Last Uated: Jan 5, 2017
funnels are at top and narrow at bottom, right? anymore, according to author of Digital Selling. Here’s how a funnel works in today’s digital age.

Imagine if you were trying to run a modern grocery store with deliveries made by horse and wagon. Or running a twenty-first-century finance department on a nineteenth-century accounting models. Yet and marketing departments are still working from a “purchase funnel” model that was developed 120 years ago. It’s an antiquated system that doesn’t fit a profoundly transformed business world.

funnel, developed by Elias St. Elmo Lewis in 1898, was so named because of high number of prospective umers at top. higher numbers meant more opportunities to win business, and leads were generated on foot and by . Back n, interruptive marketing messages were seen as providing value because that’s how umers got informed. But that model works only when customers have scant access to information.

As purchasing decisions have migrated to online arena, umers have an overabundance of information and can often get real-time answers to ir questions. Marketing message interruptions, especially on social platforms such as LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, and Face, can be seen as an annoyance. Bombarding prospects in those environments can lead to complaints and harm a company’s reputation.

So what works? A strong, compelling online presence and a funnel with a new, cutting-edge shape. Here’s what it looks like:

Digital Sales FunnelNarrow at top. No longer is it effective to “shout” at a mass of disinterested people and hope someone will pause to listen. Online and marketing departments have to attract relevant prospects by creating ‘value’ in places where a company’s customers show up. 

Partnering with aligned providers and industry rs is more likely to attract your target audience’s eyeballs. Rar than businesses choosing a market segment and bombarding it with messages, prospective customers need to choose business.  

Wide in middleIn a marketplace that is digital, information-saturated, and highly social, attention is most precious resource. A prospect who displays even a passive interest in a company needs to be engaged quickly by and marketing folks. 

Engagement looks like , articles, or podcasts. Companies can interact with prospective customers in person, via calls, emails or text messages. Contact could be weekly, monthly, or even quarterly. Good social CRM software and social media monitoring platforms can measure wher engagement is effective. If you’ve kept your prospects’ attention, your business is likely to have a seat at table once y’re ready to buy.

Narrow at base. From middle of funnel, a small percentage of prospects will make a purchase at any given time. With amount of data available, companies can extrapolate insights on how to improve ir and marketing processes. ROI can be measured efficiently. What content leads to more questions? What percentage of engaged prospective customers makes a purchase? How long is average cycle? In digital world, and marketing is iterative, with data being used to tantly improve results.

A business model that lasts 120 years is a pretty good run by anyone’s standards. But to be successful in digital world, companies have to embrace a strategy that fits contemporary business environment. Digital Funnel enables organizations to compete and succeed in this transformed environment. That old sage Lewis might even agree.

Business Know-How/Attard Communications, Inc. is a participant in Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to

Grant Leboff

Grant Leboff is a leading expert on digital marketing. Based in UK, he is founder of Sticky Marketing Club LtdDigital Selling, is an Amazon chart-topper, and follows in footsteps of his three previous best-selling business titles.


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