Your sales funnel is composed of the means you use to drive prospects and potential clients to your company and close the sale. Online, you may have a blog that you write to each day. Once you get prospects to your blog, you lure them with an offer so as to receive their e-mail addresses. Then you send out periodic email messages to find those prospects interested in a product that you would like them to buy.

So where do we go from here?  The funnel and Customer Decision Journey aren’t going away.  They are useful models, and will continue to be helpful in certain contexts.  But marketing today requires a new mental map to navigate a changing landscape. We need a model that informs marketers how to enable and empower, not just persuade and promote.  There are a variety of alternatives including journey, orbit, relationship, and experience.
Direct email: Direct email works great if you have a list of people interested in your business. For example, people who attended one of your in-person workshops, a list of current customers, or a group/community you are a part of or manage. Important: Notice how we specify that these should be people you previously had contact with. We don’t recommend that you purchase email lists to do direct emailing as that can have a number of negative consequences for you and your business.  
For a business to run successfully, you need to have customers who are willing to pay for your product or service. But, how do you go about finding these customers? You need to have leads who will then turn into prospects, who you can finally convert into customers. Most companies spend a lot of time perfecting their lead generation strategies so that they the leads keep coming in. But, more importantly, you need to perfect the lead funnel.
In digital marketing, despite the fact that it undergoes various processes that involves the use of technology, you are still marketing to people, each having their own attributes and situations that affect their buying decisions. Lead generation funnel is a tool that puts this concept into great consideration, nurturing each unique lead according to their attributes, eventually leading these prospects and turning them into your ultimate goal – paying customers.
If you’re a small business owner, you might be a one-man (or one-woman) show, wearing several hats, including both sales and marketing. As your business grows, though, you’ll need to hire people for your team. One of the biggest mistakes I see companies make over and over again is having their sales team and marketing team work completely independently of one another.
Nobody goes to page two, or on page three. If your website isn’t ranking on page one, you may as well be obsolete. What I recommend to target this audience is that you answer absolutely every question a potential customer might ask in the form of blogs, research papers, and features on your website. Make sure you optimize each piece of content for mobile SEO.
As a side note, while getting negative feedback rarely feels good, I want to encourage you to view feedback the way I do: as a priceless opportunity to improve and grow your business. Complaints and criticisms give you important signals that you need to make changes or else risk losing business from frustrated customers. Read this article to learn more: What Should You Do When People Complain About Your Product or Service?
In this scenario, you’re asking people to take little steps, instead of going right from “mailing list sign up” to “spend $1000”. Downloading a free ebook isn’t a big step. Once you’ve done that, sure, why not share? Hey, if the info was valuable in the free book, the info in a $19 book is probably great! Oh, there’s a $197 program? Yes, I would love to join, because I already got more than that much value from your lower-cost items. Spend $1000? Sure!
Private communities: This is a great way to establish a closer and continuous channel of communication between yourself/your company and your leads, as well as allowing them to interact with each other. You can create private communities to start conversations, gather feedback, or share updates and news. By starting a community, you are committing to being active and monitoring it regularly for the medium/long term, which can be very time consuming in future—so keep that in mind if you decide to go with this tactic.  
This early model has been modified by marketing consultants and academics to cater to the modern customer and is now referred to in marketing as the "purchase funnel" or "buying funnel". Many different business-to-consumer purchase models exist in marketing today, but it is generally accepted that the modern business-to-business purchase funnel has more stages,[3] considers repurchase intent, and takes into account new technologies and changes in consumer purchase behavior.[4] [5] As a model, the buying funnel has been validated in a variety of domains, including searching,[6] keyword advertising,[7] and lead generation,[8] but also modified to include previously unconsidered steps and metrics such as outbound sales, Internet impressions,[9] and Sales Funnel Stages.[10]
Organic search: By writing relevant articles that rank for keywords to your business, you can attract traffic to your website. SEO is still very relevant and it is one of the cheapest methods in which you can ensure that you get unlimited traffic. But, you need to figure out the right keyword for your business and try to rank in the 1-5 position. It doesn’t end there though. After the visitor enters your page, you need to have a relevant CTA. This could be a related e-book they could download or a webinar they could attend. Look how WordStream uses an exit intent pop-up to capture leads.
When a lead enters the CRM, it’s marked “new”. Every lead in this stage is at the top of the funnel. As sales reps interact with leads, they’re subsequently moved to the next stages. Filters and views in the software reveals the number of leads at every stage in the sales funnel to help you analyze their progress—how many new leads are in the funnel, how many have engaged with sales reps, how many are in the bottom of the funnel and ready to close, and how many need to be nurtured. This knowledge about your sales funnel becomes an actionable tool allowing you to plan your sales strategies.

