How to Create a Digital Marketing Funnel in 10 Steps

A digital marketing funnel consists of the steps a prospect takes from being unaware of your brand to becoming a customer. This includes an ad, landing page, a free offer, an email sequence, and, ultimately, a sale. Any business with a digital presence can capture leads and increase sales using a digital marketing funnel.

Understand How a Digital Marketing Funnel Works

There are three main parts of a marketing funnel: the top, middle, and bottom of the funnel. Picture a marketing funnel like an upside-down pyramid. Your potential customers will start at the widest part of the funnel (top), and then with continued interaction with you via a sequence of emails, blog posts, and free or inexpensive offers, they will work their way through each part, until they stop moving through the funnel by choice or they become a paying customer (bottom of the funnel).

How a Digital Marketing Funnel Works

Top of the Funnel

The top part of your funnel is the stage where your marketing efforts take a potential customer unaware of your business, service, or brand, and introduce them to what you offer. This is done in several ways; advertising on social networks or websites that your target customer may visit; local event sponsorship; and speaking engagement or branding campaigns are all common methods of introducing someone to your brand.

Read Also: Digital Marketing Strategies For Ecommerce Brands

Top of the Funnel

The top part of your funnel is the stage where your marketing efforts take a potential customer unaware of your business, service, or brand, and introduce them to what you offer. This is done in several ways; advertising on social networks or websites that your target customer may visit; local event sponsorship; and speaking engagement or branding campaigns are all common methods of introducing someone to your brand.

Here are some of the common tools used to create awareness at the top of the funnel:

  • Email list: An email list is a collection of the email addresses of your customers and potential customers; you ask for email addresses as part of your marketing funnel, and then begin a series of emails to engage people in your brand
  • Email service provider: An email service provider is a software or company that gathers your email list in one place so that you can send emails in bulk to everyone or parts of your email list at one time
  • Landing page: A landing page, also known as an opt-in, squeeze page or lead capture page, is the page that people “land” on when they first discover your business via ads or promotions; it is a single web page that typically offers a free tool, guide or resource (lead magnet) in exchange for an email address
  • Lead magnet or freebie: A lead magnet is an information that is rich in value and that you offer visitors for free in exchange for their email address

Once potential customers are aware of your brand, they can move to the middle of the funnel through additional engagement opportunities or offers.

Middle of the Funnel

The middle of the digital marketing funnel is where you take a potential customer from no awareness of your business to interest. In the middle of the funnel, the goal is to get them to your landing page and then entice them to sign up for your lead magnet. This turns a potential customer’s interest in your business into a qualified lead. The middle of the funnel bridges the gap between the initial introduction and curiosity phase.

Here are common tools used to encourage action in the middle of the funnel:

  • Email sequences: Email sequences are just a series of emails that are sent to your customers automatically based on criteria that you set up
  • Advertising: This includes advertising on social media networks or websites that your potential customers frequent
  • Behavioral tracking tools: These are tools like that allow you to see if your new prospect has downloaded your freebie or opened any of your emails

When you have introduced a potential customer to your free content, you show them the value you can offer. This leads to the bottom of the funnel, where leads are converted to sales.

Bottom of the Funnel

The bottom of the funnel is where a potential customer decides to do business with you. This is called a sales conversion. In most cases, conversions are how you measure the success of your funnel.

Here are common conversion tools at the bottom of the funnel:

  • Conversion optimization tools: Optimizing those that enter your funnel will be key to the ongoing success of your marketing funnel
  • Heatmapping tool: A heat mapping tool will create a virtual map of where the visitors to your landing page spend time; consider a tool like Optimizely or Hotjar
  • A/B testing tools: A/B testing tools will let you see what elements on your landing page convert the best; these elements could be text, an image, or the freebie itself; a tool like Crazy Egg will help you A/B test and decide what could be changed to get better results

Create a Digital Marketing Funnel in 10 Steps

Now that you know how marketing funnels work, you can use these 10 steps to create your own digital marketing funnel.

