By Amine Rahal, entrepreneur and writer. Amine is the CEO of IronMonk, a digital marketing agency specializing in SEO and CMO at Regal Assets, an IRA company. 

Entrepreneurs rely on consistent lead generation to sustain their business. But without a marketing funnel, you don’t have a blueprint for generating leads. 

A marketing funnel describes the systematized sales journey for your customers. It’s a type of content strategy that routes new prospects and website visitors into making sales. Marketing funnels are long-term projects designed to draw in new visitors, keep them coming back and, eventually, turn them into paying customers.

They’re not just a gimmick, either. A study in Hardvard Business Review found that companies with simple, well-designed marketing funnels are 62% more likely to close high-quality sales. For landing higher quality sales and repeat customers, building a well-functioning funnel can make all the difference.

The best part is, you don’t need fancy subscription software to build an effective marketing or sales funnel. You can bootstrap a funnel across just about any industry or niche to generate leads. In this article, I’ll show you how I help my clients build lead-converting marketing funnels using a simple three-phase formula. 

Phase 1: The Awareness Funnel

The awareness phase of your funnel is dedicated to attracting new prospects. At this stage, you’re previously unknown to your audience and you’re looking to make a strong but unassuming first impression. 

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Here you should be creating informative content that addresses problems or questions your audience might not even be aware that they have. For instance, “5 Things You Can’t Forget When Remodeling Your Kitchen” or “How To Keep Your Dog Active During the Winter” are topics that are well-suited for the awareness stage.

Although your content can take any form, most consist of the following:

• Long-form blog articles.

• YouTube videos.

• Podcast episodes.

I recommend using keyword research software like Moz, SEMrush or Ahrefs to find what your audience is searching for within your niche. Keywords with key search volume (> 1,000) have to do with topics and questions that are commonly asked within your industry or niche. Seek these out and create content based on these high-volume keywords.

The key is to create excellent, well-sourced and easy-to-read content that genuinely helps solve the problems your audience might be facing. Use your awareness-phase content to bring positive attention to your brand, adding value to your audience by solving legitimate problems for free. 

Phase 2: The Consideration Funnel

The consideration stage is dedicated to an audience that has a specific problem in mind and wants to find solutions or products to address it. While they’re not quite ready to take out their credit card, at this point they’re looking for trustworthy sources for information about a product they have in mind.

At this stage, you want to create informative content that focuses on specific types of solutions or products — for example, “What’s The Perfect Refrigerator Size for a Family of Four?” or “How to Get More Value Out of Your Rawlings Baseball Glove” are excellent content ideas for the consideration stage. 

Once you’ve prepared content at the consideration stage, revisit your awareness content and add in links to your related consideration content. This way, you can route prospects to the next stage in their buying journey. Just make sure that there’s a natural and logical link between the content you’re linking between; otherwise, it’ll seem forced and can spoil any trust or goodwill you’ve built with your prospect.

Phase 3: The Decision Funnel

The third phase of the funnel, the decision stage, is the closer. This is where your audience members have their wallets out and are ready to make a purchase. Naturally, this stage is dominated by content that reviews, aggregates or compares products, such as:

Single-Product Reviews: “Is [Product A] Worth The Money? (Our Honest Review)”

Product Roundups: “The Top 10 Best Cat Food Products for Senior Cats”

Head-To-Head Comparisons: “Apple Watch vs. Fitbit: Which Is Better in 2021?”

Your calls to action (CTA) have to be strong at this stage. There should be multiple buying opportunities on the page, and product links should be included wherever they naturally fit. This is where you’re converting prospects into customers, so make sure you’re providing honest, in-depth content that readers will trust. 

You’ll notice that there’s a continuity between each stage of the funnel. Your awareness content should link to consideration content, which, in turn, should link to decision content. In this way, your strategy resembles a “funnel” that, eventually, leads to a sale.

Master The Art Of Funnel-Building

As an entrepreneur, it’s essential that you create content that caters to your audience’s needs. With e-commerce, the sales process is a long game. You need, at minimum, a three-stage funnel to attract prospects, win their trust and bring them back when it’s time for them to close the deal. 

A Salesforce survey found that 79% of marketing leads never end in sales. With a marketing funnel, you can stop the bleeding. Marketing funnels are simple three-part blueprints for routing your prospects into paying customers.

Don’t rely on prefabricated and costly funnel building software. Instead, save your money and spend it on ads to promote your content. If you follow this basic, three-step formula to building a marketing funnel, you can put your business on the path to search engine optimization (SEO) success and bring prospects into your business organically.

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