September 21, 2023

Realizing how a advertising and marketing funnel works may also help you diagnose issues and enhance your advertising and marketing technique.

On this information, I’ll present you every part it’s essential find out about advertising and marketing funnels.

Let’s get began.

What’s a advertising and marketing funnel?

A advertising and marketing funnel is a visible illustration of the levels a buyer goes by way of, from first understanding about your model to changing into a buyer.

How the marketing funnel works

The standard advertising and marketing funnel appears like this and relies on the AIDA mannequin. It was first developed in 1898 by E. St. Elmo Lewis, an promoting advocate.

  • Consciousness – When a prospect turns into conscious of your model, product, or service.
  • Curiosity – When the prospect expresses curiosity in your services or products.
  • Need – When the prospect evaluates your services or products. This stage is also referred to as Consideration.
  • Motion – When the prospect turns into a buyer.

Some entrepreneurs additional simplify the advertising and marketing funnel right into a three-stage mannequin:

  • High of the funnel (TOFU) – Consciousness.
  • Center of the funnel (MOFU) – Curiosity and Need.
  • Backside of the funnel (BOFU) – Motion.
Three stages of the marketing funnel: TOFU, MOFU, and BOFU

Some entrepreneurs have discovered the prevailing mannequin to be incomplete as a result of it focuses solely on changing a prospect right into a buyer. Repeat prospects that advocate to your model are necessary too. In order that they added two extra levels to the funnel:

  • Loyalty – The client repeatedly buys from you.
  • Advocacy – The client recommends your model to different individuals.
The marketing funnel plus two more stages: Loyalty and Advocacy

The levels of the advertising and marketing funnel

Let’s take a more in-depth take a look at every stage of the funnel.

1. Consciousness

The Consciousness stage is when potential prospects first find out about your model. 

This will occur in quite a lot of methods:

  • They see one in all your adverts on Instagram.
  • They seek for one thing on Google and discover your web site or content material.
  • They watch one in all your movies on YouTube.
  • They likelihood upon your TikTok.

Whichever it’s, they now know you exist. The following time they see your model once more, they’ll bear in mind you. 

2. Curiosity

The Curiosity stage is when potential prospects start to precise curiosity in your model:

  • They understand they’ve an issue, and you’ve got a attainable resolution.
  • They merely wish to be taught extra about your model and what you do.
  • Your content material intrigues and/or entertains them, they usually need extra of it.

Sometimes, they’ll point out this curiosity by:

  • Following you on social media (Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and/or TikTok).
  • Signing up to your electronic mail record.
  • Following your podcast on their favourite platform (Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and many others.).
  • Subscribing to your YouTube channel.
  • Registering for a webinar.

They will do one or all of those actions. The extra of those actions they do, the extra they’re in your model.

3. Need/Consideration

The Need stage—or extra generally identified immediately as Consideration—is when the prospect begins to guage your services or products.

Simply because they know what you do and how one can assist them doesn’t imply you’re their ultimate alternative. They’ll consider options, learn critiques, discuss to family and friends, and examine.

4. Motion

The Motion stage is essentially the most simple. You’re the chosen one. They’ve determined to purchase from you and use your resolution.

The way to create a advertising and marketing funnel

Whereas the funnel is meant to be a illustration of a buyer’s journey, it doesn’t work like that in the actual world. In terms of shopping for issues, individuals don’t observe the funnel so linearly. 

Simply take into consideration your personal conduct. Do you actually progress by way of these levels in such an easy means? Doubtless not.

Some individuals go straight to the Motion stage if there’s a catalyst occasion.

Some individuals bounce round levels for a number of months (and even years) earlier than they hit the Motion stage. Some individuals bounce across the levels and by no means progress any additional. The record goes on.

So the way in which to make use of the advertising and marketing funnel in actuality is to make use of it as a psychological mannequin to tweak your advertising and marketing. Briefly, you’ll wish to be sure you’re performing some advertising and marketing actions or creating content material for every stage, so that you’re focusing on totally different individuals at totally different elements of the client’s journey.

When you’re not, fill within the gaps.

1. Consciousness

Your objective at this stage is to “open up the funnel,” i.e., introduce your model to as many related individuals as attainable.

Listed below are some techniques to do that:

Implement a search-focused content material advertising and marketing technique

Your prospects are nearly definitely looking for info associated to your model on Google. So that you’ll need your web site seen within the search outcomes.

The great thing about search engine marketing (Search engine optimisation) is that you need to use it for any stage of the advertising and marketing funnel.

Targeting users across the stages of the funnel

Within the Consciousness stage, you’ll wish to create content material focusing on key phrases loosely associated to your services or products. 

For instance, Ahrefs is an all-in-one Search engine optimisation toolset. Naturally, we’ll create content material round Search engine optimisation-related subjects. However in an effort to widen the funnel, we additionally goal key phrases round broad subjects like digital advertising and marketing and advertising and marketing. 

Regardless of which stage of the advertising and marketing funnel you create content material for, you’ll must do key phrase analysis.

