You, dear marketer, are wired to market like a boss and create great marketing funnels. All it’s going to need is a little bit of knowledge and lots of trial and error.
We covered the knowledge part in the previous post. In this one, we are going to help you begin with the trial and error phase by sharing detailed insights into how other companies have successfully leveraged marketing funnels for greater sales. While we do not advocate mimicking their methodologies (and it isn’t even possible, to be honest), you can pick up starter points to help you begin.
Let’s look through the marketing microscope.
What the marketing funnel looks like?
As a quick recap, this is what the marketing funnel looks like:
The awareness stage is when the brand is trying to increase its number of impressions and reach, and to shout to people (sometimes from the rooftops) that they exist. You riff on the value of your product and how it can benefit customers.
At the consideration stage, the customer becomes more interested in knowing about you, your brand, and your company. They display signs of this by visiting your website, dropping in on your store, or signing up to your email list.
At the conversion stage, you lay the intent clear: you have something to offer to the customer and the customer has to say yes or no to that offering. Purchases are made at this stage.
At the loyalty stage, you seek to become your customer’s favorite and go-to by delivering epic content that connects and keeps them coming back for more.
In the advocacy stage, your customers transcend this label. They become fans, friends, your community. They purchase from you again and again, post about you on socials, and carry out word-of-mouth marketing without even being asked to! They act like unofficial brand ambassadors.
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Killer marketing funnel examples
The beloved entertainment medium that has revolutionized what people see and where, has done so by executing a seamless marketing funnel that walks people through the sales journey without them even realizing it.
For awareness, Netflix uses social media generously to create buzz about upcoming shows. Crisp summaries coupled with short clips tease everyone to just check out the show once when it releases.
Some interest generation:
Their Instagram is also pretty active with 17.8m followers currently. Here, they use IGTV videos to foster a greater connection between the fans and the characters that they so love.
Finally, there’s word-of-mouth marketing. When a group of friends, sit down to chat, 1 Netflix show is certain to come up. Online and offline- Netflix has nailed the 1st step of marketing.
For the consideration stage and those who are now aware of the brand, Netflix has thought 10 steps ahead. It knows that the recurring charge it asks can leave people hesitant to invest. So, it takes precautions to ward off those fears and doubts by laying out its methodology clearly for the first-time visitor whois still considering Netflix.
This is what its homepage looks like.
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:
At the end of the page is an FAQ section that further clarifies things for first-time users.
Having effortlessly led the customer through the 1st 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 3rd stage, Netflix makes the process feel smooth, easy, and secure again.
The clean and uncluttered background helps to keep the customer focused on the next step to take. On choosing to see the plans
Netflix has pre-selected the Premium plan, and also provides the assurance that one can upgrade and downgrade at any time.
The user is asked to sign up in the next step. Again, clear, crisp, and catchy.
The final billing page follows the 3 C’s as well and reinforces how there are no commitments and one can cancel at any time. They also promise to send you a reminder 3 days before your free month ends so you can take another call.
The whole process is seamless and builds trust from step 1.
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, here:
The whole sales process, executed through the funnel, feels so intuitive and natural that people are raving fans in no time. That’s why it, as of Q2 2019, Netflix has generated a revenue of USD 4.9 billion. In 2018, its annual revenue was USD 15.8 billion.
For those in the content marketing world, not knowing Crazy Egg would be equivalent to sin. It is a popular website optimization tool that helps to discover and analyze user behavior on your website.
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:
For the next stage of 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. CrazyEgg realizes this and has everything ready to charm visitors- whether they are newbies or repeated ones. If you directly go to their domain, this is what you get:
The number 300,000 helps to add social proof. The snippet ‘start your 30 day FREE trial’ helps visitors to know that Crazy Egg has a paid product that they make available for a free trial and also easy cancellation.
The whole copy combinedly sells the idea that Crazy Egg has what it takes to improve your website. We love the thoughtfulness they exhibit through the ‘Not ready to get started? Learn more’ option. It signals that they are ready to offer value before the user takes any action.
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.
Outrightly, you get to know 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?