The Funnel – Marketing Strategy or Waterpark Ride?
There is a lot of talk about marketing funnels. It’s a great visual explanation of how content marketing works. You put a lot of people in at the top; you educate them, connect with them and make an offer; and the ones who are attracted to you and are interested in your services come out the bottom.
Sounds great, right?
It reminds me of a ride at a waterpark I took my kids to. There was a giant funnel-shaped water slide that they loved! You would slide down into the funnel and go around and around until you got sucked through the middle and down into the pool. I think it was called the Tornado, but it actually looked like a giant toilet bowl.
Okay, so you have the image. But when it comes to marketing, what does that actually look like in practical terms? What happens to the people who don’t come out the bottom? Maybe you’ve built a funnel, but feel like it isn’t working.
I’ve been doing a lot of content marketing strategy with clients recently, and I found myself describing a much bigger and more involved picture.
See, one funnel isn’t enough.
There are two big problems with having just one funnel. First, there is only one way for people to enter it.
The entry point of a funnel is always free content (or in rare cases there is a nominal fee for the content). No matter how great that entry point is, the singular entry point becomes like a hard sell. You are offering the same thing over and over.
More entry points
If you are struggling to attract people into your funnel, I recommend creating more entry points. This often means other funnels, or other forms of free content. Creating more ways to attract people in broadens your appeal and demonstrates greater value.
These other funnels can be created with any number of content forms, some of which you might be doing already!
More exit points
The second problem with a single funnel is that there are a LOT of people who don’t come out the bottom right away. In fact, the large majority of people will likely not be ready to hire you immediately.
That doesn’t mean they aren’t prospective clients or customers. They definitely are!
So what do you do with them? Where do they go?
They go into a holding area where they can continue to learn about your business, deepen the relationship, build trust and generally progress along the sales cycle.
In order to get them out of the holding area, I recommend having more exit points. This means more funnels that serve as catalysts to suck people out of the holding area. Otherwise they are likely to just stay there indefinitely.
The Tornado River Adventure
So the whole system is much bigger than a single funnel. I picture it like several tornados that flow into a lazy river and several more funnels that flow out of it.
There are many combinations for how any individual person experiences the ride depending on how they start off, how long they ride around, how many funnels they try, and where they eventually flow out.
This model attracts more people, keeps them engaged longer, and increases the number of sales and conversions, which is, after all, what we want in the end.
It may sound complicated and daunting. But it’s actually not!
In fact, as the chief funnel-builder, you get to go along for the ride. Your job is to make sure that people keep moving, having fun, and trying as many funnels as possible. The ride has to be enjoyable (or at least interesting and engaging). If you aren’t having fun, then your prospects aren’t either.
Do you need to expand your system of marketing funnels? Are your funnels working? Let’s create a great ride that will bring more happy clients into your business.