1. Determine What You Will Offer

To start building your digital marketing funnel, you want to decide what service or product you are going to offer the customer to buy at the end of your digital marketing funnel. Starting in that the stages of your funnel will help you fill in the rest of your funnel.

The details of your offer will vary greatly depending on your business and product portfolio. It’s helpful to know the four basic elements as you put together your funnel:

  • Cost and payment method
  • Format, like digital, physical, print, and so on
  • Delivery, like download, email link, and mail
  • Components, which are everything your product includes

2. Create Your Freebie

Your lead magnet, or “freebie,” is what you offer potential customers when they land on your landing page. This is what entices potential customers to click on an ad, visit your landing page and submit their contact information in exchange for something of value.

The purpose of your freebie is to grab the attention and interest of potential customers by providing something uniquely valuable. This will entice them to move further along the funnel and take additional action.

Common examples of freebies (lead magnets) include how-to guides, instructional videos, white papers, plug-ins or apps, ebooks, and free media, like free-to-use photos.

Offer a Targeted Solution to a Specific Problem

Your freebie doesn’t need to solve all your potential customer’s problems, but it does need to be valuable information that will allow them to start seeing a solution to one of them.

You may offer a wide array of services or products. However, for your funnel to work properly, you want to have a laser focus on what particular problem you are going to solve with this freebie.

Provide Value You Don’t Offer Elsewhere

For your freebie offer to be seen as valuable, you want to avoid offering it in other places on your website. Your lead magnet must provide more in-depth information than anywhere else on your website.

3. Write Your Automated Email Sequence

The automated email sequence is what follows after a prospect signs up for a freebie by submitting their contact information. These emails, typically a series of three to five, will be delivered automatically during the course of about two weeks and show your prospect more about what your company offers.

You can choose the best schedule to send your emails, but this is a basic schedule that has worked well in most industries:

Freebie Delivery Email (Day 1)

The first email your new potential customer will get should deliver your freebie and give them some tips on how to get the most out of it. In this email, you can also give them a brief introduction about who you are and what your business offers. This email is sent as soon as they sign up for your list.

Welcome & Expectation Email (Day 1 — 8 to 24 Hours After the Delivery Email)

Now that your prospects have your freebie, you want to send them a warm welcome email. Your welcome email should remind your subscriber why they signed up for your freebie — what problem you solved or what valuable information you offer. Additionally, this is a chance for you to let your prospects know what kind of communication they can expect from you moving forward. Tell them when they can expect your emails, what types of content you’ll be sending them, why it will be helpful to them` and what types of offers you will be sending so that you build anticipation and awareness. This email is sent 8 to 24 hours after your freebie delivery email and is key to keeping your brand top-of-mind for new prospects.

Value Email (Day 3)

These emails should offer something that builds on the freebie they signed up for. These can include links to blog posts that talk about the same problem that your freebie addressed, videos that show the next steps, or even a downloadable audio file that would walk them through how-to projects that solve additional problems.

Case Studies Email (Day 5)

Your case studies email should show the results of working with you from a customer’s perspective. Show the customer’s problem, how you solved it, and the result with as much detail as possible.

Value Email #2 (Day 7)

This value email is another opportunity to offer free value to prospects, increasing their connection to your brand.

Social Proof (Day 9)

Social proof emails include reviews or testimonials from current and past customers to demonstrate to your prospect that you are a reputable brand that customers like.

Offer or Sales Email (Day 10)

The offer email is the one that lets prospects know what you have for sale. You want to state what you are offering to your prospects clearly and how it solves their problem. Make the buying process clear and easy to avoid discouraging people from completing a sale.

Reminder Email (Day 11)

The reminder email reminds prospects of your offer and creates urgency by making clear the offer has a deadline. You can reiterate social proof and case studies in this email to make the offer more compelling.

