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Digital Marketing Funnel: What is it and how to create a successful one?

Digital Marketing Funnel: What is it and how to create a successful one?

Digital marketing funnel is a strategic model that represents complete journey of the customer persona of a brand, and highlights the steps they take from the moment they get to know about the product to the final moment of purchasing it. The purpose of digital marketing funnel is to send qualified traffic at the top, and nurture them with content marketing and other forms of framework to finally convert them into customers.

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When you are trying to market your product to an audience base, it is quite factual that people won't buy products instantly. Instead, there is a complete process behind the customer journey from knowing about the product to purchasing it. When you are selling your product to a customer, you need to understand the various characteristics and stages that a customer goes through before purchasing your product.

The first step to a successful customer journey and a digital marketing funnel is to understand the target audience. The classic mistake in marketing that most people tend to make is assuming that everybody is their audience, and they could sell to everyone. However, it is just a waste of time, energy, and resources to think this way. People travel from awareness interest desire and then action stage where they purchase your product.

Download for free our digital marketing funnel template

Use our template to design a comprehensive digital marketing funnel, using a mix of media strategy and organic traffic. 


What is the digital marketing funnel?


A digital marketing funnel is a visual and strategic representation of the steps that a customer takes in the entire journey from the moment they realize the problem till they become your customer. Marketers have widely accepted this concept, and they have been using this marketing funnel to achieve success in marketing actions. To succeed in your marketing campaign, it is highly recommended to better segment your marketing actions based on the content ads and the messages you were trying to put forward to your audience. 

A person who has just realized that they may need a marketing agency for their project that will take place after three months would need to be marketed in a completely different manner than a person who has to take action within a few days. In the former case, you would like to do inbound marketing(SEO) and attract potential customers with your blogs, infographics, and LinkedIn post(if they search for potential agencies on LinkedIn) to ensure that they see you as an authority in the marketing niche. However, the latter potential customer needs to hear instantly from you. You may target them with Google ads or outbound marketing and present a completely different marketing message to influence their decision in your favor.

Why do you need a digital marketing funnel?


Many marketers suffer a loss with their paid campaigns on social media marketing, whereas others achieve a  return on investment of 3X to 4X. Is there any magical ingredient?

No. Simply allocating budget and throwing money recklessly on paid ads or any form of marketing would never generate results unless you have a strong foundation. Every firm that is investing in marketing works to have a good and positive return on investment by properly knowing what they are upto. 

A digital marketing funnel helps you understand your target audience, which means you could have multiple opportunities to connect with your prospects at their preferred time and platform to impress them with your brand message and converse directly with them.

When you know your audience, you can easily create personalized content based on their stage in the customer journey. The world loves personalization, and there is no doubt about that. A proper digital marketing funnel could help you enhance personalization where you easily create content or copywriting focused on your audience. When you distribute a budget for various digital marketing channels, then it is evident that you would be generating a higher return on investment for every single buck spent.

What are the stages in the linear digital marketing funnel?

There are six stages in the digital marketing funnel:



In the awareness, stage customers have not realized the problem they have. In this situation, you would like to appear in front of them and convince them about how your product or service could help them cope with their difficulty. Broadcast channels could be an excellent method to attract your audience with your offer. As you are the first to make your target audience realize the problem, there is a high chance that they may consider your product or service.



In the interest, stage customers know their problem and are also interested in buying a product or service. However, they want more information about it and see that you offer solutions in this niche. Social channels are a great way to appear in front of the audience in the interest stage. 



In their desire, stage customers want the product, but they try to compare and choose from a list of options. At this stage, it becomes crucial for you to come in front of your audience at the right time to be a step ahead of your competition. SEO, social channels and paid ads could be an excellent opportunity to communicate with the audience at the right time.



Customers already know which product to buy in the decision stage and have also shortlisted the companies. Paid ads again bring excellent opportunities at this stage. Many brands put ads on their competitors' branded keywords to steal the customers and be a step ahead. Hence many brands generally bid for their branded keywords to prevent the loss of their precious customers. Here is a complete guide on Amazon Listing Optimization.

Post action


Once a customer has trusted your brand and bought from you, it becomes essential for you to show that you value them. You could send direct emails to your customers verifying the transaction or additional information about the product on how they could use it.



It is well known that acquiring new customers is costlier than retaining an existing customer. Having an email list is highly crucial at this stage because you can send coupons or discounts to your current customers to bring them back in the buying stage and decrease the churn rate for your business.

Why does the digital marketing funnel now focus on a non-linear experience?

Non linear marketing funnel

Non linear marketing funnel

The new trend in the digital marketing funnel is that users generally have a lot of information available to them now. With the rise of the internet age, the number of people using the internet has crossed 4 billion, and there are more than 2.5 billion smartphone owners. This ability has allowed the consumers to search for anything that they might be considerate about, in a single click, at any place, and buy products whenever they want and however they want.

