Most standard full-funnel marketing strategies focus on the classic “drive them down” approach with the end result being the conversion of those at the bottom.
What if we prove to you that by flipping the script you can, simultaneously, convert users (with buying intent), work your way up the funnel, and maintain a continuous flow of fresh new customers and leads at the top?
In this article, we’ll walk you through the creation of your own full-funnel strategy, what types of campaigns work best for each stage of the funnel, and on which platforms.
Also, you’ll learn some helpful analysis and scoring systems to automate your full-funnel strategy.
This will allow you to skip the manual data analysis and reporting, and use that time to focus on exciting, unique, and unprecedented strategies to grow your business (and/or pave your way true to the status of Guru).
And there’s more.
First a little bit of history
Sometime around 1200 AD, in the spirit of learning and discovering, the Polynesians started exploring the southeastern Pacific Ocean. A two-canoe expedition first settled this southeasternmost point of the Polynesian Triangle in Oceania. They called it Te pito o te henua (“the Navel of the World”), today we know it as Rapa Nui or Easter Island.
When the Polynesian chief Hotu Matu’a and his captain Tu’u ko arrived, they found a beautiful place, lush and full of trees, and they started populating the island in hundreds. The population started growing and growing and they started to use the trees to build boats and houses, and to erect those beautiful statues that are still there on the island.
So while they were harvesting, they had no idea about how to plant new trees, and obviously this ruined the ecosystem and had an impact on the population. The island was largely deforested. Loss of large trees meant that residents were no longer able to build seaworthy vessels, significantly diminishing their fishing abilities.
Scientists believe that the population grew to around 2000 people, but when English archeologists came to explore the island the population that they defined was only in the hundreds. What went wrong? Harvesting was great, but they needed to plant new seeds.
What does the first Rapa Nui settlement have to do with you learning how to use a full-funnel approach and the results of your Google ads skyrocketing?
There are two ways to discover it. And the first is right below! 👇↘️⬇️↙️👇
Do you Want to Skyrocket your Google Ads Results?
Devising and executing a full-funnel strategy is crucial to boost your Google Ads results.
Thursday, July 16, at 10 am (PST), Google Ads expert Gianluca Binelli, will explain why you need a full-funnel approach when creating your Google Ads strategy and how you can create your own.
In this special MasterClass, you’ll learn where to start with a full-funnel approach, how important lead magnets are, how scoring systems work, and how to build a nurturing machine.
Reserve your seat now, it’s FREE. And you’ll also receive a recording of the event that will be yours forever.
The second is to keep reading this post after registering for the webinar and waiting for it to start!
Why Should You Use a Full-Funnel Strategy?
A lot of classic approaches for full-funnel strategies are really focused on harvesting (aka closing the sale), but we also need to remember that it is important to plant new seeds (aka nurture new customers).
In a more traditional funnel approach, we divide the users into 3 segments: TOFU (Top of the Funnel), MOFU (Middle of the Funnel), and BOFU (Bottom of the Funnel).
Every company will have their own names for each phase, but if you remember TOFU, MOFU, and BOFU, you’ll be covered.
This is how we see the world whenever it comes to the standard funnel models that most marketers are now familiar with.
- TOFU describes people who do not know our brand and are either not aware of the problem we are trying to solve for them, or they do perceive the problem but are not actively searching for the solution.
- People in the MOFU phase are aware of the problem they need to solve and are actively searching for the solution.
- In the BOFU stage users have found the solution and (hopefully!) it is YOUR PRODUCT/Service!
- There is also a hidden stage of the funnel: Retention.
This is a very important element but, quite often, it is something that marketers forget about – retaining an existing customer is also cheaper than acquiring a new one.
According to your industry and the study that you trust, acquiring a new customer could be from 5 to 25 times more costly than retaining an existing customer. Researchers from Frederick Reichheld of Bain & Company have calculated that increasing customer retention rates by 5% increases profits by 25% to 95%.
This is why it is important to remember that nurturing a prospect who has already shown interest in what you offer, might be more valuable (and less expensive) than trying to attract the attention of new customers.
To simplify we can imagine that branding represents the TOFU stage and focuses on planting new trees, where BOFU is more about harvesting the fruit. And after harvest, we can worry about preservation and retention.
