EP. 5: Let’s talk about FUNNELS
Funnels are a great thinking tool for founders. They help us clarify the journey our customers take and help us plan the steps needed to scale. But thinking in funnels can narrow our vision if we don’t truly understand the reality behind the tool.
In this episode of In Demand, Asia Orangio of DemandMaven breaks down the basics of funnels. From the different types of funnels to common misconceptions and how marketers and founders can use them to maximize them to grow their business.
- none this time~
- [1min] What actually is a funnel?
- It’s a simple way to visualize how a prospect becomes a customer. From the top were prospects/leads learn about a product, down to where they consider it, and finally become a customer.
- [2:50] The two funnels
- Sometimes talking about funnels can get confusing because there is an overall business funnel and then there is the marketing funnel.
- [6:00] The marketing funnel
- At the top of the marketing funnel are activities that help build awareness of your brand and product. As you move down the funnel, marketing focuses in on consideration — teaching about the problem and your potential solution. Finally, at the bottom of the funnel, you get very specific about your product as the solution to the problem to help prospects make the decision to buy.
- [16:20] How to think about funnels in your business (and common misconceptions)
- The funnel isn’t a linear experience for your prospects and it isn’t the only experience. While you think of a customer moving from step to step and stage to stage they are often hopping around or doing things you can’t measure (like exploring competitors or chatting with friends). It is important to remember that a real customer journey is much more detailed and harder to track.
- [29:50] When you change the customer, you change the journey, and you change the funnel
- As your business grows and you start to focus on new segments, you always have to come back to your campaigns and think about if your funnel still matches your customer journey. Sometimes it will, but often it won’t and you will need to adjust, adapt, and expand your marketing.
What’s up, founders? Welcome back to another episode of the In Demand podcast. My name is Asia. I’m your host. I’m also the founder of DemandMaven where we work with early-stage startups on reaching those very first growth milestones, so those first 100 customers, the first 10K in MRR, and the first 100K in MRR.
Today’s episode we are going to dig deep into funnels. This is one of those and one of those words that incites and inspires a lot of different ideas I find in both marketers and founders alike. This is also one of those words that within a specific context means a different thing, and that’s really what I want to chat about with you today.
Not going to lie, this is going to be one of those episodes where I’m really focused on helping you with the foundational aspects of thinking about funnels and also some things to keep in mind about them, too. There’s a lot of misconceptions about what a funnel is and how to actually think about a funnel. Then, there’s also just lots of overall golden rules, best practices, and specific contexts upon which we think about funnels, and that we talk about funnels, and that we apply them.
But first, what actually is a funnel? A funnel is a pretty simple way to actually describe or visualize how a prospect becomes a customer. Whenever we think about how we attract leads … And when I mean leads, I really mean people who are most likely to buy. Whenever we think about how we attract those leads, one of the best ways to visualize that is to think about an actual funnel. At the very top of the funnel, we’ve got people who are in that awareness stage. In the middle of the funnel, we’ve got people who are considering the product. And at the bottom of the funnel, we’ve got people who are actually very deep in that consideration process, potentially even becoming a converting paying customer. Maybe they have signed up for something. Maybe they have actually entered into the product in some kind of way, created an account, cleared a free trial, signed up, something. And all the way down into on the other end of the funnel, now we’ve retained them as a customer, and now we’ve also got to focus on keeping them, so that retention stage.
But depending on the context upon which you’re thinking about the funnel … And when I say the funnel, I put in, as per usual, big, giant, fat quotation marks. Whenever you’re thinking about the funnel, there’s really two parts of the funnel that you’re really actually describing. First, there’s the overall business funnel. This is where I think there’s a lot of, not just confusion, but I think a lot of use the word funnel pretty interchangeably. And many of us don’t really think twice about how we’re actually using the word. And not to get into semantics … That’s not my goal or my mission at all. It’s really much more whenever you hear someone describing their funnel or whenever you hear someone saying the word funnel, just keep in mind what the actual context is of whatever it is that they’re talking about because there’s also the marketing funnel, and that’s really what we’re going to talk about today. We’re really going to talk about the difference between the two, how to be thinking about both, and really the breakdown of what you should be looking at when, and what actually makes sense, and then, of course, the common misconceptions.
