Understanding your marketing funnel

Issue December 2012 By Damian J. Turco

If you are wondering what the heck a marketing funnel is, then this article is for you. The marketing funnel is the process the consumer goes through when deciding to purchase goods or services. Like most concepts, this one could be elaborated upon for volumes. We'll use a simplified but effective version for our purposes.

The concept works as follows. When a consumer first recognizes a potential need for a product or service, they enter the top of the funnel. That consumer doesn't really have a strong sense of the exact solution, just awareness they may need one.

In moving down the funnel, the consumer starts to seek out information on solutions. This may be by searching the internet for answers, speaking with friends or family who have already been through the process, or by seeking the advice of a known authority whom the consumer believes would be able to point them to the answer.

The consumer moves to the bottom section by narrowing the choices and investigating them further. Finally, the consumer makes a choice and completes the transaction, exiting the bottom of the funnel as a client.

Why is this important? In almost all instances, we convert more consumers to clients when we market to them on all levels of the funnel. We can reach them in the top level by mass media (television, radio, print, and internet advertising). Although they may not be ready to call, we build a brand to this consumer and that will generally give us more credibility when it comes to decision-making time.

In the middle of the funnel, we are better contenders when we have a strong internet presence, great client satisfaction and loyalty, and a reliable network of referring attorneys. At that stage, the consumer is searching a wider field. If our brands reach the consumer in a positive light, we put ourselves ahead of our competition.

At the bottom, we convert consumers to clients by presenting well in that first meeting. The field is narrowed by this point, but it only takes one other attorney to present better and beat you out. You have gotten this far, so don't lose the consumer now.

To most effectively market to consumers in your industry, you need to understand how your funnel works in your practice area. A divorce client typically moves through the funnel slowly. Although there is the exception of the spouse who just learned of his or her spouse's extensive infidelity, most spouses have pondered what life would be like with the other for many months or years. That means that consumer sits in the top of that funnel for a while. Beach of employment contract clients would tend to move through quickly. Estate planning consumers generally enter the top after major life events, but they often exit without making a decision. You will do this best if you put meaningful thought into how to effectively reach your consumers on all levels, test different approaches, and then do what works best.

Damian J. Turco owns Turco Legal, a law firm handing transactions and litigation files in both Massachusetts and Florida. While his Massachusetts practice handles exclusively injury, product liability, and medical malpractice cases, his Florida firm focuses on the distressed real property market, including short sale negotiation and foreclosure litigation.