What is a marketing funnel? Tami and Joe talk about what marketing funnels are, what stages they have, the kinds of content you should create for each stage, how to build trust, when to sell, and more!

Episode 10 Transcript:

Tami: Welcome to High Energy Marketing! A podcast with us, the digital marketing agency, Ajax Union, where we interview our CEO, Joe Apfelbaum, on key marketing topics and we share everything you need to know to properly grow your business online. This is a Q&A podcast, where I ask Joe questions about different topics and trends in marketing based on his book, High Energy Marketing. 

You can get the book at Ajaxunion.com/book to follow along with us. This is the 10th official episode of our podcast about High Energy Marketing. And today, we are going to discuss marketing funnels. 

This is a hugely important topic. But first a little housekeeping: you can find us wherever you get your podcasts. And when you do go ahead and hit that subscribe button and leave us a review. 

And let’s move on to our inspiration corner inspiration of the day. Joe, do you want to hit us with a quick inspiration minute before we get started? 

Joe: When people are stressed, they often have their minds going all over the place. And one of the best ways for you to de-stress yourself is to meditate. Now many people think that meditation is not thinking, but it’s not true.

You can’t stop your thoughts; your thoughts are always gonna keep moving. The key is to concentrate on something. For example, you can concentrate on your breath, by just breathing deeply in from your nose and out from your mouth. And if you do that three, four, or five times, you’re going to sense your entire body calming down. 

And if you want to be more creative, to be a better marketer, or to be a better business leader, it’s important for you to practice that every single day, especially when you wake up. And before you go to sleep. 

So remember, don’t try to stop thinking. Instead, focus on relaxing and having more creative energy. 

Tami: Amazing. Thank you so much, Joe. Let’s jump right into it. So today we’re talking about marketing funnels. This is so so important. So what is a marketing funnel? And why is it called a funnel? 

Joe: A marketing funnel is a process to take people through a journey. The reason why it’s called a funnel is because the top of a funnel happens to be wide, and the bottom of the funnel happens to be skinny. And so if you take people from the top of the funnel, you’re taking, let’s say 1,000 people on the top of the funnel, by the time they get to the bottom of the funnel is only going to be 10 to 20 people on the bottom. 

Our goal with marketing is to qualify people to take qualified people and take them to the top and determine the ones that are ready by nurturing them and moving them through the funnel from each stage to help them be able to get closer and closer to eventually buying from you 

Tami: Well, okay, so at the top of the funnel, where you have the largest audience, it’s, let’s say it’s this pool of qualified people, as you say. It could also be a pool of qualified and unqualified people, just people that are potentially interested in your product or service, right? That’s the very top of the funnel. It’s the widest audience, it’s the most people that might possibly be interested in your product or service, then you hit those people with a marketing message.

And though not all of them are going to resonate or respond to it right. So now you’ve looked, you’ve narrowed down the pool, and you move down the funnel. And if people continue, the people that choose to continue to engage with your message, the pool gets narrower and narrower, with every different message that you send them. 

That’s why it’s wider at the top narrow at the bottom. And that’s what Joe’s saying when you move them quote “through a funnel”. The audience is narrowing and narrowing down to the bottom where someone actually signs up with you or buys your product. 

Joe: Yeah, and there are actually different stages and some people break the funnel down into 10 different stages. Some people break it down into five different stages. In order for us to simplify it, we’re just going to break it down into three stages. 

Stage one is the top of the funnel. Stage two is the middle of the funnel, and stage three is the bottom of the funnel. And in each stage in the funnel, the goal is to get people from where they are right now to the next step in the marketing funnel. 

Tami: So what kind of content do you need to create for each stage of the funnel? What does it mean to be top of the funnel? You’ve said okay, they’re at the top of the funnel. What does that mean? That is when the people are the most cold. It’s the widest part of your funnel. 

They are made they may be don’t even know what your business is. So there are a lot of people in that stage, right, and you have to hit them with a certain message to weed out the people that are potentially interested and move them to the middle of the funnel, and that will be a narrower and narrower audience. 

So what kind of content? What messaging do you send to people at the top of the funnel, versus the middle versus the bottom when you’re trying to get a select group of people to buy? 

Joe: The biggest problem that I see with many of the potential clients that we speak to and people that are interested in marketing is that they’re sending bottom-of-the-funnel messages to top of the funnel prospects. That means that the messaging they have on their website and on their marketing is by now, but the people don’t even know who you are yet. You can’t sell to somebody before you know who they are. 

So, at the top of the funnel, it’s more about education. It’s more about creating awareness, it’s more about getting people to know you. And to know that you’re the expert in your field. And you do this by giving them valuable information that solves some problems that they have. 

So for example, in the company where we train people on how to use LinkedIn, we’re going to be giving people on the top of the funnel, a 30 Tips booklet, which gives them 30 amazing tips. And anyone that’s interested in learning how to use LinkedIn is going to want to download those tips. That doesn’t mean they want to sign up for our training program or get their team trained yet, they just want some information. And that’s what we call a lead magnet, bringing people into the funnel, almost like a magnet pulling them in, by creating content that’s education-based. 

Now in the middle of the funnel, it’s more about getting those people that already know you to start trusting you. Because in order for people to eventually buy from you, they have to know you trust you and like you. 

But how do you get people to trust you in the middle of the funnel, what I recommend creating is case studies, his testimonials, is going a little deeper with those people and actually showing them how you solve problems for other people that are similar to them. 

And then on the bottom of the funnel, you create content, to get people to like you, like for example, talking to them about your company, about your core values, about your employees, about your process. Nobody cares about how much you know until they know about how much you care about them. 

