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What is a marketing funnel, and how does it work?

A good marketing funnel is essential to reach potential customers so they purchase. But what is a marketing funnel? Why do you need it? And how do you create one? In this article, you will read more about the marketing funnel.


Brief Summary


A marketing funnel visualizes the process of turning potential customers into actual customers. A customer goes through multiple stages in the funnel, from the first time they interact with your brand to becoming a customer.

What is a marketing funnel?

A marketing funnel is a model you can use to map out the buying process of potential customers. This process starts when someone comes into contact with your brand to buy your product or service.

What is a sales funnel?

The marketing funnel and the sales funnel are sometimes used interchangeably. Indeed, they are often combined but are a bit different. With the marketing funnel, you try to make the target group aware of its problem, need, and the solution. To do this, you create awareness of your brand, product or service. The sales funnel is an extension of the marketing funnel. You try to convince the target group to purchase from you by pointing out the advantages of your product or service and communicating offers.

The funnel shape

The marketing funnel is shaped like a funnel. You reach a large target group at the beginning of the buying process. As the funnel narrows, a part of the target group drops out, so you get relevant and potential customers.

Why a marketing funnel?

A marketing funnel helps you understand your target audience’s behaviour, preferences and needs. The funnel allows you to tailor your marketing activities to this group better and gain insight into what works and doesn’t. You also:

  • Give structure to the marketing process;
  • Collect customers more efficiently;
  • Reach the right group of people;
  • Improve customer satisfaction;
  • Get insight into your marketing performance.

The marketing funnel stages

Several marketing funnel models have been created to understand the buying process. These models are often a combination of the marketing and sales funnel. The most commonly used model is based on AIDA and consists of 4 stages: attention, interest, desire and action. Each stage has its own goal and strategy. Below you can read exactly what each stage entails.

1. Awareness

During the first stage of awareness or attention, the target audience becomes aware of your brand, product or service. The aim is to increase your brand awareness or attention.

2. Interest

The target group has noticed you. In the next stage, interest, it is essential to get the group interested. So you have to give information about the problem and your brand, product or service.

3. Desire

The target group has noticed you and is interested in what you offer. It is essential in the desired stage to convince the group to choose you and not your competitor.

4. Action

In the final stage, action, the goal is that the target audience will buy your product or service and make sure the audience knows where to find it.

Marketing funnel: example

The marketing funnel can be a vague concept. To better explain it to you, you will find a marketing funnel example below.

1. Define the target group

Suppose you want to sell handmade vases online. The first step is to define your target audience by using a persona. For a persona, you determine the following points:

  1. Age
  2. Income
  3. Character traits
  4. Hobbies
  5. Online activities
  6. Expectations
  7. Problems they experience

2. Awareness

Now you have created a persona, you can start working on the first stage of the marketing funnel: awareness. You want your target audience to become aware of your business with handmade vases. You can reach this via the following activities:

  1. Create landing pages containing the vases you offer. Make sure they are optimised for SEO by using the right keywords.
  2. Write blog articles about, for example, what types of vases exist and the vase trends of the coming year.
  3. Be active on your target audience’s social media channels, such as Facebook, Instagram and TikTok.
  4. Get started with online advertising through SEA.

3. Interest

The next stage in the marketing funnel is ‘interest’. You can generate interest by mentioning the positive features of the product or service. For example, communicate that your vases are made from natural materials or at a fair price.

In addition, you can generate interest by posting offers on various communication channels, or offering free samples, so potential customers can first try the vase in their interiors. You can also ask for their email address to send marketing emails in the next step.

4. Desire

The target audience knows of your existence and is interested in your vases. Now the trick is to convince the target audience to make a purchase. Make sure you create the feeling the target audience needs your product.

In the example of the vases, you could email about how unique each vase is and gives the target’s interior a luxurious look. Or send tips on how to style the vases. It is also possible to use relevant influencers to create the feeling the target audience wants your vases because this influencer is enthusiastic about the product.

5. Action

In the last step, you want the target audience to purchase. So you must think carefully about where the target group can buy the vases. In your online shop, of course, but inform, for example, that the vases are also for sale in well-known physical shops.

Tip: Use analytics tools like Google Analytics to find out at which stage of the marketing funnel the target audience drops out. So you can make changes if necessary.

How to create a marketing funnel?

Each marketing funnel can look different, so there is no 1 right way. You will find a step-by-step plan below to help you create a marketing funnel.

  1. Define your goals
    Decide what your goals are for the marketing funnel. Do you want to generate more leads? Or do you want to increase the conversions?
  2. Identify the target group
    Who is your target audience? Create one or more personas to find out.
  3. Create content
    Write blog articles, post regularly on social media or create exciting videos.
  4. Choose a lead magnet
    With a lead magnet, you can collect contact details from your target audience. For example, create a whitepaper or give a webinar. Ensure you consider the GDPR because you are collecting personal data.
  5. Build a landing page
    Build a landing page where visitors can sign up for the lead magnet. Make sure there is a clear Call To Action on the page.
  6. Send emails
    Send valuable emails to the target audience in response to the lead magnet. The goal is to build a relationship with them without selling anything yet. For example, send customer reviews or a product demo.
  7. Create a buying page
    Finally, you build a page where the target audience can purchase.

Don’t forget your existing customers

Are you finished after the stages of the marketing funnel? The answer is no. To increase their loyalty, it is essential to keep existing customers happy even after purchasing. Make sure, for example, you create the following: 

  • A good customer service;
  • Product support;
  • Emails with news and offers;
  • Exclusive activities, such as pre-sales or events.

Do you want to start with the marketing funnel but still need to get a website or webshop? Create it today at one.com.

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