Nailing your small business marketing funnel (aka. The buyer journey)

Your small business marketing funnel is a huge part of your small business marketing strategy and, chances are, you haven’t given it the attention it deserves. If you’re feeling confused or overwhelmed about where to start marketing your business, then this is a must read.

This is a BIG marketing strategy session, so grab a large cup of coffee, a pen and some paper, and let’s start mapping out your buyer journey.

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Creating a business marketing funnel (Mini workshop)

What is a marketing funnel?

A marketing funnel is often referred to as the buyer journey. There are a bunch of different theoretical models that the buyer journey is built around, but you’re not here to learn theory. So, I’m just going to simplify it for you and leave it at that.

When someone comes into contact with your brand, they very rarely purchase from you in the first interaction. They go through an entire journey before you finally convince them to buy or sign on as a client.

Right now, I want you to grab your piece of paper and draw an upside-down triangle (so the pointy bit is at the bottom). Or, draw an imaginary one in your mind if you don’t have pen and paper with you.

Now, draw three horizontal lines across your triangle, splitting it into four sections.

Here, you have a funnel.

First up, the top section of your triangle (the widest bit). Label this “cold traffic”. Then, the next section down is “warm traffic”. The next one down is “hot traffic” and then, finally, the smallest section is “customer/client”.

Can you see where this is going?

The marketing funnel for your business

The largest chunk of your audience will be in the “cold traffic” section. Your goal, when marketing your business, is to move them down the funnel until they reach the “customer/client” section. I recently wrote a post about how to turn followers into customers or clients.

Now, not everyone in your cold audience is going to become a customer or client. And that’s fine. That’s the reason why it’s triangle-shaped – because people will be dropping off at each stage.

Depending on what it is that you sell, how long it takes to move them down the funnel will vary. If your product or service is high-commitment (i.e. it costs a lot or requires a large time commitment) then the buyer journey will be a lot slower than if the product is small and cheap.

Think about if you were buying a car – you’d spend a lot more time considering the options, researching online and taking them for test drives, before finally choosing the right one. Whereas, if you’re buying peanut butter off the supermarket shelf, your buyer journey might be a lot shorter and wouldn’t involve as much interaction.

Marketing to a cold audience

So, the first step of your marketing funnel is “Cold traffic/Awareness”.

This is the part of your funnel where people are just coming into contact with your brand for the first time. Maybe they’ve stumbled across your business Instagram profile or they’ve clicked a link to your website from a guest blog post that you wrote on another blog.

Think of this as a first date – they’re meeting your brand for the first time. You want to make the best first impression possible.

You might make a little small talk about who you are, what your interests are, what you’re all about. But, you wouldn’t get down on one knee and ask them to marry you on the first date.

If your social media accounts are one big sales pitch, then it’s the equivalent of asking your customers to marry you on the first date. You need to build up some trust first – you need to get them to love you, and you can do that by building connection and adding value to their lives.

Some things you can do to start this process are providing valuable content (like a blog post or video content) and start telling your brand story.


Marketing to a warm audience

The next stage in your small business marketing funnel is warm traffic/interest. This is the part where you’re actually dating and you can let a little of your weirdness shine through.

So, they’re starting to get a little bit interested in your brand and you still want to keep building up trust and ideally get them onto your email list. If you’re running a service-based business this might just be getting a potential client to hop on a phone call with you.

I’ve also written about how to get people onto your email list and how to build an email nurture sequence to nurture your warm audience.

Marketing to a hot audience

The next stage in your small business marketing funnel is “hot traffic”. Once you’ve got a potential customer on your e-mail list (or you’ve had a call with your potential client), your goal is to convert them into a paying customer or client. Some people can sit at the stage for a very long time if you let them, so it can help to add a little bit of urgency or scarcity to move them along.

Something like “free gift to the next 50 people who purchase” or “last one remaining”.

Marketing to existing customers/clients

The next stage is when they’re your customer or your client. And, you might think “okay, they’ve bought from me, the journey ends.” But, no, it doesn’t.

How can you get the most value out of your existing customers or clients? Maybe you can get them to repurchase in the future if your product is something that runs out or wears out quite quickly. Or, if your product or service has a longer life, then maybe you can offer something like a great post-purchase service, so that they become customers for life and they become brand advocates. That is, they tell all their friends about you without you having to ask for it.

Mapping out your small business marketing funnel

Now, your turn. This is the hands-on part:

  • In your upside-down triangle, I want you to start mapping out your small business marketing funnel in the first box.
  • What are your sources of cold traffic? For example: Instagram, Facebook Ads, organic search. These go in the top box.
  • In the next box down, I want you to think about how you can warm them up and start to build trust. Maybe you have some existing content like blog posts that you can share with them, rather than simply posting promotional content all the time. Write some ideas for this in the next box. If you don’t have any content yet, don’t stress, because the next couple of posts are all about providing value, creating content and starting to build your email list.
  • In the next box down, I want you to think about how you could get them to sign up for your email list. Maybe you’ll offer them a twenty dollar voucher or maybe you’ll run a giveaway or you could offer a free e-book to download. You don’t have to have these things made just yet. But, just start thinking about them. More on how to create a free opt-in here.
  • In the next box, write some ideas of how you can convert your traffic into customers. Will you run a flash sale and offer free shipping for 24 hours? Will you only take 5 new clients in the next month? Make sure you inject some of urgency or scarcity into this step of your funnel and you’ll find that people convert a lot quicker.
  • Finally below the tip of the triangle write some ideas for how you can turn your past customers or clients into brand advocates. Maybe you’ll offer them a lifetime cleaning of the jewellery piece they bought from you. Or, maybe you’ll give them a call and follow up personally to see whether they’ve enjoyed their purchase. Maybe you’ll give them a voucher to share with a friend. Any of these things that can make them into lifetime customers and raving fans of your brand is ideal.


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Small business marketing funnel

Small business marketing funnel

May 11, 2018

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