So in terms of funnels, whenever I specifically say me personally, whenever I say the funnel, usually the is like a capital T and a capital F. Usually that means we’re talking about the overall business funnel. A business funnel, the overall business funnel when put under a microscope is extremely quantitative. You can actually take a look at what top of the funnel activity looks like. What I mean by that is what your acquisition activities look like. The middle of the funnel, which is really all of your activation activities. And what I mean by that is it’s usually product, or free trial, Or model related. It’s whatever activity someone has to take in order to become a paying customer. Usually, it’s directly tied to that product experience. Then, of course, the very bottom of the funnel, which is they’re pretty much already a paying customer at this point and/or you’re focusing on retaining them. And the bottom of the funnel is really the journey from customer and then on.
This is kind of where it gets a little bit tricky, though. Because if you ever hear a speaker talk about the funnel, it’s important to know are they talking about the overall business funnel or are they talking about the other kind of funnel, which is the one that splinters into 50 million different pieces, which we’re actually going to talk about right now. And that’s the marketing funnel.
The marketing cycle and the business cycle, or, conversely, the marketing funnel and the business funnel, they, on the one hand, are part of each other. So the marketing funnel is ultimately a part of the business funnel. It’s part of the business cycle. But one thing about marketing funnels in general is that they do splinter off. There are usually many different funnels that contribute to the overall picture. This is kind of where funnels get really confusing. And I admit that it’s one of those words, too, that I wish that everyone used it synonymously or at least as consistently as possible in terms of what they’re talking about. But there’s the overall SaaS funnel. And that’s that business perspective, again, that acquisition, activation, and retention. But then there’s also just marketing funnels in general and demand generation funnels that are built based off of how you actually acquire customers.
And this is kind of something that we’ll also unpack a little bit. But what’s wild is that it’s usually very rarely ever just one funnel. There’s usually dozens of funnels. And also, they sometimes nest inside of each other. This is where it gets potentially confusing.
Earlier, I mentioned top of the funnel, middle of the funnel, and bottom of the funnel. And in the context of a business, it makes a lot of sense. Okay, yeah. So that’s acquisition, activation, and retention. In the context of marketing, however, it’s much more closely aligned to the very basic stages of awareness. If you have never seen the stages of awareness before, I would highly recommend pulling up a picture of it. But on the one side, you’ve got people who are totally unaware. Then you’ve got problem aware, then solution aware, then product aware, and then you’ve got most aware, people who already know the brand. They know the product back and forth. Maybe they’re customers. They’re most likely to become customers at this point.
Top of the funnel, middle Of the funnel, and bottom of the funnel, however, at least in the marketing context, sometimes it describes specific kinds of content and/or marketing activities, or demand generation activities that a prospect would mostly take in order to become a customer. This is where the two different funnels between marketing and business don’t necessarily mirror each other exactly, but they’re certainly very similar. In which case, top of the funnel, middle of the funnel, and bottom of the funnel are described in a very similar way.
So from a marketing or demand generation perspective, for top of the funnel activities, for example, let’s say that that’s mostly building awareness. So all the activities marketing-wise that we’re doing, it’s really to build awareness about a product, about our product. If we’re putting this in the context of in-bound marketing, so let’s say we’re focusing on content creation, top of the funnel content, for example, would look much more like content maybe related to your general sphere of who we’re ultimately trying to target and what our segment or our market is. But maybe it’s not so specific to problems that our product solves.
When we look at middle of the funnel activities from a marketing perspective, this is where we’re looking at all of our activities related to consideration. This could be webinars. Maybe it’s kind of related to the product and the problem it solves. Ideally, yes. It’s a little bit closer. But maybe it’s not so focused on actually generating a lead or generating an actual customer.
Bottom of the funnel activity is extremely tied to the actual pain that the customer is trying to solve. And even more specifically, this is where we get into not just consideration but actual … I’m actually going through the motions of trying to solve my problem. From a content perspective, you might be creating content about how to solve a problem but using your product specifically. This could also be, yes, this could be webinars. This could be different activities. But really, the context upon which we’re actually leveraging those activities really determines if it’s bottom of the funnel or not.
