Digital Marketing Sales Funnel Guide

Digital Marketing Sales Funnel Guide
Article by Bisera Stankovska
Last Updated: October 19, 2023

With the rise of digital marketing and consumers' growing adoption of mobile devices, marketers have been scrambling to find ways to target these communities.

Read on as we dive into what makes up a digital marketing sales funnel, the various types, and how you can implement a profitable one in your business today.

What Is a Digital Marketing Sales Funnel?

A digital marketing sales funnel is a process that takes potential customers from not knowing about your product or service through various stages of the buying journey and finally to becoming paying customers.

It's the sequence of activities that marketers set up to guide potential leads from uneducated visitors to qualified sales.

A marketing funnel can be visualized as a pitcher with a broad mouth and narrow base.

The wide top of the pitcher represents the broad audience, while the narrow bottom is restricted to the smallest possible number of real prospects ready to buy right now.

Marketers usually break down the funnel into three stages:

  • Awareness Stage: The top part is where you attract potential customers.
  • Consideration Stage: The middle section is where you inspire them to take action and rank you higher in the search results.
  • Conversion Stage: The bottom part is where you close the sale by getting them to download your offers.

Digital marketing sales funnels can vary slightly, but they all have the same goal: helping you close more sales by achieving the same results as a conversion rate optimization agency could.

More often than not, a well-designed sales funnel can help you generate more leads and close more sales than your standard website.

You can use several sales funnels for your business, but they all have one thing in common: they're meant to make your marketing efforts more organized and effective.

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Why You Need a Marketing Funnel

Your marketing funnel is the process that leads customers from the initial discovery of your product/service to the point where they are ready to buy.

A solid marketing funnel is critical, as it will help you attract the right customers, increase your sales, and improve your conversion rates.

For one thing, your marketing funnel enables you to collect leads and nurture them toward becoming paying customers.

It also gives you a way of measuring your marketing efforts, tracking how many people visit your website and how many of them become customers.

What Are the Types of Digital Marketing Sales Funnel?

A sales funnel uses various techniques and strategies to attract customers, convert them, and close them into customers.

At the heart of a sales funnel is the idea that not all leads are created equal and that not every person who enters your funnel will make it to the end and become a customer.

Here are the most common types of digital marketing sales funnels:

Lead Generation Funnel

The lead generation funnel is the first type of sales funnel you want to create for your business.

Its main job is to generate leads for your company, that is, contact details for people who show interest in your product or service.

This is the first step in the sales process and therefore forms the foundation for everything that comes after.

Leads are potential customers who've shown interest in your product or service. This can be done through advertising, social media, and content marketing.

Once you have generated leads, you need to convert them into customers by providing something valuable— an e-book or a free consultation call. Follow up with the lead on how they can take advantage of this valuable resource.

Email Funnel

Email marketing is a form of digital marketing that involves using email to promote your business's products and services.

It is one of the most potent forms of online marketing due to its personalized nature and ability to reach larger audiences at scale.

The main goal of email marketing is to persuade recipients to take action based on the emails they receive, like clicking through links or making purchases.

An effective email marketing campaign aims at getting more people to do what you want: buy something from your website or subscribe to a newsletter, among many others.

Content Funnel

The content funnel is the type of sales funnel you want to create once you've started generating some leads.

Its job is to nurture those leads, help them make their decisions, and turn them into customers.

The process is simple:

  • First, you publish educational content related to your product or service and distribute it on relevant channels like your website, blog, email marketing, social media and more. This content should be helpful, insightful, and engaging to attract your ideal customers.
  • And once they've interacted with it, you can follow up with them using email marketing that prompts them to take the next step in the journey toward purchasing from you.

Webinar Sign-Up Funnel

A webinar sign-up funnel is an effective tool that you can use to build your email list and generate sales.

Webinars are an excellent way to engage with your audience, and they can help to increase conversions, improve lead generation, and make more sales.

Webinars are typically hosted by an expert in the field or industry you’re targeting who provides valuable information to attendees on such topics as:

  • How-to guides
  • Tips & tricks
  • Best practices

However, hosting regular webinars can be costly, and you may not have the resources to do so at the moment. In this case, you can implement a webinar sign-up funnel.

This simple sales funnel starts with you putting out a call to action to sign up for your webinar. CTA adds a sense of urgency, increasing sales by up to 332%.

Visitors click the link or CTA and are taken to a webinar sign-up page.