The Secret Recipe of a Full-funnel strategy: Ingredient #1
The first thing to keep in mind when developing your full-funnel marketing strategy is to start from the bottom.
If you are a very small/medium company or enterprise, you probably have a budget holder, the boss himself, or someone that you are reporting to. And a very practical approach is to show numbers heading in the right direction before driving up the budget and really starting to increase your marketing spend.
Rule number 1: “life is complicated enough so start with what’s easy”.
A very sensible thing to do is to start from the bottom of the funnel and harvest the fruit -focusing on those customers that are ready to buy or almost ready to buy.
This would mean focusing a lot of Google Search on terms that express a certain level of intent.
Obviously it is important to keep in mind that Google Ads has a different set of campaigns for different users and different steps of the funnel: TOFU, MOFU, and BOFU.
This is not set in stone and things will change a little bit according to your goal, your industry (B2B, B2C, e-commerce, SAS, or Lead Generation) and the maturity of your paid media operation.
Pro tip: the anti-doubt rule of thumb
- Search campaigns focused more on Brand, Remarketing, or Shopping, and Product campaigns are all related to BOFU.
- When the topic of your Search campaign is more Generic you could consider it more useful for the MOFU or TOFU stages.
- While a good (non-remarketing) Google Display ad campaign tends to be more effective as a tool for MOFU or TOFU.
Full-funnel Strategy Ingredient #2: Remarketing
Here we can divide people into 3 types of users:
- Those who are landing on our website and buying our products,
- Those who are not buying the product right now but might buy it in the future, and
- Those who will never buy.
In Remarketing only 2% of customers really convert and you cannot magically follow only this 2%. So it is really important to distinguish between “maybe” cats and “grumpy” cats.
To do that let’s use some tricks that the pros of remarketing use that are a little more clever than the other approaches you might get from a deep dive in Google or Facebook. It is not simply about following one cute cat, but more like following 18% of the cute cats that are most likely to convert.
We can do this by taking 3 different layers into consideration. The first layer would be the behavior on the website.
To give a tangible example let’s say somebody is spending hours on your website and went down to the very last step of the funnel versus someone else that just stopped on the homepage. Obviously the first user is more likely to be valuable in the future.
The second layer we can take into consideration is recency. In most cases recency is positively correlated with conversion rate, so a user that was on the website yesterday is more likely to convert with the remarketing campaign than a user who was on the website a month ago.
Pro Tip: Study Your Data and “Clone” Your Customers
Another crucial ingredient of our recipe is the capability of connecting our remarketing efforts with first-party data (trust us, the proof is in the funnel!).
Overlapping similar lists, look-a-likes, and machine learning intelligence that Google or Facebook are providing us with is fundamental in order to find similarities within our first-party data.
By doing this we are no longer going and buying all the views from all the cats who don’t want to spend their hard-earned money, but we’ll be really focusing on the 18% of the “cute cats” that we have seen us before and are more willing to part with their catnip.
When it comes to Lookalikes. we need data to set up a smarter game!
We can do this by analyzing how we acquire the customer (this data can be put into a spreadsheet, big query, or might even come from SalesForce, Hubspot, etc…); whatever software you are using, like a CRM, there is usually a place in your company where this data is stored.
At this point, we can run some fancy analysis on the CRM from a classic RFM type of analysis where we are trying to focus on segmenting customers based on common metrics such as recency, frequency, and so on, and bringing it down to a more sophisticated segmentation that takes prospective LTV into consideration.
We want to try and figure out using our existing customer database how we can isolate our top clients by increasing the homogeneity of them within a cluster and decreasing the heterogeneity versus other clusters.
Once we have the answer, we can reinject this information back into Google (it is also true for Facebook) and at this point, we can communicate with Google and ask it to find users similar to our top users.
Moreover, we can target them with creatives that are very relevant.
For example, let’s say we are creating a cluster of users that are spending money on higher-priced tickets of a product, then we could pair it with a creative that really resonates with them and would show a product with a higher value type of ticket.
This is a fundamental piece that we need to get right in order to achieve every marketer (and business owner) dream: that of finding the right user at the right place with the right message at the right time.
Full-funnel strategy ingredient #3: Content Magnets
Before we go into details there is one little important thing to remember: DO NOT PROPOSE ON YOUR FIRST DATE! Not only is this true in life, but this also holds true when we talk about the funnel.
