Understanding Funnel Stages: A Comprehensive Guide

A comprehensive guide on understanding each stage of a traditional marketing funnel model - TOFU (Top Of Funnel), MOFU (Middle Of Funnel) & BOFU (Bottom Of Funnel). Learn how each stage works & how you can optimize it for increased conversions.

Understanding Funnel Stages: A Comprehensive Guide

The goal of a brand is to attract, inform, convert and engage customers at every stage. Asking 10 marketers about marketing funnels will likely result in 10 different answers. This is because a marketing funnel is not a one-size-fits-all strategy; it should be tailored to the way your buyer buys. Utilizing Hotjar heat maps, recordings and surveys can help optimize your marketing channel for the customer journey and increase conversions. The traditional funnel model is linear, starting at the top of the funnel and ending at the bottom, where potential customers convert.

However, the marketing funnel is not linear, so it's important to understand the customer journey from the moment of awareness to the moment of conversion. This includes understanding how each stage works in the traditional marketing funnel model. The top of the funnel (TOFU) is where potential customers first become aware of your brand and interact with it. At this stage, they may not know much about your product or service, so content and marketing materials that promote brand awareness should be used. The bottom of the funnel (BOFU) is the last place potential customers go before making a conversion. You've captured their attention, built trust and fostered a relationship with them.

Measuring the target conversion rate allows your team to make more informed decisions about each phase of the funnel, rather than just about the final outcome. To measure the success of your marketing funnel, you need to understand how people use your website (beyond traffic and conversions) and why they behave in a certain way while browsing or buying. Then, you can optimize your marketing funnel to increase conversions at every stage of the customer experience. Surveys give you the opportunity to interact with real visitors at every step of the funnel, so you can learn how to improve customer experience and increase conversions. Combining quantitative and qualitative information with the tools and tips mentioned above will help create a better funnel that meets the unique needs of your customers and, as a result, increase conversions. The four stages of the content marketing funnel are knowledge, evaluation, purchase and enjoyment. Each stage has a specific purpose in the customer journey, as does the content presented to them at those stages.

Potential customers enter the funnel at different stages. Sometimes this happens because they are recommended and already know that they want to buy a brand's product, so they move on to the intention phase. It can also happen because they have followed their own education and have intervened in search of interest or consideration. The sales funnel is every step someone has to take to become your customer. Analyzing website heat maps can identify elements on the page that work (or don't) to get people through your funnel. An increasingly common practice among marketing, sales and customer service/experience managers is to turn the funnel into a customer experience funnel. Since these people are still in a low position in the sales funnel, focus on capturing leads instead of driving sales. Ideally, this marketing funnel would actually be a marketing cylinder and all of your potential customers would become customers.

In the Center of the Funnel (MOFU), potential customers determine if they need your product or service. There's nothing that can replace raw data, and you don't want to use someone else's audience and reach to create your sales funnel. There is much debate surrounding the marketing funnel - from who owns it (marketing or sales) to whether or not it's still relevant to today's consumer buying process. The idea is that marketers create a broad network like a funnel to capture as many potential customers as possible and then slowly encourage potential customers through the purchase decision, reducing these candidates at every stage of the funnel. Here lead generation takes place as information is collected and potential customers are incorporated into a lead management system for later nurturing in the funnel. Your sales funnel may need adjustments as your business grows, you learn more about your customers, and you diversify your products and services. An alternative to the marketing funnel is McKinsey's consumer decision-making process which uses a circular model to show how buying process is driven and highlight reference points or points of contact. The funnel helps marketing teams plan and measure efforts to attract, attract and convert potential customers through content and other marketing materials such as landing pages and advertisements.

The way people experience your marketing funnel (and how they think or feel throughout their customer journey), you're missing an important part of the picture.

Cassandra Paule
Cassandra Paule

Certified social media guru. Hardcore food scholar. Freelance baconaholic. Infuriatingly humble bacon specialist. Subtly charming web aficionado. Certified twitteraholic.

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