Digital marketing funnel – how does it work?

by Marek September 18, 2019
marketing funnel

If you want your sales process to run as efficiently as possible, you absolutely need to use a marketing funnel – the process of transforming a visitor or viewer of an offer into a paid customer.

About marketing funnels

Some companies are moving away from the term “marketing funnel” because they think that they are too mechanical when describing the conversion process by which customers move from brand awareness to purchase. However, it’s still a useful way to describe this complex process and is worth discussing from beginning to end.

Generating revenue is a multi-step process in which you must gradually nurture people before they are ready to make a purchase. A car salesman cares about you, if he asks about your favorite model, shows you different options, lets you test several different cars and informs you of promotional offers – providing information and support needed to make a purchasing decision.

That’s what a marketing funnel is for. If you haven’t developed a marketing funnel yet, the absolute best thing you can do to grow your business is to get it done as soon as possible.

What is a marketing funnel?

Put simply, a marketing funnel is a structure used by companies to transform people who are unfamiliar with the brand into customers.

This is based on the assumption that the number of people you attract to your site (in the case of an internet company) is much larger than the fraction of those who show interest in your business and become potential customers.

There are many types of paths (some do not even have a funnel shape), but the one we recommend is also the simplest:

tofu mofu bofu framework marketing funnel
How will I know If I’m serving the right content? – Ashri Del Rio, Medium

This model divides customer perception of content into three stages:

Top of the funnel

At the very top of the marketing funnel it is mainly about increasing the company’s visibility and making the target audience aware that the company exists. It is an opportunity to present yourself as an authority in a specific topic or industry. People at the top of the path are not yet ready to invest in your company – they are just getting to know your product.

In practice, the top of the funnel may be about someone reading a random blog post you wrote or viewing one of your YouTube videos. It can also be something more interactive, for example a quiz, but still getting to know you is not a conscious choice.

Middle of the funnel

The middle of the funnel is often overlooked by newbies in internet marketing. The middle of the funnel is to build enough trust to let people start showing interest in what you do and what you have to offer. So that they make their own decisions about interacting with the brand.

Your task in the middle of the funnel is to provide enough value so that website visitors are ready to provide you with contact information – that is, when marketers claim that they became potential customers – which you can later use to cultivate relationships with them.

In your online business, the funnel center may be about free content that visitors can access by submitting their email address in the contact form on your website.

Bottom of the funnel

At the bottom of the funnel, the company already has a sufficient level of trust among its potential customers to prepare to present its main offer or product. Your task at the bottom of the funnel is to show what you have in a convincing way that inspires customers to take action – your potential customers should feel that this is the solution to their problem.

The bottom of the path may look like a limited time offer for your product.

Building a funnel is simply a process of creating (a usually automated) system whose goal is to consistently move people down the funnel – it can be said that it is a one-time investment for many years, where only small changes should be made over time.

In-depth about marketing funnels

First, let’s talk more about various stages of each funnel part. For each of them we will tell you what goals and intentions you should look for, what content is worth creating, and tactics that should be used to achieve these goals.

Top of the funnel

Your goal should be to attract as many targeted users as possible with relevant content. This means people interested in your industry or product.

Most important data

Here are some simple indicators you should look out for at this stage:

Sessions: this indicator represents the number of sessions (also known as visits) on your site. This is generally what marketers call “web traffic” or simply “traffic.” You should aim for a large number of sessions.

Percentage of new sessions: will let you know how much traffic your site receives from new users (those who haven’t visited your site before). You want this value to be high so that you know that you are consistently attracting new people. However, if this number is too high, it may mean that you are not doing enough work to persuade them to return.

Bounce Rate: This indicator shows the percentage of sessions that ended without the user taking any action on your site (which are called “rejected” sessions). This is a good indicator of how attractive or relevant your content is to visitors. In general, you should aim for a low bounce rate.

Channel Traffic: With this method, you can see what traffic each marketing channel generates (email, direct, free, social, etc.), which will allow you to make decisions based on the performance of each channel. You should focus on the channels that work and double the number – not prioritize them.

Top of the funnel content

At this stage of the funnel, we recommend creating content on broader topics related to the industry or business that are intended to entertain or educate users.

You can create blog posts, videos, social media entries, infographics, podcasts – everything that is easily accessible and provides users with free value.

Top of funnel tactics

– Mail marketing: Direct emailing works great if you have a list of people interested in your business. For example, people who participated in one of your workshops, a list of existing customers or a group / community of which you are part of or manage.

– Social media: social media platforms are great marketing channels at the top of the funnel. Social media users usually spend a lot of time reading content shared by others. When it comes to getting unpaid traffic from social media channels, there are two main ways: you can increase your own social media audience and share your content with your followers, or you can participate in existing communities.

– SEO: Search Engine Optimization is the process of improving the visibility of content in search engines. Or, more simply, SEO is about getting traffic to your site from sites like Google, Yahoo and other search engines (this type of traffic is known as organic traffic). To make this happen, you’ll need to try to secure the position of your content in the top positions of search results for specific terms or phrases (called keywords).

– PR / Media: This tactic is about getting media coverage from your content, brand or company. The media and publications have gained a huge audience after such a long time – that is their whole business model – so if you can use it, it can mean a significant increase in traffic to your site.

– Paid ads: Using paid ads properly can be a great way to attract new visitors to your site. You can reach a huge number of recipients who use Google, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and other platforms. In addition, thanks to the advanced targeting and segmentation options provided by their ad platforms, you can be sure that you’ll reach exactly who you want to reach.

– Influencers / investors: Another great way to attract traffic to your site is to work with people who already have an audience interested in your topic or industry. To do this, an agreement must be reached which is mutually beneficial.

The center of the marketing funnel

At this stage, your goal is to convert as many visitors from the top of the funnel as possible into your potential customers – in online marketing, this is typically referred to as catching a chance when visitors give you information that later allows you to contact them – usually through email.

Most important data

Here are some of the most important indicators you should look out for at this stage:

– Visitor conversion rate to potential customers: This indicator shows the percentage of visitors to your site becoming potential customers. You can use this as an indicator of how attractive your offer to visitors is. As you might expect, you should aim for a high conversion rate.

– Increase in the number of leads: As the name suggests, you can use this measure to track the number of new leads acquired over a given period of time. The most common way to capture customers is to collect email addresses so you can track this data.

– Clicking indicators: once you get the chance, the most common way to strengthen your relationship with your contacts is to use email marketing. Clicking indicators represent the percentage of contacts who opened an email and clicked on the link in the body of the email. This data is a great indicator of how relevant the content you provide to your subscribers is.

Center of the funnel content

To attract and nurture potential customers, you must use “premium” content that enriches or complements the free content at the top of the funnel. Visitors to your site will be able to access this content as long as they provide their email address by gaining free access to it.

You should think of it as an exchange of value – your visitors trust you by sharing their contact details, so you must give them something that is valuable enough to justify the whole process.

Center of the funnel tactics

It’s worth discussing the tactics of the content itself – you can use it to attract more potential customers and expand the list of recipients.

– Catch recipients with free ebooks: PDF or ebook files can be prepared quickly and easily. You can use them to expand the topic discussed in relation to the top of the funnel.

– Offer a free course: if you want to earn from your knowledge and experience, courses are a great way to provide added value to visitors, as well as to build your own image as an expert.

– Webinars: Webinars are really powerful marketing tools. Like mini courses, webinars allow you to present your knowledge of a given subject to the public, with the difference that it takes place as a live event – which allows potential partners to contact you directly.

– Demo versions: Trial and demo versions are a great idea if you can easily download a part of the finished product and make it available for free. Thanks to this, your potential customers will be able to experience your product with little commitment on their part. The disadvantage of using trial or demo versions is that because they are not standalone content, they can be seen as incomplete offers.

– Access to private communities: it’s a great way to establish a closer and continuous communication channel between your company and potential clients, as well as enabling them to interact with it. You can create private communities to start discussions, collect opinions, or share updates and messages. By setting up a community, you commit to being active, so prepare the time in your work schedule.

Now that you know what content to offer, it’s worth providing the best forms of sharing it.

– Pop-ups and forms: By adding a form to your website, you can ask visitors to provide an email address.

– Email marketing: Using emails, you can directly reach potential customers and invite them to take the next step ..

– Remarketing: this is the tactics of advanced paid advertising. Thanks to remarketing, you target people who have visited your website and send ads to them on other platforms, such as Google or Facebook. Have you ever noticed that when you check a shirt on Amazon, this shirt suddenly starts following you online? This is remarketing.

Bottom of the marketing funnel

The moment of truth has arrived. When customers are at the bottom of the funnel, your only goal is to get them to buy the product (or re-purchase if they are already customers)!

Most important data

Here’s a handful of data that you should pay attention to at this stage:

– Income: You don’t need this point explained, we hope. Track your revenues and it’s the best proof of your funnel operating well.

– Number of new customers: You should keep an eye on how many paying customers you get each day / week / month.

– Revenue per customer: you usually won’t get the same amount of revenue for every customer you acquire. Some of them may buy at a discount, others may buy several products. If you offer a subscription, not all your customers will continue to subscribe for the same period. A simple way to calculate this is to sum up all revenues for a specified period of time and divide it by the number of paid customers acquired during that period.

– Conversion rate: While your revenue and number of customers will determine how much money the funnel generates, your conversion rate at the bottom is an indicator of the effectiveness of your tactics in transforming potential customers into real customers. How you get and calculate this conversion rate will depend a lot on the tactics you decide to use.

Bottom of the funnel content

At this stage of the funnel, you can assume that potential customers already have enough information to make a purchase decision. The bottom of the funnel is only to help them make this decision.

Tactics at the bottom of the funnel

All proposed tactics at the bottom of the funnel are designed to convert visitors and potential customers into real customers:

– Use a shortage tactic: this is one of the most powerful tactics you can use to attract more customers. A shortage allows you to add a sense of urgency to your purchase. If the customer believes that the product will soon disappear from the market, he will soon decide to buy it, fearing that he will later miss the current offer.

– Packages: if you have more than one product to offer, you can get more customers by combining and matching these products together and selling them at a lower price than if they were sold separately.

– Presale: if you know that the product you want to sell has recipients but you haven’t created it yet, you may want to consider pre-selling. Presale has several advantages, including: generating revenue before launching the product (which you can later invest in the product), testing various price points for the product, checking the demand for your idea, gathering opinions about the product before its launch.

And that’s it when it comes to how the marketing funnel functions – if after reading this you are more interested in the topic, contact us at Try Codnet – we will gladly help create a marketing funnel for your company!


Marek tries his best in everything asked of him. With art and animation as his passion, and viral marketing as his goal - you can always find him learning something new.

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Digital marketing funnel – how does it work?

by Marek time to read: 10 min