The Modern Digital Marketing Funnel– Today’s digital buyer has grown from the time digital marketing started. The behavior has changed, and the buying process has changed as well. It makes no sense to employ the marketing strategies we are used to. We need to update our practices to go along with the changed buyers’ behavior. This article will explain the modern digital marketing funnel that should be the basis for your new digital marketing strategy. After reading this, you will understand the modern buyer’s journey and how best to approach him as he goes along.
Let us go back briefly to the old marketing funnel. It starts with awareness wherein you introduce yourself to the market at large. It is like walking down a ramp with the hope of catching people’s attention. Let’s say you manage you turn some heads. You now go to the second stage of the funnel which is interest. The heads you have managed to turn become your prospects. You then initiate contact by talking to them. If they are receptive, you now enter the third stage which is desire. In this stage you already have their attention. It is now time for you to entice them to go to the final stage which is action.
This no longer applies today. The modern buyer’s journey is full of twists and turns. Let us look at the following scenarios:
Ken Needs a New Aircon
- Summer has officially started, and Ken turned on the AC. It is making a weird sound that he has not heard before. After a few minutes of observation, the sound is still there. (Awareness)
- He then Googles, “weird sound from aircon”. (Consideration)
- He then clicked on a blog on an aircon manufacturer’s website about possible symptoms of aircon troubles and what to do about them. He then tried to recall how long has he had this unit. (Awareness)
- Ken then Googles, “cost of window type, 2HP Aircon”. After seeing the price, he feels it is worth the purchase because his current aircon is 15 years old. (Consideration)
- He then calls up his friends to ask what brand they recommend. (Awareness)
- He takes the recommendation and Googles the top recommended brand, its product, promotions, reviews and after-sales service. (Consideration)
- He then engages with the website’s chat box and books a consultation. (Purchase)
- Once the AC is installed and he has used it for a few days, Ken raves on social media about the purchase and how responsive the personnel were. He then leaves a review on Google. (Loyalty loop)
- He then hears about his brother’s AC breaking down. He asked him what the problem is. After a few talks, he suggests that his brother get a new AC. He recommends the AC brand he recently purchased. (Awareness, Consideration, Referral, Purchase)
Joey Wants His Home Office Re-modelled
- Joey finally decides to do something about his falling shelves. (Awareness)
- She logs on Instagram and Pinterest and searched using the tag #homeofficeideas. (Awareness)
- She saves all her favourite ideas and starts to look for a contractor. (Consideration)
- She goes to Facebook to ask for recommendations from her friends. (Awareness)
- She contacts the recommended contractor to ask for a meeting. (Consideration)
- After the meeting, Joey signs up for the home office remodel. (Purchase)
- She documents the progress on Instagram. (Loyalty loop)
- When the re-modelling is done, she raves about it on Facebook. (Loyalty loop)
- After a year, Joey is toying with the idea of redoing her kitchen. She skips the awareness and consideration phases and calls the contractor for a quote. (Loyalty loop, Purchase)
Anya Buys Some Essential Oils
- While looking at her Instagram feed, Anya sees an ad for essential oils. She looked at it for a bit then continued scrolling. (Awareness)
- The following day, she saw the same ad, this time on Facebook, but this time in includes customer reviews. She became curious and clicked on the ad to know more about it. (Consideration)
- She then Googled similar products to see if there are similar or better deals. (Awareness, Consideration)
- The next day, while playing a word game, an ad about the essential oils keeps on popping up, offering a trial pack. (Consideration)
- Anya signed up for the trial pack. (Purchase)
- After using the trial pack, she bought the complete set and starts following the company on social media. (Loyalty loop, Purchase).
- After a few months, Anya saw an ad from the same company about a new product. (Awareness)
- She skips the consideration stage and bought the new product based on the trust she has developed with the company. (Loyalty loop, Purchase)
The three scenarios illustration how different buyer behavior now is. It is no longer a linear journey. The current audience is now divided into the following clusters:
- SEE – This is the largest addressable audience that has NO commercial intent.
- THINK – This is the largest addressable audience with SOME commercial intent.
- DO – This is the largest addressable audience with LOADS of commercial intent.
- CARE – This is the current customers with at least two transactions.
Strategies for the SEE audience:
The people in the SEE category do not need your product yet or are not aware that they need it.
- Make them aware of your product and its benefits. Your goal is to move them to the THINK stage.
- Social media channels and the display ads are the strategies that work in this stage. More than 80% of adults aged 18 to 29 are on Facebook. Almost 60% of this age group are in Instagram. More than 80% of millennial use YouTube with a typical session lasting up to 40 minutes. Social Media is inexpensive, and you can use it to show off your brand, products and services. Start by knowing who your target audience is and which social media platform they use.
Display ads is also powerful in this stage. The display network reaches at least 90% of internet users spread across 2 million sites.
Strategies for the THINK audience:
The people in the THINK stage are critical thinkers. They are now doing research, and this is when they compare you with your competition.
- It is important that you build authority to get them to visit your website (at least).
- Take note that at this stage, your audience reads online review before narrowing down their choices.
- Also note that most often than not, the audience would rather watch a video presentation of a product that read about it.
- The best strategies for this stage are:
- SEO–SEO ensures that you website shows on the first page of the search result. Make sure that when your audience sees you, you can answer every question he might ask. Also, optimize your page for mobile SEO.
- Video Marketing – Most customers prefer watching a video presentation than read a literature. Short videos (under 30 seconds) are recommended. Promote them on YouTube and other social media sites.
- Paid Search Ads –When people want information, they Google it. Paid search is one way to ensure that you will show up when people search for the product or service you offer.
- Email marketing – Email marketing has a high ROI. More than 50% of email subscribers browse through marketing emails. Coupons or discounts are usually used when they are sent on an email.
Strategies for the DO audience:
At this stage, the prospect potentially turns into a customer. The challenge for you is to produce content that will ensure that action. The strategies that works here are SEO, PPC and email.
- Provide the potential customer with information that they need most at that moment which is price packages. Optimize your content with purchase-related keywords, contact keywords, competitor terms and location-specific keywords.
- Install a website chat service so that customers can get instant answers to their questions.
- Create personalized content.
- Advertise case studies and testimonials.
- Offer free trials.
- Do live demos and Q&As.
Strategies for the CARE audience:
Now, you have customer. The challenge now is you keep them hope for a repeat purchase. You also want them to recommend you. Any business owner knows that it is easier to keep existing customers than look for new ones.
- Reach out to them and ask for reviews.
- Engage with them on social media.
- Offer a discount for new purchases.
- Give them gifts on their birthday.
Consumers nowadays appreciate personalization. Go ahead and use their purchase history to recommend new products.
Now that you know the stages of the modern digital marketing funnel and the strategies for each stage, you can now create a plan for content distribution. List down all your assets which includes your online marketing assets, landing pages, ad creatives, blogs, white papers, case studies, etc. Then, put the stage in the buyers’ journey that is best for each asset. An asset can serve more than one stage. Doing this will allow you to a bird’s eye view of content and resources that you lack.
When each asset is labelled with a stage or stages, you can assign platforms and strategies. For instance, blogs, videos and infographics are good for social media posts while case studies are best sent via email. Then, you can create your calendar for content distribution. Lastly, plan your execution. Hit all the important points in a buyer’s journey to ensure that he reaches the DO and CARE stages.
Author Bio – Ajay Dalal is a content writer and a copywriter who specializes in writing marketing blog Technology and sales pages. He often writes for Dricki, and Digital Junkies and explores new technologies to share his knowledge through writing.