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Entering the Marketing Conversion Funnel

By Bethany Bloise

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If you’re a small or new business, you’re probably scrambling to drive people to your website and make that sale to grow your company. Most businesses don’t realize that the marketing strategy that generates those leads and sales, wrapped into what we call the “Marketing Conversion Funnel,” is a process, and not something that generates immediate success.

If that’s the case…how do you reconcile your marketing goals with goals for your business? The key is building your brand.

Our team at Imagebox recently tuned into a webinar called The Indispensable Agency: How Marketing Talent and Technology Gaps Present Invaluable Opportunities for Growth, featuring Paul Roetzer, CEO of PR 20/20. Roetzer presented the latest findings from his 2014 Marketing Score research, data from an assessment of professionals who rated 10 core elements of their marketing performance.

This webinar provided a ton of useful information and takeaways for our agency’s own approach to marketing, but what I really got from all of the information and data was the shocking statistic that in 2014, generating leads was the marketing goal with the highest priority (86%), closely followed by converting leads into sales (85%).

Why did that shock me? Those goals might make sense to you as a business, but take a look at how the Marketing Conversion Funnel is actually set up:

marketing_conversion_funnel

Do you see how narrow the funnel is at both the leads and sales sections? The majority of businesses primarily focused on the “narrower” two goals in 2013, and 38% of companies saw revenue growth over 20% in the past 12 months. Though that’s not a terrible number, I think more businesses could see more success if they focused efforts on what leads up to generating leads and sales.

Let’s take a minute and look at each section of the funnel:

Brand

  • The biggest part of the funnel, and the one emphasized least, focuses on generating awareness and getting exposure for your business. It’s a little bit of public relations mixed in with marketing.

  • 46% of businesses set this as their number one priority.

  • Measure how your brand is doing by looking at website traffic, social reach and subscribers.

  • Building your brand is incredibly important to the buying process – 90% of consumers’ buying decisions are based on what they read about your brand online, so manage your reputation well!

Leads

  • Leads are what we call people who are potentially interested in your product or service. They have visited your website or interacted with your brand in some way that indicates their interest.

  • 86% of businesses set this as their number one priority.

  • While it might be great to increase your lead volume, what you really want are quality leads – ones that are actually looking for what you offer. This will end up being a smaller number than the total visiting your site (as indicated by the narrowing funnel), but what you get is worth more.

Sales

  • Out of leads come sales – people who actually purchase your product or service.

  • 85% of businesses set this as their number one priority.

  • For the amount of quality leads you get, you will probably end up with a smaller amount of sales, so of course you’ll want to optimize your lead volume.

Loyalty

  • When people interact with your company at a personal level by completing the buying cycle, or even when the interaction doesn’t result in a purchase, you have the opportunity to establish trust and loyalty.

  • 51% of businesses set loyalty as their number one priority.

  • Measure customer loyalty by looking at customers who purchase from you a second time and how long they remain a customer

  • The more loyal customers you have, the more positive brand image you build, and the cycle starts all over again with the proliferation of your business’s reputation.

Each part of the funnel is definitely important, but I would like to make the obvious case that the more people you attract with your business’s branding at the opening of the funnel, the more people should turn out as customers or clients. Adopting effective branding as your top priority can help you achieve your ultimate goal of making sales or generating leads. Will you see a huge increase in leads and sales overnight? No. It might take months or even years for a new business to see substantial return on investment, but it’s an investment worth making.

So, is your number one business goal generating leads? Making a sale? If so, you’ll need to make branding your top priority. Get started branding your business using these 9 Branding Rules.

You can see all the data used in this blog and check out how your marketing measures up in the 2014 Marketing Score Report.

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