I actually consider pretty much anything on the website, at least for a SaaS company, to be pretty closely bottom of the funnel. But just purely because it’s that most SaaS companies don’t have the luxury to create any kind of content or any kind of marketing activities. Usually, it has to drive some kind of result. There’s absolutely use cases for creating more middle and top of the funnel content, especially if you have the budget and also if you’ve got a longer buying cycle or a longer sale cycle where it takes a longer time to build rapport with prospects. But overall, most businesses should at least be focused on very bottom of the funnel activity.
But, this is where it kind of gets even more confusing. Because if you think about it, earlier, we talked about, in bottom of the funnel activities for businesses at least, being the point upon which someone actually signs up for a trial or creates an account. But from a marketing perspective, really, bottom of the funnel means what are the activities that we need to be executing to actually acquire that very high level of interest from a potential customer. So sometimes bottom of the funnel activity from a marketing perspective isn’t necessarily creating the account. It’s really they’ve shown a very strong intent to actually sign up.
Traditionally speaking, marketing is focused on the acquisition piece and working with product and any other departments or teams. They’re also helping the activation side as well. Sometimes there’s content that needs to be produced in order to more effectively convert people into paying customers. Sometimes there’s just knowledge and feedback that needs to be shared with a customer success team or with a product team. But overall, this is kind of where it gets a little bit more splintered. And funnel means a different thing depending on which team is actually talking about it.
It also gets a little bit splintered when you think about, well, what does top of the funnel mean versus bottom of the funnel in a marketing context versus a business context. My biggest advice to people who get kind of stuck on this is to just take a step back and really think about, well, what is it that you’re trying to dig into in the first place? What are you trying to solve? What are you trying to understand?
Something that I like to do is to actually pull up the customer journey map and from there really figure out, okay, am I looking at the funnel from a business context or a marketing context? Overall though, that’s how funnels break out from a business perspective and a marketing perspective. And of course, we can dig deeper into what does top of the funnel mean for content. What does top of the funnel mean for the marketing site? What does top of the funnel content mean just in the global context of what marketing does?
I can give you some generals. Top of the funnel activity, at least from a marketing perspective, that can look a lot like building pretty much any kind of awareness. And top of the funnel usually also means that there’s a little bit less intent to actually buy. It’s really more about attracting your ultimate customer.
Traditionally speaking, this is very high-level content. Also, just top of the funnel content in general, not specific to solving a pain necessarily, but it’s hyper at least relevant to the kind of person that you are trying to attract. Usually, this is also paid advertising. This is conferences. This is that very first touchpoint that draws in or generates awareness with your target audience.
Middle of the funnel is where we get into that consideration phase again. And again, these are marketing activities that get people to consider your product just as a way to solve their pain. This could also be just general awareness at least about the problem. So this is kind of where we see case studies. This is where we see different product pages, feature pages. This is also where we … That’s, of course, the marketing side itself. From a content perspective, though, this might be content related, kind of related to a product. Or excuse me, kind of related to a pain but now we’re digging a little bit deeper or we’re actually educating the prospect about the pain and potential solutions.
By the time that we get to bottom of the funnel … And again, this is really where it really just depends on your product and your market. But this is as close to the actual behavior that a customer would take before signing up for your product. So this is they’re looking at your pricing page. Maybe they are reading case studies in this case. Sometimes case studies are both middle and bottom of the funnel. And sometimes there’s really no right or wrong answer here. It’s just a matter of what the vast majority is, but we’ll talk about that in just a second.
A bottom of the funnel activity could actually also be creating an account, so maybe your freemium. Maybe creating an account is actually an extremely frictionless process and a very easy thing and common thing for people to do and it’s considered bottom of the funnel because it is before they actually become a paying customer, but they haven’t quite made that leap yet. But bottom of the funnel, again, it’s really all about the context upon which you’re thinking about it and, of course, applying it to your business. But bottom of the funnel ideally is extremely close to understanding that you’ve got a problem or at least that the customer has a problem and they need to solve it with your product.
