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What is the marketing funnel and why should you consider it in PPC?

A marketing funnel (otherwise known as a conversion funnel) is a way of breaking down your customer journey into different stages. It covers everything from the ‘awareness’ stage when a user first learns about your brand, right to the ‘conversion’ stage when they’re ready to buy your product or use your service. A funnel can also include follow up steps to increase the chance of repeat custom – but we will go into this later. 

In terms of your PPC marketing – the funnel can help you to segment your audience into groups based on their intent. Once you’ve split your audience, you can then tailor your messaging in a way that will reach out to the right user, at the right time.

As somebody moves through the funnel, your marketing approach should change accordingly. Think of it this way – the more your marketing efforts align with a user’s specific needs, the more likely it is that they will keep moving forward and complete your desired action (e.g. a sale).

Mapping your customer journey

Before we delve into each step, let’s cover the basics. The stages of a funnel can differ slightly depending on things such as your industry and your marketing method. Generally, the funnel breaks down into three main parts:

  • Top of Funnel: When a user starts an initial search and discovers your product or service.
  •  Middle of Funnel: When a user is considering their options and looking into making a purchase or completing another action. 
  •  Bottom of Funnel: When a customer makes a decision and completes an action. 

A full marketing funnel can include more steps, such as:

  • Awareness / Discovery 
  • Interest
  • Consideration
  • Conversion
  • Retention
Image result for marketing funnel ppc

As you can see, the funnel will become smaller as it goes on. This is because not every user will decide to use your service. The smaller the funnel gets, the more valuable the customer becomes to your business.

Now, what do each of these steps really mean in terms of your digital marketing campaigns? Don’t worry, we will take you through the process in a bit more detail.

1. Brand awareness 

This is right at the top of the funnel because it’s the first time somebody becomes aware of your brand. At this point, you should be presenting what your product or service is and why a user might benefit from finding out more. Try to be transparent and relatable. Your PPC method at this point might be one of the following:

  • Social ads – Using paid ads on platforms such as Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest means you can target your audience based on their interests. A lot of businesses benefit from creating ‘lookalike’ or ‘actalike’ audiences, meaning you can reach out to people who are similar to your most valuable, active customers. 
  • Search Ads – At this point, your audience might know about a product or service, but they’re not yet familiar with your brand name. Your keyword targeting should focus on non-branded keywords. For example, a query we’d want to match for might be something like; “Digital marketing agency” or “Marketing agency in London”. 
  • Shopping Ads – If you want to get your product out there, a Google Shopping Campaign can help you reach out to your audience based on user intent. At this point, you’ll be targeting low converting terms because you’re simply raising awareness of your products. 

2. Interest

Once a user becomes aware of your brand – they will either be interested or continue browsing other options. The ‘interest’ stage refers to those users who have shown potential to stick around and move further down the funnel. You could think of this as the ‘window shopping’ stage because they’re almost starting to consider buying something or completing an action. You can start to aim your messaging towards a specific query or issue. 

3. Consideration

At this stage, you know a user is considering your product or service because they’ve clicked on your ad and onto your site. Of course, the marketing funnel is much smaller now, and a conversion is more likely.

You’re targeting people who are considering something (a purchase, newsletter sign-up etc.) Your messaging will need to be tailored towards their specific query or issue. Remember, customers, want the best deal they can get; which means it’s time for you to provide that final bit of encouragement. 

So, how can you make your business stand out amongst others? Your landing page is the most important thing here because it’s a chance to include all relevant information in one place. You should make sure you have a clear call-to-action as well as including your unique selling point, i.e. what makes you better than your competitors. Think about things like:

  • Special offers and promotions
  • Positive customer reviews and case studies 
  • Free trials or demos 

4. Conversion 

The most promising part of the funnel is when your site visitor decides they want to complete an action. Your messaging at this point should focus on the conversion. For example, you can inform customers how to complete the action in the easiest way through a call-to-action.

Client testimonials are a great example of how you can reassure a potential customer that they’re making the right choice. We suggest using reviews that represent different customers profiles. People are more likely to use a service if they can resonate with other happy customers. Things to keep in mind:

  • The user is now aware of your brand, which means you can target them using your brand name. For example, we’d target people with high-intent who are searching for something like; “Summon Digital Agency” or “Summon Digital”.
  • You want to appear at the top of SERP, and your keywords should focus on users who are ready to make a purchase. Terms such as “call”, “contact” or “buy” are essential. Also, consider location-specific keywords and queries around pricing. If somebody is searching for a particular area or wants information about the price – it is likely they know they want to convert.

5. Retention

Retention takes place once a user has purchased or used your service, and you want to try and keep their custom. Of course, if your site is user-friendly and provides smooth, straightforward customer journeys, then it is more likely you’ll gain loyal customers. However, your PPC ads also play a very important part of encouraging those users to return. Think about the following tactics: 

  •  Remarketing – A form of marketing that allows you to reconnect with people based on previous interaction. You can target users who completed their purchase and those who didn’t – making it a crucial part of the retention stage. One example is targeting a previous customer with an ad revealing a special promotion, to encourage them to use your service again. 
  • Customer match – You can create a buyers list containing each user who has completed a purchase in a specific time frame. On top of this, you can benefit from creating a Similar Audience through Google Ads – which allows you to target users who have things in common with your current customers. Once you understand your customer profile, you can use tools to target people who match this.

Aligning your PPC campaigns to the marketing funnel

Once you have a solid understanding of your customer journeys – you will be able to adjust your PPC campaigns to reach out to users at the right time. We’ve listed our top tips, in a nutshell, to help you match your PPC marketing to your audience depending on their place in the funnel.

  • Carefully target your ads
  • Change your messaging depending on the stage
  • Be clear about the next steps throughout the journey
  • Highlight your USP
  • Have a strong CTA
  • Have a straightforward action stage
  • Optimise your thank you page
  • Test your PPC ad messaging and see what is working and what isn’t 
  • Use RLSA to maintain custom (read more about this here).

Contact us 

If you want to improve your PPC campaigns and target customers throughout their journey or if you have any questions; contact us.

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