What Is Full-Funnel Marketing? (How to Build a Strategy)

Key Points
  • Full-funnel marketing is the process of creating a comprehensive marketing strategy that covers all channels and brand touchpoints throughout the customer journey.
  • It’s a holistic approach to marketing that attracts attention, drives engagement, spurs consideration, and creates brand loyalty.
  • A full-funnel approach to marketing ensures individuals have a positive experience with your brand.

Customers have unlimited ways to interact with your brand throughout the buyer’s journey. And the best way to consistently reach them is with full-funnel marketing.

Consider all these touchpoints:

Potential customers could visit your website, explore your blog, or read your emails. They might also search for answers in Google, engage with you on social media, or watch your TV commercials. They could even find your products through a podcast.

Offline, customers might look for coupons in the Sunday paper, or browse an endcap display in-store.

In other words, the customer journey is fragmented. Fortunately, full-funnel marketing solves this problem.It gets you in front of your audience at every stage, digital marketing channel, and brand touchpoint. Read on to learn how full-funnel marketing helps you to drive greater revenue and marketing ROI.

What is full-funnel marketing?

MARKETING
TERM
DEFINITION

Full-Funnel Marketing

Full-funnel marketing is the process of creating a comprehensive marketing strategy that covers all stages of the customer journey, from awareness to consideration to purchase.

Although we think of the sales funnel as a straight line, it’s more like a maze. A full-funnel strategy connects the dots across channels and touchpoints so more customers consider your brand when they’re ready to buy.

When you think about the entire journey, you can develop a holistic approach to marketing that combines brand building with performance marketing.

Full-funnel campaigns attract attention, drive engagement, spur consideration, build relationships, drive sales, and create brand loyalty. They also improve customer experience by matching content to expected actions. Furthermore, full-funnel marketing creates an optimal experience across every marketing channel and every customer touch point in the journey.

Since your audience members take a non-linear path to purchase, you need to consider both online and offline interactions.

Your prospect may find your brand through a Google search, interact with your brand on social media, visit your website, see your product in a store, and then check out online reviews on their smartphone while in-store. With full-funnel marketing, your goal is to create a positive, connected experience for prospective customers throughout their journey.

Stages of the marketing funnel

The marketing funnel has three main stages:

  • Awareness: The awareness stage is when audience members first become aware of your product or service. The goal at this stage is to expand reach and increase brand awareness. It’s also to educate prospective customers and generate interest.
  • Consideration: The consideration stage is when customers are interested in your product or service and want to learn more. The goal at this stage is to build on the customer’s interest by providing more detailed information about your product.
  • Conversion: The conversion stage is when customers are ready to buy your product or service. The goal at this stage is to close the sale and get the customer to commit to using your product. Useful marketing at this stage includes ROI calculators, competitor matrices, coupons, guarantees, etc.

High-funnel marketing efforts are intended to cast a wide net to generate awareness among as many people as possible. As customers move down the funnel, you narrow your focus to those who are most likely to convert.

With full-funnel marketing, your goal is to create a positive experience for prospective customers throughout their meandering journey.

Why is full-funnel marketing important?

Full-funnel marketing is important because it covers the entire customer journey and spans all the marketing channels you use to deliver the perfect message at each customer touchpoint. In fact, Nielsen found that full-funnel marketing campaigns deliver 45% higher ROI than those that target only the bottom of the sales funnel.

45%

Full-funnel marketing campaigns deliver 45% higher ROI than campaigns only targeting the bottom of the sales funnel.

Google

If you run isolated marketing campaigns, much of your marketing could miss the mark.

This is because the campaigns may not resonate with prospective customers depending on where they are in the customer journey.

In contrast, full-funnel marketing strategically targets each step in the purchase process to deliver relevant messaging and calls-to-action (CTAs) for the given stage of the customer journey. It also ensures individuals have a positive experience with your brand no matter where they enter the content marketing funnel and seamlessly guides them toward the next step in the funnel.

Marketing throughout the entire funnel creates momentum from one stage to the next. As a result, you create a superior customer experience at every step of the customer journey that leads to greater conversions, orders, and revenue.

