Whether you’re a seasoned marketing veteran or just beginning to learn how to grow your business, you’re likely to face a few of the same challenges over and over again: how to cut through the constant advertising noise, how to disrupt the endless news cycle, and how to find new and innovative ways to set your company or brand apart from the competition. And while no two brands, and therefore no two marketing strategies, are exactly the same, marketing experts have identified a successful framework all entrepreneurs and marketing executives should master. 

Enter HeyMamas Full Funnel Framework: Building a Marketing Strategy virtual event, in partnership with Venus Media Group. Hosted on April 15 (and again on April 29, because it was just that good), the event featured marketing experts and gave attendees a deep dive into the latest tips and tricks industry leaders have perfected to the benefit of their businesses, their clients, and their brands. From showing attendees how to yield results on a budget, to how creative and buying media work hand in hand, the virtual event gave attendees an inside look into how they can better market their businesses, brands, and even themselves to reach their target audience, engage potential clients, and increase revenue. 

The event featured Cathy Murphy, co-founder and CEO of Venus Media Group, a women-owned, women-staff, award-winning media house, Erin Fabio, founder and chief strategist of Local Grit Studio, a boutique content marketing studio, and Krystal Morris, co-founder and COO of Venus Media Group. If you were unable to attend but believe you would also benefit from learning more about funnel marketing and how it can elevate your brand or business, here are a few key takeaways from the event that will help you perfect your marketing strategy so that it works for and not against you. 

What you should have in place before you spend money on advertising. 

While it’s typical to be anxious to start marketing your business as soon as possible, the speakers suggested you knock a few things off your to-do list before spending money on advertising. 

First, you need to make sure your company’s owned profiles and owned content are in order. This includes any social media accounts, website, emails, and anywhere else your content will live online. 

Next, you should make sure that your business or brand’s website is both SEO and SEM optimized. For the uninitiated, SEO stands for search engine optimization, and SEM stands for search engine marketing. A tool like SEM Rush, for example, will audit your site and tell you if your site has keywords or is optimized to show up in search with terms relevant to your brand, including your brand or company’s name. 

“If you are not bidding on your keywords, your branded keywords, your competitors sure are,” Morris said. In other words, you need to make sure your branded keywords are coming up when people are searching for your company. More often than not, when a consumer searches for your brand they should be met with your brand and not that of a competitor. 

What is the marketing funnel? 

The marketing funnel is essentially the process of turning a lead into a client. The funnel includes four distinct levels: awareness, consideration, evaluation, and purchase. 

“Awareness is the uppermost piece of that funnel,” Morris said. “It’s really just introducing your brand to consumers. So, it ultimately answers the question: who is your company and why should I care, as a consumer.” 

Awareness can include paid social, radio, press releases, video content, and newsletters. 

The next two levels, consideration and evaluation, is “where consumers are really bouncing back and forth,” Morris said. “They’re trying to decide if they want to make that purchase.” These levels include paid social, organic search, non-branded search, display, and shopping ads. 

And finally, if all goes well, a lead is funneled down into the final level: purchase. This phase consists of branded search, retargeting, and SEM. 

“For a truly successful campaign, each and every single layer of the funnel needs to be achieved,” Morris explained. “It’s something that if you skip over points you can achieve success very momentarily but you’re going to have to continuously fill the top of the funnel if you want to continue to grow and build your brand and your clients.” 

Every level has a different Key Performance Indicator. 

When assessing if your marketing strategy is pushing consumers down the funnel, it’s best to look at the various KPIs (key performance indicators) per level. 

“One of the things that we always talk to our clients about is KPIs,” Morris said. “It helps you answer the question: is my marketing actually working?” 

An example of a KPI for awareness is impressions, shares, reach, and frequency. In other words, how many times do people encounter your brand? “Something important to note is that the average person needs to see your brand or product 11 to 15 times before they act,” Morris explained. “And that’s 11 to 15 times not for them to make an initial purchase but before they’re even like, ‘Hey, that’s interesting let me click on the ad or make an initial search.’” 

The KPIs for consideration include: page views, engagement, and cost per click. The KPIs for evaluation are things like email sign-ups, time spent on product pages, reviews read, and branded search clicks. And finally, the KPIs for purchase are your return on ad spend and your reorder rate.

How much should I spend on marketing? 

“We do see some minimum levels of about $2,500 a month for paid search and $5,000 a month in other channels as a good starting point,” Morris said. “Again it’s a starting point, it’s not a hard fast rule. But the real message here is to keep in mind that consistency is key it does take time to build awareness and build your brand. So please please please don’t expect to spend $1 today and then get a $1 return on ad spend tomorrow.” 

Morris continued to say that $2,500 is a healthy enough budget to test both branded search and non-branded search. Keep in mind, however, that it depends on the category of your business or brand not all terms are priced equally. 

“The thing about micro-budgets which is sort of what we call under $5,000 is that when you spread them out even further across multiple channels they’re ineffective,” Fabio added. “So if you do have a budget of $2,500 you’re going to be putting that all into one platform like SEM. You’re not going to be able to run ads on social and in search and on Youtube and all these different things just because they’re not going to be effective that way.” 

It takes 45 days for the average consumer to make their way down the funnel for a simple CPG (consumer packaged good) product.

“People do not see your brand for the first time and immediately purchase,” Morris explained. “It does take time.” 

In other words, when testing out new marketing strategies, think of it as a marathon more than a sprint. “We try and fail fast,” Morris said. “We don’t want to spend a lot of money testing creative that’s not going to work.” 

“Full funnel marketing is a long-term game,” Fabio added. “It’s something that is forever when you’re marketing. There is no end to the full funnel game. Truly, your budget is only going to get bigger if your business is successful. So you’re constantly going to be putting more budget in to get more out.”

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