What Is a Digital Marketing Funnel?

A digital marketing funnel is an automated version of a traditional direct sales funnel.  Instead of a human sales person, a website, social media account, video, webinar or other digital media is used to generate and close sales leads.

Traffic Sources to the Funnel

Digital marketing funnels start with a means of generating traffic to attract potential customers.  Examples of traffic generation tools include:

  • Direct Mail
  • Email
  • Online Videos
  • Pay-Per-Click or Pay-Per-Action Ads
  • Banner Ads
  • Social Media Ads
  • LinkedIn Articles
  • Contests
  • Surveys
  • Coupons
  • Affiliate Offers
  • Mobile Apps
  • Content Platforms
  • Auction Websites
  • Television Ads
  • Radio Ads

Content Types in a Digital Marketing Funnel

This traffic is typically directed to a piece of digital content, such as a:

  • Emails
  • Website Landing Page
  • Social Media Page
  • Online Survey
  • Podcast Page
  • Coupon Site
  • Affiliate Product Page
  • eBook Sales Page
  • Mobile App Page
  • Auction Page
  • Donation Page
  • Political Action Page

Lead Magnet and Opt-In to Capture Leads With the Funnel

Once the prospect visits the desired location in the marketing funnel, he or she is presented with an offer in exchange for the prospect’s contact information or account signup.  Most offers are free or low-priced to eliminate barriers to signing up.  Typical offers and contact information include:

  • Free PDF file in exchange for email address
  • Free consultation in exchange for telephone number
  • 50% off event ticket in exchange for social media account signup
  • Free bracelet in exchange for signing an online petition
  • Free coupon for responding to a survey and providing research data
  • Free notification of upcoming book release in exchange for email
  • $1 delivery in exchange for account signup

Marketing Funnel Automation and Engagement

Once the prospect’s contact information is captured, he or she is automatically engaged with additional offers, up-sells, educational material, invitations, rewards, suggestions follow social media, etc.  Marketing automation and social media automation software are used for this, ranging from free and relatively simple tools, to sophisticated platforms charging $1,000’s per month.

For example, in a LinkedIn Marketing funnel, direct message automation can be used to share new LinkedIn Articles, webinar invitations and holiday messages with your network members.

Another example is an email marketing funnel, where website visitors opt-in to get a useful free video course, and receive automated emails that respond to their interests by tracking opens and clicks.

Each step in a digital marketing funnel can have a myriad of options, from the channels you use to the ad design, images, video, headlines, copywriting, targeting, timing, engagement campaigns, etc. Every digital marketing funnel should be unique and specifically targeted for a particular buyer, problem and solution.