If you ever sign-up for a decent marketing primer, the first thing they’ll talk to you about is the marketing funnel. It’s great foundation for understanding how your customers go through the buyer’s journey before purchasing from you. Of course, customers keep going in and out of these stages, but having a model in place for your business is still vital.
Now, marketing funnels as a concept is fairly easy to understand, but building one is a whole different ballgame. To help you figure this out or at least give you a starting point, we’ve compiled this set of marketing funnel examples that’ll walk you through how bigwigs across a host of different industries market to their audiences.
By the end, you’ll know how Netflix, Crazy Egg, and Basecamp funnel their prospects into becoming ‘closed-won’ deals on their CRMs. Let’s go!
First – what does the typical marketing funnel look like?
Every marketing guru and CMO has their own variation of what a marketing funnel looks like. But there’s a basic model that makes up almost every funnel, and it’s got five stages.
1. Awareness stage (also called top of the funnel, or ToFu): This is where you’re trying to get in front of your ideal customer profile (ICP). Your audience doesn’t know who you are and what you’re good at. This stage is where all that changes. A very important (but often forgotten) consideration here is that your audience isn’t ready to buy at this stage. So, skip the sales spiel and offer pure value.
2. Consideration stage (also called middle of the funnel, or MoFu): Alright, so now folks have heard of you, they like what you’re saying and offering, and want to know more about you. This is where you start to get a teensy bit more sales-y in your approach, nudging your ICP to consider you over your competitors.
3. Conversion stage (also called bottom of the funnel, or BoFu): The customer is ready to buy. They know their problem, they want a solution, and you’re probably in their list of potential vendors/partners. This is where sales and marketing teams work most closely. The common objective? Turning interest and consideration into a juicy lead you can nurture and convert.
4. Loyalty stage: You’ve got yourself a customer! Woop woop! Now, it’s time to keep them happy. It’s inaccurate to assume that this is a customer service domain, because as a marketer, you can play a vital role in customer satisfaction and retention (who do you think plans all those discounts and upsell campaigns?).
5. Advocacy stage: Your customer is now a fan. They keep coming back to you for more, tell friends and family about you, and hype you up on social media organically – no nudging needed. This is the stage every single business wants to get to.
Side note: we help fast-moving brands figure out their funnels and win more leads!
Killer marketing funnel examples
Netflix, Crazy Egg, and Basecamp are three tech-led companies across different verticals with wildly different audiences. We’ve picked these to give you a good mix of marketing funnels for different business types of ICPs.
Safe to say if you’re on the internet, you know about Netflix. This platform has revolutionized how and where people are entertained using a seamless marketing funnel — a sales journey so seamless that people don’t even realize it!
Netflix uses social media copiously to create a buzz about upcoming shows. Crisp summaries and short clips tease everyone to check out the show even before it releases. On Instagram is also they use IGTV videos, stories, and reels to connect with their fanbase of 33M+, promoting new shows and building a sense of community.
Netflix also uses above-the-line marketing tactics, which is essentially broadcasting to a wide audience at once with advertisements, billboards, commercials, co-branded promotions, etc.
Finally, there’s word-of-mouth marketing. When a group of friends, sit down to chat, at least one Netflix show is certain to come up. Online and offline – Netflix has nailed the first step of marketing.
Now, once users know the brand, Netflix prepares them for the next stage. It knows that the recurring service charge can leave people hesitant to invest. So, it takes precautions to address any fears and doubts that first-time Netflix visitors might have.
This is what its homepage looks like. It’s product marketing 101, y’all.
Right at the outset, this establishes clarity which, in turn, establishes trust. The rest of the page outlines the features and benefits that users experience through Netflix. Example:
Having effortlessly led the customer through the first two stages of the funnel, Netflix is ready to lead and catch them when they decide to go from the consideration to the conversion stage.
When the user says yes to going to the third stage, Netflix makes the process feel smooth, easy, and secure yet again.
For instance, once users sign up, they reach the billing page. This page reinforces how there are no commitments and no strings attached — Easy and quick cancellations at any time. They also promise to send you a reminder three days before your free month ends so you can take another informed call.
The whole process is seamless and builds trust right from the get go.
Netflix wins the loyalty stage by delivering epic content on its platform that captivates the watcher’s mind from day 1. When it features people who advocate for its shows and content, it features them on its social media handle, thereby creating more loyalty and advocacy in turn. For example:
The complete sales process, executed through the funnel, feels so intuitive and natural that people are raving fans in no time. That’s why it, in the Q3 of 2023 alone, Netflix brought in a massive USD 8.5 billion worth of revenue.
If you’re a marketer, you’ve probably heard of or used Crazy Egg at some point. It’s probably one of the best website optimization and testing tools out there today (kudos, Neil Patel!).
When they started and wanted to spread awareness, Crazy Egg really did go all in even though they didn’t have a million-dollar marketing budget. So, in addition to speaking at conferences, they also started by offering free $99 Crazy Egg accounts to popular blog owners like Mashable, TechCrunch, etc. In return, they only asked for a review.
