Any marketer can tell you that it’s much easier to retain an existing customer than to land a new one. Simply put, when a person puts their trust in a company, they tend to stick with their choice. In fact, many brands don’t realize how hard it is to break that trust.

However, transitioning from a lead to a customer is an arduous process. The market is saturated with so many products and services, and it’s easy for users to find something comparable to your offer. This is why it’s so important to have a marketing funnel, which would slowly warm up a person to your brand.

In this article, we’ll talk about the importance of having a sales funnel. After that, we’ll take a look at how you can use this concept to boost your SEO marketing efforts.

What is a marketing funnel?

A marketing funnel, or a sales or conversion funnel, is a set of steps a person needs to take before purchasing from your business. It’s a process of building awareness in potential clients and persuading them to choose your product instead of competitors.

Keep in mind that potential customers don’t simply “bump into” your business. Generating sales is a strategic method where you guide a person from their first interaction with a brand to the ultimate purchase of products. Companies use the marketing funnel as their most reliable tool to execute this strategy.

Driving people through a funnel creates a slow burn that allows you to showcase the benefits of your offer compared to opponents. If used correctly, this concept should significantly increase your online visibility and help disqualify competitors.

Just about any piece of promotional content can serve as a sales funnel ingredient. We can use brochures, pamphlets, billboards, Google ads, social media posts, and other marketing materials to target a specific audience.

Keep in mind that specific promotions can be more or less effective at specific stages of the funnel. For example, using paid search, TV, or radio ads is a great way of averting attention to your offer. However, during the evaluation phase, a person will likely refer to your product pages or product specs.

What does a marketing funnel consist of?

So far, we’ve used abstract definitions to explain the sales funnel. But let’s be a bit more specific.

According to the oldest definition from 1898, the marketing funnel consists of four basic stages/steps. Since then, some authors have slightly altered the concept, adding additional steps along the way. In its original form, the funnel looks like this:

  1. Awareness (users learn about your brand)
  2. Interest (leads develop an interest in what you have to offer)
  3. Desire (leads have a genuine desire for your product or service, and they start evaluating it against the competitors)
  4. Action (leads turn into paying customers)

We can also define a marketing funnel as a three-step process involving the top of the funnel segment, the middle of the funnel, and the bottom.

Companies often graphically depict it with a sieve, which helps explain diminishing interest as prospects progress through the funnel. Ultimately, just a handful of leads will remain within the funnel, and these are your final customers.

The 4 stages of the marketing funnel

Here is a breakdown of the previously mentioned 4 stages:

1. Awareness

Awareness represents the initial interaction between a lead and a brand. For example, a person might’ve seen a billboard or TV ad featuring your product or service.

Keep in mind that during this stage, there isn’t much contact between the two sides. Although potential customer knows about your existence, they probably don’t even need your product. They might just be aware of the fact that you’re a company working within a specific field, and that’s that.

Awareness might be generated randomly or purposely. If a person was intentionally looking for a solution like yours, there would be a lot of overlapping between awareness and the second stage, interest.

2. Interest

During the interest stage, a person realizes they have a problem and that they need a viable fix. They’ve remembered that your business offers solutions that might assist them. However, they are also considering other products and services.

For many organizations, the interest stage is the hardest one to overcome. The lead has limited trust, and they are quickly bouncing between different companies. They want to learn more about all the solutions on the market and can be easily swayed by competitors.

3. Desire

At one point, a potential customer shortlists a few viable solutions. They’ve reviewed numerous companies and have decided that you’re one of the best options.

Unlike the previous stage, you can’t win a person over with flashy marketing or promotional ploys. They’re well aware of your product’s features, pricing, shipping, and even company policies. Leads’ awareness level is usually much higher when assessing expensive, high-quality products.

The ability to convert a high percentage of leads during the desire stage speaks volumes about your product quality.

4. Action

If a lead sticks with your brand until the very end, they enter the last action stage of the marketing funnel. This is when they turn from prospects into buying customers.

According to some modern authors, this phase is followed by the post-purchase satisfaction stage. This is when buyers evaluate the product and how it helped solve their problems. While this isn’t necessarily a part of the funnel, it’s crucial to understanding customer retention rates.

Creating an SEO strategy around marketing funnels

Like any other promotional method, SEO increases brand awareness and generates leads and sales. That being said, you can implement a sales funnel to significantly improve site conversions.

In search engine optimization, marketing funnel creation is usually connected to our content marketing strategy. Every time we write a blog post, we need to consider how this piece helps drive users to product pages. Our task isn’t just to educate the website visitors but slowly turn them into customers.

In this section, we’ll share a few strategies that will allow you to efficiently combine SEO and marketing funnels!

