Marketing Funnel Canvas

Sunday, September 28, 2014

This blog post is about how to set up an marketing sales funnel for your business. For this I created a canvas with clear building blocks that helps you to evaluate your current funnel and come up with new ideas.


The art of selling is mastering the process of leading people, who never heart about you, into returning customers, who tell others about your great product or service. The better you understand this process from A to Z the better you can lead and select potential customers to buy from you, and the more you can grow your business.

I describe this process from the customer perspective and as a funnel with 6 important stages. At every stage the potential customer changes its attitude towards you from a not knowing person into ultimately a loyal customer who advises others to buy from you as well. These steps are as following:
  • Pool
  • Visitor
  • Lead
  • Prospect
  • Customer
  • Happy User
Different actions are required to get someone from one stage in to another. These sub-processes, from one stage in to another, are so called conversions. The figure above shows the 6 conversion-process-steps as arrows. By understanding what kind of actions you can take for each potential customer at each stage the more deals you will close. During this blog I will tell you more about each stage and the conversions.

Pool; The pool is unknowing

I see the first stage metaphorically as a fish pool. The fish pool can be a large lake with all types of fishes or a small pond with only yellow ones. But no matter what type of fish pool, the potential fish isn't aware of you yet.

The question is here: where do you want to fish in order to get the fish you want? In other words, where do you think your potential customers can be reached? If you have a local shoe store your pool is nearby. All the customers you need for your business are around the corner in a small but steady pool. If you want to expand your local business you will probably just copy your operation to another place with a similar small but steady pool. You can expend your local shoe store into a big business by finding multiple small pools with multiple small shoe stores. Otherwise you can also expend by transforming your local business into an online shoe web store with one big massive pool, filled with customers all over the world.

The pool building block requires you to think about where to fish for your customers and what type of potential customers you want to select. Some type of customers are found in big quantities while others are rare and scattered around the globe. By choosing your pool size and type you will get ultimately different types of customers at the funnel ending. Choosing a funnel too wide will give you a lot of different fishes with types you probably do not want to get. In other words customers who do not really value your product but suck up all your time and effort. Garbage in is equal to garbage out. Choosing too small however and you will end up with a too small customer base. Choosing the right pool is the first and most important stage for being able to grow your business effectively.

Visitor; the contacts are aware

Every stage can be seen as a new checkpoint. Potential customers flow from checkpoint to checkpoint. Whether they reach a checkpoint depends on the requirements you have set up. Thus you will need to think about what requirements are important for every stage.

I describe the Visitor Stage as the first step after the pool. While the previous pool is a bunch of unaware fish, visitors know eat least your name or website. They are aware of you but are not convinced or interested in any way. They just met you. Thus, a requirement to be met for the visitor stage could be to visit your local store, or for the digital realm, to visit your website. Every time someone gets for the first time on your website you have converted them from the pool stage into the visitor stage.

Requirements should always be measurable. Tip: with Google Analytics for example you can easily measure how many visitors you have daily or monthly on your site. More tips will come.
This building block needs you to think about how to measure a visitor or contact.

Conversion 1; Pool – Contacts

The question to ask for every conversion is: what actions do we need to take to meet the requirements for the next stage? It want to note that the kinds of actions you can do to convert people are either marketing or sales related. If your funnel is more traditional with a sales person, a visitor would be more like a first contact. The requirements for the stage could be met by getting people’s handshakes or having them on the other side of the phone for the first time. The more handshakes you will get or people on the phone the more people you will get for the next funnel stages. With marketing however you would, instead of contacting person by person, spread your message around, wide and loud with a shotgun.

Tip: For companies who depend on their website for doing business I suggest using more automatic tools for the first stages of the funnel. In other words use online marketing tools. At later funnel stages you can have more personal meetings with people, but for now use tools like Youtube marketing, SEO or Google Adwords to convert people from the pool to a visitor.

Tip: create HOW-TO video's that gives valuable information about a certain subject. Finish the video with your web address. People will share the video if it has really great content. Good How-To video's can have easily thousands of shared views online. With this it can "automatically" pull people from the pool stage into the visitor stage.

