How Marketing Funnels Work: A Step-By-Step Guide To Create One

How Marketing Funnels Work: A Step-By-Step Guide To Create One
Summary: Creating marketing funnels with low conversion rates isn’t a very wise strategy. After years of researching and testing, we understand how marketing funnels work and can leverage them to guide prospects to take certain actions. Read more and learn how to implement them in your strategy!

How Marketing Funnels Work: The Complete Guide To Create One For Your eLearning Business

Marketing funnels have saved countless hours for marketers in the last decades. That is why their importance in a business is not debatable. When we talk about business, we mean any business.

Yes. Marketing funnels can be used in any industry. However, not all of them are the same.

Let us picture the customer as the hero of a movie. In this scenario, the conversion funnel is the wizard. The hero is trying to wander around the land in order to complete the quest. Meanwhile, the wizard is always there to assist the efforts and ensure success. Every time things get dangerous for the hero, the wizard intervenes.

Therefore, it is important to create a marketing funnel for your conversions. Not only will you help the customer, but also your business by mapping out the journey and having complete control over it.

By reading the following article you will be wiser over what the conversion funnel is, how it will benefit your eLearning business, and how to create a solid one.

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What Is A Marketing Funnel?

As a definition, a marketing funnel is the visualization of the journey your leads take to complete a conversion and potentially become customers. It is a concept that helps marketers understand the journey of their leads, uncover issues, and optimize the process.

The reason behind the resemblance of a funnel is the decreasing number of leads along the process. As it is already proven, the further down the process, the fewer the number of leads. That is why marketers tend to say that they want to "cylindrify" the funnel. By that, they mean to increase the number of prospect leads and convert more into customers.

To better understand the concept, imagine a fisherman doing his work. The fisherman casts a broad net into the water where the fish are. Even though many fish swim in that area, not all of them get caught. Some of them escape in the beginning, while others manage to escape as the fisherman collects the net. In the end, a certain amount of fish ends up on the boat.

What Are The Stages Of A Marketing Funnel?

There are many ways, concepts, and definitions around marketing funnels. For the purposes of this article, we will explain the three-stage model and the AIDA model which are most commonly used.

The Three-Stage Model

The three-stage marketing funnel is the simplified version. As the name states, the model divides the funnel into three stages: top, middle, and bottom of the funnel.

Top Of The Funnel (ToFu)

“Top of the funnel” is the initial phase of your potential customers’ journey. This is the first interaction they have with your brand and services. Hence, there is the opportunity to present your services to a large number of prospect leads and persuade them to take the next step in the process.

In this stage of the funnel process, marketers make full use of advertisement campaigns to generate leads. These campaigns aim to increase brand awareness and build the foundations of a successful customer journey.

Middle Of The Funnel (MoFu)

In the midway of the buying process, the potential buyer looks for more information on a solution. Hence, they know the problem they want to solve and consider buying a solution.

Marketers in this stage tend to support the research of the potential customer. This can be done successfully with content focused on the evaluation of the solution you offer. A solid example of this type of content is use cases.

Bottom Of The Funnel (BoFu)

The last stage of the process is the “bottom of the funnel.” In this phase, the buyer is determined to make a conversion. Now it is your chance to persuade them to choose your solution over your competitors’.

Marketers in this phase focus on content that contains details on the solution. That said, it is vital in this stage to validate the buyer’s decision with specific information and benefits.

As we mentioned above, this is a simplified version of a funnel. To dig deeper into the stages, we’ve got an extra treat for you. So, let’s move to a more detailed version of a marketing funnel, the updated version of the AIDA model:

The AIDA Model

It was 1898 when the American businessman Elias St. Elmo Lewis created a concept that shaped marketing, the AIDA model. The acronym of AIDA stands for:

  • Awareness (or Attention)
  • Interest
  • Desire (Decision)
  • Action

However, the buyer journey has changed over the last few years. Hence, the traditional model is updated to meet the current marketing needs.


This is the first phase of the website conversion funnel. In this stage, the prospect leads have their first interaction with you and your brand. Hence, this is the perfect opportunity for a proper introduction. To achieve it, marketers focus on brand awareness and thought leadership. Additionally, this is also the first stage of lead generation, since your leads jump in the funnel and go through the lead nurturing process below.


After having their first interaction with your company, leads show interest to learn more. In this stage, businesses aim to build a relationship with their leads. To do so, brands proceed to share more targeted information about their solutions with marketing initiatives like newsletters and email campaigns.


Passing the interest phase, leads start to take your services into consideration. In this stage, you can assist their research with even more information and present your solution as the perfect one for their problem. In marketing terms, leads have become marketing qualified leads in this stage, since they have come closer to becoming customers.

If you want more information on content and lead generation, make sure to read all about how you can create eLearning marketing funnels from scratch.


Stepping further in the process, marketing qualified leads are almost ready to buy your solution. This phase is usually reached when your potential customers add an item to the cart or complete an offered demo of the service. This is your chance to enhance the decision-making process with more detailed information about your solution.


One step away from completion, your prospective customers are having their last thoughts. In this stage, your leads know their problem, they are willing to buy a solution, and they are almost seeing yours as the best fit. However, potential customers might drop off the journey even at this stage. This is why marketers tend to continue showcasing the solution as the most befitting for the potential buyers.


