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Practical Techie: Funnels, a new name pops up to channel sales on the web

The web is a constant tsunami of high-tech names difficult to keep up with. When a cybernaut finally learns the meaning of this or that technology, five new pop-up to describe it, or with a new name.

This is due to the plethora of developers across so many cultures, continents, and cybernetics schools, each with their ideas on how to name their tech babies.  It so happens that it may be the same technology, a bit enhanced, here and there, but brand-new different names.

The most recent creation is “funnels.”

PIPE — An internet “funnel” is a succession of key steps which lead a visitor to convert into a client on your site or app. The funnel shape represents the progressive steps that result in a targeted objective. As usual on the web, things appear simple and to the point but there are complicated, invisible technologies behind every tool.

At its most basic, a web traffic funnel is a marketing strategy that builds long-term, loyal customers, moving them from awareness of a brand to familiarity and purchase. In terms of design, the branding is at the top, trickling down in the shape of a funnel toward sales.

For marketers, the term TOFU is not the soft cheese-like consistency food made from soya-bean milk, but rather “Top Of The Funnel,” or the first contact with the users and their entry into the funnel.

DYNAMICS — Proponents of this style of marketing say web funnels work magic. They efficiently bridge entrepreneurs with their potential customers to quickly build effective, loyal relationships. Funnels follow the new tendencies of internet business-oriented more on the customer than on cold, immediate profit. In theory, sales funnels have four stages. Since web developers love acronyms, these are termed AIDA: Awareness, Interest, Decision, and Action.

These work in function of the customer’s mindset. Each stage requires a different approach from the marketer, avoiding each step sending the wrong message at the wrong time. Each stage has an impact on consumer behavior and the marketeer must be adept in all the phases.

CAPTIVATE — Seen simply, in old days the top of the funnel is the prospective client staring at an attractive store window. Enticed the person walks into the store and that is a second stage.  As the almost now customer peruses over some racks with flashy clearance signs, then selects a few garbs, entering the third stage. When the new client pays for the merchandise, the salesperson gives the buyer a promotional gift. The client is hooked, completing the entire funnel route.

Of course., in terms of the web, all this must be achieved virtually, the trick for a good marketeer is to understand the route customers usually take on each website and plug all escape routes: spots on a web page through which prospects drop out and never convert into a client. How?  Enticing the prospect at each stage of the funnel.

BAZAAR — In essence, it’s an old-style bazaar, mesmerizing the people walking by the tents with music, a playful monkey, a fortune teller in front of the carp, a belly dancer, or snake charmer. A free cup of tea.  Anything to pull the future customer into the store. But in the age of information, these tricks must be done digitally with high-tech tools. 

There are hundreds, if not thousands of tech options and the web marketeer must know which to apply and at what stage of the funnel. The tactics include detecting good leads, providing a quick connection, flashy promo, fast contact, persistence and follow up, finally sale line. For example, when a visitor lands on a website through a Google search or social link, an astute marketeer kicks in the funnel immediately and provides a chance to register, offers a discount coupon, flashes on a chatbot, or sends an email offering a consultation service, but is a soft sales pitch. 

Thus, it all finally pans out. With the right market chemistry, a new customer is successfully funneled.   

Author Details
Author Rafael Matos is a veteran journalist, a professor of digital narratives and university mentor. He may be contacted at cccrafael@gmail.com.

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