Understanding the Marketing Funnel is Key to User Acquisition & Retention

When I first learned about the marketing funnel it transformed how I wrote adverts, how I viewed my customers, how I utilized different platforms.

It was a key learning curve and to this day I still find it beneficial to revisit and remind myself that while I might have many people needing a solution to the same problem they might not all be at the same stage.

What Is The Marketing Funnel

The marketing funnel is a methodology used in marketing to depict what mindset a potential customer might be in allowing us to change our messaging based on their perceived emotional level towards our offering.

It is a visual tool that allows you to decipher what potential platforms you might use to reach each type of user and what the offer should be depending on their mindset.

For instance, if I have a problem but don’t know about it and you ask me do I want to buy a product that fixes it. I’m going to be still trying to get my head around the problem I have that I didn’t have 10 minutes ago.

At this point, you are much better off trying to educate me on my problem and forget about the sell.

SproutSocial refers to marketing funnels as solution maps and highlights that a B2C customer would often navigate their way through your marketing funnel by themselves or by asking friends or family. A B2C customer will generally interact with a representative of the business at some point later in the funnel when the customer has qualified themselves.

So How Will This Help Me Acquire Users

The marketing funnel is basically an invisible funnel that categorizes your customers. As your customers take actions they drive themselves further and further down the funnel eventually leading to a sale and then onto retention and loyalty.


Here people might not realize there is a solution or that they have a problem. Display adverts, social media advertising, content marketing are all great tools to use here. The goal might be to get a remarketing cookie on their browser.


The user is now aware of the problem they have but doesn’t have an immediate need. They might have a need at a later stage so social media likes, Newsletters sign-ups, Downloads are good tactics to implement. The goal is to get them to interact with your brand so you stay at the front of their mind when they need you.


Your potential customer now has a need for your service or product. They begin to search for more information through regular posts on social media, SEO, article sites to help them make a sound decision. The goal is to get them to consider you


Here is where it gets competitive, the user is now typing in competitive keywords such as buy, for sale, near me. They’re now inputing keywords that state their intention and are clearly ready to buy. Paid campaigns & SEO are vital here, the goal is to get them to a contact or checkout page. 


Here you have to make sure everything is working, that your 7P’s of marketing are all aligned and that it’s easy to finish the purchase or request more information through Conversion Rate Optimisation. 


Here you want to retain the user as a customer, this might be remarketing or email marketing that will offer discounts to existing customers and offers which if purchased should eventually lead to brand loyalty.

The Biggest Mistake

Having worked in Digital Marketing for nearly a decade I’ve come across some terrible campaigns, these mistakes could have been avoided having paid attention to the marketing funnel.

On social media, you might see companies targeting an advert trying to sell to you, it’ll rarely work because you, as a customer are too high up the marketing funnel. You might not have a need, you might not be aware of the problem but it’s very rare you’ll be in the intent stage.

Then there is the complete opposite where we often see remarketing adverts for products even after I’ve purchased. 

You need to use cookies and your best knowledge in order to target people on the marketing funnel correctly

That Sounds Like A Lot Of Work 

It is a lot of work but here are some great stats that might motivate you from an earlier blog posted on 3to5marketing.com

  • B2B buyers conduct an average of 12 searches before ever jumping on a specific brand’s site.
  • Nurtured leads make 47% larger purchases than non-nurtured leads.
  • Nurtured leads produce, on average, a 20% increase in sales opportunities versus non-nurtured leads.

Based on these stats you can see a 20% increase at 50% the price of your existing sales. By implementing and adhering to a marketing funnel you could increase your existing revenue by 30%.  

The trick is to automate as much as possible, whether that’s outreach, email automation or if you get AI bots to create content for you (which I wouldn’t recommend just yet). Find a way to make this easier for you as there are a lot of elements you need to work simultaneously.

Where To Go From Here?

Today I took you through a relatively simple marketing funnel, get your head around this first and implement it in your own business. 

It’s important to get a working model right before you make it complicated. Work from the sale or lead outwards, focusing on your site’s ability to work effectively first, then some paid campaigns to reach people with intent, followed by content on questions people might be asking about your products or service and so on.

About the Author:

Ronan Walsh has been an SEO consultant for nearly 10 years and has helped hundreds of sites rank. Two years ago he started his own agency (Digital Trawler) and since then he has completed work for the EU, HSE (Irish health service) as well as a multitude of sites from local services to large international e-commerce sites. You can find him on LinkedIn.

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