Key phrase analysis is the method of discovering priceless search queries that your goal prospects kind into serps like Google to search for merchandise, providers, and data.

You are able to do this by getting into a number of related key phrases right into a device like Ahrefs’ Key phrases Explorer after which going to the Matching phrases report.

The Matching terms report, via Ahrefs' Keywords Explorer

Right here, you’ll see greater than 4 million associated key phrases. That’s too many, so we’ll add a number of filters to slender the record down:

  • Key phrase Problem (KD) to a most of 40 to seek out “simpler to rank for” key phrases.
  • Site visitors Potential (TP) to a minimal of 500 to seek out subjects with search site visitors potential.
The Matching terms report, with KD and TP filtered, via Ahrefs' Keywords Explorer

From right here, you’ll wish to undergo the record to seek out key phrases which can be related to your website.

Really useful studying: Key phrase Analysis: The Newbie’s Information by Ahrefs 

Faucet into different individuals’s audiences

Some individuals in your trade have constructed a big viewers of loyal readers, listeners, and viewers. You possibly can leverage that and expose your model to a completely new group of individuals.

For instance, our chief advertising and marketing officer, Tim Soulo, seems on podcasts ceaselessly:

Podcast appearances aren’t the one means. You possibly can seem on a webinar, current at a convention, write a visitor submit, or co-create content material (like what my colleague, Michal Pecánek, did):

A joint webinar with Kontent, presented by Michal Pecánek

Curate an inventory of individuals you’d prefer to work with in your trade. Then attain out to them and see if they’re prepared to work with you. Present them what’s in it for them, and your probabilities of success will skyrocket.

Really useful studying: Influencer Advertising: Definition, Examples, and Ways 


Whether or not it’s mass media promoting like TV adverts or digital promoting mediums like Instagram, a whole lot and hundreds of manufacturers have been constructed utilizing adverts.

It’s one of the vital tried and examined techniques for constructing model consciousness. 

When you’ve got the price range, it’s an effective way to generate eyeballs to your model.

Really useful studying: 9 Ways to Enhance Model Consciousness (Tried & Examined) 

2. Curiosity

At this stage, your objective is twofold:

  • You wish to get them to join your electronic mail record.
  • You wish to retain this curiosity and nurture them to the subsequent stage.

The obvious step right here is to proceed to create content material that engages your prospects. Regardless of whether or not it’s your TikTok account or a YouTube channel, your content material is probably going the rationale why they adopted you. 

In order that’s the way you’ll preserve their curiosity. Past that, right here’s what you possibly can do:

Get them to join your electronic mail record

A prospect can point out their curiosity in your model in numerous methods. However they’re not made equal. There’s a hierarchy of worth for every platform:

E-mail is the best worth “curiosity indication” you will get. It’s express permission from the prospect into their inbox, a sacred house the place they conduct their most necessary work. 

You’ll wish to be certain that as lots of them are signing up to your electronic mail record. Put up name to actions that remind them to subscribe. For instance, on Ahrefs’ weblog, we’ve a floating field beside each weblog submit.

Ahrefs' email sign-up form

We even have a devoted touchdown web page for our e-newsletter:

Ahrefs' Digest landing page

Whereas we don’t do it, you possibly can provide incentives to encourage sign-ups. Right here’s an instance from Intercom:

Intercom's offer to sign up to its email list

At the same time as you’re constructing a following on different channels, be certain that to frequently remind them to join your electronic mail record:

Create a welcome sequence that introduces your model

As they signal as much as your electronic mail record, you’ll wish to additional interact them by introducing your model, merchandise, providers, or content material to them. 

You are able to do this by making a welcome electronic mail sequence. This may be one electronic mail or “a number of emails” lengthy. For instance, somebody signing up for our e-newsletter will obtain a welcome electronic mail introducing our greatest weblog content material:

Welcome email for the Ahrefs newsletter

In addition to introducing your finest content material, you possibly can additionally:

  • Educate them one thing associated to your product – For instance, you possibly can train them the correct method to do tennis footwork.
  • Announce one thing about your product – For instance, you launched a brand new pair of tennis footwear.
  • Present the worth of your product – For instance, maybe your tennis footwear had been invented particularly to forestall frequent accidents like a sprained ankle.
  • Inform a bigger story of why you’re doing one thing – For instance, maybe you had been an aspiring professional tennis participant, however you broke your ankle and derailed your profession. So now you wish to assist others forestall that problem.
  • Reply frequent questions or objections – For instance, how a lot your footwear price, what materials they’re made from, whether or not they’re cruelty-free/vegan/sustainable, and so forth. 

The selection is yours.

3. Consideration

On this stage, your objective is to persuade them you’re the precise product for the job.

Listed below are some techniques to think about:

Get extra critiques

There are possible loads of review-type platforms in your area of interest. For instance, G2 is a well-liked one within the software program world.

Ahrefs' G2 reviews

When you’re a neighborhood enterprise, don’t overlook that there are at all times Google critiques:

Google reviews

You’ll wish to get extra critiques on these platforms. Extra critiques—particularly excessive rankings—may be influential in a prospect’s decision-making.