Kudos! The journey is completed. The lead has become a customer that trusted your services. If this trust is rewarded, it will result in valuable referrals that will fill up your conversion funnel with leads and restart the process.

If you loved the AIDA model, you’ll surely enjoy reading how eLearning marketers use content marketing to influence buying decisions!

What Are The Benefits Of A Marketing Funnel?

Tracking the buyer’s journey can turn into a challenging process. You might notice losing leads throughout the journey and wonder why.

Well, marketing funnels offer the remedy.

In general, marketing funnels operate as a visualization of the customer journey towards a specific conversion. This alone offers the benefit of tracking the steps prospect customers take on your site.

To clarify, marketing funnels offer the following benefits:

  • Measurability

Each step of the funnel is measurable. Hence, you can see in which phase you lose or gain more leads and act accordingly. Additionally, you can measure the performance of your marketing initiatives in each step.

  • Reduce errors

By mapping out the journey, you can spot the problematic areas. Since every stage can be measured, you can spot the phase in which you lose more potential customers and fix the related errors that cause this loss.

  • Uncover opportunities

Measurement can also be used in each stage to uncover valuable opportunities. In combination with trial-and-error actions, you can uncover marketing solutions, strategies, and initiatives that work best for your business.

  • Increase conversion rate

Measuring, reducing errors, and uncovering marketing opportunities will eventually lead to an increased conversion rate. Since you will get a better understanding of your buyer’s journey, you are going to enhance the chances of conversion.

Make sure to read my latest article for more info on conversion rate optimization.

How To Create A Marketing Funnel

A marketing funnel requires a harmonical combination of marketing initiatives. Each step of the process focuses on the different needs of leads and the business. Therefore, you first need to determine the destination of the journey, the conversion. Then, by mapping out the process, you will decide to use the appropriate marketing initiatives for each phase.

For better clarification, here is a step-by-step guide on how to create a marketing funnel.

Preparation: Define Your Conversion

The first and most important step of the process is to determine the conversion. A conversion does not always have to be a purchase of a solution.  For example, you might want to track and measure the subscriptions to your newsletter. In this scenario, the conversion is the subscription.

Step 1: Awareness

The awareness stage is at the top of the digital marketing funnel. In this stage, you want to build awareness by showing your thought leadership over a subject.

SEO is of high importance in this stage. Since you want to reach the screen of your potential customers, you will have to implement SEO activities. For instance, a solid link-building strategy will help you increase your domain rating and organic traffic while drawing leads to your marketing funnel.

In general, you can build awareness with:

  • SEO marketing, link building, keyword research
  • ToFu content, blog posts
  • Webinars
  • Social media, advertising campaigns

Step 2: Interest

Once you get the desired attention, you can increase interest. In this stage, your potential customers know what their problem is and are actively looking for a solution.

A great example could be publishing an eBook. With this asset and by following tested content marketing tactics, you will get the attention of prospect leads and nurture them along the way.

Some valuable marketing initiatives in this phase are:

  • eBooks
  • Newsletters
  • Targeted emails
  • Online classes

Step 3: Consideration

Your leads know their problem and have a first glance at your solution. In this phase, you want to showcase more detailed information about your products. Meanwhile, your lead nurturing continues with tailored email marketing campaigns.

To clarify, in the consideration stage, the following actions are vital:

  • Case studies
  • Email campaigns
  • Free trials
  • Videos

Step 4: Intent

By reaching the intent stage of the marketing funnel, the prospect is looking thoroughly into your services. To help the decision-making process, you need to build on that intention with offers and more detailed information.

Some common marketing tools in this stage are:

  • Whitepapers
  • Demos
  • Surveys

Step 5: Evaluation

In the evaluation phase, the marketing team joins forces with the sales team to convince the prospect. Meanwhile, the marketing qualified lead is one step away from conversion and has some last pre-purchase thoughts.

The following marketing/sales tools can be proven beneficial in the current phase:

  • How-to guide, buyer’s guide
  • Demonstration videos
  • Demos

Step 6: Conversion

Finally, the lead reaches the desired conversion and becomes a customer. However, this stage should not be taken lightly, since it can provide leads for the next conversion. Hence, you might want to give a positive experience to your new customer. In return, they might reward this move with valuable referrals.

In short, some common techniques in the last stage of the digital marketing funnel are:

  • Thank-you page
  • Referral rewards
  • Newsletter
Do You Want To Leverage A Strategic Marketing Approach To Reach Your Target Buyers?
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The marketing funnel is the map of the wide world called “customer’s journey.” It is essential for businesses that want to optimize their processes and increase conversion rates. Moreover, it can be used in any type of business and industry.

In the marketing funnel, the leads follow a journey from the top to the bottom. In the top stages, leads identify their problem and see your brand for the first time. Along the process, leads read about your solutions, search further, and eventually decide whether to buy or not. Lead-generation-wise, leads become marketing qualified leads and then customers.

Any business can create a marketing funnel for any type of conversion they offer. To do so, they need to proceed with a combination of marketing initiatives for each stage.

At the top of the funnel, content strategy and link-building are vital. Therefore, you can create an eBook and webinars to enhance your thought leadership, gain trust, and eventually increase the success rate of your digital marketing funnel.

Along the process, you have to be in the know regarding the latest landing page optimization best practices to boost your CRO.

A well-structured marketing funnel will help your customers, and be sure that their positive experience will reward you back!

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