After you have mapped out your sales funnel and have a good idea of what happens to leads when they come into your system, spend time mapping your lead generation efforts to buying stages. You can define a buying stage by how close a lead is to making a buying decision — and it’s critical to create lead generation programs that resonate to where buyers are in their purchasing decisions.
There are a number of different tools on the market today to help you track these and other metrics, though for most businesses Google Analytics represents the most comprehensive, easy-to-implement solution. Since it’s free, use the service’s funnel-tracking tools until you determine that you need something more advanced and then move on to another sales analytics program or a complete marketing automation program.
The modern conversion funnel can have many entrance points, meaning people can enter at any stage of their life-cycle, they can leave and enter again. This is why an effective online marketing strategy requires an omnichannel approach which combines various traffic sources, campaigns and re-engagement paths, and makes them work as one in order to finalize the purchase and even lead to loyal customers or brand advocates.
This early model has been modified by marketing consultants and academics to cater to the modern customer and is now referred to in marketing as the "purchase funnel" or "buying funnel". Many different business-to-consumer purchase models exist in marketing today, but it is generally accepted that the modern business-to-business purchase funnel has more stages,[3] considers repurchase intent, and takes into account new technologies and changes in consumer purchase behavior.[4] [5] As a model, the buying funnel has been validated in a variety of domains, including searching,[6] keyword advertising,[7] and lead generation,[8] but also modified to include previously unconsidered steps and metrics such as outbound sales, Internet impressions,[9] and Sales Funnel Stages.[10]

If you don’t know much about SEO, there’s a great course about SEO available here, but basically, this is the practice of making sure your blog posts or other website pages show up in search results when someone types in a certain phrase. You can use Google’s Keyword Planner to find keywords in your industry that have a high volume of searches and a low level of competition, though keep in mind that “competition” in Keyword Planner only tracks competition for paid ads, so it might not be the best indication at competition for general search engine results. Moz is a great tool to check out if you’re interested in doing more keyword research on competition.
This early model has been modified by marketing consultants and academics to cater to the modern customer and is now referred to in marketing as the "purchase funnel" or "buying funnel". Many different business-to-consumer purchase models exist in marketing today, but it is generally accepted that the modern business-to-business purchase funnel has more stages,[3] considers repurchase intent, and takes into account new technologies and changes in consumer purchase behavior.[4] [5] As a model, the buying funnel has been validated in a variety of domains, including searching,[6] keyword advertising,[7] and lead generation,[8] but also modified to include previously unconsidered steps and metrics such as outbound sales, Internet impressions,[9] and Sales Funnel Stages.[10]

Another important principle of this sales funnel is that we’re not talking about a linear process here. You don’t want to limit your marketing strategy to generate leads at the top of the funnel and then guiding them all to the end. There are thousands or even millions of people out there already who may know your brand but simply aren’t interested in it yet.


The marketing funnel is a visualization for understanding the process of turning leads into customers, as understood from a marketing (and sales) perspective. The idea is that, like a funnel, marketers cast a broad net to capture as many leads as possible, and then slowly nurture prospective customers through the purchasing decision, narrowing down these candidates in each stage of the funnel.
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