Reminder Email

4. Sign Up for Your Email Service Provider

Now, it’s time to sign up for the email service provider that will send your automated emails. It may seem unusual to create your email before signing up for your provider but, by creating the email copy first, you can plug them into your provider’s interface easily without getting bogged down learning a new system.

5. Build a Landing Page

A landing page is a page your potential customers will land on when they first click on your ad. It is meant to build awareness, generate interest and entice them to give you their email in exchange for your freebie. This is the first step in your marketing funnel.

To start creating your landing page, you want to sign up for a service that makes building and customizing your landing page simple and straightforward. Try either ClickFunnels or Leadpages. ClickFunnels allows for more custom branding while Leadpages is simple yet lets you do less custom branding.

What is included on successful landing pages:

  • A clear title of the freebie you’re offering
  • Four to five benefits of your freebie
  • Simple, but eye-catching graphics
  • A place for them to put their email and perhaps their name
  • Ideally no more than three to four sentences of text

Here is a highly successful landing page from a small business that is giving away a three-part course on how to make a passive income:

successful landing page example

6. Connect Each Element of Your Marketing Funnel

In order for someone to sign up for the freebie from your landing page, receive access to it and then start receiving your emails, you need to connect each element of your funnel so that it properly delivers your freebie and your email sequences. This means connecting your email service provider to your landing page and adding any necessary code for tracking to your landing pages.

Both ClickFunnels and Leadpages have easy dashboards to let you deliver your freebie, connect your email service provider and add any tracking codes need so that once someone signs up the tracking, freebie delivery, email capture, and email sequences will all be automated.

Leadpages, ClickFunnels, Mailchimp, and AWeber all have great videos that will show you how to connect each of these things correctly to be certain that they deliver properly to those who sign up.

7. Test Your Funnel

Now that everything is connected, you want to test that it works properly. You can put your own email on your landing page and be sure that your freebie is delivered and that your welcome emails send without any issues. You want to do this before you launch any ads and start getting traffic to your landing page.

Test it a few times and have a friend or family member test it as well, so you can be confident that the funnel functions as smoothly as possible.

8. Start Driving Traffic to Your Landing Page

Now, you want to start driving traffic to your funnel. There are multiple free and paid ways to do this, so test different approaches to see what will work the best.

Free Ways to Drive Traffic to Your Landing Page

There are several free ways to drive traffic to your landing page, although many require hands-on monitoring.

Use Social Media

You can post about your freebie on your business pages on Facebook and LinkedIn groups. You can also use Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube Live video to talk directly to your audience, discussing how beneficial your freebie is and why they should sign up to get it.

You should also consider using hashtags in your Instagram post and tweets. Hashtags are just a word after a “#” that makes what you are saying discoverable by those who might be looking for what you have to offer. For example, if you are a photographer in the Dallas area, you could use the hashtag #DallasPhotography. Hashtags are popular on several platforms but are widely used on Twitter and Instagram.

Engage in Question & Answer Forums

People ask many questions online these days. You can market your service and your landing page by answering some of them and offering a link to more information. The biggest website that allows a question and answers conversation is Quora. Sign up for an account on Quora, then search and see what conversations you can contribute to.

Incentivize Subscribers to Share Offers

Encourage those who sign up to receive your freebie to share your offer with friends by offering them additional free, upgraded content when passing along your offer to others. This “upgrade” would be something that complements your freebie. For example, if your landing page offers a guide on the “12 Tips for Cleaning Your Home with Essentials Oils,” then your freebie upgrade could be “5 Ways to Use Essentials Oils for Your Health.” Be sure that whatever your upgrade is, it addresses a need or problem for the prospect directly.

Search Engine Optimization

Search engine optimization (SEO) is using specific language that makes your landing page visible to search engines like Google. To do this, you want to think about the keywords your potential customers would use when they are searching for what you do. Keywords are the words that someone types into a search engine when they are searching.