I find that one of the best examples, actually, of bottom of the funnel content is actually product marketing. And one of the best ways to do that is to create content about solving a very specific problem or pain point that the prospect might have and then showing people exactly how to solve it with your product. While there’s general guidelines on what’s top of the funnel, middle of the funnel, and bottom of the funnel, the reality, however, is that there’s really no hard and fast rules.
There’s a third way to think about funnels, and it does nest inside of the marketing funnel example. And that’s whenever you build and design campaigns. Whenever you build and you design a campaign, you’re essentially building a funnel. You’re anticipating the steps that a customer or a prospect would most likely take to actually then become a paying customer.
You have just build a funnel. It is one of many funnels. So just building one campaign, it’s building one funnel. And inside of that funnel actually has many different steps, everything from you’ve gotten their attention from an advertisement all the way down to now they’re signing up for the webinar and now they’re convinced that they have a problem and your product is the solution, and now they’re signing up for your product. That is a funnel.
But, this is actually where we get into all of the different misconceptions about funnels. I think from a fundamental perspective we talked about here’s how to think about funnels, here’s the two different kinds, but this is where we really get into the theory and the philosophy about funnels. And this, I think, is really what I want to unpack for you, but then also make sure that you walk away with a certain sense of confidence about how to actually think about them.
The first very common misconception about funnels in general is that they are these perfectly linear experiences. And I’m here to tell you that they are not perfectly linear. What do I mean by that? What does a perfectly linear funnel mean? The perfectly linear funnel is simply this. It is the customer takes step one that you put in front of them. They take step two that you put in front of them. Then they take step three that you put in front of them. Then, step four is maybe signing up for the actual product. Then, step five is maybe becoming a paying customer.
What you will find is that customers don’t actually take those five exact steps in the time that you expect them to or even in the order that you expect them to. Usually, what ends up happening is the steps that we outline, what we think is really a funnel, is actually dozens and hundreds of complex tiny interactions that we can’t measure and probably will never be able to measure ever in a million years. The reason why is because a funnel really only measures the steps that you actually put out there. But the reality is that you only get to see what you’ve put out there. You don’t actually ever see what the customer actually does unless you have a tool like FullStory or even Hotjar so you can actually look at the customer behavior. But even then, you only are able to measure your website. You don’t know if they actually took five extra steps between step one and step two.
So from the moment that they see your ad, for example, or the moment that they do a search query and they actually open up several different tabs, they have several different options in front of them, they’re considering many different things, you actually don’t get to see that because you don’t get to measure other people’s websites. The only thing that you see is, of course, the funnel that you defined and the one that you’ve actually put out. But the reality is that they’re not these perfectly linear things. And it’s so important to remember that any time you’re designing a campaign and any time you’re troubleshooting a campaign. Any time you’re troubleshooting a channel as well. Channels are also a great example of this. If you are currently generating leads from Capterra, or Google Ad Words, or even just Facebook, you already have a funnel that is really defined by the channel. But what you don’t necessarily know are all the steps that happened before and in between each one of those steps of the actual funnel. It’s a very common misconception.
And I think to be helpful here, in terms of, okay, well, how should I be thinking about it and what do I need to know, what’s important are really two things. One, that you’re measuring your funnel in the first place. I mean, I don’t think I need to necessarily hammer this down, but make sure that you’ve got some kind of analytics to measure your performance of a particular campaign. But the second thing is to remember that if a campaign or a channel is not performing in the way that you expected it to, just remember that customer journeys are not these perfectly linear entities. There’s likely other steps that are happening that you just don’t know about. So it’s not necessarily that marketing didn’t work for you. It’s just we probably just didn’t do the best marketing. And there’s probably something that we’re missing that we need to learn that would make our campaigns stronger, more effective, and more relevant to the people that we’re trying to target.