They then enter their email address or sign up through another contact method.

Sales Call Booking Funnel

A sales call booking funnel is like a combination of a lead generation and content funnel.

It's a robust sales funnel that combines hosting webinars with effective lead booking and CRM practices.

This type of sales funnel effectively combines two powerful tools that can help you to generate more sales and leads.

Having both tools in one funnel means you don't have to choose between them. This is the perfect funnel for businesses with high-value products and services requiring a lot of hand-holding from the sales team.

It's a great way to onboard more customers and generates more sales.

As an example:

Let's say you're selling software for managing employees' time cards.

When someone clicks on your link in Google search results for "time tracking software," they land on a homepage where you've laid out all the benefits of using your product. You might show testimonials from satisfied customers and photos demonstrating how easy it is to use the app (with links back to more detailed explanations).

Then at the bottom of this page, there’s an opt-in form where users can sign up for more information about pricing plans or free trials—which sends their email address straight into your sales pipeline.

Onboarding Funnel

An onboarding funnel is a sales funnel that you want to create for customers after they've made their first purchase from you.

This funnel is designed to onboard new customers into your business and help them become loyal repeat customers.

It's essential to create an effective onboarding funnel because the first few moments after a customer makes a purchase are crucial to the success of your business.

You want to ensure that your new customers are satisfied with their purchase and that they're correctly onboarded into your business to return in the future.

There are several ways to create an onboarding funnel:

  • Create a welcome email flow that asks questions about your business and gives users helpful information about how to use your product or service. This can be done with emails or in-app messages, depending on what works best for your product/service. If you have multiple products or services, try segmenting these into separate flows depending on their use.
  • Use Calendly as part of your booking process so that clients will get notifications automatically when their appointment time arrives instead of having them check back every few days if needed.
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A Step-by-Step Guide to Creating a Marketing Funnel for Beginners

1. Define Your Audience and Know your Customer Journey

First and foremost, you need to define your audience and their journey. This will help you maximize your digital marketing efforts by targeting your customers more effectively and knowing where to reach them.

Doing this will help you identify your target audience's pain points, interests, and problems. It will also help you understand their journey to purchase so that you can be there to guide them at each step of their buying process.

Understanding your customer journey will help you to create an effective marketing funnel that drives your customers through each stage of the buying process and keeps them moving towards purchasing from you.

2. Build a Solid Digital Marketing Strategy

You can build a solid digital marketing strategy with your audience and customer journey.

Your funnel will help guide your customers toward making a purchase. A funnel can be thought of as a sequence of steps your customers go through as they progress toward becoming customers.

So, where do you start with building your funnel?

First, start by determining how much time, money, and resources you have available to invest in your funnel.

Next, choose the channels you want to use to reach your audience.

Finally, identify the most appropriate entry points to draw in your customers and convert them into leads.

3. Create a Lead Magnet

A lead magnet is an enticing piece of content that you give away for free to draw in leads.

It can be almost anything:

  • E-book
  • Cheat sheet
  • Checklist
  • Audio series

What's important is that it is highly relevant and actionable for your target audience.

You might already be offering something for free. If not, there are plenty of ways to create a lead magnet.

You can use tools like:

  • HubSpot's lead magnet generator
  • Squarespace's lead magnet templates
  • Unbounce's lead magnet templates

A lead magnet is essential for building an initial list of contacts and creating a solid foundation for subscribers interested in your product or service.

Moreover, these leads are warm contacts who have permitted you to reach out to them.

4. Build Out Your Content Marketing Strategy

Content marketing is creating and sharing relevant and helpful content with potential customers and leads.

You do this to establish yourself as an authority in your industry while driving traffic to your website.

A strong content marketing strategy can help you build trust, gain leads, and inform your customers so they are ready to purchase from you.

A well-thought-out content marketing strategy is vital in building your sales funnel.

It will help you attract paying customers by generating leads, increasing lifetime value, and reducing customer acquisition costs.

5. Add a Lead-Tracking Strategy

A lead-tracking strategy enables you to track the progress of every lead in your sales funnel. It also allows you to see what kind of impact each piece of your funnel has.

A lead tracking strategy can be as simple as creating a spreadsheet or using an Excel template. Or it can be more advanced and automated, such as using CRM or marketing automation software.

Whatever system you decide to use, ensure it is integrated with the rest of your digital marketing tools. You can track your leads, including their activity across each channel and their progress through your funnel.