Paid Ways to Drive Traffic to Your Landing Page

Ads are the primary way paid way to drive traffic to your landing page, but you can also pay to sponsor content that is distributed more widely.

Buy PPC Ads

Pay-per-click (PPC) ads on social media sites like Facebook or search engines like Google allow you to target users based on their location, age, gender, and interests. When setting up your ad, you have the choice of selecting the exact people that will see your ad. This means you are only targeting people who are likely to be customers.

PPC ads can be expensive and can be confusing when you first get started, so consider hiring an agency or an individual from Fiverr to manage them for you. You will most likely get more for your money if you leave managing these types of ads to an expert.

Leverage Sponsored Content

Sponsored content is the online version of traditional media “advertorials.” It is editorial-style content that is written and paid for by a business and placed on a website that their ideal client frequents. Sponsored content is a fantastic way to explain your product or services to your target market on a site that will add to your credibility as a business.

Sponsored content is usually booked directly with the publishers, so if you know of a website or blog that your ideal client enjoys being on, you can reach out to that site directly to see about paying to place sponsored content.

9. Build Loyalty

Loyalty in marketing means that a customer thinks of you as an ongoing solution to their problems, both for themselves and for others. When your customers are satisfied with your products and services, you’ll want to find ways to ensure they stay with you by creating loyalty.

Make the most of this satisfaction to build advocates for your business who will happily refer others.

You can build loyalty by:

  • Offering exclusive deals for customers who send you referrals
  • Sending special thank you gifts to those who have been doing business with you for more than a year
  • Sending handwritten thank-you notes
  • Having a rewards program that offers some sort of incentive for being a repeat customer

Building loyalty is an important part of generating high-value, recurring customers and revenue for your business. Research for Harvard Business %Review shows that even a 5 percent increase in customer retention can boost a company’s profits by 95 percent. Take some time to cultivate new ways that you can build loyalty with your customers.

10. Test and Optimize Your Funnel

As your traffic grows, you want to see how well your landing page converts visitors and optimize to increase those conversions. Conversion means what percentage of the people who land on your page actually sign up for your freebie, putting them into your funnel. If you find that your conversion rate is less than 40 percent, consider making tweaks to the language or images on your landing page. You might also revisit the freebie you’re offering.

Here are two other ways you can track user engagement on your landing page.

Use a Heatmap Tool

By using a heatmap tool like Hotjar, you can see the actions visitors take when they visit on your landing page. This will allow you to understand where to place elements like images or your sign-up button better. It can also show you if people immediately decide to sign up for your freebie or if they leave your page open without taking any action. If your freebie isn’t irresistible, you may want to make some changes to captivate the traffic that lands on your page.

Start A/B Testing

A/B testing (split-testing) is comparing two different versions (A and B) of your landing page to determine which one performs better.

There are several tools that automate the process of A/B testing, but one of the best to try is Crazy Egg. A/B testing, combined with the heat mapping tools, will allow you to build a landing page that your ideal audience finds captivating and irresistible so that they sign up for your freebie and enter your funnel.

The Bottom Line

Marketing funnels are a series of steps that a prospect goes through to become a customer, from brand awareness through final conversion. When built correctly, marketing funnels increase qualified leads, visibility with potential customers, and overall revenue in your business. They are ideal for any business with a digital presence that wants to increase conversions.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Question: What is a digital marketing funnel and why is it important?

Answer: A digital marketing funnel is a series of stages that a potential customer goes through as they become aware of, consider, and decide to purchase a product or service. It is important because it helps businesses understand and guide their potential customers through the purchasing process, from initial awareness to post-purchase evaluation.

Question: How do I create a digital marketing funnel that converts?

Answer: To create a digital marketing funnel that converts, you need to identify your target audience, create engaging content that speaks to their needs and interests, and use various marketing tactics to lead them through the funnel toward conversion. You should also make sure to optimize your funnel for mobile devices, test and refine your tactics, and track and analyze your results.