In terms of other misconceptions, there are really a few ideas I think I want you to walk away with or understandings and just overall knowings about who to actually think about the funnel and then all of the little micro funnels that you actually build. The first, and this is very philosophical, but the first is that the funnel doesn’t actually exist in the way that you think it does. Something I tell founders all the time is that you will always move faster than the market. And really, that hearkens back to how customers actually go through their customer journey, how they actually find and decide on products, and the pains that they experience. How do they actually go about solving those pains?
Our mission as marketers is to really identify a few different funnels in that customer journey that we can build, test, design, and then ultimately scale over time. One thing about funnels is that usually, one is not enough. We need several. And some will perform better than others. Typically, to keep it easy at least, many of us start with just channels. We think about our funnels as channels. But over time, we realize that there are actually many different components of a funnel that actually leads to the desired result, which is a sign-up or a conversion, even down to a paying customer.
But, this leaves us to wonder, at least from a philosophical perspective, did we build a funnel because that was the absolute best way that people do make decisions and do actually convert, or did we build a funnel and just assume that the way that we built it was actually what convinced people into buying in the first place. This is where you’ve got to do your customer research. This is how you would validate if the funnel that you’ve built does actually, generally speaking, match your customer journey.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned at least as a marketeer, it’s that if you’ve built and designed a funnel that doesn’t actually match how a customer makes a decision about a product, then you’ve likely just wasted a lot of time and a lot of effort. But if you’ve designed a funnel that maybe is not the most typical way to convert a paying customer but it did, generally speaking, match how they would actually decide upon a product, then you might’ve just hit solid gold.
But overall, the funnel doesn’t really exist without the ultimate customer journey. And knowing what the customer journey is means that you’ll just be able to build and design ever better funnels for now but then also for the future. It will influence how you think about your campaigns. It will influence how you think about marketing in general. And it’s also let you know when you need to focus more on bottom of the funnel activity versus maybe, say, top of the funnel activity. What’s even more interesting is you will switch up your focus on different parts of the funnel at different parts of your journey. So in the beginning, I might be really focused on bottom of the funnel activity. But over time, you’ll notice that you start to expand more and more into top of the funnel. Not always a hard and fast rule, but very common.
A funnel is really just a way for us to think about how people make decisions. But again, they’re not perfectly linear. People jump in and out of different funnels at different times. Also, it’s just not this per cookie-cutter, clearcut thing. Reality is that there’s so many different inputs and there’s so many different influences into how someone actually makes a decision and very few of that we can actually see. We can make our best guesses with software, and with analytics, and data, but for the most part, though, we really don’t always know the exact steps that someone takes. And the best that we can do is to, of course, interview our customers but then also make sure that we’re measuring the right things.
So it’s really not a funnel. I honestly don’t know what visualization would make the most sense. It’s really like a really junky-looking scribble with the customer on one end and then somehow, through many different steps, twists, turns, considerations, and other entities that we produce, they somehow end up on the other line of paying customer. Where does that leave us, though, from a marketing perspective? How are we supposed to be thinking about funnels if we don’t even know if there are these perfectly crystal clear entities and they’re not these cookie-cutter things? Well, really, our goal as marketers, as growth experts, is to identify the patterns. There are patterns upon which people make decisions. There are pages on your website, for example, that more consistently convert people into paying customers. And there are other pages on your website, also for example, that do a terrible job, actually, at contributing to the overall customer journey. That’s just the website as an example. Imagine all the different entities and all the different channels that we have access to. Imagine all the different variations upon which we can push messaging through those channels.
This is why whenever I’m talking to an early-stage founder and they don’t have any paying customers, usually, what I recommend to them … There are a few outliers, of course. But usually, what I recommend to them is try selling the product first because there’s infinite inputs and outputs that we can try to build and test. But building a funnel blind is one of the hardest and most time and energy-consuming things you can try to do. That’s why I always recommend customer research. And if you don’t have customers prospect research, customer discovery, customer development, those are all tools in your toolbox that you can leverage to learn as much as possible not only on how to market to your customer, but how to sell to them as well.
