Wednesday, 15 February 2017 10:23

What does your marketing funnel look like?

We are all probably very familiar with the different stages and categories of the traditional sales funnel. Most successful businesses manage, inspect and report on the progress and movement of opportunities from initial leads to suspects, qualified prospects, proposed offers and ultimately closed business. But how many businesses put as much attention into managing a marketing funnel?

Sales and marketing work hand and hand. However, the purpose of a marketing funnel can be quite different from a sales funnel. A marketing funnel is a way to analyze how you are progressing from the very start of general market awareness of your brand to the ultimate stage of developing strong and loyal brand advocates. The marketing funnel can also help measure the success and value of different marketing tactics, and organize how and when contacts should hear from you.

One way to define the stages of your marketing funnel could be:marketing funnel

  • No market awareness
  • Awareness developed
  • Suspect open to trial
  • Recent user but not a regular customer
  • Repeat customer
  • Preferred supplier
  • Brand Advocate

In the early stages of the marketing funnel most organizations are relying on mass marketing programs such as public relations, advertising and search engine optimization techniques. They are measuring key performance metrics such as overall impressions, visitors, and followers. In our industry examples would be purchasing print advertising in the Hardwood Market Report or developing programs to improve your search rankings on key terms such as walnut, white oak or hickory.

In the middle stages of the marketing funnel it is likely that you will have a contact name and know your audience even if they are not a customer yet. Direct mail programs, email campaigns, and even sales visits with general marketing materials are sample activities. Conversations, click through rates, content downloads, quote requests, and new orders are typical measurement categories for marketers at this time. We regularly track things such as downloads of our hardwood lumber whitepapers or the number of monthly inquiries for specific product items such as re oak logs or 4/4 FAS white oak to track the effectiveness of our programs.

At the bottom of the marketing funnel you are mostly nurturing customer relationships, driving repeat sales and hopefully increasing customer satisfaction. When done correctly you are developing loyal customers who become your brand advocates, (people who will proactively refer you to others and promote your brand without being asked). Repeat sales, average order size, share of wallet, customer referrals, user group participation, etc. are a few examples of measurement categories that could be helpful at this stage.

So what does your marketing funnel look like? What do you measure? What best practices can you share that I could possibly incorporate into my hardwood lumber marketing efforts? I look forward to hearing from you!

Tony Cimorelli
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