What we mean by this is don’t try to sell on the first interaction that we have with the user.
Whenever we focus on the bottom part of the funnel it’s fine to go and start selling our product or asking for a lead immediately but whenever we move into the upper funnel we want to make sure that we don’t go and propose on the first date.
This way, if we reach the user on the upper funnel we are courteous and can gather more intelligence before asking them to buy a product.
In order to do this, though, we need to take into consideration 2 things.
The first one is how we build the Content on the upper funnel, and the second one is how we set up a Scoring system.
When it comes to the content, it is really important to consider the fact that upper-funnel customers will probably need a certain level of education, especially when we are talking about sophisticated or non-obvious B2B products.
Imagine you are a complex SAS, a relatively comprehensive product with a lot of technology behind it. This will most likely require a certain level of explanation to the users out of there.
The same thing applies to regular B2C companies too. We are reaching out to users that don’t know they have a problem. We are not selling a teleporter or a time machine, nothing nearly this innovative or cool, but we are still reaching out to customers or potential customers that haven’t searched for a product, let alone ours. They don’t know yet that they need to buy a brand new Fila or Adidas T-shirt. So we want to make sure that the content that we are showing to them is focused on the educational message.
Here it’s important to utilize a format that is more suited to the world of image and video, which is why every time you move to the upper funnel it’s more likely that your creative team is also involved and your marketing focuses on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Youtube.
So the lower funnel is more for Google Search, whereas whenever you move up the funnel you might also want to make sure you are including Facebook, Instagram, and Youtube.
One important thing to remember once you bring Facebook and Instagram into the mix is that you really need to make sure you are mobile experienced because the traffic that you want from Facebook and Youtube and Instagram is going to be a lot of the mobile traffic.
So in the content part the message to remember is don’t sell directly to the upper funnel, really focus on the content for the upper funnel, go Video, go Image, go Youtube, go Instagram, and Facebook.
Full-funnel strategy ingredient #4 Scoring System
Let’s talk about the numbers and think about the scoring system. You could see it as using the data in a little algorithm that tells you WHEN you should propose to your user.
Say you have a user that is consuming a certain type of content, let’s say, from a Facebook video about a new Adidas line. She clicked on the ad, she came to your landing page and she read everything about that product. Let’s say we give her a score of 3!
After a week the same user comes again and reads a similar but generic type of content on “Fashion and Friends for 2020”. At this point, our user has a total score of 6.
She then comes again but this time she has been triggered by the remarketing campaign that was following her and she reads another article but this time the article was specifically about Adidas and we know that the user had a certain level of interest in that product line.
What we now know is that the total score is 13 and this is above our target of 10 so at this point we are ready to push our product and propose the offer. This is way more product and price-focused.
Of course, this is a very simplified way of building up the scoring system that then tells us when the time is right to show a user the right type of message.
When the score is low we continue showing a generic message, an educational message, or something that is more focused on general trends. Then, whenever the user is ready, we will actually ask for money.
Full-funnel strategy ingredient #5 Nurturing Machine
So now we have built up the funnel, we have a remarketing machine, we have content for the upper funnel, and we have a scoring system that is telling us when the users are ready to buy.
But what are we going to do with all those users that are in the upper funnel?
Let’s imagine that we are a lead generation website or a SAS – we are getting information from the users that are still in the information phase – the upper funnel, in TOFU or MOFU, still trying to learn what CRM software they need to use next year, or what an advertising platform is.
Now, when we talk about prospects, we usually talk a lot about nurturing machines, so there is a ton of content out there. And today we really want to focus on the rest. What does it mean in terms of lookalikes, remarketing, and everything else that we have discussed so far?
There are 2 macro areas that we need to take into consideration when it comes to nurturing online users.
You need an email marketing machine (marketing automation).
This means, how do you make sure that you are sending the right email to users that gave their email address in exchange for a content magnet in the upper funnel? How do you send them 2, 3, or 4 emails that are gradually giving them more information and more details about your product?
Another element that you need is a sales organization.
Whether your product is complex and needs a human interaction or whether it doesn’t. This is more for software but if it is a service that is connected with offline elements – plastic surgeons or dentists – you want to make sure that a certain level of the human element is added to explain to potential prospects the value of services that you are offering.
