Reaching the right audience can be a fickle thing in the digital age. Splitting marketing dollars between social ads, Google search ads, radio, newspaper, email campaigns etc, can all be a bit daunting but knowing the framework of an effective digital marketing funnel will help point you in the right direction to get started.
There are 4 stages in the buyers’ journey:
Awareness: In this stage, a buyer is going to realize they have a specific problem they need help with or find a new product or service they did not know existed.
EX. The buyer, let’s call him Danny, discovers he has a leaky faucet. With absolutely zero knowledge of plumbing or knowing how to fix a leaky faucet, he decides he needs someone who knows what the heck they are doing. Danny has entered into the awareness stage of the buyers’ journey; he has a problem and needs a solution.
Consideration: Once a buyer knows they need help, what are they going to do? They’ll do some looking around on who/what their options are and seek out reviews/testimonials from friends, family and those who’ve used company x in the past online.
It may take several attempts or pieces of content to push someone through to the purchase stage from consideration. Having as much educational content such as email newsletters, blog posts, and reviews for potential buyers to digest about your company and why it's the right fit will give you the best chance to earn their business.
When the buyer searches around for plumbing services on google and social, they will also be put into interest groupings and be eligible to see ads about their situation. For example, if you were to Google "plumbing service" and spend time on a few plumbing websites, going on Facebook or Instagram will result in seeing plumbing ads. This provides a great opportunity by advertising on these platforms and including those types of interests/searches in your targeting.
EX. Danny types “certified plumber” into google and starts to learn about the companies he can choose between to come out and fix his leak. He’s looking at who’s SEO has taken them to the top for plumbers. Danny is comparing Google & Facebook reviews previous customers have left about their experiences. He even goes on Facebook and asks his friends and family which company they’ve had good experiences with. While there he sees a few ads from different plumbing company’s and decides to click on one landing on their website.
Purchase: After researching the options, the buyer makes a choice and follows through to the purchase stage.
Ex. Once Danny selects a company, he’ll give them a call or submit a lead on their website wanting to set up a time and date to correct his leaky faucet.
Post Purchase Experience: The journey is now complete, but not forever. The company is going to want to:
A: leverage that experience to entice future buyers to convert (via an online review or survey)
B: start the loyalty loop in which that consumer can stay knowledgeable and up to date on the company to either repurchase, explore other products and services offered by the company or be an advocate through referrals.
Ex. At last, the faucet is back to normal, Danny gives the company a follow on social and leaves a review after the company sent out an email asking for him to kindly leave one. A few months later, his co-worker is telling him how annoyed he is with his leaking faucet and Danny tells him about how great his experience was.
How Can I Stand Out?
During the consideration stage, your company needs to be as visible as possible. A great way to stay ahead of the curb would be making sure your website is ranking & utilizing search ads.
Typically, the first 3-4 results when searching for something are advertisements followed by local results and then organic. Think about the keywords someone would be searching to find you if they needed your services. In the example above, Danny could have searched “certified plumber”, “plumbing company” or “local plumber”.
Another way to stand out during this stage would be to have some relevant, educational blog-style postings on your website. These posts, if written well, may rank on their own for relevant keywords and give your company some authority in its industry.
You can also run ads on social as mentioned earlier to help connect the dots between your company and their problem, once again having the chance to be the authority on the issue.
Implement Your funnel
If you can remember the 4 stages of the buyers’ journey and have a plan to deliver great content & advertisements, you will start growing your inbound leads.