If you've been in marketing or sales for a while, you've probably heard the statistic about how it takes, on average, eight touchpoints with a brand before a shopper decides to make a purchase. One reason more marketers are embracing a full funnel marketing approach is that it meets users at each stage in this buyer's journey.
Many small- and medium-sized ecommerce businesses may feel challenged to implement a practical full funnel marketing approach. They may lack a solid funnel strategy, have limited resources, or feel their marketing team is already strapped.
But a full funnel approach is well within reach for any ecommerce company. Keep reading to discover how you can build a full-funnel marketing strategy that grows your business in 2022 and beyond.
What is full funnel marketing?
In today's competitive market, if your ecommerce business isn't leveraging a full funnel marketing strategy, it's time to re-evaluate your approach to customer acquisition. Full funnel marketing focuses on engaging with potential customers throughout their entire buying experience — from initial product discovery to after they make a purchase.
Full funnel marketing is about creating positive interactions with prospective customers at every stage of the customer journey, meeting their needs at each particular stage of the sales and marketing funnel so that they progress to the next stage.
Full funnel marketing helps you acquire, nurture, and convert your target audience at different points along the buyer's journey. The traditional buyer's journey has four stages:
With a successful full-funnel strategy you'll generate awareness of your brand and products; give prospective customers good reasons to consider you; motivate them to make a purchasing decision; and then retain loyal customers.
Why a full funnel approach is essential
How customers purchase online is evolving, and brands need to evolve, too. It's no longer sufficient for marketers to be SEO or social media experts: you need a more strategic approach. The modern age of ecommerce business requires that merchants pay attention to consumer behavior, drive new audiences, create memorable brand experiences that convert, and nurture their most valuable customers. A full funnel strategy that uses multiple channels across every stage of the funnel is your best bet for consistent customer acquisition and retention.
A full funnel approach is one way Emotive stands apart from other SMS marketing platforms. Emotive helps ecommerce businesses succeed throughout the customer lifecycle by helping grow your subscriber list with conversational ads, sending text campaigns that generate conversions, streamlining the purchase process with text-to-pay technology, and optimizing results with the help of a crack Customer Success team.
Key stages and tactics of a full funnel marketing strategy
Let's walk through the stages of the buyer's journey to look at the strategies and tactics that move a potential customer from becoming aware of your brand or products, to interacting with you, and ultimately staying with you as a repeat customer. A full funnel approach is one that encompasses every stage of the buyer's journey.
The first stage of the buyer's journey, awareness, corresponds to the top of the funnel (TOFU.) You know that old saying that every journey begins with the first step? The same is true in a shopper's journey to becoming a customer. Before prospects are willing to make a purchase, they must be aware of your product and brand.
So the first step in moving prospects down the marketing funnel is to generate awareness, by creating familiarity with and interest in your brand. Awareness is a crucial part of your full-funnel marketing strategy because it influences later stages. This is also the widest part of the marketing funnel, so the goal is to bring in as many more leads as possible, knowing they won't all get to the bottom of the funnel and convert into customers.
Many marketers struggle with this stage of the journey because it can be challenging to get consumers' attention in a competitive market. The key is to remember that you have lots of channels at your disposal here at the top of the funnel, and an "omnichannel" approach can lead to higher conversions.
Paid advertising and paid search
Paid ads — either on display ad networks, social media, or search engines — can be a high-ROI way to generate awareness about your brand or products. This is especially true if you have a lot of competition or if shoppers aren't likely to stumble across your website. Paid media gives you the ability to target a particular audience, so it's important to know who your shoppers are: their age, gender, location, where they spend time, what other products they buy, etc..
As with paid ads, social media can help you generate brand and product or awareness on a platform where users are already engaged and in a shopping mindset. Building awareness through social media might include paid ads, sponsoring influencers, and growing an organic following on popular platforms like Instagram or TikTok. Influencer marketing has proven to be an especially effective tactic for ecommerce businesses that are relatively unknown, have niche products, or see natural opportunities with influencers who already use their products.
Public relations is an often-overlooked way to build initial interest around your brand or products. Journalists and bloggers are often looking for trends and innovative new items to feature. Many ecommerce platforms publish popular blogs that feature merchants and their stores. Newsletters such as HARO (Help a Reporter Out) connect journalists to "sources" and experts in certain fields. And many journalists look for trending news and products on Twitter, where you can tag a particular writer or industry expert. As a bonus, getting press for your site can also help with your SEO backlink strategy (see below.)
After awareness in the buying journey comes consideration, where users have already determined that they need your product and are in the process of researching and comparing options. It's the funnel stage when shoppers are thinking about what they want, how much it's going to cost, and what aspects of your brand appeal to them. Following are some commonly used marketing strategies for the consideration stage.
Search engine optimization
Because shoppers have some idea at this stage of what product they want or what problem they're trying to solve, they're ready to search the web for their options. Showing up on page one or two of a shopper's search engine results page (SERP) is an efficient way to draw traffic to your site. Search engine optimization (SEO), or adapting content on your site to perform better in Google or Bing search results, will help shoppers find you and your products.