Elements of a full-funnel marketing strategy

You must consider several key elements when you develop full-funnel marketing strategies. These components ensure you remain focused on your audience’s needs, influences, and expectations at every stage of the customer journey.

Audience segmentation

Segment your target audience so you can tailor your marketing messages and funnels accordingly. You may want to group potential customers based on location, demographic traits, behavior, or psychographic insights. Each segment may require different approaches to drive them through the conversion funnel to purchase.

Buyer persona development

Next, create a buyer persona for each audience segment you identify. This fictional representation of your audience is the foundation of full-funnel marketing because it helps you identify the thoughts, concerns, and behaviors of your target audience.

Make sure your personas contain useful information to help your sales and marketing teams create campaigns that resonate with your target audience. In addition to general information, also include data about how your audience seeks information, what influences them, and who they trust.

Use these examples of buyer personas for inspiration to create your own.

Customer journey mapping

After you identify your personas, the next step is to map their customer journey. This will help you understand your customers’ questions, decisions, and actions each stage of the funnel. You may need to create multiple maps for each persona that each focuses on a specific action or goal.

Mapping the buyer’s journey reveals key moments where you can influence decisions to move a potential customer deeper into the funnel.

Multi-channel marketing

Although different customers often have similar questions at each stage of the funnel, they don’t all use the same channels. So it’s important to publish content in a variety of formats across different marketing channels to reach a broad audience. You should still customize the message and format to the channel, so don’t try to push the same content out on every single medium.

Channels to consider include:

  • Affiliate marketing
  • Content marketing
  • Email marketing
  • In-store and display advertising
  • PPC
  • Print ads
  • Radio ads
  • SEO
  • Social media
  • TV
  • Video ads

If you use cross-channel marketing strategies, then you can achieve greater reach no matter where your customers look for new products.

Cross-functional collaboration

The success of your full-funnel marketing initiatives depends on collaboration among various stakeholders. Everyone from brand managers to performance-marketing teams should help each other understand the best mix for optimal marketing results.

To maximize impact, you’ll need to align blog content with social media campaigns to send more traffic to your site. You’ll also want to run paid campaigns around keywords you don’t yet rank for in organic search, and shift budgets away from terms you already rank well for.

Connect with customer service teams to gather feedback for reviews and testimonials that you can publish on your website. And work with sales to align current strategies with marketing initiatives.

Data-driven marketing and unified KPIs

Rely on data to drive your decisions so your marketing portfolio is well optimized. Collect data on your audience, their behavior, and your marketing results. Conduct new tests continually, measuring the impact of different marketing on different stages of the funnel.

This data informs the types of campaigns you should run, the channels to utilize, and the audience segments to target.

And when looking at your marketing data, factor in both branding and performance marketing efforts. If unaided brand awareness increases, measure the impact on traffic, leads, orders, and revenue. If unaided brand awareness drops, what types of performance marketing enable you to still hit your target numbers?

Marketing automation

Marketing automation is an excellent way to track and optimize your strategy. Use software to automate your full-funnel marketing tactics, including customer relationship management, email marketing, nurturing, and lead generation.

Marketing automation makes it easier to guide a prospect from one stage of the funnel to the next.

Top of the funnel

Upper-funnel marketing increases reach, creates brand awareness, and educates your target audience. This is crucial because these activities build trust which influences decisions later in the journey.

Create brand awareness

If people are not aware of your brand or products, then they can’t become a customer. That’s why one of the primary goals at the top of the funnel is to create brand awareness.

There are a number of ways you can create awareness for your brand, including:

  • Paid advertising: This includes TV, radio, print, social media, and display ads.
  • Organic search: Optimizing your website and content for Google organic search.
  • Content marketing: This includes creating blog posts, articles, infographics, lookbooks, etc. It’s focused on content that educates and informs your audience.
  • Social media: Creating engaging content and building a following on social media platforms such as Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
  • PR: This includes getting media coverage for your brand in print, online, and on TV.

Two things are key when it comes to creating brand or product awareness. 

