Team acquiring leads for a marketing funnel.

Marketing Funnel Examples & Troubleshooting

By Courtney Thompson

Table of Contents

Marketing Funnel Example 1: Estate Planning Attorney
Marketing Funnel Example 2: Farm-to-Table Market
Fixing Funnel Friction

Now that you have your funnel built out and your tactics created (read the previous post if you haven’t already), you are ready to use your funnel. So, here are two examples of how a lead could travel through your marketing funnel. We also provide examples of troubleshooting funnel friction.

Remember, leads don’t behave predictably. But you want to provide encouragement at every stage of the funnel – meeting them where they are.

Marketing Funnel Example 1: Estate Planning Attorney

In this example, you’re an estate law attorney who helps clients establish thorough wills and trusts so their legacies are handled according to their wishes. After performing audience analysis, you determine that your ideal demographics are established middle to upper income, Boomer to Gen-X couples with children. Based on your personas, you’ve determined that referral relationships, blogs/vlogs, local SEO, webinars and seminars, Facebook, and email campaigns (e.g. newsletters and other drips) are your best marketing funnel tools for now.

A couple in their mid-fifties have decided they need to update the will they created 25 years ago as newlyweds. They begin researching the benefit of using a budget option like Legal Zoom versus hiring a local estate planning attorney. They find a guest blog you wrote on their financial advisor’s website where you explain the major life changes that merit updating your will.

They like what you have to say, so they visit your website. They like your approach to preserving legacies – that money is given to us so we can give to others. They read the multiple positive client reviews on your website and are now beginning to feel like you might be worth considering.

But they’re not quite ready to pick up the phone or fill out a contact form because cost is still a factor. But an announcement bar across the top of your website informs them that you’re hosting a webinar next week on the importance of estate planning and the downside of using a cheap option. They sign up to join in exchange for permitting you to email them.

At the webinar, you let them know you offer a free, initial get-to-know-you consultation. Then you remind them of the offer in an automated email drip the day after the webinar. They click the link to your calendar and sign up for a time slot.

During the initial consultation, you set them at ease about the potential costs associated with planning their estate. Plus you all seem like you’ll work well together. They decide to become a client!

You’ve already started sending them a quarterly newsletter email that includes useful information relevant to their age group and financial status. They’re so pleased with their experience that they recommend your firm to a friend who mentioned they are looking for an attorney who can set up a special needs trust.

So there you have it. This is a simplified and streamlined example of how a funnel can work, and often does.  However, as mentioned earlier, there are many paths and timelines people can take to learn about your business, visit your website, purchase, and refer friends.

Marketing Funnel Example 2: Farm-to-Table Market

Let’s say you’re a small farm-to-table market offering a curated selection of products from local farmers. You’ve completed your audience analysis and determined that your primary customer demographic are middle income millennial women who care about ethical farming practices and love local, handmade items.

Based on your personas, you’ve determined that local events (e.g. farmers markets, microbrewery tastings), website, local SEO, Instagram, and vlogs are your best marketing funnel tactics for now. Based on studies you’ve found online, you know that this demographic spends more time on Instagram than Facebook, browses the internet primarily on a smartphone, loves DIY video tutorials, and does not like to read emails or make phone calls.

A  woman in her mid-30s with two elementary aged kids (your ideal demographic) visits the local farmers market where you have a booth set up every Saturday morning.  Your booth includes free samples, sales materials like rack cards, and a sampling of products to purchase. You also include a sign with a QR code that links to your Instagram account. This lead isn’t ready to commit to anything yet. After browsing your products, she comments on the handmade product tags, takes a picture of the QR code, and leaves.

Later that day she scrolls through your latest Instagram posts, which feature beautifully arranged images of your products and the farms that source them. She likes your mission: you have a sustainability, local-farm-community mindset and hope to nurture agriculture by encouraging kids to get involved in farming. A pop-up appears on her screen offering a free guide to making your own lavender bottles. She fills in her name and email address, and then receives an email with the PDF guide and an embedded tutorial video.

Later in the year, you host a fall harvest event at your store with displays from local farmers, the local FFA and 4H clubs, etc. You let your email subscribers know about the event with a short email, an embedded video, and a link to use her Instagram account to RSVP. Leading up to the event, you promote it by using Instagram ads that target those who have viewed your feed in the past 30 days.

