Marketing funnel unveiled: A step-by-step breakdown

Marketing funnel unveiled: A step-by-step breakdown 

Diana Alcanzar

At some point in your life, you’ve gone through a marketing funnel without knowing it. First, you learn about a product, then you consider it and purchase it. After that, you become a loyal customer and might even tell others about the product. What may seem like a seamless experience is, in fact, a carefully crafted marketing funnel.   

Understanding this marketing funnel is important because it shows how businesses carefully manage each step. It’s not just about making a sale; it’s about building long-lasting relationships with customers and turning them into loyal fans of the brand. 

This article explains the different marketing funnel stages and how they work.  

5 stages of the marketing funnel 

  1. Awareness. In this initial stage, the goal is to make your potential customers aware of your brand or product. It’s where people form first impressions and where interest sparks. This stage involves using social media campaigns, search engine optimization (SEO), and content marketing. By employing these strategies, you can help reach a broader audience and increase your brand’s visibility.  
  1. Consideration/interest. At this stage, potential customers are evaluating your product or service. Your focus is on nurturing their interest. Provide them with the information they need like engaging content marketing (blog posts, how-to guides, etc.), targeted email marketing campaigns, detailed product guides, and educational webinars. 
  1. Conversion/desire. Here, the goal is to convert interest into a purchase. This stage involves convincing prospective customers that your product is what they need. You should consider persuasive copywriting, creating compelling and targeted landing pages, offering limited-time deals, and utilizing retargeting ads. 
  1. Engagement. After a customer buys your product, the post-purchase stage becomes crucial to keep them happy and sticking around. It’s all about making them feel valued and heard. It provides them with a platform where they can give their feedback, helping you improve your products and services. During this stage, keeping in touch and providing support through customer service channels is key. Social media is also part of the mix, along with sharing valuable content that enhances the user experience with the product. 
  1. Loyalty/advocacy. The final marketing funnel stage focuses on turning satisfied customers into repeat buyers. It also aims to create brand advocates. Achieving this includes implementing loyalty programs, encouraging referrals through incentives, engaging with customers through community management, and gathering and acting on customer feedback. This ensures that customers not only feel satisfied but also genuinely heard in their experiences with the brand.  

ToFu, MoFu, BoFu: Simplifying the funnel  

The marketing funnel has three different stages: ToFu, MoFu, and BoFu. Each stage represents a certain part of the marketing funnel, where specific strategies are used to guide potential customers from initial awareness to the final purchase decision.  

  • Top of the Funnel (ToFu). This stage is about attracting potential customers and creating brand awareness. The strategy is to cast a wide net to reach as many people as possible who might be interested in your product or service. You can use content marketing through blogs, social media posts, and SEO to boost visibility. Engaging infographics and educational webinars also add value to your content as well as attract leads. 
  • Middle of the Funnel (MoFu). In this stage, the focus shifts to nurturing your leads. Provide more specific information to educate and persuade them. During this stage, you can use targeted email campaigns, more detailed content like e-books or whitepapers, and personalized communication to make their decision-making process easier. 
  • Bottom of the Funnel (BoFu). In this stage, your prospects turn into customers, also known as conversion. Here, you can use persuasive copywriting in landing pages to encourage them to take action, offer personalized offers or demos, and use strong call-to-actions (CTAs) to encourage the final decision to purchase.  

What is full-funnel marketing?  

Full-funnel marketing is a marketing strategy where businesses focus on every step of the customer’s journey. From first hearing about the brand to becoming a repeat customer. This strategy is important for online businesses as it helps keep a consistent connection with customers at each stage. The primary goal is to ensure a seamless experience from start to finish, keeping customers engaged with the brand. 

Differences in funnels  

Understanding the differences between marketing and sales funnels, as well as B2B and B2C funnels, is key to figuring out how to engage customers effectively. By recognizing these distinctions, you can customize your strategies to better connect with customers, making the whole process more effective and targeted. 

Marketing vs. sales funnels  

Marketing funnels are about attracting potential customers and creating awareness about a brand or its offerings. They include tactics like advertising and content marketing to create interest and leads. Sales funnels, on the other hand, focus on converting these leads into paying customers by emphasizing personalized communication, follow-ups, and closing deals. It’s like marketing funnels set the stage, and sales funnels take it a step further by guiding potential customers to make a purchase. 

