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What is a marketing funnel and how it can help you make more sales

Any business, regardless of industry, wants to have a log of visitors to their website. The ultimate goal here is to return these visitors to paying customers.

Did you know that only 2% of the purchases are made during the initial contact? Even at the fourth point of touch, this figure only rises to 10%. With so much going on nowadays, a customer takes in average 22 days and needs around 32 touchpoints across multiple devices and channels to make a purchase. The customer journey is made up of these contact moments. Each journey is unique for each customer. 

Why do you need a funnel?

If you focus your marketing efforts on fast sales or the generation of leads, you may produce satisfying results in the short run. But in the long run, you may see stunted growth. The reason behind it is that at any given time, the number of customers who are really ready to buy is small.

Your customers are all in different stages of their decision-making process. Depending on where they are in the different stages of the purchasing decision process, they have very unique information and interaction needs.

  • See – this is the stage where you reach all potential customers who may be interested in your offering. People at this stage often don’t even know your brand, product, or service.
  • Think – customers actively think and look for information about your offering at this stage. So, you should inform and educate them on how your product and service can help them.
  • Do – this is the stage in which customers want to buy a specific product or service. This means, your mission is to persuade them to your offering is the best choice.
  • Care – in this stage, it’s all about taking care of a customer that you already have. In the strict sense, this stage is not part of the funnel of how to convert a visitor into a customer. But you want to look after them since loyal customers generate repeat profits.

The stages See Think Do chronologically take place before the actual purchase. Care was added later to make up the STDC model, but you’re likely also going to encounter the See-Think-Do model.

There are countless models devised by different marketing schools of thought. Depending on the model there are more or fewer stages. You may have already heard of the AIDA model:

  • Attention – the customer knows of a specific need and also knows your offering
  • Interest – the customer is actively looking for solutions to their problems and shows interest in your product or service
  • Desire – the customer commits to buying your offering. It’s like moving from “liking” to “wanting”
  • Action – the customer buys your product or service
The AIDA model analyses and measures the customer journey

The AIDA model was developed by E. St. Elmo Lewis in 1898 while the See-Think-Do-Care (STDC) model was created by Avinash Kaushik, who works for Google as a Digital Marketing Evangelist.

The AIDA model worked great for offline marketing but has a strong bias for divisional silos and a company-centric perspective. Whereas the STDC model captures the complexity of digital marketing and measurement, as well as focuses on the buyer’s intent. Before you entirely dismiss AIDA, just know that it has worked well for over a century and STDC is based on it.

Regardless of which model you plan to use, both have so-called top of the funnel, middle of the funnel, and a bottom of the funnel (often abbreviated to TOFU, MOFU, and BOFU). In each stage, people have different mindsets and intent. People at the top of the funnel are furthest out from taking action. Knowing this, you can begin determining which marketing channel(s) is best suited for each step and create a more effective strategy.

A wholistic approach to digital marketing

More often than not, many online business sites still only cover Do, so that they’re not addressing customers in other stages and stopping with finishing the order. This means that you’re missing out on touching people earlier in the consumer journey to nurture these consumers at whatever pace they want. You’re also leaving money on the table when an order is finished is your last step.

Remember how people need between around 32 contact moments to convert into a paying customer? Looking at your audience through the lens of the STDC model, you see that each represents a subset of the last one. Though this doesn’t mean you can or should communicate with the Do stage’s audience with the same kind of communication that you would use with Think and See stage’s audiences.

The STDC model has 3 buying stages and in the last stage, you turn an existing customer into a loyal customer

Think about it like this: the key to success for any business is to make sure that there is an attractive product or content for audiences of See, Think, and Do stages to engage with. This means, if you want to grow our business, you need touchpoints or content for the See stage (the widest possible addressable audience) and for the Think stage (fill up your funnel at the very top, build relationships, convince people early, etc).

So, when a customer wants to engage with you, you have a touchpoint that perfectly matches their intent regardless of the stage they’re in. Note that in the STDC model, the customer intent is defined by behaviour, not demographics or psychographic. Moreover, there’s no clear distinction between the stages and the transition is fluid.

Measuring and tracking

Measuring, tracking, and analytics are just as important as your efforts in digital marketing. A precise and error-free tracking system allows you to monitor the key performance indicators reliably. It particularly needs to be able to accurately track how the traffic flows across all channels. Only when you have valid data can you make the right decisions.


If you design your marketing strategies around understanding customer intent and think from a consumer perspective, you’ll see that a customer journey isn’t necessarily a linear process. You’ll also see that each company or even each product or service needs its own individual funnel. Put differently, there’s no “silver bullet” funnel that will increase your sales magically.

The STDC model allows you to understand from your customer’s perspective what your marketing strategy is solving for. You’ll get a clear plan of how what and where to communicate with your customer. You’ll also get what the specific metrics are the show you what’s working (or not).

Once you know how your customer’s journeys look like, you can automate steps so that you can save time and tedium. An automated funnel ensures that your website and communication generates constantly leads, 24 hours a day.

We understand it can be a bit of a daunting task trying to analyse and set up a funnel. If this sounds like you, and you could use more guidance, feel free to reach out and we’ll set up a time to chat. If you need more guidance, contact us.

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