funnels along with some other helpful information about integrating ClickFunnels with your existing business infrastructure.
What Is A Funnel And Where Did It Come From?”
A funnel, also known as a sales funnel or marketing funnel, is a type of marketing tool that helps businesses market their products. The basic idea behind a funnel is to organize and order a series of steps that lead to the eventual acquisition of a new customer. Generally speaking, the process starts with a potential customer identifying themselves as a relevant target market and proceeds through several stages until reaching the final action required for a purchase.
Funnels have been around since the 1800s but have mostly been used in marketing campaigns by industrial corporations looking to expand their customer base. Early on, Mark Taylor, an important figure in the tech industry, recognized the power of funnels when he implemented the sales funnel for CompuServe, a precursor to online brokerage houses like Scottrade and TD Ameritrade.
Since Taylor’s implementation of the CompuServe sales funnel, lots of other businesses, including Google, have followed suit and today, most large corporations use sales funnels to some extent. As you might guess, plenty of smaller businesses use funnels, too, particularly when it comes to marketing. This dichotomy between large established brands and smaller entrepreneurial companies is one that will stand the test of time. It’s a world that has changed quite a bit since the days when Taylor first implemented his sales funnel but the idea behind a sales funnel has never been more relevant or more necessary.
Why Use A Funnel?
A funnel, whether you realize it or not, is a critical piece of any marketing or merchandising strategy. Why? Because they allow you to guide and organize prospective customers from the very beginning of their buying journey to the very end. Imagine how much more effective your marketing campaigns would be if you could accurately monitor the progress of each one. With a formalized sales funnel behind you, you can hone in on the effectiveness of each campaign and tweak each component as necessary.
Marketing funnels also allow you to track the success of your marketing campaigns. When you can examine the conversion rate for each campaign, you can see which methods are delivering the most value and, therefore, which ones you should focus on for the coming months and years.
The Evolution Of The Funnel
As time went on, marketers started to realize the power of funnels and their ability to help guide the entire customer experience from top to bottom. Today, most large-scale marketing campaigns incorporate some kind of a funnel, albeit, they are often an afterthought. What was once a simple sales tool is now a strategic piece of the puzzle that is modern-day marketing.
You might be wondering if and when SEO will become less effective, if social media will lose its potency, and if traditional advertising will still have a place in our marketing mix. Although algorithms and the methods behind them will continue to evolve, the answer to all of these questions is yes — for now.
How To Determine The Relevance Of A Target Market
As a marketer, you must first ask yourself the relevant question: “Which audience should I be targeting and why?” After all, the whole point of marketing is to find the people most likely to be interested in your product or service and, subsequently, to convince them to purchase it. In order to do this successfully, you must first identify the target audience.
Once you know whom you are trying to reach, you can consider the following questions:
- What are their needs and wants?
- What are their interests and hobbies?
- What is their life situation?
- What are their demographic details? (e.g., age, gender, socio-economic status, cultural background)
- What is their psychographic profile (e.g., values, attitudes, expectations)?
- What is their buying history? (e.g., what purchases or brands have they made in the past? What about their customers? Have they been with one particular company or brand for some time? Have they been with a company at all?)
The Importance Of Knowing Your Target Market
One of the main reasons why knowing your target market is so important is because the answer to all of the above questions will guide your choice of product, channel, and, ultimately, the method you will use to attract, convert, and retain customers. If you don’t have a clear picture in mind of your target audience’s needs, wants, interests, hobbies, life situation, and so on, it will be difficult for you to design a message that will be most effective for them. Even if you do come up with a brilliant concept, you won’t be able to convey it to your audience if you don’t know how they think and what they want.
The fact that you don’t have a clear picture of your target audience makes the process of marketing research even more critical. Fortunately for you, I have come up with a simple 3-step process that will help you determine the relevance of a target market for your business.
First, you will want to define your target market. To do this, you will need to consider the individuals, companies, and other organizations that are relevant to your niche. Next, you will want to examine the current state of the market. What are your competitors doing? How are people interacting with your niche?
Finally, you will want to forecast the state of the market. What will be the future trends? What are some of the potential changes that might affect your niche? Being able to predict emerging trends and the impact that they will have on your business is essential if you want to get ahead of the competition.
Step One: Define Your Target Market
The first step in the research process is to simply define your target market. In order to do this effectively, you will want to start with a demographic profile. This will help you narrow down the range of individuals, companies, and other organizations you will consider relevant to your target audience.
Include anything relevant to your niche. If you are trying to boost your sales of organic coffee, for example, you might want to include a list of the top-selling organic coffees in the world. Or if you are trying to boost your sales of office equipment, you might want to include a list of the top-selling office equipment in the world. Consider as many relevant data points as possible (e.g., revenue, market share, growth rate, types of customers, etc.).
Once you have your demographic profile, you can move onto step two.
Step Two: Examine The Current State Of The Market
The second step in the research process is to examine the current state of the market. This step is extremely important because it allows you to see the competition and the type of individuals, companies, and other organizations with which you will have to deal.
Begin with a review of the competition. What are your competitors doing and how are they doing it? What are their prices and what are their promotion strategies? It is also important to consider how many users/visitors each competitor has. This will give you a rough idea of the size of the market.
Next, examine the trends. What are the emerging topics that are shaping the industry? What are some of the significant issues that are affecting this market? Be sure to include anything that you might consider relevant to your niche. If you are trying to boost your sales of organic coffee, for example, you might want to examine the increasing popularity of K-cups or the growing trend towards reusable shopping bags.
A good rule of thumb is to add at least three trends to your list. This way, you will have enough material to write an engaging article. Alternatively, you could simply read existing articles on the subject matter and incorporate some of these into your own content. In case you are curious, here is a quick list of some of the significant trends that are currently shaping the industry: