There are two funnels. The funnel that gets the most attention is that paid media funnel. That funnel is about paid media tactics and how to use each tactic. The second is the owned media or content funnel. The content funnel is often ignored. People will create some content willy-nilly, but never actually thinks bout their customer’s journey and relationship with the content they produce. However, both funnels operate along a similar principle.
As people gain interest in your brand, they will interact with it in more engaging ways.
Paid media funnels are ordered at the top by more awareness-focused tactics: Things like display ads or even billboards. But, of course, this isn’t limited to just digital marketing. And as you move down the funnel, the tactics become catered to individuals that are further along in the buying process. The best example of this is a Google search ad. A Google search ad is shown to people actively looking for something similar to your product, where a display ad may be shown to someone who has never even heard of your product. As a loose rule of thumb, the lower down the funnel, the higher the click-through rate.
The Owned Media funnel is similar. But instead of paid media tactics, it’s the content type. At the top of the funnel is more awareness-based content like a YouTube video or an SEO-optimized article. While near the bottom of the content funnel can be a Patreon subscription or Facebook Group. It’s the content that’s specifically for the super fans who’re willing to pay extra.
It can be easy to think that the paid media funnel sits on top of the owned media funnel, but that’s not the case. The truth is the paid media funnel is a framework for understanding the customer journey. So while the content funnel is likely to be the actual customer journey a person took.
A marketing agency will tell you that a person will view Google Ads, then go to Facebook and see more ads, and then they’ll do a google search and see the final ad and make a conversion. But that’s pure conjecture. There’s no way that I know of to target someone who viewed a Google Ad on Facebook. Because you can’t make that connection, at least not yet, I avoid most “top of funnel” paid media tactics. Most small companies don’t need brand awareness. So I always recommend Google Search Ads and Facebook ads. No need to get into Google Display ads, at least not if you’re just getting started.
As for the content funnel, build out an extensive offering of content so that there’s always a way for people to interact with you more if they want. I highly recommend this book by Perry Marshall. It talks about applying the 80-20 principle to marketing and how there will always be an elite group of your audience that will want more.