What Are Marketing Funnels & Why Do They Work So Well?
What Are Marketing Funnels & Why Do They Work So Well?

First Things First: What Is a Marketing Funne

A marketing funnel consists of all the different stages a visitor must go through before they make a purchase. It is a visual metaphor for the process of converting a curious visitor on your website into a paying customer. This concept is called a funnel because at the beginning–or top of the funnel–there are a lot of people willing to explore your content; however, as visitors take the next steps in the exploration process, many drop out, causing the size of your total visitors to narrow.

The Inbound Marketing Funnel Concept

Considered the most effective form of marketing nowadays, inbound marketing encompasses a set of techniques that focus on pulling audiences through creative content like blogs, videos, and social media posts. These tactics focus on having potential customers come to a brand rather than a brand using aggressive tactics to get to customers. Inbound marketing has its own funnel which is divided into three main categories:

Top Funnel (TOFU)

  • This accounts for about 85% of your traffic. The top funnel consists of potential customers in “research mode” who are simply looking to learn. While they may not come to your site ready to make a purchase, engaging–not pushy– content may motivate them to go back to your site when they are ready to buy.

Middle Funnel (MOFU)

  • The middle of the funnel is made up of about 10% of your overall visitors. Middle of the funnel traffic consists of people who have a clear idea of what type of service or product they want and are just exploring their options. Since they may not make a purchase the same day, they visit your site, find a way to stay in touch with them through offers via email, social media, etc.

Bottom Funnel (BOFU)

  • Only 5% of your traffic is found at the bottom of the funnel. However, these visitors often referred to as “buyers,” are the most profitable. Bottom of the funnel buyers are ready to make a purchase and have their credit card in hand. Your focus should be on facilitating the buying experience by making the sign-up and checkout processes easier for them.

What About a Content Marketing Funnel?

Although inbound and content funnels have a lot in common, there are some differences. While inbound marketing focuses on making visitors take some kind of action, the purpose of a content marketing funnel is to introduce potential customers to your business and establish a relationship through engaging, informative, and useful content. Like the inbound marketing funnel, a content marketing funnel consists of three stages:

Top of the Funnel

  • Considered the brand awareness stage of the content funnel, the content in this phase must focus on grabbing attention. This content must make an impression without asking anything in return.

Middle of the Funnel

  • This stage consists of developing a relationship with visitors. A common way marketers begin to nurture a relationship with users is by presenting them with special offers in exchange for their emails or social media follows.

Bottom of the Funnel

  • Once you have established a relationship with potential leads, it’s time to convince them to buy your product or service. Bottom of the funnel content is all about getting users to move from receiving (free valuable information and engaging content) to giving.

A digital marketing funnel gives marketers a guide to follow and plan their campaigns around. As opposed to inbound and content funnels, however, the digital marketing “funnel” is actually shaped like an hourglass, with the top half usually consisting of the following four stages:


  • Every potential customer starts at this stage. The sole purpose of this phase is to generate awareness with the end goal of exposing new people to your product or service.


  • The objective at this stage is to retain a customer’s interest after you have earned their attention in the first stage. Good quality content is critical during this stage, as it is the most effective method of keeping visitors engaged.


  • At this stage, visitors are well aware of your brand and may be considering making a purchase. Your goal here is to increase their desire to buy with offers, promotions, and more detailed content that may offer a solution to their specific problems.


  • Visitors at this stage are ready to make a purchase and go from visitors to customers. Make the process as easy as possible by providing easy checkout options and incentives like free shipping.

The bottom half of the digital marketing “funnel” centers around your relationship with customers after they have made a purchase. These stages represent a major concept in marketing: Your relationship with the customer does not end at the sale.

The last two stages of the digital marketing funnel are:


  • Did you know that it costs five times as much to gain a new customer than to retain an existing one? After they have made a purchase, you should focus on strengthening the relationship with your customers with rewards like discounts, promotions, points, and other similar tactics.


  • If your customers are satisfied with your service or products, provide them a platform where they can easily share their experiences. This is generally done via a reviews page or social media channels.

The Stages of a Marketing Funnel Must Flow

The ultimate goal of marketing funnels is to give marketers an easy visualization of a customer’s journey from awareness to conversion. If the stages of a marketing funnel do not flow, they will not give you an accurate depiction of what a customer’s journey actually feels like. When the stages of a funnel flow and form a cohesive pattern, a marketing funnel provides a helpful framework through which you can analyze your business’ strongest points and areas where improvement is needed.

Why Marketing Funnel Automation Is So Important

Marketing funnel automation is the process through which marketers execute and keep track of tasks in a more streamlined and efficient way. Automation can maximize marketing funnel strategies by helping you manage email marketing campaigns, determine the most promising leads, and guide you through the overall process down the funnel. Automation software is also great for keeping data in an organized way, making it easy for you to analyze your numbers, and optimize future strategies.

How to Create a Marketing Funnel for Your Business

Creating an effective marketing funnel for your business is a laborious process that involves enormous amounts of effort, time, and research. If done correctly, a marketing funnel can increase sales, build brand loyalty among your customers, and improve your overall business’ reputation. To create the most effective marketing funnels for your brand, consult with digital marketing agencies. A modern digital marketing agency specializes in the top digital marketing strategies and trends, such as inbound marketing funnels and online content creation.