There’s no means round it, although: One of the best ways to get extra high-quality critiques is to ship an incredible expertise to your current prospects. 

Nevertheless, even extremely glad prospects might not bear in mind to depart critiques, so that you’ll additionally wish to ask for one when the chance arises. This may be after they categorical satisfaction (on-line or offline) or after they’ve used/skilled your services or products (e.g., journey web sites like Airbnb and TripAdvisor are inclined to ask for critiques once you’ve completed your keep or tour).

Lastly, you’ll wish to reply to those critiques. Whether or not they’re good or unhealthy critiques, this study means that replying to them leads to higher rankings general. 

My colleague, Andrei Țiț, replies to all our critiques:

A response from Ahrefs to a review on G2

Create a versus web page

Your potential prospects will examine all attainable options. You possibly can take management of the comparability narrative by making a versus web page.

Ahrefs' versus page

On this web page, most corporations will do a side-by-side comparability the place they conveniently win. Whereas that’s, sadly, normal apply, we wished to supply a brand new perspective. 

For our personal versus web page, we determined to characteristic third-party critiques and polls and focus on the options solely our toolset has.

Third-party reviews and polls on Ahrefs
Unique things Ahrefs can do

Educate them find out how to use your product

Tim as soon as mentioned:

My principle is that folks don’t join your product after which discover ways to use it. It’s the alternative, in actual fact. They first discover ways to use your product, they usually join as a result of they already know find out how to use it.

Tim Soulo

Use your content material to information your prospects into visualizing find out how to use your product of their every day and work lives. In the event that they see your product in motion, they’ll think about themselves utilizing it.

You possibly can see how this works in all our content material. Our articles characteristic our toolset prominently. So do our YouTube videos.  

We even have a number of free full-length programs that’ll present you find out how to resolve Search engine optimisation issues with our toolset:

Ahrefs Academy

Supply a free model of your product

Seeing is believing. However touching or utilizing the product will imprint it in your prospect’s thoughts. That’s why meals corporations are very happy to supply free samples—one style and also you’ll know whether or not you wish to purchase it or not. 

At Ahrefs, we provide free variations of our toolset:

When potential prospects eat our content material and are in a position to observe together with our free instruments, we’ll be prime of thoughts after they resolve to enroll sooner or later.

4. Motion

Some individuals on this stage may have just a bit bit extra encouragement to buy. So your objective right here is to provide them the ultimate “nudge”—a compelling cause to purchase proper now.

There are numerous methods you are able to do this, such as:

  • Using urgency. In case your cohort-based course is closing or a product goes out of inventory quickly, you possibly can gently remind them (don’t faux this!).
  • Providing a money-back assure.
  • Ensuring the checkout expertise is clean and straightforward.
  • Providing them a ultimate low cost or coupon.


This stage can be a superb place so as to add upsells. Upselling is promoting your prospects add-ons to the merchandise they’re already shopping for.

For instance, once you buy a MacBook from the Apple Retailer, they’ll ask you if you need AppleCare. That’s an upsell. Likewise, once you purchase a meal at McDonald’s they usually ask if you wish to upsize your meal.

As you construct your funnel, it is best to assign some metrics to every stage. The precise metric will range relying on the channel or tactic you’re utilizing, however listed here are some concepts:

  • Consciousness – Variety of guests coming to the website.
  • Curiosity – Variety of individuals signing up for the e-mail record.
  • Consideration – Click on-through price (CTR) for the e-mail(s).
  • Conversion – Variety of individuals buying your services or products.

Begin measuring them with instruments like Google Analytics. Examine these metrics month-on-month. When you discover a decline or distinction in numbers, it means you have got an issue.

For instance, you might discover quite a lot of site visitors in your web site, however nobody is changing to your electronic mail record. From there, you’ll know there could also be a problem with the Curiosity stage. You possibly can experiment with techniques to enhance the conversion, such as:

  • Retargeting guests with a suggestion to hitch your record.
  • Enhance your electronic mail sign-up copy.
  • Enhance the inducement you’re providing to signal up.
  • Make the sign-up field extra outstanding.
  • Including extra choices to signal up.

Analyzing and enhancing your funnel is a unending course of. However that’s the enjoyable a part of advertising and marketing. Carry on experimenting and also you’ll discover methods to enhance your outcomes.

Ultimate ideas

In response to standard advertising and marketing knowledge, it’s cheaper to retain prospects than to accumulate new ones. So you can too contemplate increasing past the standard funnel and specializing in levels like Loyalty and Advocacy.

For instance, at Ahrefs, we’ve a customers-only community the place our prospects can hang around, ask questions, and supply suggestions for our toolset. 

For the Advocacy stage, you possibly can contemplate organising a referral program so it’s simpler to your prospects to refer your product to their pals. 

That’s simply the tip of the iceberg. There’s extra you are able to do. You simply must experiment. 

Any questions or feedback? Let me know on Twitter.