Data Collection: How to Gather and Use Data in Your Marketing Funnels
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Data Collection at Each Stage of the Marketing Funnel
How you communicate with would-be customers varies according to where they are in the purchasing decision process. Which lead-generating tools work best when consumers are in the awareness stage versus the consideration and purchase stages?
Top of the Sales Funnel: Awareness
Many factors affect how long it takes someone to move from interest in a product to the decision to buy a particular brand. If the item is a new air conditioner after the old one gave out during a heatwave, the consumer may take less time to move through the buying process than someone casually thinking about buying a car in the next six months.
But even though the timeline varies, most people – unless they have extensive knowledge about a particular brand – will enter the purchase process seeking information about the products or services they need to solve their problems. The people at the top of the marketing funnel are just beginning to explore and research their options. They’re searching Google or Bing, and perhaps social media, to get input from friends or groups.
Companies don’t expect consumers at the top of the marketing funnel to quickly convert to customers. They aim to drive prospects to their websites to learn more about a brand’s product. Through optimized content like blog posts (posted on the company site or shared on social media), infographics, videos, broad topic white papers, or even paid advertising, companies hope to introduce their brands to interested prospects.
Brands shouldn’t be too pushy or hard selling at this point. When an information-seeking consumer reaches the site, she should land on a page that asks for her email address in exchange for something of value. The offer’s value will depend on the product’s nature and should ideally make the consumer want to put that brand on their shortlist for eventual purchase. If your company sells blenders, perhaps the offer is a downloadable recipe book that contains even more brand information that will drive the customer to the next stage of the marketing funnel.
Middle of the Marketing Funnel: Evaluation
The people who prove themselves to be motivated buyers are likely those who, when they land on your site, provide their email address. But you still have more work to do to convince them to buy your product versus competitors’.
In the middle of the marketing funnel, consumers are actively researching and comparison-shopping, so it’s the perfect opportunity to provide plenty of content that makes a case for your brand.
Design email campaigns that illustrate you understand your prospects’ needs and establish your expertise. But don’t send out too many emails, or you’ll risk appearing pushy; one or two weekly emails should be enough. Your goal should be to nurture these leads by offering information that will help them decide – like guides, comparison white papers, or webinars. You want these prospects to trust you and know that you’re acting in their best interests.
You can further segment your interested leads by using calls-to-action (CTAs) that request feedback. What are their concerns? Which of their problems do they rate as their highest priority? What’s standing in the way of their decision? It’s a good idea to include a dedicated landing page for this purpose. You can tailor your next series of communications based on their responses.
Bottom of the Marketing Funnel: Decide and Purchase
Because your prospect has funneled to the bottom (e.g., it is likely to purchase your product), that doesn’t mean it’s a done deal. At this point, you’ll need to close the sale. Toward the bottom of the marketing funnel, the prospect is still moving from decision to action. Your communication during this phase will either lead them to your brand or one that belongs to your competitor.
If these prospects have given you feedback while they were in the middle of the funnel, you’ll have better data to help you close the deal. Your knowledge about the problems they want to solve and the budget they have in mind will help you craft your final pitches.
You’re finally at the phase where you’ll want to talk about pricing, discounts, installation, training, customer service, and whatever else the prospect needs to make the leap. You may be able to make the decision easier if you offer a trial period or a chance to demo the product before purchase. If your product or service offers a payment plan or different service levels by price point, these options may help the buyer feel more comfortable about investing.
You Can Nurture Your Leads Even if You Can’t Do it Face-to-Face
You can influence purchasing decisions even if you currently can’t speak to your prospects in person. A well-structured communication plan can target customers at every phase of the marketing funnel and help you close deals.