Marketing Funnel Basics For Any Online Business

Which one will you intend to buy: A car 10 years old or a car which was launched last month, with the same price?

I’d hope you’d choose the one that was built last year because it better suits the needs and wants of today’s driver, even if both the car are in perfect shape and condition.

If you cannot rely on a car design that is just 10 years older, how you can rely on a strategy that’s been used and abused over and over again. Hasn’t your audience changed in the past 10 years? Haven’t your audiences’ needs and wants changed over the last 10 years?

Advertising over the time has unfolded many secret strategies that one could follow to set an inbound marketing funnel. Why? Because advertising alone can’t accomplish the goals that a proper marketing funnel can, in fact advertising is merely a tool to accomplish the given objectives under the funnel.


It’s a common term for people in marketing but for those who don’t know, here is a quick sum up of the whole concept.

It’s a layer based strategy where you predict the customer journey and place proper strategies in each step till they make a purchase. Let me further break it down to you:

Before we go into that, let’s assume the customer journey of aspirant looking for online courses on photography (cold lead)

  • Google’s for the solution-lands on your blog-redirects to landing page.
  • Looking for solutions in social media- Ads-redirects to landing page.

(Once a lead is on the landing page, it’s a Warm lead)

  • After they have landed on your landing page, they would either consider the solution purchasable or maybe they will just keep it in option or may jump onto another website. This is why we tag them with Retargeting tools. We follow them wherever they go and flash exclusive ads to them, giving them more intent to make the purchase.
  • We can nurture the lead with retargeting and attract him by giving more value with price, maybe discounts etc.
  • The leads that will still not react to the ads or email marketing, might have multiple possibilities on when and how they will convert. Some need more time than others but it really filters out the lead that’s actually interested.
  • Now we are not spending money on cold leads, these are more potential leads we are showing our retargeting ads, which gives a higher probability of conversion.

Once the purchase is done, they can again be retargeted with up-sales. Now, coming back to the funnel:

Awareness is basically the branding campaigns that you do to tell people that you exist or so that people can find you out when they look for it.

Running a PPC campaign for a better search visibility, with a strong on-page SEO or even a maybe blog (let’s say) on “different career options photography have” will definitely grab eyeballs of the people making their searches for the same. And with the help of analytics, be it social media or Google, you can actually figure out the exact keywords that lands to more hits on the landing page.

Consideration is marked when they clicked on any ad or organic link and landed on the website where they can be tagged. The person most likely landed on your website because he/she was looking for something related to what you sell. These are warm leads which narrows down to conversion.

Intent is when the potential customer is interested into your product/service. They might take time, they might be short of cash or maybe they are just too tired to take out the credit card and put the details on for payment. But they have a requirement and an intent to make a purchase. These are the ones who will sign up for the free PDF or a free consultation. A sign up program to really filter out your leads will help in this part. Also, a strong retargeting campaign along with some email marketing will really hook the customer up.

Purchase is when they make the payment, maybe for the smallest possible purchase but they did it. They can be categorized and put under a different retargeting tag and can be directly targeted with personalized messages and even up sales of other related products.

The next two steps are more like bonus steps. They can be neglected at first, but turns out it’s the most effective strategy for retainer clients.

Loyality Once your product/service proves its credibility and value to the customer, they are bound to come back. Its loyality.

What’s even huge is when they advocate for you, they refer other people to try your products/services. It’s the best thing that can happen to your business. You can immediately consider a different pricing strategy for that. But for now, let’s look at how it’s implemented in real life practices.

Online Sales Funnel

Creating a funnel for conversion for almost all internet based companies is basically this:

  • Select your customer info graphic
  • Select the appropriate platforms for Ads, eg, Facebook, Google(text/display/video)
  • Get people click on the ad and jump onto your website in order to get some value, let’s say, a free e book on photography or basic tips for an aspiring photographer. No money, no cards involved, he just have to sign up and download.
  • The moment the person signs up, you get details of the customers you can put into use over the time. Also, now you can retarget them at the social media websites and various other blogs etc.
  • The e book will have an outline of the whole curriculum presented in a way that’s ultimately making them realize that an online course would be a perfect match.
  • Since they will be seeing ads everywhere and now knows what value they can get from the online course, they are very likely to convert. It’s more visible when you consider 1000 people signing up. The conversion is never 100% but even if that’s close to 10%, it’s good enough.
  • Calculation CPA(cost per acquisition):

Let’s evaluate every service you have to offer on the online course (amounts are just random):

  1. Photography for aspirants : Rs. 10000(CPA1-5000)
  2. Photography for professionals: Rs 20000(CPA2-8000)
  3. Editing basics: Rs 8000(CPA3-2000)
  4. Adobe/specialized software skills: Rs. 20000(CPA4-5000)

CPA is basically how much can you spend on 1 conversion.

Sum of all CPA= (5000+8000+2000+5000) =20000

Total CPA=20000/4 services= Rs 5000

So, for an online photography course, the average cost for one customer will be Rs. 5000, that means if you run a campaign for Rs. 5000, you should get at least one customer.

  • Figure out an actual conversion ratio of the 5000 amount spent on ads and also which platform is giving more returns.
  • Now, remarketing all of the leads will be on different levels and the budget will spread out according to the size of the audience:
  1. One for the people who landed but dint sign up
  2. One for the people who signed up but dint make a purchase
  3. One for the people who made a purchase

This also gives an idea about which specific service/product is bestselling so that you can leverage that on your ads.


As long as you are not into business, you won’t probably feel the pain of the businesses that rely on outbound sales. It’s a hectic process which requires manpower and space and have low conversion rates.

It’s costly and not data driven, remember the CAR metaphor, it’s just made for today’s businesses. With over 90% young adults continuously engaged over various social media sites and Google being in everyone’s phone, the sales funnels have also changed overtime. A proper digital marketing funnel is more than just an inbound sales strategy, it also allows you to nurture potential customers.

Think about it, Netflix and other apps has already taken over television, our way of ordering food has changed to just a tap of button, in fact, we don’t call for a cab now, we book it on an app. Be it logistics to laundry, everything has an app. Even calling is outdated for us, it’s all online!

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