If you are a digital marketer, you already know that the entire purpose of digital marketing is to drive stranger through the journey to become an action taking customer up to becoming a raving fan.
But If you are just getting started with digital marketing or you are just starting to optimise internet for your business or brand, stay with me, in this post I will work you through the two important concepts in digital marketing, the marketing funnel and the customer journey.
Most times people confuse marketing funnel with customers journey, to clear all that let’s start with what marketing funnel is all about.
What is a marketing funnel?
Marketing funnel or sales funnel is a marketing model or a sales process from a business or brand point of view.
It’s a model that shows in generic view how potential customers go from not knowing about a business or brand to buying from a business or brand.
There are 3 major stages in the marketing funnel
- Awareness (Also known as Top of the funnel TOFU
- Consideration (Also known as Middle of the funnel MOFU)
- Convert (Also known as Bottom of the funnel BOFU
1. Awareness (Also known as, Top of the funnel TOFU)
The awareness stage is when a potential customer gets to know about a business or brand and if they are interested in the business or brand they always move to the next level in the marketing funnel.
2. Consideration (Also known as Middle of the funnel MOFU)
On this stage, potential customers try to see if the business or brand offer is the best suit for them, some business like to break this level into more sub-levels like research and evaluation.
This is with the intention to specify various actions potential customers take in the consideration level.
3. Action/Conversion (Also known as Bottom of the funnel BOFU
On the bottom of the funnel, the potential customer has done his or her research, made his or her evaluation and is ready to purchase.
There are other sub-levels some business like to break down the conversion stage into, like excitement and retention, which are post-purchase effect that might lead the customer to become an advocate for a business or brand.
On a normal marketing environment, not everyone who enters from the top of the funnel makes it to the bottom of the funnel, there are chances that people might enter the top of the funnel and drop out in the same top or in the middle of the funnel, and this is one of the things that makes marketing a game of numbers.
The marketing funnel is different from the customer journey map, while marketing funnel is more concerned about the general process customers go through from a stranger to becoming a buying customer and after purchase behaviour, the customer journey is more focus on how a potential customer interacts with a business or brand from point of awareness to an advocate for the business or brand.
What is the customer journey?
The customer journey is simply the stages strangers go through with a business or brand before becoming a buying customer up to becoming a promoter of a business or brand.
It’s a marketing strategy that defines various stages and various actions required from a business to be able to ride a strange from knowing about a business or brand to commit their money or taking profitable actions and even up to advocating and promoting a business or brand.
The customer journey map can be unique for every business or brand, it will depend on the business model and available resources a business has to execute the various plan in different stages of the customer journey.
Various stages in the customer journey
There are various stages someone who has never had of your business or brand before can go through to become a customer and even a promoter of your business or brand.
As a digital marketer or a business owner one of your major goal should be to design an appropriate journey for your ideal customers putting into consideration trust-building and other hindrance to selling online, like fear of incompetence and lack of support.
There 5 major stages in the customer journey for a business brand online.
While this map can serve any business or brand the focus is for business or brand that have its own presence on the World Wide Web (WWW.).
The journey for every potential customer for business or brand starts with:
This is the first contact your ideal customers make with your business.
Before the awareness stage your ideal customers might not even know that you exist, likewise you, your business or brand might not have any valid data about your ideal customers except the information you have defined about your ideal customers in your customer avatar.
The first step to finding customers online is to understand your product, the second first step is to define your ideal customers, your customers avatar.
The awareness stage is where your customers come in contact or aware of the different methods you are using as a business or brand to reach out to them.
There are different methods that can be used to initiate the awareness stage in a customer journey, some of them included content marketing (sharing informative, educative and entertaining piece of content on platforms like a blog or social media channels) or paid advertising (pay to reach more people in other people’s platform)
When any of this method is deployed and it comes across a stranger, a potential customer, one of two things always happens, either they ignore or they move next to the next stage of the customer journey.
This stage in the customer journey is when a potential customer starts showing interest in your business or brand.
Let say you published content on your social channels and a potential customer like, commented or shared it with friends, this is simply a sign that he likes what he see, hear or feel about your business or brand, it’s also a green light that he won’t be pissed off if he gets to see more of contents from you.
For digital marketing or business owner, this is the right time to move them to the next stage in the customer journey.
And you can do that by converting them into a lead.
In this stage your ideal customers must have grown to become a hot prospect, they might have indicated to hearing more about your business or brand by giving you contact info.
For you as a business or brand, this is where you ask your ideal customers for there contact info, it can be an email address or phone number or both, all depending on the detailed map of the customer journey you have defined for your business or brand.
But the challenge is, today people are not eager to give out their contact info even when they already know about your business or brand, trust issues, that is where the term lead magnet comes in.
A lead magnet is just like a small bribe that is valuable, informative, educative or entertaining in form of ebook, course, checklist, etc that you can offer to your ideal customers for the exchange of their contact info.
Having the contact info of your ideal customers gives you the opportunity to build trust and credibility (nurture them) and optimize their desire before you can safely move them to the next stage.
This is the stage in the customer journey where you ask your ideal customers to buy.
They already know you, they have probably tested your value, they have developed a level of trust in your business or brand, your ideal customers are likely to buy from you now than someone who just came out of nowhere with an advertisement of products and services, which is how most people market online.
This stage also serves as a building block to the last stage in the customer journey, your goal here as a marketer or business owner is to over-deliver on your promises, excite them because that is what can lead them to become an…
Now, the customer is satisfied and he or she is willing to speak to the world about your business or brand in a positive way, he or she is confident to recommend you to his or her friends and family and he or she is also willing to make a repeat purchase, he or she is a happy customer.
Basically, this what a customer journey map looks like for a modern Internet business or brand, but some business or brand thwart things in between or thereafter just to suit the journey they want to drive their potential customers on, but the journey of every customer with a business or brand always starts with awareness down to becoming a promoter for the business or brand.
Just like in the marketing funnel we talked about earlier, not everyone who starts the journey finishes it, remember for you as a marketer or business owner it’s a game of numbers.
The role of content in the customer journey map
There are lots of marketing activities that go into different stages to make the customer journey possible, but one major marketing strategy that is major in engineering the whole process is content marketing.
In the awareness stage content contents like blog posts can be shared on a blog optimized for search engines or shared to social media to gain awareness, also content like videos, image or audio can be published on various online platform to gain attention.
Also, when it comes to converting a stranger into a lead (someone who have shown interest in a business or brand) which is in the subscriber stage, content is also needed to create the lead magnet.
Also when the potential customer is converted as a lead, content can be used to nurture the potential customers, build trust and credibility.
The marketing funnel is a generic view of how people buy from business or brand online, while customer journey is more about the major touchpoints that potential customers make before buying or engaging in business activities with a business or brand.
As a digital marketer your goal should be to understand the marketing funnel and then use the knowledge to map out a viable journey for your ideal customers or client for your business or brand.
I hope you learn one or two things about marketing concepts in this post, let me know what you think in the comments.