The Internet Marketing Sales Funnel: Traditional Meets Digital

In Internet Marketing

Marketing changes fast. Technology changes even faster. This creates quite the hurdle when you’re looking to modernize your marketing and advertising efforts.

Why

Let’s take a step back and look at the reason you may want to explore online marketing and advertising in the first place.

  1. First, you’re able to be extremely specific when defining and targeting your ideal customers. In traditional marketing and advertising, we work in general terms (i.e., mostly middle-aged men who like sports). Online, we can drill down and target a demographic that looks more like “men between the ages of 35 and 50 who are looking for new golf clubs right now.”
  2. Secondly, you can control the value of your dollar. In Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising, two core pieces of data we look at are Cost Per Click (CPC) and Cost Per Acquisition (CPA). Using these two numbers, we’re able to control how much we want to spend per click to your website (CPC) with a focus on decreasing the cost of gaining one new customer (CPA). We can track our results in real-time, continually optimizing the campaign so that the value or your dollar increases.
  3. Thirdly, you can provide huge amounts of helpful information to potential customers. With your website playing the part of the “hub,” your entire digital presence gives you the opportunity to reach out, inform, and “woo” a massive audience of people using general education, white papers, case studies, e-books, blog posts, newsletters, etc.
  4. Next, you can build meaningful relationships. Whereas a TV commercial or a magazine ad only generates a (likely) few-second-long interaction with your potential customer, your website, social media, forums, blogs, and emails allow you to forge new, better, and longer lasting relationships with people who could become customers.
  5. Finally, people are online and their personalities are changing with it. We’ve all heard the numbers — print sales having been dropping for a decade, people’s attention spans are getting even shorter, and your marketing budget is being pulled in more directions than ever. Why? Because people are online. Which people? Almost all of them and almost everywhere. One of the first rules of marketing and advertising is to go where the people are …. Right now, that’s the Internet.

Managing the Quick Pace

One of the fears I hear most frequently from our new clients is that the sheer pace of change in both marketing and technology is intimidating and hard to manage. 

For example, in a single year, you need to be aware of changes to search engine algorithms and PPC methodology, web design trends, new tools, modified restrictions on social media, changing demographics, new social networks or review sites, popular “hubs” online, updates to servers, Content Management Systems (CMSs) and programming languages, as well as a number of other constantly changing rules, trends, and platforms.

There are two things I advise most people do.

  1. First, you should find a well-written, easy to understand, frequently updated blog that covers Internet Marketing and Advertising. Check it at least once each week to keep a good grasp on what’s going on.
  2. Next, view this new sphere through the lens of traditional sales. Confused? Let me explain.

The Sales Funnel

The traditional sales funnel helps you visualize the path a person takes from being a stranger to becoming a customer. It uses steps that are refined along the pathway to completion: Lead Generation > Lead Qualification > Product Presentation > Proposal > Close Sale.

The Internet Marketing sales funnel uses the same concepts but replaces some terminology and tactics:

image001-3STAGE OF THE FUNNEL: INITIATIVES/TACTICS AVAILABLE

Awareness: SEO, Email Marketing, PPC, Social Media, Blogs

—> Generates interest and awareness. Your business becomes “findable.”

Enticement: Click Through Rate (CTR), Meta Titles and Descriptions, Ad Copy, Ad Imagery, General Branding, Copywriting

—> Encourages the user to take the next step (i.e., click a link to your website).

Qualify/Convert: Website, Conversion Optimization (increase your conversion rate), Ecommerce, Website Copy, Website Call To Action (what do we want the user to do once on the site?)

—> Show the potential customer why they should buy your product or service.

Maintain Relationships: Email Marketing, Blogs, Social Media

—> The best business is repeat business!

Repeat Business.

Wrapping It Up 

Viewing the tactics we use in online marketing and advertising through the lens of the traditional sales funnel allows us to prioritize costs and energy (based on where are customers are in the funnel), draw up sales projections (using lead qualification based on the funnel), and visualize more simply the wide array of marketing and advertising tools available to us online.

Staying informed and utilizing a framework like this help to keep your efforts organized and targeted.

And let’s not kid ourselves, we could all use a little help getting more organized and targeted!

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