What Is the Inbound Funnel?

You may have heard marketers refer to the sales funnel, the marketing funnel, or simply, “The Funnel” in your career. What exactly does this mean? The funnel is the way potential customers move through your sales and marketing processes to eventually become customers. It’s an essential part of inbound marketing, and when developed properly, can transform your marketing strategy.

What are the stages of the traditional funnel?

  1. Unengaged: These are people that are in your target market but unaware of your product, service, or brand. They are potential customers that have not yet become aware of you through marketing and sales efforts.
  2. Awareness: This is the next stage of the funnel. Potential customers have become aware of your product or service through channels like your blog, social media, or word-of-mouth. They may connect with you on various social channels or start following your blog. During this stage, the potential customer also becomes aware that they have a problem that you can solve. You are still one option in a sea of competitors, though.
  3. Consideration: When a potential customer reaches the consideration phase of the traditional marketing funnel, they have narrowed the options they’re considering to solve their problem to a few. They are interested in your website, solution offerings, and key features and benefits.
  4. Decision: Prospects reaching the decision phase of the funnel have even further solidified their need for a solution. They are now considering you and maybe 1-2 competitors. Content that is important at this stage of the funnel includes case studies, testimonials, and ROI calculators.
  5. Customer: The final stage is when someone becomes a customer. From this stage, we flip the funnel, and the process of engaging customers to turn them into raving fans occurs.

While this is a basic explanation of the traditional funnel, it’s foundational to your marketing strategy. Taking into consideration the stage of the funnel each piece of your content belongs in is crucial to designing your content strategy. Stay tuned for more on flipping the funnel and ways to optimize the funnel to increase customer engagement.

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