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Do You Have a Well-Balanced Marketing Funnel?


There’s no doubt that we all want to be able to attribute conversions to our marketing and advertising efforts. But if everyone who has heard of your brand today converted, then what? It’s an easy trap to fall into as an established business — focusing all your attention on the bottom of your marketing funnel and neglecting the top. If you don’t keep filling your funnel by investing in top-of-funnel brand awareness tactics, too, then eventually your funnel might run dry.

While there is no “magic ratio” to employ to strike the perfect balance of effort and money between top- and bottom-of-funnel techniques, a thoughtful attempt at balancing the two is a great start. With a little experimentation, you should be able to home in on a good balance for your business. If you find yourself focusing the majority of your efforts on one piece of the funnel, here are a few perspectives on how to strike a more balanced MarCom strategy.

A refresher: top-of-funnel vs. bottom-of-funnel

The Marketing funnel - and upside down triangle with sections labeled (top to bottom): Awareness, Consideration, Usage, Repeat, and Advocacy

Before we dive in, let’s quickly discuss the difference between top-of-funnel and bottom-of-funnel marketing tactics. Top-of-funnel marketing focuses on attracting leads and engaging early-stage prospects. Bottom-of-funnel marketing is when you take those interested prospects and convert them into paying customers.

At the top, focus on frequency

At the top of your funnel, the main goal is brand awareness. You want people who don’t know about your brand to see your name, get curious and start to engage with you. Or, if you are in a crowded market segment, continual brand awareness is important to make sure you’re staying top of mind for consumers and in the mix with your competitors. It might feel like the main goal here should be clicks through to your owned channels, and while that absolutely should be a secondary goal, you need to focus on frequency first. Very few consumers click on an ad they see for the first time from a company they’ve never heard of. It takes multiple exposures to your ads and your brand name before most consumers feel comfortable enough to click through to your landing page or share their email address with you. Key top-of-funnel KPIs to track should be reach and frequency.

Tactics to use for top-of-funnel include:

  • Paid advertising – streaming video, broadcast TV, paid social, digital display advertising, print, out-of-home, etc.
  • Organic content creation – social posts, blog posts optimized for search, videos, etc.
  • An SEO-optimized website
  • Referral campaigns through existing customers

Track and nurture leads with a CRM

Having a customer relationship management (CRM) software will help you manage and track your leads as they start to come in. These tools can help you sort your prospects into affinity categories or track their engagements with your brand so you can better tailor your bottom-of-funnel, conversion marketing offers to them. Many CRMs also include an email service, which provides a seamless way to nurture and keep in contact with your leads as they move down the funnel.

Close the deal with conversion marketing

Using your CRM to monitor prospects’ behavior lets you know who is near the bottom of the funnel. If a prospect has demonstrated a need for your product, has been frequently interacting with your brand (website visits, opening emails, etc.) and/or has even added items to a cart but didn’t check out, then you know they are serious potential customers.

This is the audience segment to which you should turn up the conversion marketing efforts. Bottom-of-funnel marketing tactics include:

  • Retargeting ads
  • Paid search ads
  • Email and/or direct mail marketing
  • Personalized offers such as discounts for items of interest or for items in their cart
  • Testimonials
  • Free trials
  • Live chat

Creating a more balanced effort between increasing brand awareness and converting leads to customers can ensure that you have a smooth, sustainable pipeline set up for your organization’s growth.

If you need help rethinking your marketing funnel or maximizing your efforts, the B&Y team can bring fresh eyes to your marketing challenges. Let’s talk about how we can help!