Overall, though, when it comes to measuring funnels, designing them, testing them, it’s really important to, yes, measure the parts of the funnel that you know that you can actually measure, and especially the parts of the funnel that make the most sense to actually measure. We don’t want to inundate ourselves with data that has no real application or context. But what we want to also make sure to do is to measure patterns over time. That’s also one of the hardest concepts I think to impart to founders and marketers alike. I think we all don’t really understand or sometimes we don’t really realize just how many different data points actually go into turning someone into a paying customer.
But that’s not to say that not everything actually helps provide or generate a result. It’s just much more that everything has a different weight, if you will. Certain pages on your website will do an amazing job at converting customers. The pricing page is one of the most common pages, actually, that does that, which makes sense. It’s part of the decision-making process, especially with those who have high intent. But there are other activities, at least on the website, that do also contribute to that. It’s just really, really, really, important to remember that it truly is a journey and an experience. It’s holistic. It’s very rarely ever just one, or two, or three things. It’s usually the entire experience. That’s why funnels are, one the one hand, an incredibly valuable tool to visualize how someone actually becomes a customer. And at the same exact time, I think it limits us. It limits the way that we think about our brands and how we actually do generate customers. It truly is a whole universe of an experience.
Our job as marketers, as founders, as growth experts, whatever you want to call it, our job is to really identify the patterns and also identify the absolute total gaping holes, the things that we aren’t really meeting that we should be. What do we kind of suck at when it comes to our funnel? Where do people drop off? Where are people not really crossing the chasm? This is also where understanding the funnel, the customer journey, and how the two match each other or don’t, that’s where this becomes really critical.
It’s also really important to remember that there’s not just one funnel. You’re very rarely ever building just one funnel. As soon as you build one, you’ve already really built a hundred. There’s so many different parts of campaigns and marketing activities in general that not only depend on a strong foundational business funnel, meaning you actually are able to convert people into paying customers, but even when you do start marketing, you’re building dozens of funnels at any given time. Every new channel, every new campaign, every new marketing activity that you do, it’s just another layer onto another funnel or it’s an entirely different one. There’s never just one funnel. And even the funnel that you can see, there’s always that many more that you don’t know about. We only really get to measure the activities that are currently being taken now. But even then, there’s others that are unknown that we have no idea about.
That’s not meant to scare you. That’s really more meant to ground you in putting forth your best effort and really understanding the customer journey, but then also just knowing that if you execute a marketing campaign and it fails royally where you see absolutely zero results, it’s likely because the funnel that you’ve build isn’t one that actually matches the customer journey and/or doesn’t resonate. And that’s something to remember as well. But this is why marketing is hard, y’all. This is exactly why.
The last concept I think I want to leave you with today … This is really going to blow your mind. Not actually. But it is something that comes up at almost every single time we start thinking about expanding our market. Many of you have many different segments that you would like to go after. You might actually have one in particular that is going strong. But you’re actually thinking about expanding into maybe another part of the market or another segment. One thing about funnels, if it’s not already obvious, is that it does ultimately match, or it should as close as possible match the customer journey. But when you change the customer, you change the journey, and that means you got to build new funnels.
You might not have to build globally different funnels. The beauty about good marketing and also the beauty about building a product that is versatile enough to fit in many different segments is that you might not actually need to dramatically change too much. But it’s important to validate this, of course, with customer research. But then also, just realize that just because one funnel works for one segment, it’s not a guaranteed, yes, 100% that it’s going to work for another segment, which is why sometimes you find businesses expanding into a different part of the market but they don’t have as much success or it’s harder for them because they realize that … Well, sometimes their product market fit isn’t as strong for the new segment. But also, their funnel doesn’t really work for the new segment.
All of the marketing, all of the different entities that we’ve built that really worked extremely well from a digital perspective for one segment, we might find that it doesn’t work hardly at all for another. And now we have to create an entirely new funnel or set of funnels that match this new customer journey. Remember, when you change the customer, when you focus on a different customer, you’re essentially now focusing on a different customer journey. There might be subtleties, but they’re still worth noting and they are still worth considering. This is why as a brand gets bigger …
Let’s take Asana for example. As Asana has grown, their messaging has also become a little bit more general. It’s now much more catered to a huge global market as opposed to maybe what it was focused on before. Another great example of this is ConvertKit. When ConvertKit first started their SaaS journey, they were focused on bloggers. They were focused on creating an email platform just for bloggers. And even more specifically, I think it was food bloggers if I’m not mistaken. As they’ve grown, however, now their messaging is much more, well, really, we’re email marketing for creators. Now that’s a much more broad term, not to say that it is not niche or focused in any kind of way. Because if you compare it to other email marketing platforms, they’re certainly not saying the exact same thing. But as ConvertKit has focused on different parts of the market, so has their customer journeys and also so has their marketing activity, their positioning, their messaging, their everything. Their business funnel also has probably changed over time.
