The Marketing Funnel by Rich

A “funnel” is a definite, step-by-step progression towards some end goal. Many people are familiar with the idea of a sales funnel. It’s called a funnel for two reasons:

  1. You are funneling prospects towards a sale.
  2. Like a physical funnel, it narrows towards the bottom. In short, you don’t close every prospect.

There’s also such a thing as a marketing funnel. Where a sales funnel ends in a sale, a marketing funnel ends in a lead – a prospect. Where the marketing funnel ends, the sales funnel begins.

Are there definite steps to a marketing funnel? There sure are, though there are significant variations depending on what is being marketed, to whom, and the marketing channels being used.

A book could be written on this. Several have. But it’s worthwhile, if you haven’t considered this, to look at a typical scenario. It might open some eyes.


It’s the easiest thing to skip something because it is ‘too obvious to mention.” The marketing funnel begins with the effort to contact potential prospects IN VOLUME. I stress “in volume” which I see people regularly ignore.

If you need one lead a day, how much communication does it take to generate that? It surely isn’t one phone call or email. It might be one thousand. Or more.

And let’s not forget that your communications have to arrive somewhere that legitimate prospects are likely to see them. That communication must be so well formulated that it is likely to connect with the prospect and stir a response (that’s another book).

But this one of insufficient volume is the most violated, in my experience. Do you wonder why you see the same ad a gazillion times, to where you know it by heart and want to scream?

Because it works.

How do you know if you have enough volume?  Guess what? If you aren’t getting any response at all, you aren’t even close. If you are getting SOME response, you are at least on the boards, you can now start to gauge what an adequate volume would be.

Sending 500 postcards or emails is not going to do anything, unless it is an extremely targeted, hot list.

So if you need leads, better think BIG VOLUME.


This is something to think about when you are putting your campaign together.

How do you want people to respond? Call? Walk into your store? Go to your website? There are two big questions here, and they are often opposed to each other. What kind of response will people willingly take, and, what would be the ideal response?

Sure, you want them to call you up right away, or walk into your store, but people are often too skittish to do that. They’ve been burned.

Which would your rather have? An actual response, but that has to be extensively worked to turn it into a lead? Or a theoretical response that isn’t going to happen? So the motto here is “get real.”

The “step-by-step” has to be gradual enough that you don’t lose people – or rather that you lose as few as possible. Again, I see this violated all the time. You send people to your website and they are immediately hit with “Sign up for a free consultation” or “get a free quote.”

Why would they?  They don’t know anything about you!  It’s like asking someone to marry you during a speed dating session. Uh, no.

At every step in the marketing funnel, you have to ask yourself, will people actually do this? And if you aren’t sure, test it and be prepared to change course if it isn’t working.


The good news: It isn’t all or nothing. You can offer alternate paths for people not ready to take the next (big) step.

Some people will see your offering and immediately call with their credit card. So make it easy for someone to do that if they’re ready. For all the rest, set it up so they can be led along at the right pace for them.

There’s an art to this. A lot of it has to do with how to offer the options so people see them – but the most popular route is the easiest to follow.

You can do worse than spend a lot of time figuring this out. First to provide the easiest, most gradual of processes. And secondly to offer the alternatives in a way that won’t lose or confuse.


Unless you are a complete crystal ball mind reader, you aren’t going to get this 100% right at first.

The more familiar the territory, the likelier you are to hit a home run early on. But don’t bet the farm on it.

So there is no substitute for testing. See my numerous writings on this subject. I haven’t mentioned him in a while, but Claude C. Hopkins, who pretty much invented advertising as a scientific subject, way back around 1900, did this as one of his key successful actions. He was a copywriter who was so successful with his ads, he ended up owning the agency. He constantly tested to find what worked and improved that.

One reason you need enough volume to get a response is so you CAN test. If you aren’t getting ANY response, or very little, how would you even know if one ad was better than another?


These are some “big picture” rules to get successful marketing going: Conceive a funnel that could work, get enough volume out to get a response, offer variations, test, and refine.

It’s a fact that every successful marketing campaign navigates these steps.

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