It is said by folklore stretching back 1500 years, that a weapon cast in silver is the only way to kill werewolves, witches, and other monsters. In more recent times, the heroes of the stories started casting their ammo in silver, creating a silver bullet. The climax of those stories normally follows another worldly battle between the hero and their nemesis, where the hero fires a silver bullet in their nemesis’ heart, effectively destroying them.
In digital marketing, the silver bullet doesn’t exist.
In its place, a marketer should search for multiple effective weapons, when used together destroy the monster….or convert the customer (whichever is your goal.)
This brings us back to the age-old idea of the marketing funnel. In short: Brand Awareness>>Consideration>>Converted Customer>>Brand Advocate (hopefully). Simply, there’s no silver bullet that can drive a customer through all of those decision processes. It takes calculated messages delivered correctly for each step. Below I’ve included an image of a generic digital marketing funnel. Warning, I’m not a designer.
I’ll quickly break up every part of this into the three separate sections of the digital marketing funnel.
Normally a consumer can become aware of a brand by a thousand different ways, offline and online. In an effort to keep this post short, I’ll keep it to two main channels, search and social. In this example, a customer found your brand either by paid social post, paid search, an organic post that was amplified by yourself and brand advocates, or some content you hosted and they found through organic search. All these are great because of you, the marketer has full control for the content and essentially the message within it. You created it and have tailored it to not only be helpful to the customer but communicate your USPs (unique selling proposition).
Now if the customer has clicked through whatever channel hosted the ad or search listing, they have fallen on your site and you have placed a cookie on them. They might have loved your content enough to have even given you an email address. This gives you the perfect opportunity to deliver more content to them through email newsletters and retargeting ads. Within this content, your slowly able to communicate more USPs improving your product or service’s value to the customer. This will bring them into the Consideration phase of the marketing funnel.
The potential customer now knows who you are and what benefits your product or service provides. They aren’t completely ready to buy yet, though. They have moved from your blog to your website’s order funnel, maybe added a product to a cart, maybe going to competitor websites to compare prices. They are now in the buying stage and have the highest intent. They either come back to your site through branded organic search, retargeting ads, or email newsletters.
All you have to do in this phase is continue to communicate your USP’s and try to answer any questions through targeted behavior messaging. At this point, you have their email, a cookie on their browser, and maybe a liked/followed social page by them. This gives you every ability to communicate these messages effectively and normally fairly cheap. Once you communicated that the value of your product or service is greater than the cost to the consumer, they are moved into the converted stage. The Converted customers who love your product/service so much that they start telling their friends (brand advocates) are the holy grail. Word of mouth is cheap and scalable.
The customers who communicate your USP’s for you are your most effective marketing assets. Great ways to utilize them are to make it as easy as possible for them to share your content, speak openly about you on social. This can either be in follow-up emails where they can share discounts on your product with their friends, or they naturally can just share your social posts if your message resonates with them. As a marketer, you shouldn’t just forget about these customers and try to continue to communicate, build that relationship for a long time after they bought the product.
Again, one channel, search, social, or even word of mouth, isn’t likely at all to drive a consumer through the entire funnel. It takes a combined approach through an integrated and automated marketing funnel to effectively communicate your unique value propositions. We as marketers need to quit looking for the silver bullet and try and build the full funnel.