Question: What are the key stages of a digital marketing funnel?

Answer: The key stages of a digital marketing funnel are typical:

  • Awareness: This is the stage where potential customers become aware of a product or service. Marketing tactics that can be used at this stage include content marketing, social media marketing, and paid advertising.
  • Consideration: In this stage, potential customers are considering whether to purchase a product or service. Marketing tactics that can be used at this stage include email marketing, retargeting ads, and lead magnets.
  • Decision: At this stage, potential customers are ready to make a purchase. Marketing tactics that can be used at this stage include personalized product recommendations, special offers, and social proof.
  • Retention: After a purchase has been made, the retention stage focuses on keeping the customer engaged and loyal. Marketing tactics that can be used at this stage include email marketing, loyalty programs, and customer service.

Question: How do I measure the effectiveness of my digital marketing funnel?

Answer: Here are several ways to measure the effectiveness of your digital marketing funnel:

  • Set specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART) goals for each stage of the funnel.
  • Use analytics tools to track the performance of your marketing tactics and the progress of leads through the funnel.
  • Use A/B testing to compare the effectiveness of different tactics and optimize your funnel.
  • Monitor customer feedback and conduct surveys to get a better understanding of how well your funnel is working.

Question: How do I optimize my digital marketing funnel for maximum conversion?

Answer: To optimize your digital marketing funnel for maximum conversion, you should:

  • Identify and target the right audience for your product or service.
  • Create compelling and relevant content that addresses the needs and interests of your target audience.
  • Make it easy for potential customers to find and access your content and offers.
  • Use various marketing tactics to lead potential customers through the funnel toward conversion.
  • Test and refine your tactics regularly to find out what works best.
  • Use analytics tools to track the performance of your funnel and identify opportunities for improvement.

Question: How do I use content marketing in my digital marketing funnel?

Answer: Content marketing can be used at various stages of the digital marketing funnel to attract and engage potential customers. At the awareness stage, you can use blog posts, articles, and social media posts to introduce your product or service and provide value to your target audience. At the consideration stage, you can use email newsletters, ebooks, and webinars to provide more in-depth information and encourage potential customers to consider your product or service. And at the decision stage, you can use case studies, testimonials, and product demos to convince potential customers to make a purchase.

Questions: How do I use email marketing in my digital marketing funnel?

Answer: Email marketing can be a powerful tool for driving traffic to your website and converting leads into customers. Here are some steps you can follow to incorporate email marketing into your digital marketing funnel:

  1. Identify your target audience: Before you start creating email campaigns, it’s important to understand who you are trying to reach. Consider factors such as demographics, interests, and behavior.
  2. Build an email list: To send emails to potential customers, you’ll need to have their email addresses. There are several ways to build an email list, including offering a newsletter sign-up on your website, running a social media contest, or using a tool like Leadpages to capture leads from landing pages.
  3. Create email campaigns: Once you have a list of email addresses, you can start creating campaigns to send to your subscribers. There are many email marketing tools, such as Mailchimp and Constant Contact, that make it easy to create and send professional-looking emails.
  4. Segment your list: To make your email marketing more effective, consider segmenting your list based on factors such as location, interests, or stage in the customer journey. This allows you to send more targeted, personalized emails to different groups of people.
  5. Test and optimize: As with any digital marketing strategy, it’s important to regularly test and optimize your email campaigns to see what works best. This might involve A/B testing subject lines, testing different types of content, or analyzing the results of your campaigns to see which ones are most effective.

Question: How do I use social media in my digital marketing funnel?