Also, thankfully, their marketing has been strong enough that they haven’t … They likely, at least that we can see on the surface, they probably haven’t had to change a ton, but they’ve definitely expanded the kinds of funnels, the amount of funnels. Then also, they’ve likely also had to shift a little bit of how they thought about their overall customer journey. And then even more specifically, the more niche customer journeys within every single segment that they target.
As you grow your overall business funnel, and your marketing funnel, and then every single funnel that goes in between, those will evolve and change over time. As we grow, we also take note of the patterns and we take note of the outliers. When funnels are no longer performing as well, we either troubleshoot them or we move on and we find new, untapped sources of prospects, of customers, and also other opportunities that you might not have considered. In the early days, we might also focus very heavily on bottom of the funnel activity or not. Maybe we’re too tied up in top of the funnel activity that doesn’t actually generate any real paying customers and maybe all of our demos or conversations fall flat and we really need to be focused on bottom of the funnel activity. It just really depends on where you’re at and what in the business is currently happening.
But, that’s how we leverage funnels in order to think about what activities should we be doing, what’s actually performing well, and what’s not performing well, and then, of course, what are just some global truths about funnels. It’s, again, so important to know at least the … I’m putting this again in finger quotes. But the philosophy, if you will, of a customer journey, and of the funnel, and when they are explicit sources of truth, and when they kind of fall apart. Again, you really don’t know what’s actually happening in the funnel because we’re not able to measure every single thing that happens. Everything from the billboards that they see, to the ads that they hear on the radio, to the conversations that they have with their friends or if they even have conversations with friends about products, we really don’t know.
The funnel is usually far more complex than we actually think it is. And again, it’s really just our best guess according to what we think that the customer journey actually is and what we know the customer journey to be when we validate it with customer research. Funnels are complex, especially if you run campaigns and they don’t actually generate the results. Sometimes it’s because we didn’t execute the channel very well, but the other part, too, is that it just might not be the actual customer journey that the prospect actually takes to become a customer. It’s very likely. It’s actually more likely. This is also why I also recommend doing customer research before you launch any big campaigns because you’re basically guessing if something’s going to work, if you don’t, I mean.
The funnel, whether from a business or a marketing perspective, they’re really a guide. The patterns, the outliers, those are the things that matter and your ability to measure the, and also your ability to grow and expand them, and then of course sunset them whenever they are not performing, to troubleshoot all of those, all of those and above and beyond.
I hope this was helpful. I feel like I say that at the end of every single podcast. I hope this was helpful. Let me know that this was helpful. Let me know if you learned a thing. I would love to know what questions do you have about funnels. Did that make sense? What can I explain even better? Are funnels confusing, period? Are they intimidating? Are they not? I would love to hear from you. My guess is that for some of you it is. And hopefully, my goal at the end of this podcast was really to ground you in some realities about them, to highlight at least what can you trust about them, and also take certain things with a grain of salt. Because again, funnels are not these perfect entities, they’re not linear, and they’re also really just best guesses at what we kind of think we know about something.
But overall, I hope that it took some pressure off and also maybe sparked some ideas and some questions. Maybe this inspired you to take a look at your analytics. Maybe this inspired you to really analyze what campaigns or funnels have you presented that maybe aren’t exactly the best performing things. And now we know how to think about them at least a little bit better, hopefully, if I did my job right. Maybe now we can start thinking about troubleshooting or expanding some and really validating others. Anyway, thank you so much for listening. Again, I hope this helped. Let me know. And I’ll catch you on the next one.