For online businesses this building block needs you to think about: how do you get people on your website, blog or Facebook page?

Lead; Leads have interest

A lead is someone who has some initial interest towards you, your product or your company. If someone spends time reading your landing page, viewing your product-movie and is ready to get more information from your site, he or she is interested. Be aware that getting their interest or not takes place, especially online, at a really short period of time. If people are uninterested they leave your site at an instant.

This building block needs you to think about how to measure interest.

Conversion 2; Contacts  – leads

To interest your visitors you need to convince them at a short period of time. Typically, you will show them your offer on your landing page and explain ‘why’ your offer matters to them. Choose what to communicate and what not of the value exchange you have to offer, because creating interest takes place at a short period you are not able to cover everything.  I wrote about this in more depth at my “value exchange canvas” blog post.

Tip: unfortunately there will be a percentage of visitors that 'bounce' right away from your site within a few seconds. You can measure your bounce rate with Google Analytics. It tells you how well or not you are performing to convert visitors into interested leads. If you have a high bounce rate you have to improve the first things new visitors will see at your page. Think about your landing page and more. Watch this great talk about bounce rates and more: Interview with Avinash Kaushik

Tip: create short and awesome "why" video’s like this one: Studio LookLook Intro. and lead viewers to your product information page. This building block requires you to think about how to get people theirs interest at a short period of time.

Tip: you can measure how well you are performing to get people interested by measuring how deep people go into your site. For example: measure the clicks to certain information pages or how long people stay on your site. Checkpoint!

Tip: Measure how succesful you are

Prospect; Prospects do prefer

Preference towards your offer has been established

I describe the difference between a lead and a prospect as follows: a lead has interest in you but can still choose for the competition, while a prospect has a clear preference towards you, but needs to be satisfied by some final details. The prospect stage is the stage just before the closed deal.

With prospects you have established a base agreement, but some points are unclear for them to close the deal. A prospect could be someone who asks you about really detailed information while knowing the price and the all features of your product.

Tip: If a lead, after reading your website, would call or email you, to get more detailed information and asks you for a quote, he or she is a new prospect. You can measure the amount of quotes or serious phone calls.

Conversion 3; Leads – Prospects

After getting someones interest they are searching for more information. At this point you can really start convincing them by the benefits of your product, service and company. Show them you are trust worthy and give them the proof of all your statements. Make them desire you and and make them in need for more detailed information. This building block requires you to think about how you can convince people by explaining the benefits, showing proof and creating trust.

Tip: create product video’s that are really convincing with more information, customer testimonials, personal background stories and ‘how it’s made video’s’. Use at the end of the video a request to call or email you. Especially customer testimonials are powerful ways to combine a lot of online marketing smartness into one video. Example: Postmates. It covers the benefits and creates trust by a story of a real customer.

Customer; Customers closed the deal

This building block is simple. How many deals did you close? Remember: a deal is only closed after getting a real signature

Conversion 4; Prospects – Customers

Convert prospects into customers by closing the deal.

The question is how to close a deal? The Prospect stage is almost at the point of getting a new customer or new deal but maybe some points are not completely clear. Often your prospects are just not convinced enough and need more information about how, why and what. In order to close the deal you need to give them that information required. For this you will need to know everything about what is important for your prospect. Tip: get in discussion with your prospects on social media like twitter and Facebook, read their comments on your Youtube channel or just have a phone call.

After you know what information they require in order to close the deal, create a statement about how your proposed value exchange actually do cover their doubts. Tip: create a personal video where you convince your prospects about the final details. Be authentic, be personal and listen well.

This building block requires you to think how to close the deal.

Happy User; Users consume after sales service

Ok, they bought from you but will they turn into happy users of your product or service?
This building block will measure how many customers become happy users. Tip: just ask them!

To be continued


How can you improve these building blocks for your own business? I created a template of the Marketing Funnel Canvas so you can start a brainstorm or discussion with others. Soon I will update this blog-post with a case study.

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