The Funnel: Audience, Engagement, Conversion.

The second triangle in The Marketing Framework of Business, “The Funnel,” has three components: Audience, Engagement, Conversion, (AEC).

The Funnel is essentially a marketing and communication process created for the purpose of both sharing information with prospects and reaching business goals.

Before we look at the both the mechanics and an example of a funnel, it’s important that we identify a business goal, as the business goal will always predicate and propagate the funnel’s design and structure.

Let’s say, for this example, our business goal is to grow our e-mail subscriber list for the purpose of marketing products, syndicating content, and growing relationships with prospects and clients.

Let’s also say, for this example, that in order to hit our business goal (which is growing our e-mail subscriber list) that we decide to produce a series of YouTube videos, each of them containing a keyword dense headline, relevant video content, and a call-to-action combined with a link to our newsletter registration. Here, you essentially have the workings of a funnel.

Let’s look at this funnel a little bit closer in terms of AEC: Audience, Engagement, Conversion.

Audience: The audience of any given funnel is defined as the grand total amount of people that your able to reach with your content. When we’re producing and uploading this series of YouTube videos for example, the audience could be examined with a few different perspectives. More specifically, the audience might be the total amount of people that actually see your video as a search engine result (before they actually click on it or watch it.) Or, the audience could be the total amount of people that actually watch your video, be it through direct YouTube search engine query, or another form of syndication outside of YouTube, i.e. FaceBook, Blog. Either way, the prospect is engaging with your content at some level, whether it be through simply scrolling through it as a search engine result or actually watching the video itself. At either stage, as we will soon find out, there will be a slightly different engagement process that is taking place.

Engagement: Engagement, in terms of a funnel, is defined by engaging with a prospect by sharing your content with them. In this case, the content that we’re sharing is the YouTube video series that we have uploaded. Now, let’s revisit the two audience perspectives I had mentioned earlier, and look at these two perspectives in terms of engagement. First, let’s look at the total amount of people that see your video as a YouTube search engine result, before they click on or watch your video. Even though they haven’t actually watched the video, this is still a form of engagement. In this specific instance, the content that you’re sharing is the video headline, a little thumbnail of the video itself, a description, and a link. All of which should be carefully designed such that it sparks interest, peaks curiosity, and drives click throughs. Secondly, let’s examine the other audience perspective I had mentioned — the total amount of people that watch your video. In this specific instance, the engagement would be sharing the actual content of the video itself, although other things like headline, call-to-action, description, annotations, links, and other aspects also come into play. All of which, should be carefully designed for the purpose of driving a conversion, which is growing our e-mail subscriber list.

Conversion: Conversion, in terms of a funnel, could be defined as hitting your business goal. In this case, a conversion would be having a prospect click on your video, watch it, click on the link, and subscribe to your e-mail newsletter. Each of these different stages in the conversion process themselves could be viewed as a micro-conversion. When a prospect clicks on your video, it could be thought of as a micro-conversion for the business goal of video exposure. When a prospect watches your video, it could be thought of as a micro-conversion for the business goal of increasing brand awareness or prospect interaction. Even though our true business goal is to grow our e-mail subscriber list, I talk about micro-conversions because each must be executed in succession before the business goal is met: a prospect cannot watch your video unless the click on it, a prospect cannot register unless they watch, ext. Therefore, its important that when designing our funnel — we carefully craft for each micro-conversion. It might be a good idea to take these micro-conversions into consideration beforehand, write them down step-by-step, and then carefully crafting each stage for the next micro-conversion, driving to your overall business goal. Think of it this way, “always sell the next click.”

Now, through this example and explanation, we have seen the three basic components and workings of a funnel. Remember, the funnel should always be predicated by a business goal, as the business goal will propagate the funnels structure and design. Remember to always keep in mind the actual step-by-step process that must be completed in order for that business goal to be met, and to cater and communicate to prospects that are in different stages of the funnel accordingly.