3 Common Mistakes Using a Traditional Marketing Funnel

Apr 25, 2019, Written by Shelby Thomas

marketing funnel mistakes

So, you’ve got yourself an amazing product and you’re ready to bring it to the world…3, 2, 1..blast off! But wait, do we know where we are going?

All the time spent during the brand and product creation stage can be overwhelmingly exhausting, leaving little patience to see a return on investment. We understand that. We have seen numerous businesses put their heart and soul into their business, only to fall victim to the consequences of incomplete strategies and unrealistic expectations.

One of our goals through business and marketing coaching is to identify where campaigns fall off the track. In this blog we will discuss several areas that are commonly overlooked when deciding who to market to and what tactics to use. 

Many business owners have looked at a traditional marketing funnel, which usually flows through the following stages:

  1. Awareness
  2. Consideration
  3. Conversion
  4. Loyalty
  5. Advocacy

Sigh, the distance from 1-3 has never seemed so far, right? Which, leads us to our first mistake:

Jumping to Customer Acquisition

Business owners and marketers usually have a high-level knowledge of their brand and products. They are working on the product day in and day out and usually have been for months or even years.

The issue is that as our knowledge grows, the outside consumer is still a stranger to our business. It’s simple but so easy to forget. We bank on the fact that the consumer already has enough information to make informed, trusted decisions about purchasing our products. Where we think the prospect’s knowledge is of our industry is often overestimated.

So, while we may want to jump right into selling, the fact is many prospects do not know the value of your brand or product yet, therefore are much less likely to make purchasing decisions.

We have to build up our brand as a trusted, valuable source of information, advice, people, and content before we really want to see the needle move to conversions.

Misplaced Tactics

This is where things get tricky unless you have done a lot of experimenting yourself. What platforms are best for awareness? Conversions? Remarketing?

The answer really depends on your target audience, and in most cases, a unique mix of tactics is the way to go. Only by way of analysis, testing, and optimization will you truly find the best marketing equation for your brand. Or luck of course! But that is few and far between.

As an example, many people do not know that social media, unless you use some of its more advanced lookalike and remarketing features, is actually not most effective for conversions. It can be used to drive significant traffic and brand awareness to other lead sources that may have a higher conversion rate, but in general, many users on social media have low purchase intent. 

Unless you are in retail, or offer a similarly easy product to purchase, social media is most effective when trying to increase awareness and build demand.

On the opposite spectrum, we have Google search ads, which allows us to target potentially the highest purchase intent available. People are already searching for a particular product or service, and we can bid for our business to show at the top of search engines. 

Google Search is one of the only platforms where it can be advisable to aim for conversions in the beginning because a highly targeted demand for similar products is already available.

Contrasting again to another platform, such as email marketing, where there is a need for brand awareness and consideration to take place before trying to sell. When people hit that subscribe button, they are giving you a little trust, and are mainly searching for either the free content you offered or helpful advice and discounts in the future.

A strong sell to that audience immediately may increase unsubscribers, decrease open and click through rate, and therefore produce negative brand awareness. The goal here, just as in social media, is to demonstrate value through informational content, which will lead to increased consideration.

Leaving Out Loyalty and Advocacy

With so much emphasis on customer acquisition, the most profitable audience usually gets left out. That is, returning customers. Returning customers have the benefit of providing residual profits through the following ways:

  • Purchase more of your product, with a chance of upselling
  • Spread positive messages about your brand to your target audience
  • Provide valuable feedback on your business that can be used for improvements

These benefits are too valuable to pass up. If you are not continually engaging with current and past customers, you not only run the risk of losing them, but also missing out on their potential to be a powerful advocate for your brand.

So, what are some of the things you can do to encourage customers to become advocates? Try the following:

  • Provide ongoing educational information about your product, service and industry
  • Share positive reviews on social media and your website
  • Ask for feedback. By showing your customers you care about quality and their experience, they will in turn become more loyal to your brand. You’ll also learn new ways to improve your business and meet the challenges of new prospects.
  • Ask your core customers for referrals and offer incentives
  • Start a loyalty program that offers discounts to returning customers
  • Give free webinars or presentations on current topics and tools in your industry

The traditional marketing funnel ends at Advocacy, but that is where real growth begins. 

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Shelby Thomas

As a Marketing Project Manager, Shelby's goal is to provide value for clients with results-driven solutions in website development, digital advertising, and traditional marketing collateral.