With the amount of effort the companies, small businesses, and bloggers have put into content marketing, there has been an immense amount of information available to consumers. It is now a no-brainer for any person to browse articles, read reviews on social media, watch unboxing videos on YouTube, and focus on the overall experience of the previous buyers. 

This has led to a change in the consumer behavior to the new shape, which made the linear marketing funnel somewhat ineffective. It failed to consider the different paths that a user can take now. This critical error made businesses miss opportunities and degraded the overall user experience.

The new and more sophisticated marketing funnel is the following:

Hourglass Digital Marketing Funnel

Hourglass Digital Marketing Funnel

Hourglass Digital Marketing Funnel

The hourglass digital marketing funnel has 10 steps that focus on a detailed approach to the customer journey. This new digital marketing funnel process emphasizes the importance of maintaining a good relationship with existing customers, earning their loyalty, and making them the brand advocates.

In the pre-buying stage, the brands need to focus on the following six steps to have more holistic data and a better approach towards the customer journey based on the empathy map.


customer engagement

customer engagement

The first step is building brand awareness and exposing yourself to the new markets are the potential customers who could be interested in buying your product or service. It becomes highly important for you to have strong market control and a long-lasting impact on the customers' minds in this competitive world atmosphere. 

There are many options available to the potential customers, and the customer could have already been subjected to your competitor's content marketing or digital marketing campaign. In such a case, having a strong brand presence and effective online reputation management could help you bring more visitors and get more word of mouth.


customer education

customer education

You would be amazed to know that around 93% of the online experiences begin on search engines. In such a case, you need to have a strong content marketing and search engine optimization campaign so that your target audience come on your website every time they have a query. For example, sit back and think how many times you search on Google for your queries, search for service providers, or be a product. 

Most of the time, if you land on a specific website with a lot of good content that solves your query, you could subconsciously develop unknown advocacy for that brand. If you were to make a new decision on who you should choose for buying a product or service, it is possible to look for that specific website with more authority and credibility.




In the next stage of this digital marketing funnel, your customers would be looking for service providers or product sellers online. They are looking forward to discovering a solution and having a list of options available to them. Therefore, you need to have a strong digital marketing campaign and be ready to capitalize on these moments.




Your customer would then evaluate the options available to them and determine how that product or service would resolve a problem. Therefore, you need to have credibility in the market and build a strong brand presence that would ultimately push your customer to believe in you and finally purchase from you.




Today's customers are more knowledgeable and have access to almost every information they would ever need. Hence, it becomes a no-brainer that they would justify and validate the product or service. You need to have some good reviews and case studies that would help you earning the confidence of your consumer.




This is the most important stage for you when your customer buys the product or service. You could build a strong search engine marketing campaign for your branded keywords so that your customers don't land on your competitor's website who might choose to put ads for your branded keywords on Google.

Now, in the post-buying stage, it becomes crucial for you to retain these customers so that your customer acquisition cost decreases and each customer's lifetime value increases. So, again, this metric could help you be more profitable and let you know how you have been performing in your marketing.


customer onboarding

customer onboarding 

The customer onboarding process must be as smooth as possible so that you don't lose customers in the early hours. Your customers would only repeat purchases from you if they see the value in what you offer. And, the best way to let your customers adopt your offer is by letting them use the product in their day-to-day life.


customer onboarding

customer onboarding 

For any business, retention is one of the most important aspects of marketing and sales, as a high churn rate would equate to lesser stability in the business and revenue. Furthermore, it is well-known that acquiring new customers is costlier than retaining existing customers.


upsell and crossell

upsell and cross sell

If you have good customer service and your product fulfills the need of your consumer, you have a good chance that your customer will like you. In such a case, when you have the authority and trust, you could easily upsell and cross-sell to your existing consumers to increase your revenue and overall lifetime value of the consumer.


brand advocacy

brand advocacy

The last step of this digital marketing funnel is to make sure consumers become the brand advocates. Again, the word of mouth marketing is the strongest form of marketing that could get you more consumers and more authority in the market.

The loyalty loop

The loyalty loop

The loyalty loop in digital marketing funnel

In the loyalty loop, the customers get a trigger that a brand is an option. This feeling and trigger let the consumers consider the available options and move to the evaluation process. In this new stage, the consumers focus on gathering information and comparing their options. After this process, when the consumer is fully satisfied with the information and the options, they ultimately move forward to buy the product. However, in the loyalty loop marketing funnel, the consumers' post-purchase experiences dictate whether the existing customer would return and re-purchase or look for alternatives.

As the consumers have a lot of information and options available to them, they are constantly re-evaluating the decision to continue using a product. Once the consumer enjoys using a product, has a good experience with your customer support, gets what he wants, and ultimately reaches the objective behind purchasing, they would again come back to you to purchase the product. Now they are in a loop where they love product or service and actively use it. The next process is being the advocate of your brand and spreading word of mouth for free. 

Finally, if they are still good with your brand and use your product, then possibly they could develop a strong bond with your brand and be your most valuable customers. This loyalty loop accounts for experiences the consumer has with the brand that affect their long-term loyalty after the initial purchase.