Answer: Social media can be a valuable component of your digital marketing funnel, as it allows you to connect with potential customers and promote your brand. Here are some steps you can follow to incorporate social media into your digital marketing funnel:

  1. Identify your target audience: As with any marketing strategy, it’s important to understand who you are trying to reach on social media. Consider factors such as demographics, interests, and behavior.
  2. Choose the right platforms: Different social media platforms are used by different audiences, so it’s important to choose the ones that are most likely to reach your target audience. For example, LinkedIn is a good choice for B2B companies, while Instagram is popular with younger consumers.
  3. Develop a content strategy: To effectively promote your brand on social media, you’ll need to create a steady stream of engaging content. This might include blog posts, infographics, videos, or other types of content that are relevant to your audience.
  4. Engage with your audience: Social media is a two-way conversation, so it’s important to engage with your followers by responding to comments and messages, and sharing content from other sources that are relevant to your audience.
  5. Track and analyze your results: Use social media analytics tools to track the performance of your social media campaigns and identify what is and isn’t working. This will help you refine your strategy and improve your results over time.

Question: How do I use paid advertising in my digital marketing funnel?

Answer: Paid advertising can be an effective way to drive traffic and conversions in your digital marketing funnel. Here are some steps you can follow to incorporate paid advertising into your digital marketing strategy:

  1. Identify your target audience: Before you start running paid ads, it’s important to understand who you are trying to reach. Consider factors such as demographics, interests, and behavior.
  2. Choose the right platforms: There are many different platforms you can use for paid advertising, including search engines, social media networks, and display networks. Choose the ones that are most likely to reach your target audience.
  3. Set your budget: Determine how much you are willing to spend on paid advertising, and allocate your budget accordingly.
  4. Create ad campaigns: Use the tools provided by the advertising platforms you have chosen to create campaigns targeting your desired audience. Make sure to test different versions of your ads to see which ones are most effective.
  5. Track and analyze your results: Use the analytics tools provided by the advertising platforms to track the performance of your campaigns and identify what is and isn’t working. This will help you refine your strategy and improve your results over time.

Questions: How do I integrate my digital marketing funnel with my sales process?

Answer: To effectively integrate your digital marketing funnel with your sales process, you’ll need to ensure that there is a clear and seamless transition from one stage to the next. Here are some steps you can follow:

  1. Identify the key stages of your sales process: This might include stages such as awareness, consideration, and decision.
  2. Map your marketing activities to the stages of the sales process: Determine which marketing activities are most appropriate for each stage of the sales process. For example, during the awareness stage, you might use social media and content marketing to introduce potential customers to your brand. During the consideration stage, you might use email marketing and paid advertising to encourage potential customers to learn more about your products or services.
  3. Use landing pages and lead forms to capture leads: Landing pages are standalone web pages, created specifically for the purpose of a marketing or advertising campaign. They typically have a form that allows users to enter their contact information in exchange for a piece of content or offer. Use landing pages and lead forms to capture leads as they move through the sales funnel.
  4. Use marketing automation to nurture leads: Marketing automation software allows you to automate and personalize your marketing efforts, including email campaigns, social media posts, and ads. Use marketing automation to nurture leads by sending them relevant content based on their actions and interests.
  5. Use customer relationship management (CRM) software to track and manage leads: CRM software allows you to track and manage your interactions with leads and customers. Use it to assign tasks, set follow-up reminders, and track the progress of leads through the sales process.

Question: What Is the Difference Between a B2B and B2C Marketing Funnel?

Answer: There is very little difference between the structure of business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C) marketing funnels. Most of the time, however, a B2B sales cycle takes a bit longer because the cost of the product is usually higher and multiple people are involved in the purchase process. This means that B2B funnels and email sequences might be a bit extended with more touchpoints than a B2C funnel.

Question: What Is Marketing Funnel Analysis?

Answer: Funnel analysis means learning and implementing path-to-purchase changes to increase conversion rates.

Question: What Is a Funnel Marketing Strategy?

Answer: A funnel marketing strategy ensures that you have all the tools and performance indicators in place to get the desired result from your marketing funnel.

Ruben Harutyunyan

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