1. Prioritize the top of the funnel keywords

Given how much organic traffic you can get from search engines, SEO should be considered one of the best marketing methods for building awareness. By performing meticulous keyword research and tracking lucrative long-tail keywords, you can generate an enormous number of leads.

While specific search queries are ideal for interest and desire stages, most keyword usage puts leads at the top of that funnel. In other words, most queries performed online are informational and are a part of the awareness stage. Only a small percentage of web users are actually looking to buy a product, that is, progress to the interest and desire phases.

Given how hard it is to optimize product pages, you should always prioritize informative topics. Although these aren’t the best for driving sales, you’ll at least introduce yourself to the general public. After that, it’s your job to keep visitors on the website and to progress them down the funnel.

Also read: Content marketing for small businesses

2. Use internal links to reroute traffic

Each time we create content, we need to classify that blog post as the top, middle, or bottom-of-the-funnel article.

For example, a post called “What is SEO?” is considered a top of the funnel article. It explains the optimization process to users who have a limited understanding of digital marketing. This post is part of the awareness stage and shouldn’t necessarily turn a reader into a customer.

Your top of the funnel posts should link to the middle of the funnel articles. That way, you would slowly introduce them to more complex topics while simultaneously building trust. An example of the middle of the funnel post would be “How to choose an SEO company?

The SEO conversion funnel ends on a product/service page. This is the bottom of the funnel piece, corresponding to the desire stage. When a person eventually reaches this section, they’re already acquainted with your offer and are ready to purchase.

Also read: SEO and CRO for service pages

3. Dominate with product or service pages

Driving organic search traffic to informative articles is easy-peasy compared to this step.

It takes a lot of effort to convert a lead into a buyer. This is especially noticeable online, given that the web is dominated by numerous no-name brands. Even if a person is well aware of your company, they might still be reluctant to order from you.

What is the solution?

You need to create product and service pages that actually convert. Simply writing product specs or describing service isn’t enough; you need to show visitors how these features can make their lives easier. You shouldn’t necessarily criticize your competition. Instead, it’s much better to completely disregard them by demonstrating that you’re a superior alternative on the market. We recommend reading our guide on conversion rate optimization for service pages.

Aside from product and service pages, you should add other tools to your arsenal. For example, you can create PDF brochures that further explain your offer. This will make your company look professional and make it easier for users to compare your solution to competitors.

4. Use CTA to your advantage

Using CTA or Call-To-Action is a good way of skipping phases of the marketing funnel. Although it isn’t always the best solution, it isn’t bad having it as an option.

Whether we’re talking about your main landing pages or less relevant blog articles, you should always try to close visitors. So, make sure to add pop-ups, web chat, and lines of text that would reroute visitors to your product pages. This method is especially fantastic for users who aren’t tech-savvy and who might struggle to reach product pages.

Among others, you can entice readers by providing one of a kind offer. Putting time limits or discounts is an excellent method of converting reluctant leads. You can do a similar thing with gift cards and similar promotional methods.

5. Track user behavior

Having an SEO marketing funnel can also help you understand user behavior at certain stages. If you’re struggling to close leads during the desire phase, this is an indication that your product or service simply isn’t up to snuff. Alternatively, not generating enough leads at the top of the funnel might indicate that you should invest more in marketing.

We can use just about any piece of information to our advantage. They can tell us more about our marketing, operations, quality of products, and our general business strategy. Most notably, the data allows us to detect potential bottlenecks.

Nowadays, SEO companies use tools such as Google Search Console, Google Analytics, and Ahrefs to perform keyword research, track organic traffic, and other website changes.

Webshops use another layer of tracking via abandoned carts. Occasionally, potential clients bail at the last moment, just before executing the transaction. This might indicate they’ve seen something they don’t like on the product page. Alternatively, they might’ve encountered an issue that prevented them from making a purchase.

Whatever the case, stats such as this can tell you what needs to be fixed.

6. Use other marketing activities

Although we’ve focused on search engine optimization, you can use just about any digital marketing channel to execute a funnel.

Among others, you can combine several approaches for maximum effectiveness. For example, you can increase brand awareness with social media and increase interest with newsletters.

Combining approaches can also help address some user issues. As previously mentioned, many people have trouble making a purchase from an unknown brand. To circumvent this problem, you can start selling through third-party providers. That would allow you to eliminate “getting to know the brand” time.

Most notably, you can customize your strategy based on a specific product, industry, and particular marketing channel. Some companies are simply more proficient with Facebook or Instagram, so SEO would serve only as a secondary method of building awareness.

Whatever the case, you should perform A/B testing before investing heavily in a specific campaign.


If your company needs help with optimization, contact MiroMind, a top-tier B2B SEO company.

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