What is a Marketing Funnel, and Why Do You Need One?

What is a Marketing Funnel, and Why Do You Need One Photograph by Yifei Chen | Kathy Ennis | LittlePiggy

I hope you enjoyed my recent series of blog posts about websites – why you need one, what to focus on and how to entice people there (if you haven’t seen the posts yet, why not grab a cuppa and have a browse through?)

Here’s a link to one to get you started: Why Your Website Has To Be At The Heart of Your Marketing Conversion Cycle

In a similar series, these next few blog posts are also going to focus on one essential business topic. Namely, the whys, wherefores, how-to’s and importance of having a marketing funnel.

What, Exactly, Is a Marketing Funnel?

You may have heard the term Marketing Funnel before.

Essentially, a marketing funnel is the attraction and engagement process you will lead potential customers through, as they decide whether or not to buy from you.

The basic concept of a marketing funnel is that you ‘pour’ potential customers (or ‘leads’) in at the top, engage with them in the middle to build the know-like-trust cycle and bring them to a purchase decision at the bottom.

The Top of The Funnel (TOFU)

This is where you offer people something, such as a lead magnet, to build awareness of you, your products and services and encourage them to stay in contact

The Middle of The Funnel (MOFU)

This is where you engage people with regular, specific, targeted marketing activity

The Bottom of The Funnel (BOFU)

This is where people decide (or, your encourage them to decide) to buy from you

Although the term ‘funnel’ is used, I actually prefer to think about it as a colander.


Because, as you pour potential customers in at the top with your lead generation activity, some will leak out. You get more ‘leakage’ at the second stage as you being to engage with your leads. Some will decide that you are not the organisation that can solve their problem.

It is an inevitable fact that you will lose people through the holes in your funnel as you guide them through to the bottom.

And that’s absolutely fine. 

After all, if you’re doing the right things, and you’re being honest about who you are and what you offer, then the people who make it to the bottom of your funnel will be the right people.  These are the ones who are properly engaged with your approach, and ready to buy.

Planning Your Funnel

The most successful marketing funnels are created by focussing on one key objective: how many new customers or sales do you actually want?

So, a good starting point when planning your marketing funnel is to decide on an achievable objective, such as a specific number of sales or appointment bookings, and then create a sales funnel with that objective in mind.

Many business owners forget about the process people go through before they decide to buy.  Consumers don’t buy from businesses they don’t know, like and (most importantly) trust. So, it’s important to recognise that, while the process is all about people, they need to be the right people for you.

Whatever your products or services are, they won’t be right for absolutely everybody.  As you create your marketing funnel, design your lead magnets and plan your promotional activity, you’ll need to have the courage to be open and honest about who you are and what you offer. That way, you’ll be speaking directly to the people most likely to reach the bottom of your funnel.

It’s this process you get to use and develop with my book, The Big Social Media Marketing Organiser. Have you got your copy yet? 

What a Typical Marketing Funnel Might Look Like

Objective: To confirm five sales appointments with new customers within the next three months.

TOFU – you create a specific website landing page and a downloadable lead magnet that features ‘Ten Top Tips’ on your chosen sales subject.

Outcome: this will encourage interested people to leave their details and follow you on social media.

MOFU – youwrite regular blog and social media posts that feature your chosen subject, create a related event or webinar, send targeted e-mail updates. You could also offer a dedicated programme or set up a social media group to answer questions and spark discussion.  Install tools like the Facebook Pixel to track website views and refine your marketing.

Outcome: you will engage with an ongoing list of people with a specific interest in your subject, and the way you approach it.

BOFU – you promote a specific offer to those still active at the bottom of your funnel

Outcome: you can confirm appointments with engaged and interested people!

Remember to Test and Measure

There are so many options you could include in your marketing funnel than those I’ve mentioned here.  Whichever you choose, remember that the whole reason for creating your funnel is to achieve the objective you set at the beginning.  This is how you will measure your results, and how you will know what success looks like.

Coming Soon

In my next posts, I will be talking about the specific tools to use when creating your sales funnel, and how best to use them.  To ensure you don’t miss out, why not sign up for regular updates, or join me on social media?

In the meantime, my book The Big Social Media Marketing Organiser is available to buy, helping you plan your funnel activity and much more besides.

Any questions?  Please post them below and let’s start a conversation!

Kathy Ennis

I mentor dynamic, action-taking micro business owners who are not making the profit they deserve or dream of. I help them transform their good ideas into a successful business. I enable them to create simple, sensible, achievable business plans and engagement marketing strategies that turn their passion into profit.

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