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February 20, 2018

It’s Time for Revised Thinking: The New Marketing Funnel

Guest post by: Whitney Duprey, Marketing Account Manager, Harpeth Marketing

I’ve never really liked the “Marketing Funnel”. There, I said it. My name is Whitney, I’m a marketer, and I don’t like the marketing funnel.

Wow, it feels good to get that off my chest!

Now, let me clarify. I think that the marketing funnel, in its current iteration, does a good job of depicting and helping marketers visualize the sales process and how a lead becomes a customer. You have leads coming in at the top of the funnel, and as they progress through the buyer’s journey, some “fall out” and decide not to purchase with you, while others make it to the end of the funnel and then become customers (yay!).

marketing funnel

Ok. Great. You closed a customer. But now what? Where do all those customers go when they reach the end of the marketing funnel? Do they just fall out of the bottom of the funnel, never to be heard from again? Are you done marketing to them? Hopefully not. That’s where the traditional marketing funnel fails.

Your work isn’t done once you’ve converted your lead into a customer. And why should that be? You put in a lot of time and effort into building a relationship with that lead and closing the sale, so why give up on them as soon as they’ve purchased? Plus, it can cost as much as 5-7 times more to attract a new client than it does to retain an existing one.

So, what does this all mean?

It’s time for a new marketing funnel.

I picture the new marketing funnel to look a bit like an hourglass (but I guess “Marketing Hourglass” doesn’t have the same ring to it…”) The hourglass retains all of the good stuff from the current marketing funnel, but it doesn’t end after someone becomes a client.

marketing funnel

In the new marketing funnel, a client (hopefully), isn’t just a one-time customer. They become a repeat customer (ideally, again and again) and then grow to become an ‘advocate’ of yours and recommend you to others.

So, how do you move your clients along from one-time purchaser to advocate? Here are a couple of ideas to get you started:

  • Do great work. This one is probably pretty obvious, but it’s still worth stating. Go above and beyond to make sure each and every one of your customers is not just happy – but delighted – with your work. Nobody is going to give their business to someone a second time if things didn’t go well the first time.
  • Be proactive. Don’t wait until a former client comes to you with a project or a need. Make it a priority to check in with former clients on a regular basis to see if there’s anything coming down the pipeline that you can help with. This is a great opportunity to not just send an email, but to pick up the phone and chat with them.
  • Don’t let them forget you. Stay top-of-mind by engaging with your clients on social media, subscribing them to your newsletter and making sure to let them know when you have a new product or offering.
  • Re-engage with automation. Marketing automation can be a powerful tool to help you re-engage customers. Set up a drip campaign to send your clients blog posts or eBooks you think they’d be interested in, or after you’ve finished your first project with them, enroll them in a follow up campaign to thank them for their business.

You put a lot of hard work and effort into closing a client, so don’t let the current marketing funnel trick you into abandoning them once the sale is completed. Invest in your current clients… after all, they’ve already invested in you.

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