First — It’s important not to push too hard at this stage. Your primary objective is to get people interested in your brand, not to sell your product.

Second — Be present where your potential customers are. Identify the primary channels they use and create consistent messaging across those channels.

Middle of the funnel

In the middle of the funnel (MOFU), your primary goals are to boost consideration and differentiate your brand from your competitors.

Boost consideration

In the middle of the funnel, it‘s time to increase consideration of your products. This means getting potential customers to start thinking about your offerings as a solution to their problems. You don’t need to convince them that you are the solution. Rather, you simply want to get them to start considering your brand or product as a potential option.

There are a number of ways you can boost consideration:

  • Develop thought-leadership content: This content will help position you as the authoritative brand in your industry.
  • Participate in trade shows and events: This will help get your brand name in front of potential customers.
  • Generate positive word-of-mouth, reviews, and testimonials: Social proof will help show potential customers that others have had success with your product or service. This will instill confidence in your brand.
  • Offer product demos and free trials: Allow them to grab a front-row seat and explore your product. Enable them to test out your product through a demo, interactive webinar, free trial, etc.

Differentiate your brand

The middle of the funnel is where potential customers start to compare your brand to other options. It’s important to differentiate your brand at this stage so you can remain top-of-mind as potential customers continue their journey. 

Start educating them on what makes your product or service unique. It’s just as important to clarify the audiences who would benefit most from your differentiators.

There are a number of ways you can differentiate your brand:

  • Target middle-of-the-funnel keywords: This will help you rank for keywords that are further down the funnel. The aim is to provide your audience with a deeper understanding of your products or services.
  • Create comparison content: Help potential customers compare your products or services to other options on the market.
  • Develop product videos: This will help potential customers understand how your product or service works and how it can benefit them more than competing options.
  • Host webinars: These webinars should primarily be educational in nature as opposed to a demo for your product or service. They should provide real value to prospects.
  • Brand-personality-driven content: When you sell a commodity, your brand personality is sometimes what sets you apart from competing options. In that case, let your personality shine through in order to guide them to the bottom of the funnel.

Bottom of the funnel

When prospects reach the lower funnel, your goal is to close the deal.

Close the deal

To close the deal, provide prospects with a clear call-to-action (CTA). This CTA should convince prospects to make a purchase or send them to a landing page that strengthens your value proposition.

There are different types of content marketing that work particularly well at the bottom of the funnel, such as:

  • Coupons and discounts
  • Lower funnel keywords
  • Behaviorally-triggered content
  • Personalized content
  • ROI calculators
  • TCO calculators
  • Proof of concept offers
  • Free shipping offers (for ecommerce)
  • Personalized emails
  • Retargeting ads

At this point, you should push to make the sale. Ensure prospects feel confident in their buying decision and remove the friction that might prevent them from completing the transaction.

Measure performance

To ensure your full-funnel marketing strategy is effective, measure your performance with multi-touch attribution modeling. This will help you identify what’s working and what needs to be improved.

To measure performance effectively, establish key performance indicators (KPIs). Track your integrated marketing performance to assess the overall portfolio’s success towards your stated business goals. 

Couple that with metrics that assess the contribution from individual components to move prospects from one stage of the funnel to the next.

Here are some common metrics at each stage of the funnel:

  • Top of the funnel: Keyword rankings, impressions, unaided brand awareness, website traffic, etc.
  • Middle of the funnel: Keyword rankings, content downloads, webinar attendance, mailing list subscribers, qualified leads, etc.
  • Bottom of the funnel: Conversions, orders, new customers, revenue, customer acquisition cost, etc.

Track these metrics to measure your progress and optimize the levers that produce the greatest marketing return on investment (ROI). Then, strengthen customer retention to boost your bottom line even further.

Full-funnel marketing FAQs

What is full-funnel marketing?

Full-funnel marketing is the process of creating a comprehensive marketing strategy that covers all stages of the customer journey, from awareness to consideration to purchase.

Why is full-funnel marketing important?

Full-funnel marketing is important because it covers the entire customer journey and spans all the marketing channels you use to deliver the perfect message at each customer touchpoint.