The real reach and traffic driver, though, was the Crazy Egg blog which seemed to have the best content marketing tools, advice, and insights. The content was high-quality and they promoted it using free social media, Facebook ads, influencers, keywords, and through their mailing list. Here’s a Google ad that states their proposition clearly and the value the customer receives:
To drive greater consideration, Crazy Egg leverages their blogging power and reputation.
The ‘Subscribe To Our Newsletter button ‘rings’ after every few seconds, catching your eye as you are reading a blog post.
In the middle of the blog, they’ve also integrated a video of how Crazy Egg helps to ‘make the most of every visitor.’ Their blog serves as the focal point of deriving more traffic and converting them into ardent customers.
Once the customer is convinced of the value that Crazy Egg delivers and signs up to their newsletter, the company sends them regular updates about new articles and encourages them to visit their homepage.
Clean and focused interfaces work like charms. Crazy Egg realizes this and has everything ready to charm new and repeat users. Their website is clean, has excellent copy, and loads of social proof to reel you in. They’ve also got a free trial, which takes off the pressure of making an immediate commitment.
There’s also an Egg Bot ready and available to aid you around the website if you are clear as to your direction:
When you choose to learn more before getting started, they display the benefits that you reap with their tool.
Once you decide to see your heatmap, you are encouraged to create your account. The copy is again clear and persuasive with 0 pushiness. The testimonial at the RHS uses the power of social proof again to drive home Crazy Egg’s value.
After signing up, they make the paying process smoother by clearly explaining all payment plans, what one can do with the product and more social proof.
This makes the signup process more convincing. Instead of displaying the benefits and features separately, they’ve included them on the payment plan page so as to reinforce value encourage users to stick with the process.
The billing page is again minimally designed with minimal copy written. The FAQs come beneath it to further ally any fears or doubts the customer might have.
After the customer passes through this step, the conversion process is complete!
The loyalty and advocacy stages are ongoing for Crazy Egg, since people who do not use the tools, still end up returning to its blog for the valuable content they can’t find anywhere else. Around the web, content marketers quote from its pages and look at Neil Patel, its founder, as the zenith of content marketing genius.
If it wasn’t a carefully crafted sales funnel in action, then what was it?
Basecamp is a project management and team communication software. Originally christened 37Signals, the company has been valued at $100 billion and reaps annual profits in millions.
For awareness, Basecamp’s group of happy and loyal clients provide unasked word-of-mouth marketing. The founders (and friends) of Basecamp also have a podcast called ‘Rework’ which is a nice addition to their blog. David Heinemeieir Hansson, Basecamp’s business partner, also developed the popular programming language Ruby on Rails. The company’s reach also benefits from the founders’ unique perspective on business and work which gets featured on the podcast, the blog, and around the web. New users are intrigued by the personality and mindset of the founders, leading them to move to the consideration stage.
When you visit Basecamp’s website, you will love its homepage (we did).
Although it’s more crowded than the other 2 examples we’ve shared, once you start reading, you get hooked.
You know immediately what Basecamp does and the results it produces using the before/ after duo. The CTA to try Basecamp stands out and there’s social proof that 4,827 companies signed up last week. ‘Woah,’ a part of your brain goes.
Now, above the fold, Basecamp does a really good job of including an arrow with a statement that looks like your co-worker wrote it. It piques your curiosity and you scroll down to find a snapshot of their software and the features and benefits it provides.
This is followed by a more persuasive and detailed copy, leading to testimonials which they have included abundantly. There are testimonials by NASA, Shopify, Women Who Code, and other firms that add credibility to Basecamp’s product.
The homepage end like this and it’s different from how most people design theirs:
It replaces the standard sitemap format with something sleek and one-of-a-kind while taking opportunity to build credibility again through their growth curve.
Once the customer has passed the awareness and consideration stages, Basecamp makes it easy for them to convert. Even if you click on a whim to check out their product, you’ll be drawn in by the simplicity and customer care that underscores their copy and the policies.
A simple 2-way street. This is followed by a testimonial which adds persuasion and comforting 3rd party validation. The FAQs at the end of the page make the conversion game a winning game.
Again, simplicity married to customer care. They don’t just talk about it, but make it a part of their modus operandi.
Once you opt to sign up, you are taken to a simple, uncluttered page where you are asked to type in your name and email address (can make you do a double-take because websites usually ask for email addresses and passwords).
Once signed up, you receive a simple automated message from the CEO which explains the account basics.
And now comes the stage of fostering loyalty and advocacy. Basecamp’s simplicity shines through its product and the ease of use keeps project creators hooked. Advocacy comes in when customers upgrade and/ or starts spreading word about ‘this awesome project management tool that is both cool and useful!’
The above 3 examples should give fertile starting ground for rethinking and reimagining your own marketing funnel. After all, if they can do it from ground zero, then why can’t you with the internet and that intelligent brain of yours?
Marketing funnels are great. But they’ll do nothing for you if you don’t stop making these common content marketing mistakes!