Here again, as in the awareness stage, you'll see better returns with SEO if you understand your audience and the kinds of keywords, phrases, and questions they're likely to use in describing products like yours. Common products and keywords will obviously have more competition on the search results page. But in the consideration stage of the funnel, "long tail" keywords (those that are more specific and unique) can do a better job of connecting searchers with your products. Make sure your home page, landing pages, and product descriptions include those keywords that are likely to give you an edge.
Because shoppers are seeking more information at this stage, it's helpful to provide free resources to educate and inform them about your products, your industry, consumer trends, what's popular, and other factors that could influence their decision in your favor.
Content marketing can include a range of media, from videos and blog posts to guides and podcasts to user-generated content. The goal is to drive conversions from the consideration to the decision stage, so it's helpful to understand the friction in your shoppers' buying process (Are they comparing prices? Do they expect free shipping? Do they have questions about the differences between two similar products?) By removing the sources of friction, you help shoppers feel ready to make a purchase.
Coupons and promotions
To maximize the impact of your content marketing, it's helpful to develop a robust contact list of prospective customers. You can do this with a sign-up form or pop-up on your website, as well as through ads and social media.
Email marketing and newsletters
Once you have a shopper's email address, you can use email campaigns and newsletters to stay on your shoppers' radar, promote new products or sales, invite shoppers to engage with your content, or create a sense of urgency around sales and discounts.
Coupons and promotions
Offering shoppers a coupon code in exchange for their contact information can be a great way to influence them to choose your brand over another, and encourage them to make a purchasing decision soon. Promotions are also an effective way to build your subscriber list for SMS and email marketing during the decision stage.
The decision stage is when a shopper is ready to make a purchase: they know what they're looking for, they've done some poking around, and they're ready to spend money on the product they believe is the best one for them. At this stage, your focus as an ecommerce marketer is to make it as easy as possible for shoppers to buy your products, and to give them the extra encouragement they may need to feel ready.
CRO (Conversion Rate Optimization)
When shoppers are on the verge of buying, you need to make sure your website is optimized to convert them. This means making it simple for users to purchase and feel confident in their decision. Any roadblocks or unnecessary steps can cause cart abandonment and lost revenue. These are some ways to improve conversions and ensure you're removing friction from the buying process.
SMS or text message marketing is an ideal way to turn carts into revenue, because it helps you reach customers where they are and makes it fast and easy for them to complete the checkout process. According to Statista, 61% of organic search traffic now comes from mobile devices, and research from Gartner tells us that text messages have a 98% open rate and a click-through rate that's 30X higher than email. So if someone visits your site and doesn't convert, SMS tools like Emotive can help you remind users to come back and complete their purchase.
Text campaigns are an effective conversion tool when used to notify shoppers of a new product or sale, to re-engage shoppers who haven't visited for a while, to remind shoppers about items they left in their shopping carts, or to notify them an item they like is back in stock. SMS also complements your other marketing channels, such as email, and when used together can further improve your conversion rates.
In the earlier phases of the customer journey, you may have brought shoppers to your site who didn't make a purchase. By re-engaging with these prospects and reminding them about your brand and the products they browsed, you can help them make a purchase decision. With re-targeting, you're using a shopper's browsing data to re-engage them in the buyer's journey. You can re-target through channels like social media advertising, display advertising, emails, and SMS.
Converting a new customer only completes the buyer's part of the customer journey: after this stage, you want to retain that new customer and make them a repeat buyer, too. It's easier to retain existing customers than acquire new ones, which is why retention is a critical component in the marketing funnel that should not be overlooked.
Increasing customer loyalty is one of the best ways to improve your bottom line. By increasing your customers' lifespan and the amount they spend on your products, you're also increasing the average customer lifetime value (LTV). Repeat customers provide a more predictable source a revenue without the customer acquisition cost (CAC), and can serve as referrals or brand ambassadors who promote awareness of your products without the associated marketing costs.
When you reward shoppers for spending a certain amount at your store — such as with points, discounts, or credits — you're encouraging them to keep shopping with you and extending their CLV. Even small gestures, such as including a gift when they hit a spending milestone or making them eligible for exclusive launches or free shipping, can have a big impact on a customer's decision to keep shopping with you. Incentivizing their loyalty makes customers feel like they have a special relationship with you, which means they're more likely to return time and time again.
SMS and email
Loyalty and retention is another stage where SMS and email can be effective tools in maintaining a strong relationship with your customers. Use SMS messages to put your brand at the top of your customer's mind: you might notify users when you having a sale, or just tell them you miss them if they haven't visited in a while.
Like texting, email gives you a high-ROI, high-volume way to stay on your customers' radar but in a format that lets you share more content. You might send updates about your store or products, product images or videos, how many loyalty points your customers have accrued, or seasonal trends that might sway them towards a purchase.
Start your full funnel strategy today
We hope you've developed an understanding of why a full funnel marketing strategy is essential for ecommerce success, the stages of the marketing funnel, and what marketing tactics your brand should implement to excel in 2022 and beyond. To see how Emotive can help you engage and convert shoppers at every stage of the buyer's journey, schedule a demo with us today.