Lead generation and the marketing funnel

The marketing funnel is a visual representation of the typical customer journey and usually includes three distinct stages that are very much aligned with lead generation.

These are:


You'll often hear these referred to as 'top of funnel' or 'TOF', 'middle of funnel' or MOF, and 'bottom of funnel' or BOF respectively.

Like a funnel, it's wider at the top and progressively narrows toward the bottom. This is to reflect the fact that not everyone that becomes aware of you will progress down the funnel into the consideration stage, and, of those that do, not everyone will progress to the final conversion stage; there's an attrition rate at each stage.

So, how do your promotional marketing efforts differ according to the funnel stage?

In the TOF 'Awareness' stage of the funnel, it's all about getting known about. Whether that's making sure that someone with an existing want or need comes across you when searching Google, or putting social media ads in front of them to stimulate that want or need in the first place, it's all about getting eyes on your brand and stoking interest.

Once they're aware of you, then in the MOF 'Consideration' stage of the funnel it's all about building on their initial interest and getting them to like and trust you by serving them with content that establishes your credibility, shows off your know-how, and provides evidence of others having enjoyed your goods or services before.

And, finally, in the BOF 'Conversion' stage of the funnel, it's all about getting people to take the plunge and start a meaningful conversation with you. The focus here is on getting people to pick up the phone and call you, visit your showroom, book a discovery call, submit an online enquiry or email you - whatever it takes to get them to talk to you seriously - by giving them compelling reasons to do so.

Alongside the activities in these funnel stages, it's a good idea to try and secure media coverage for your business too, issuing press releases that tell your brand stories, 'selling-in' thought leadership articles, and responding to journalists seeking expert opinion for stories they're already writing - because people place a lot of trust in newspaper and magazine editorial in print and online, which helps to create a sort of 'halo effect' for you when they're researching you, especially in the MOF stage of the marketing funnel.

It's worth saying at this point that lead generation aligned to the marketing funnel is a lot like dating: in the same way that you need attract the attention of a potential partner, then get them to like you before getting serious, there's a similar sort of 'courtship' involved in securing leads for your business. It's also a mistake to think you can go straight from Awareness to Conversion whilst skipping the Consideration stage in the middle - that's the equivalent of going down on one knee and 'popping the question' in the restaurant on your first date, when they only swiped right on you a week ago.

Next, why not read 'The components of a successful lead generation machine' here?

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