So Sales Organisation is a very good way of nurturing clients and giving them more information to prep them before actually giving them an offer.
Every time you hear the word FUNNEL, probably 80% of the content is really about the nurturing part and most of that is about marketing automation, which ultimately is a complex way of defining an email marketing operation. But this is just one component that makes up a much broader approach.
Full-funnel strategy ingredient #6 Actual Targeting
We have now seen how the different components of the funnel can be reached out to with different campaigns.
And we have seen that, in broad terms, the Search part is more focused on the lower funnel, while Display, Youtube, and Instagram are more in the upper funnel.
Let’s dive a little bit deeper into each type of campaign.
First of all the most obvious candidates when it really comes to the bottom of the funnel are Brand campaigns or Google Search.
If you have an e-commerce product you want to have a Shopping campaign, but you also want to have a specific product on Search, that is targeting your Top product.
Two really good friends of the bottom of the funnel are Remarketing (that we have seen before) and also Remarketing List for Search Ads (RLSA).
The latter which has features that allow you to retarget the customers that have been on your website overlapping that together with keywords.
So let’s continue the story in the Adidas example: the user landed on our website by searching “Adidas sweater with a hoodie”, and now she is Googling something else like “Christmas sweater”. We actually have an angle to reignite that conversation if we are overlapping the keyword “sweater” together with an audience.
Remarketing for Search Ads is a really good friend of the Bottom of the funnel types of campaigns.
This is not at all a comprehensive view and most likely does not apply for everyone 100% of the time but it is a good approximation for most of the people that are trying to tackle the same type of problem.
Let’s move to the upper funnel.
At this point, we are first going to start with categories and subcategories campaigns.
Let’s take an e-commerce example. In categories, we might have Sweaters, Pants, Shoes, etc.; in a subcategory campaign, we might have Leather Pants, Jeans, Sandals… And then there are Video and Display Placements that have specific placements on the Google network.
So we, as industry experts, as e-commerce owners or e-commerce marketing managers, probably know where our customers are reading about our product or where our customers are hanging out. So if our target is a businessman, in each country there is an equivalent of the Financial Times for the Mexican market, the French market and so on. So it would be a really good idea to include in our Google Display Network placement. The same applies to Video placement.
Google is such an underestimated type of resource. There was an old Google pitch suggesting YouTube that it is the 2nd largest search engine in the world! And it’s true!
There is a lot of traffic on Youtube that is done by people that are probably in the MOFU stage.
It might waste your time a little if you get stuck in too many cat videos, but it’s also a way to learn more when making your shopping decision on which software you should buy or how that program can be installed.
Are you Ready to Build your Google Ad Success?
An international Digital Marketing Pro, voted 2nd Most Influential PPC Expert by PPC Hero) will show you how to do just so by using a full-funnel strategy approach.
In this unique masterclass created exclusively for you, the top Google Ads expert Gianluca Binelli will guide you, step-by-step, on how to implement your full-funnel strategy and skyrocket your Google Ads results.
The appointment is for Thursday, July 16, at 10 am (PST),
Wrapping It Up (For Now)
Classic approaches for full-funnel strategies focus on harvesting (aka closing the sale), but we also need to remember that it is important to plant new seeds (aka nurture new customers).
When developing your full-funnel marketing strategy, here the things you need to remember:
Start easy rather than complicated;
Make sure that your marketing machine has really closed the loop;
Make sure that you are leveraging your own data through a custom match or uploading your offline conversions in order to build up the lookalikes;
Remember that you should never ever propose on your first date.
If you follow this advice and implement these steps in your full-funnel digital marketing strategy you’ll be harvesting the fruits of your labors in no time!
Gianluca Binelli, founder of Booster Box (a performance agency specialized in scientific marketing) was voted 2nd Most Influential PPC Experts by PPC Hero. He was the Product Specialist and online marketing manager for Google’s products in EMEA and served as Capital G’s Advisor, helping startups with their online marketing in Google late stage investment fund. He is a regular speaker at international PPC conferences and teaches digital marketing at the University of Pisa (Italy). Get in touch with Gianluca on Linkedin, Twitter, or visit Booster Box website.