The woman and her kids come to the store for your event.  The kids leave with awesome goody bags, and the woman purchased several locally produced goods in a chic, branded, reusable shopping bag. Her bag includes a coupon code for her an online store purchase, which she uses a few weeks later.

Additionally, her kids join your “help-a-farmer” club where they participate in local farm work in the area. Through your Instagram feed, she loves learning about what’s happening in her local farming community and how she can participate in it and support it. And, most importantly, she likes the mission of your store so much, that she not only keeps buying from you, but gets several of her mom friends to buy from you as well.

Troubleshooting: Fixing Marketing Funnel Friction

So the above examples were pretty slick, right? It would be awesome if every lead moved seamlessly through a funnel from awareness to conversion without a single hitch. But that doesn’t always happen. Sometimes, something called “friction” happens – basically spots where leads fall off the digital-marketing-funnel wagon and don’t get back on. Friction slows down your growth.

What Causes Friction and How to Identify It

Friction can be caused by implementing the wrong messaging and/or tactic in a funnel stage. It can be caused by a missing middle-funnel offer or pushing the final sale too soon. Poorly established trust between your business and leads can also cause friction. So can failing to set clear expectations that requesting a quote will not require much time or speaking to a pushy salesman. It can also be caused by an overly complicated sales process like prohibitively long contact forms.

To know where your funnel experiences friction, you need to track lead movement within your funnel. Digital tactics allow you to pretty easily run reports on lead behavior. Use Google Analytics to track website traffic, demographics, and website behavior. What was the reach and click through rate of that digital ad? What percentage of website traffic downloaded your free resource? At what stage of the online checkout process have the most people abandoned their shopping cart? Which social media posts draw the most engagement and which ones are ignored? Then, use that data to determine spots in your funnel that need to be improved.

Funnel Friction Examples

Using the wrong messaging in the wrong place could be a source of friction in your funnel. You could be writing blogs out the wazoo, but not seeing any growth in your audience. Are you using the right topics to attract an awareness level lead? For example, a blog on “How to Use Google Ads to Market Your Business” attracts leads at the top of your funnel. It’s a general topic that applies to a broad group of people. However, a blog on “How Ingenium Helps New Businesses Grow with Google Ads” better serves a narrower audience with more specific advice.

Or, you could be using the wrong tactic in the wrong place. If you notice that your website gets an obvious bump in traffic from running Facebook Ads but you don’t see an increase in conversions despite an obvious conversion opportunity on your website, you may need to offer a middle-funnel tactic. Rather than trying to close a deal with a stranger, you might need to provide a low-risk lead magnet to start a conversation and make a friend..

Here’s an example from one of our clients: A couple years ago, we designed a website for Aero Elite Flight Training. The ultimate conversion for this client is that a lead becomes a flight school student. But that’s a big ask to make of someone who is one click away from leaving the website. We offered a middle funnel conversion opportunity to “schedule a Discovery Flight.”

Notice something about this mid-funnel offering –  it isn’t free.  We could have created a free download about something like “10 Reasons to Get Your PPL.” Boring!  The people on this website already want a private pilot license.  We didn’t need to convince them to get a PPL, we needed to demonstrate that Aero Elite was the best school for them.  And what better way than to get the prospective student soaring over the Virginia countryside with a cheerful flight instructor?

After launching the site, we used Google Analytics to track user behavior. While the homepage received a decent amount of traffic, the vast majority of users fell off after the homepage – never converting by contacting the flight school to schedule a Discovery Flight (uh oh, funnel friction!). We moved the middle-funnel conversion opportunity above the fold of the home page so it’s one of the first things a new visitor sees. Conversion increased exponentially.

Then something unexpected happened. Discovery Flights  have become a product in itself as people are buying Discovery Flight gift certificates for others.  This doesn’t neatly fit into a funnel chart – friends who have never used Aero Elite’s services are now referring their friends to a mid-funnel offering! Those aircraft enthusiasts were immediately put into the middle of the funnel.

Build Your Digital Marketing Funnel

Now it’s your turn. We can help walk you through setting up a marketing funnel that’s suited to your business and your customers. We’d love to have a conversation with you to craft a plan with appropriate, measurable tactics to reach your ideal customers in each stage of your marketing funnel.

We invite you to schedule a conversation with one of our consultants to get started.

Let’s talk!