The Borden Funnel: our marketing model for the journey any person takes from awareness to the purchase of your product or service. Do you understand yours? Are you investing in that “journey” constantly?
The Funnel is of the utmost importance to develop, and when presented and in place, it will result with a purchase or conversion — but, it’s essential to understand that the conversion is not an ending, it’s actually where your marketing journey can really take off and be of value! While the Funnel can be described as linear, your relationship with clients and potential clients is cyclical. It’s a living, breathing, growing, evolving process that you need to nurture on every level. Assess what works and what doesn’t, identify new opportunities, and optimize existing systems on an ongoing basis.
Customer service is marketing. The user experience when someone lands on your website or blog is marketing. Greeting a customer entering your workspace is marketing. A response on a direct social media message is marketing. Marketing is not one activity undertaken by one person , or one department – it’s a whole new way of doing everything.
Whether you are developing your Funnel, starting your business, or looking to grow, ensure that you consider Acquisition, Activation, Engagement and Virality relating to all you create – this is where you will see a return on your investment when it comes to marketing.
AKA: Creating brand interest and awareness.
Get people in front of you and/or your product! This is the stage where you’re attracting the attention of your potential buyer. You’re increasing brand exposure, simply and clearly communicating the benefits of your product/service, educating, sharing, meeting potential customers at demos and trade shows, getting cross-promoted, reaching out on social media, getting featured in print and/or in person, and making sales calls. Acquiring customers costs exponentially more than it does to retain one, so keep at it, and once you have their attention, do everything to keep it.
AKA: Turning your audience into your customers and community.
At this stage of the Funnel, you’re reengaging those who are already aware of your brand, reinforcing the benefits you offer, and delivering a great initial experience with your product or service. Activation involves building a brand that people want to (and will!) come back to time and time again. The key in brand activation is to show your customers that your promoted promises and what you say are true. This is your chance to really connect and turn the relationship your audience has with your brand into something bigger.
Whether your objective is to increase subscriptions or membership, move products off the shelf, gain foot traffic or fundraise, brand activation is not just about gaining affinity, it’s about inspiring action. Ultimately, for successful activation, you shouldn’t focus on one activity or event – that is too much work without sustainable return. Instead, strategize how, on an ongoing basis, you can keep your brand visible, relevant and reflective of your values. In turn, you will find yourself connecting with your audience in meaningful ways and they will understand how to engage with you, for shared benefit.
AKA: Keeping your customer relationships alive for the long-haul.
Continue to deliver value. Maintain your conversations and interactions in real life and in the virtual world. It’s not just a popularity contest that can be judged on likes or reach — it’s a conversation. Use social media (read this if you are considering hiring an “expert”!). Set up and make the best use of your email marketing (here’s how to make sure you have permission to add someone to your mailing list). Tell your story well, and repeatedly. Deliver on your promises – or ideally, over-deliver. Listen to what your customers have to say, and reply with thanks, taking action based on their feedback. New customers are exciting, but your long-term customers matter. Reminder: customer service is marketing as much as, or even more than, anything else.
AKA: Getting your customers so excited and happy with your business, that they share the love and invite others to join them in your community, use your product, and try your services.
Beyond delivering amazing service (that people can’t help but share!), there are other ways to encourage your customers to refer and recommend. Set up an influencer program to harness the power of good, targeted social reach (we take great pride in organizing these programs), or perhaps set up a basic affiliate program that rewards people with commission every time they refer a sale. Virality is all about creating and sustaining growth. When people have an authentic love for you, your service, your brand – their passion and loyalty will support you. It takes a village, and one by one, a community becomes your army. There is no better sales team than raving fans who want to support you simply because they appreciate the value you share.
Every day, every month, every year, focus on sharing the best of yourself and your business, giving it (and others) your all, and enjoying the process and investment – you will realize the return and your audience’s loyalty. With everything that you do, remember that it’s contributing to the larger picture, and the health of your business.
Kindly note: We don’t like to refer to ourselves as “experts”, but we do take great pride in sharing our business advice, distilled down from our extensive research and (often) mind-blowingly frustrating experiences we’ve endured and learned from. We try our best to create a clear and humble approach to good business tactics that you and your teams can understand and turn into effective and productive revenue streams. We are actual, real people and look forward to supporting you in any way we can, whether it’s on the topic of this post, or other business development and marketing communications you may be involved in, or considering. We are proud of the services we provide; if you don’t see what you’re looking for, just ask us – we also take pride in being super responsive!