So your goal is to first educate them, then to build trust. And once those people trust you, then you get them to like you, and eventually, they’re going to buy from you. 

Tami: Okay, so the goal is to get them obviously, to sign up to buy to become a client. At what point in the funnel can I start selling? Right? Can you start selling to the top of the funnel? The people who maybe don’t even know that our product or service exists? Can we sell to that pool? The top of the funnel? 

Or if that’s an obvious ‘No’, once I hit them with messaging, and they opt-in and they want to engage, and I’m hitting them with the middle of the funnel messaging? Can I start selling at that point? At what point do I actually try to close this deal? 

Joe: When you’re nurturing clients, the concept of nurturing means that you have to take people in softly and then bring them in and roll them in 90% of the people that are visiting your website are probably not ready to buy from you right now. And so if you try to sell somebody that is not ready to buy, you’re actually turning that person off. And the last thing you want to do is if you want to customers that turn off all the potential customers by trying to sell people that are not ready. 

You don’t want to sell anybody unless they’re qualified to be sold unless they express the need unless they have a budget unless they’re the decision-maker, or they actually have a timeframe where they want to buy right now. That’s the process of qualifying. Now traditionally, we use sales reps to qualify leads. 

So a lead would come in someone would sign up to top of the funnel, education-based marketing, and a sales rep would call them right away and try to close them out of the deal. 

Well, those sales reps would often be frustrated, because those people are not going to buy. What you need to do is use marketing and strategic smart marketing in order to further nurture those leads and qualify them from marketing qualified leads to sales qualified leads. So sometimes on the top of the funnel, somebody will quickly go down the funnel and raise their hand because they were educated and they’re like, I want to learn more. And then you can sell those people even from the top of the funnel. 

But you still have to build trust with them. And you still have to get them to like you in order for them to actually buy, but most of the people that are on the top of the funnel, you’ll be wasting your time if you try to sell them something because they’re not ready to be sold. 

They’re just learning that they even have a problem now often by reading your content by getting educated. We have a funnel on our website. If you go to our website, our funnel begins educating you that this funnel concept even exists and people that are in our funnel, I’m going to call them up as soon as they take the presentation and start selling them on a funnel. Because often many of them are not even ideal clients. For us, we’re very selective with the types of clients that we take on. And so should you!  

You should be selective with the types of clients because you only want the best clients that are the most profitable that you can make the most impact on. And so your funnel will help you be able to save you time, and also be able to nurture people that would have never been nurtured. If you didn’t have a funnel. Creating a marketing funnel is essential to both B2B and B2C companies. If you have a high value, product or service, 

Tami: Yes, so what assets? Do you need to build a funnel? What are we using, other than messaging? And maybe advertising? What are we using to move people through this funnel? 

Joe: In order to create a proper marketing funnel, you first need to start with a strategy, energy without strategies is a waste of time and the right strategy will save you a decade. You cannot create assets without creating a strategy. 

First, you got to figure out the targeting, what is the messaging, but also you got to figure out what your competitors are doing and what’s out there. What is the landscape, what’s going on? What is your unique selling proposition? 

Once you understand your strategy, then you could move on to building assets, your assets might be landing pages, email automation logic, with those emails that go out, you need to create banner ads, you need to create content, blog content, you need information, you need a lead magnet, you need something that people would want to download. Often it might be an ebook, a checklist or a download, or a guide. 

When you prepare your assets in advance, and you organize them by the top of the funnel, middle of the funnel, and bottom of the funnel, you’re going to have a much easier time to be able to drive people through from the top of the funnel to the bottom line. That’s what we always say we want to take people from the top of the funnel to the bottom line, right? 

Tami: This was great starter info kind of what is a marketing funnel getting people informed on the concept but where can people learn more about the marketing funnel? I’m guessing our website right the video that we have, 

Joe: We have a 20-minute video presentation at ajaxunion.com, I highly recommend you and your team take the time to watch that we spend a lot of time packing that marketing funnel video with all the information that you need. That explains A: what goes into a marketing strategy to prepare for a funnel. What are the assets? And I’ll show you examples of those assets? And then how do you actually fill the funnel with traffic? 

What are the three sources of traffic using digital marketing to fill that funnel? So if you want to learn more about that, you can just go to ajaxunion.com right on our homepage, you can watch that video. It’s available on demand. And also I discussed the marketing funnel in my book that we mentioned earlier. So if you go to ajaxunion.com/book, you can get the High Energy Marketing book where I discussed the marketing funnel in more detail. 

Tami: Yes, amazing. Thank you so much, Joe. That was amazing information. The marketing funnel is such an important concept to understand. And it’s one of those things where it can seem kind of abstract until you create one, you can create even a simple one or even write one down on paper to kind of understand the concept of moving people through a funnel. Highly recommend doing something like that. That’s a great exercise. 

We hope everyone listening got as much out of this podcast as we did. In the next episode, we will be talking about the best way to prepare content for all your marketing needs. Make sure to hit that subscribe button to catch the next episode. You can follow us on Instagram @AjaxUnion on LinkedIn. 

Find us @AjaxUnion on all the socials Joe as well at @JoeApfelbaum. Joelinkedin.com— that redirects to his LinkedIn profile. You can find this podcast at ajaxunion.com/podcast. Shoot us an email at amazing at Ajax union.com. Our music is by Michael Suarez. This podcast is produced by Sarah and Shannon and edited by Sami Matitelu. Thank you so much. See you next week.

Joe Apfelbaum: LinkedIn

Tami Schlichter: LinkedIn

Ajax Union: LinkedIn