B2B vs. B2C funnels 

Business-to-business (B2B) funnels typically involve a longer decision-making process. There is a greater emphasis on relationship-building, educational content, and nurturing leads through detailed information and demonstrations. Business-to-consumer (B2C) funnels, on the other hand, are often more straightforward. They aim for quicker conversions by tapping into emotional appeals, creating a sense of urgency, and offering straightforward solutions to consumer problems. 

Tactics and metrics for measuring success  

To effectively measure the success of a marketing funnel, use specific tactics and metrics. They help track a customer’s journey from awareness to loyalty. These tools will help you measure the effectiveness of their strategies and make informed decisions for improvement. 

Tactics that you can use to measure your strategies’ effectiveness: 

  • A/B testing. Implement A/B testing to compare different marketing elements. This can include testing two versions of a webpage, email subject lines, or call-to-action buttons. The goal is to identify which variation yields better results for engagement and conversions. 
  • Customer surveys. Use surveys to gather feedback from customers. This feedback can provide insights into customer satisfaction. It can also give reasons for purchase or non-purchase, and suggestions for improvement. 
  • Segmentation. Segment your audience based on demographics, behavior, or purchase history. This allows for more targeted and personalized marketing efforts, which can lead to higher engagement and conversion rates. 
  • Content analysis. Review and analyze your content’s performance regularly. This includes monitoring engagement metrics like shares, comments, and average time spent on content. It helps understand what resonates with your target audience. 

These metrics, on the other hand, can be used to gauge the effectiveness of your efforts in numbers: 

  • Conversion rates. Track the percentage of visitors who complete a desired action, such as making a purchase or signing up for a newsletter. This metric is crucial for understanding the effectiveness of your conversion strategies. 
  • Customer Lifetime Value (CLV). Calculate the total revenue a business can expect from a single customer account. This helps in understanding the long-term value of customers. It also guides your resource allocation for retention strategies. 
  • Lead generation metrics. Monitor the number of new leads generated. This includes tracking sources of leads. It helps determine which marketing channels are most effective. 
  • Engagement metrics. Assess how users interact with your content and website. Key metrics include page views, session duration, bounce rate, and social media interactions. This provides insights into user behavior and the effectiveness of your content. 
  • Retention rates. Measure how well your business retains customers over time. High retention rates often indicate customer satisfaction and loyalty, which are key for long-term business success. 

Newer strategies to challenge the traditional marketing funnel  

New strategies are rising to challenge the traditional marketing funnel. Take a look at these strategies that focus on a more dynamic and interconnected approach: 

  • Flywheel model. This model replaces the traditional funnel with a circular process. The circular process highlights the momentum gained by aligning all marketing and sales activities. It highlights the importance of customer satisfaction and referrals by creating a continuous cycle of growth. 
  • Customer journey map. This strategy involves creating a detailed map of the customer’s journey. It includes all potential touchpoints and experiences. It helps in understanding and enhancing the customer experience at every stage. 
  • The loop model. It focuses on creating ongoing engagement with customers. It turns the traditional linear funnel into a loop. This model shows the importance of continuous customer interaction and retention. 
  • AIDA model (Attention, Interest, Desire, Action). This well-established model guides marketers in creating campaigns that attract attention, spark interest, create desire, and prompt action, aligning with each stage of the customer’s decision-making process. 
  • Pirate metrics (AARRR: Acquisition, Activation, Retention, Referral, Revenue). This framework focuses on five key metrics crucial for growth. It helps businesses systematically improve their processes and customer engagement. 
  • Community-led growth model. This approach uses the power of community-building to drive organic growth. It focuses on creating a loyal customer base that actively promotes and supports the brand. 

Your funnel’s first step: A standout website 

In understanding marketing funnels, we’ve looked at how businesses attract, engage, and convert customers. Every step, from creating awareness to fostering loyalty, plays a big part in the process. 

Take the first step today by creating a winning website that makes a great first impression. Explore’s user-friendly and intuitive Website Builder solutions, which offers social and email marketing tools, a store with secure checkout, and more. Plus, it’s powered by AI. You can choose to build your website yourself or have AI do it for you. Get a plan for your business today! 

  • Diana Alcanzar

    Diana is a Technical Writer at She's dedicated to creating compelling and impactful web content that empowers online businesses from around the world. Outside work, she enjoys trying out new foods and visiting different places. She's always eager to experience something fresh and exciting.

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