Micro-Moments Digital Marketing Funnel

Micro-Moments Digital Marketing Funnel

Micro moments digital marketing funnel

The micro-movement is a concept by Google and focuses on the motivation that drives your user to enter your digital marketing funnel. It consists of four moments:

Want to know moment

Your customer needs answers to their questions before moving down the marketing funnel. Therefore, you need to have a strong content marketing campaign and ongoing marketing process to continually answer the possible questions that could arise in the mind of your target audience. In addition, it would be best if you also covered the new industry topics and the trends in the market so that you perform the best in this want-to-know moment.

Want to do moment

As mobile phones have become a part of our daily lives, there has been a fundamental change in consumer behavior and how people behave with digital media. Hence, in the want to do moments, your target audience might look forward to discovering something, watching something, or learning something.

Want to go moment

In the want-to-go movement, your target audience might want to go to your physical shop or your digital shop, also known as your website. In such a case, you need to have a strong digital presence, and your website should be attractive to captivate the attention of your viewers. Also, you need to put all the information regarding your physical shop on your website so that consumers don't get confused and have the best experience with your brand.

Want to buy moment

In the want to buy moment, your consumer wants to purchase something. Therefore, it requires you to have solid digital marketing campaign that would allow you to be available to your consumer in the easiest manner possible. For example, you could buy ad space for your branded keyboard so that your competitors don't get the opportunity to steal your audience.

How do you create a successful digital marketing funnel for your business?

You could follow this three step process to create a successful marketing funnel:

Create content and advertising campaign.

advertising campaign-digital-marketing-funnel

As discussed above, the primary stage of a digital marketing funnel is awareness; thus, you would like to make sure that whenever your customer persona searches for their problem, they find you at the top of SERP results. It brings exposure to you and your business, and people tend to trust your company if they find at least 3 to 4 content that solves the problem. Creating a blog post that may resonate with your customer persona and investing in search engine optimization could help in the long run. You may hire an SEO agency or build an in-house team to look after your SEO efforts. As search engine optimization is a long-term play, you would also like to invest in advertisements on platforms like Facebook, YouTube, etc. 

Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, and Pinterest have better performance results for B2C campaigns, whereas LinkedIn and Twitter are better platforms for B2B marketing.

Attract your audience with exciting offers.

Email marketing is one of the most prominent digital marketing channels to communicate with your audience directly and promote your offer. It is a great technique to earn a reputation by providing valuable resources like e-books, case studies, free trials, cheat sheets, etc., to your audience to entice them. At this stage, it becomes crucial for you to differentiate between your target audience and what they prefer.

Create a landing page to demonstrate your expertise.


Once you have placed an ad, it becomes vital for you to optimize the landing page so that customers don't feel the ad spammy or confusing. Your landing page should have a complete description of your offer and clear and attractive visuals. You would like to include a form for people to put their contact information so that you could follow them later. 

If you put testimonials and security badges on your landing page, people would be more comfortable sharing the details with you. Even if a person has landed on your landing page, it is your responsibility to address the next step. Depending on your campaign objective, you might want to include a compelling call to action like 'Buy now' or 'Subscribe to the newsletter.'

A/B testing


A/B testing is the process in which you compare two versions of your landing page and compete these ad copies against each other to finalize which one performs better. In this test, you show one kind of landing page to half of your traffic and the modified version to the remaining half randomly. 

Depending on the results, you can determine which one brings better and positive customer behavior.

Be always available to your audience

Customer care 

Customer care

In this new age of customer experience, you cannot overlook assisting your consumers anytime or any day. Most consumers purchase a product based on the motivation that drives them down the funnel. And, they could lose this heat of the moment and postpone their decision if they don't get assistance when they want. You could use chatbots and train them to react to your customer's doubts and queries. 

You could also create an effective FAQ section and answer all the frequently asked questions. Along with that, if you are a big brand and can afford to have a dedicated team, then you could hire them based on shifts; the first group would work in the day while the other one would work in the night to ensure that your consumer has the best user experience in your industry.

Create a strong brand presence and recall value


Brand recall

In this new era, when the consumers have many options available to them on the table, you must focus on creating a strong brand presence and brand value that would help you distinguish yourself in this competitive atmosphere. 

You need to demonstrate to your users that you care for them and understand their unique pain points, no matter at which digital marketing stage they are. SEO and content marketing could help you enhance your brand presence. Also, try to have testimonials on your website and strong social media presence to help your consumers understand that you would align with their user expectations and that your product would fulfill their needs.

Use our digital marketing funnel template

Use our template to design a comprehensive digital marketing funnel, using a mix of media strategy and organic traffic. 



A digital marketing funnel is the visual representation of the steps a customer takes in the customer journey. The most crucial step in the customer journey is understanding your target audience's pain points and figuring out how to help them and communicate the value to them. 

Once you know your customer, you can easily create personalized content and advertisement copies to share with them in the best of manners.

Here is a complete guide on the latest revolution - Voice Search Optimization

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