6. Add Paid Strategies for Tailoring and Awareness

Paid marketing strategies are designed to increase brand awareness and tailor your message to a specific audience.

They are typically used to supplement other digital marketing strategies. A successful paid marketing strategy will allow you to reach new audiences and tailor your message to their needs.

Retargeting is one of the most common ways to use paid marketing for tailoring. Retargeting allows you to place ads in front of people who have previously visited your website.

Paid strategies can also boost your brand awareness and increase website traffic. You can do this by investing in paid search ads, like:

  • Google ads
  • LinkedIn Ads
  • Facebook ads
  • Twitter Ads

Expert Insights on Digital Marketing Sales Funnel

We asked digital marketing professionals: "What is the winning tactic for converting prospects at the middle and the bottom of the sales funnel?"

Here are their responses.

  1. Personalized Content + Marketing Automation
  2. Combined Personalized Approach
  3. Information and Sense of Urgency
  4. Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) + Technology Solutions
  5. Personalized Engagement and Trust Building

1. Personalized Content + Marketing Automation

Kira Kelsie, Owner at Kasm Consulting:

In summary, the winning tactic for converting prospects at the middle and bottom of the sales funnel is a combination of personalized content that speaks directly to their needs and marketing automation that nurtures and guides them toward a purchase. This approach ensures that your marketing efforts are highly targeted and efficient, leading to increased conversions and business growth.

2. Combined Personalized Approach

Mustafa Sakib, CEO of OS Digital World:

To effectively convert prospects in the middle and bottom of the sales funnel, you'll need different strategies as their mindset and needs evolve.

1. Middle of the Funnel (MOFU):

  • Content Marketing
  • Email Marketing
  • Webinars and Workshops
  • Lead Scoring
  • Retargeting Ads

2. Bottom of the Funnel (BOFU):

  • Personalized Offers
  • Customer Reviews and Testimonials
  • Limited-Time Promotions
  • Clear Call-to-Action (CTA)
  • Live Chat or Sales Support
  • Remarketing and Abandoned Cart Emails

3. Information and Sense of Urgency

Dilay Coban Oruc, Founder of Skouter Digital:

The traditional linear sales funnel is outdated and replaced by a complex journey called the "Messy Middle." In this stage, consumers engage in extensive research, comparison, and opinion-seeking across various sources, including reviews and social media, making their purchasing path longer and more complex.

Winning tactics involve accommodating this complexity by providing valuable experiences, timely incentives, social proof, and a personalized approach.

4. Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) + Technology Solutions

Jennifer Bagley, CEO of CI Web Group:

Effectively converting prospects in the middle and bottom of the sales funnel requires a strategic approach that aligns with your customers' preferences and needs.

To achieve this, we recommend the following tactics:

  • Text messaging
  • Online booking
  • AI chatbots
  • Self-service tools
  • Personalized recommendations

Our team at CI Web Group has seen first-hand how diving into the science of conversion rate optimization (CRO) and making data-driven decisions results in increased traffic from search engines and improved engagement rates.

By integrating these advanced technologies and solutions, you're meeting customers where they prefer to engage and elevate their experience to a level that significantly boosts conversion rates.

5. Personalized Engagement and Trust Building

Juanita Veronica Michael, Content Writer at Wonkrew:

Following the 'AIDA' model, you must capture attention and guide potential customers towards purchase.

Effective strategies include offering free consultations, eBooks, webinars, workshops, product trials, and samples to demonstrate expertise, engage directly, and build trust. Personalizing experiences with free quotes and using interactive elements like quizzes and surveys can further tailor your approach.

At the funnel's bottom, tactics like regional content adaptation, influencer partnerships, retargeting with video campaigns, and social proofing with testimonials can help. Focusing on a "hero product" simplifies decision-making, enhancing conversion rates.

These data-backed strategies aim to convert prospects into loyal customers.

Digital Marketing Sales Funnel: Summing Up

A digital marketing agency can provide a sales funnel that is critical to any online marketing strategy. It helps you attract potential customers, convert them into leads, and invigorate sales.

The better your funnel is, the more sales you’ll close.

To create a successful marketing funnel, you’ll need to identify your target audience, understand what they want, and identify their pain points.

Then, you’ll need to create a series of marketing content that addresses your audience’s needs and drives them to your sales page.

Once you’ve created your funnel, you’ll need to track your metrics, tweak your funnel as necessary, and be prepared to make adjustments as needed.

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