Marketing Funnel Stages

Because there are various sales funnel stages, there are various marketing funnel stages, too.

To best determine what marketing tactics to use for your marketing campaign plan, you should return to the problem that your product or service addresses. Remember, your service or product should, at its core, address a problem.

Your market share consists of the people who have the problem that your product or services addresses – this is your first marketing stage. Check out how your audience changes as they move down the sales funnel stage:

Marketing funnel stages from most expensive to least to advertise to: have a problem, looking for solutions, know of your solution, familiar with your solution, very familiar with your solution, promote your solution

As you can see, your marketing funnel becomes more narrow and more targeted as you find your audiences. Additionally, your marketing tactics will become less expensive.

The first audience, the one who has determined that they have a problem, is the most expensive because they must be convinced of two things: (1) the solution to their problem is your type of product, and (2) that your product, specifically, is the answer. The final audience, those that promote your solution, are the cheapest because they are already intimate with your product and want it to stick around a while.

Your Marketing Audiences

Problem Example

Message Example

1. Have a problem:
Aware they have a problem, but still determining various solutions – they are typically most expensive to attract
“My feet hurt after running”“Do your feet hurt after running? Buy our premium running shoes”
2. Looking for solutions:
Have done a bit of research and determined the type of solution they need to look for
“I need new running shoes”“Our running shoes are designed for comfort”
3. Know of your solution:
Likely comparing the pros and cons of various brands
“I’m narrowing down my options to Brooks, Nike, and Adidas”“Real runners say our shoes are the most comfortable shoe they’ve tried”
4. Familiar with your solution:
Made a purchase, likely due to your stellar marketing tactics
“I purchased a pair of Brooks shoes”“Thanks for buying our running shoes! Here’s a discount for your next purchase”
5. Very familiar with your solution:
Enjoyed your product so much that they made a repeat purchase or two
“I enjoyed my last pair of Brooks running shoes so much, that I bought a second pair”“Because you’ve spent $500 with us this year, we’re sending you a free $50 coupon”
6. Promote your solution:
Your ultimate goal – evangelists for your products who will promote your solution on their own volition and are unlikely to try any other solution – they are typically least expensive to attract
“I want everyone to know that Brooks makes great running shoes – I recommend Brooks to all runners”“You are on our VIP list to receive special offers, discounts, and more”

Marketing Plan Stages

Every business has constraints, whether it’s time, money, supply, etc., which means you may not have the capacity to speak to every audience member. That said, you don’t want an echo chamber. You should target at least three audiences.

When determining which audiences to target, keep your solution in mind. A great solution means you will likely have more people willing to promote it. But don’t be the one to determine whether or not it’s great, the repeat purchasers will be the ones to tell you that.

Use the chart below to determine what marketing tactics to use to speak to each audience. Of course, just because you select an audience, it does not mean that you have to use all of the suggested tactics. Definitions of tactics are below.

Marketing tactics by sales funnel step: Have a problem, looking for solutions, and know of your solution: paid social media, external website, SEM, videos. Familiar with your solution, very familiar with your solution, promote your solution: organic social media, internal website, email.

Marketing Tactics

  • Social Media – Paid: target specific audiences and increase your organic social media reach by paying to boost social media posts
  • Website – External: marketing on websites other than your own in similar or related industries with guest blog posts, ads, and more
  • Search Engine Marketing: increase your visibility in search results by paying for additional ads via Google AdWords, Google Ad Grants, or Bing Ad Center
  • Videos: creating and uploading videos to YouTube or other
  • Social Media – Organic: utilize your current social media following to encourage more interaction and invite others to your channels
  • Website – Internal: marketing on your own website via blog posts, home page banners, side ads, etc.
  • Email: contact your current audience with up-to-date information, sales, discounts, and more

Tactical Marketing Suggestions

So, how do you choose who to talk to? And how? Below are a few suggestions.

Budget Constraints

If you have a big budget, we suggest to speaking to all audiences via all marketing tactics.

Those with a medium-sized budget should consider speaking to audiences 3-6 because they are less expensive than the first two audiences and may like your product so much that they do some promo for free. You should utilize social media – organic and website – internal as they both speak to the aforementioned audiences, and one-to-two of the following:  website – external, search engine marketing, videos, or email.

Likewise, those with small budgets should target audiences 3-5; audience 6 may be so enamored with you that you don’t need to focus on them at the moment. Again, we suggest utilizing social media – organic and website – external, plus another tactic that speaks to audience 3.

Business Life Cycle Constraints

New businesses should hit audiences 2-4 hard; audience 1 is too expensive, and you likely don’t have the following of 5 and 6 yet. Because you probably can’t include all of the tactics, we suggest starting with search engine marketing (will build a great foundation to create results in the long-term), social media – organic, and website – internal.

More mature businesses should target 3-6 to help increase growth. These business should utilize website – external, search engine marketing, social media – organic, and website – internal.

Finally, very mature businesses likely have bigger budgets and should speak to all audiences via all tactics.

Time Constraints

Time is a constraint for everyone. If you have unlimited time, first of all, congratulations. Second of all, you probably know by now, target all of your audiences.

Those with a reasonable amount of time should focus on audiences 2-4. Try to include all of the tactics, but cut videos, and maybe website – external, if you have to.

If you have little to no time, we suggest focusing on audiences 4-6; these people are already on your side and focusing on making your website more robust (audience 5) will help you in the long run, especially with SEO. Here, we suggest focusing on social media – organic and website – internal.

Do you need help determining which audiences to speak to? We’d love to help!