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As a business owner you’ve probably heard the word “funnel” to describe the way a potential customer becomes an actual customer; what we call “conversion.” But it’s worth spending a few minutes to talk about just how the funnel works.

The funnel actually describes a potential customer’s journey, from searcher to customer. There are three main parts to the sales funnel.

Top — This is a searcher’s introduction to your brand. It’s where you build brand awareness for your business.

Middle — Call this section “consideration.” The searcher knows who you are. Now you want them to get to know you better; what it is you do in terms of products or services.

Bottom — This is “purchase” or “conversion.” The searcher knows enough about your business and services to convert, if you’re offering a product they need..

Why is this process called a funnel?

Unfortunately, it’s not because it’s like a real funnel, where everything that goes in the top makes it through the bottom. In fact, a sales funnel gets its shape because not everybody who starts at the top makes it through. The sales funnel gets narrower as it goes down because as you get lower in the funnel, there are people who won’t go on to the next part. That’s to be expected. So our job is to get as many customers through as possible.

What makes the funnel work?

That’s the most important question in this post. You need to know what it takes to get a greater percentage of users to proceed to the next stage of the funnel. So let’s start at the top again.

Top — Searchers up here don’t know you, so you need to introduce yourself. “Welcome! This is who we are and what we do. We think we have a service or product you’ll be very happy with. Let us help you.” If they like what they hear, they’ll click their way to the …

Middle — This is where someone is deciding whether or not to become your customer. What do they need to know to be convinced? Do they even need your product? Will your service save them time or money? Do they see things about the way you do business that they agree with or that let them trust you? If the answers to enough of their questions is yes …

Bottom — The last step to getting them to make the purchase is answering all their questions and concerns about the specific product they’re interested in: How much it costs, the value it brings, the problems it solves.

The good thing about funnels when it comes to digital marketing is, we have more tools than ever to move searchers down through the funnel and convert them to customers. It takes data. It takes testing. But once we have your customers’ journey mapped out, we can make their funnel smoother and continue increasing your ROI.

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