Imagine this: a relay race. You’re the third runner, coming up on the handoff of the baton. You’re reaching out the baton, straining your arm as far as it will go. Your teammate reaches back their arm, grabs on, and… the baton drops.
Whose fault is it? Yours? Your teammate’s? There are countless factors that can go into a dropped baton, but we can all agree it will cost you the race. In business, full-funnel marketing is the process it takes to win the race- without dropping the baton.
What is it?
Full funnel marketing is the holistic approach of turning leads into life-long customers, made possible through a smooth handoff of marketing to sales. Visually, the funnel is wide at the top to represent the large amount of prospects in the beginning, and slims down towards the bottom to represent the number of prospects that stay engaged until the end. Very rarely do the funnels stay wide throughout the entire process.
The Scoop on the Funnel
Four scoops, that is. Awareness, Consideration, Conversion, Retention. Topped with sprinkles. Let’s dive in.
This is the broadest section of the funnel. The “catch-all” you could say. Your consumer is on the hunt to find a solution for their problem.
Awareness tools include SEO, content marketing, informational videos, advertisements, and consumer research.
They see you, but why should they choose you? You’ve caught their eye, but have not yet caught their trust. Now’s your chance to show them what you’re made of. Differentiate yourself in the hopes to push their teetering mind to the side of the fence.
Consideration tools include paid ad search, email marketing, social media marketing, case studies, videos, newsletter, microsite, e-learning, testimonials/customer stories, and relationship building.
This is your last-push effort to give your prospecting customer peace of mind they are making the correct choice. Arguably, this is the most critical part of the hand-off. Transitioning from marketing efforts to sales, your weight will shift from one foot to the other.
Conversion tools include demonstrations, free trials, phone consultations, well-informed sales team, incredible customer service, and email onboarding.
Acquiring a new customer can be five times more expensive than retaining an existing customer, so let’s hold on to what we’ve got. Continually striving to improve your customer’s experience will pay off in the long run.
Retention tools include loyalty offers, customer FAQs, forums, fan user-generated content, contests, viral content, influencers, referral programs, events, surveys, beta testers win-back campaigns, and special bundles. And to top it all off? Heaping amounts of measurement.
Measurements to consider include click-through rates, web-page landings, call-to-action wins, total conversions, survey responses, impressions, retention rates, closed loop reporting, and customer relationship management.
How You Can Fill Up Your Marketing Funnel
Creating the opportunity is not the end goal. The lead is not the end goal. Your end goal is closing the deal.
F – Fix Your Alignment
Misaligned sales and marketing teams are just batons waiting to be dropped. Major problems ensue when marketing teams are driven by creating leads, and not closing leads. Inversely, you will experience major troubles in closing deals if your sales team does not know how to accurately convey the marketing messages marketing used to generate their leads.
Utilizing full funnel marketing means aligning your marketing and sales teams in order to close more deals, more efficiently, more profitably. Historically, marketing focused on leads while sales focused on accounts. This shouldn’t be the case. B2B marketers need to embrace revenue responsibility, meaning we cannot shy away from our impact on the bottom line.
“If the sales team is grinding it out at the end of the month to hit their number, but the marketing team is out at the bar celebrating that they hit their retweet goal on Twitter… something is misaligned” – Matt Heinz, author of Full Funnel Marketing
U – Understand the Numbers
Marketers sometimes get uncomfortable looking at the revenue at the bottom of the funnel because they “don’t have control” or it’s “not their job.” So let’s get one thing straight- marketers need to be embracing the end game. Marketing has an enormous influence on the end goal, so yes, hitting those sales numbers must be included into marketing efforts and planning.
In order to make these efforts effective, take these specific actions. Triage your focus area. Budget. Make better decisions on where to prioritize your efforts so it’s reflective of sales. For example, you may intentionally decrease your lead volume if specificity can generate more qualified leads that converts to actual sales.
L – Lead Generation Through Valuable Content
Your job as marketer is not to educate people on things they already understand. Your job is to get them thinking differently. Strive to make your reader lean back in their chair and say, “Woah, that was great content. I would pay for that.”
Even Google is going to evaluate your content, and they’ve got it down to a science. They call it E.A.T. – Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness. The more you incorporate E.A.T., the more likely Google is to raise your content in the search results. Great content leads to organic SEO, ultimately driving your own sales velocity.
L – Loyalty and Advocating
What is the most powerful form of marketing? Endorsed relationships. That’s right, every marketing tool we’ve talked about is second to endorsement. There is an extreme amount of power in utilizing the loyalty of your devoted customers. When people advocate for your brand, it displays the integrity of your company in transparent, sincere, and candid light.
“Companies often give the credit to sales and marketing but the most important reason people buy isn’t marketing or sales. It’s your existing customers. The strongest reason for buying is existing customers influencing new customers” – Brian Halligan, CEO of Hubspot
You might be asking yourself, “how can I create an environment for endorsements?” Well, to begin, you have to earn it. It all boils down to the product and the customer experience. Nail those first, then move onto the next step. Show your customers the genuine appreciation they deserve, and chances are they will return the favor. Thank them for their business. Encourage positive reviews and thank them after leaving one. Give a little extra love to those who have stuck with your brand through the years. Understanding their value can help you keep a customer-centric focus, which in turn, will generate more happy customers. In a world full of so much information, people turn to those close to them for recommendations and advice. Make sure your company’s name is the word that leaves their lips.