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Imagine skydiving without clearly understanding how your parachute works and the necessary steps to open it. Sounds reckless, doesn't it?

Surprisingly, this is similar to how many companies approach marketing their product or service. They dive headfirst into marketing initiatives without truly understanding their target audience or knowing how to effectively market to them throughout the different stages of the funnel.

But fear not! There is a solution. By studying the ins and outs of your growth marketing funnel and mastering the art of optimizing various marketing tactics at each stage, you can better engage prospects and customers, ultimately leading you to crush your prospecting and sales goals. 

Let’s dive in.

The growth marketing funnel consists of six stages that guide your prospect from a brand-new visitor to a return customer; awareness, acquisition, activation, retention, revenue, and retention. First up is awareness, or your first step towards helping people know about your company and your product or service. Once you've caught their attention, you move to acquisition, where you want to attract and gather leads or those interested individuals who might be interested in your offer. 

Related read: Customer Acquisition Funnel Guide: Definition + 5 Tips to Improve Yours

Next, you want to turn those leads into actual product or service users by winning their business. The fourth stage is retention, where you focus on keeping those users engaged by building lasting relationships with them. Unfortunately, many marketers think their job is done because the sale is closed and wrapped up with a bow. 

In fact, the revenue and retention stages are where the magic really happens. Use additional purchases, subscriptions, or other monetization strategies to increase revenue from existing customers. And finally, once you have happy customers, encourage them to spread the word and refer others to your product or service.

Why Building Your Growth Marketing Funnel Is So Important

A well-rounded growth marketing funnel is not just a better resource than a traditional approach;  it’s a powerful tool that drives business growth by helping you understand potential customers' journeys.  You can better optimize your marketing efforts and significantly improve your conversion rates by comprehending the different stages of the funnel and the specific actions required at each stage.

But that's not all. The growth marketing funnel also serves as a valuable diagnostic tool to identify areas for improvement and growth within your marketing strategy. For example, a high churn rate at the retention stage indicates an opportunity to examine your customer support or product features to improve customer satisfaction and loyalty.

If you’re already working on your funnel and just need a resource to help optimize your results, consider Lean Labs. Our free resource, the Growth Roadmap, helps you identify your current growth stage and plan, budget, and accelerate your results so you can focus on growth.

Crush Each Stage of Your Growth Marketing Funnel With Smarter Marketing Tactics

Awareness Stage

The awareness stage of the growth marketing funnel lays the groundwork for the entire customer journey. Your primary goal in awareness is to capture the attention of potential customers and pique their curiosity to learn more about your product or service. 

Without effective brand awareness and recognition, potential customers may never discover your business or consider engaging with you. Here are two tactics to engage this curiosity:

Leverage social media ads

You can effectively increase brand awareness among your target audience by utilizing targeted social media advertisements. This can boost brand visibility and recognition, ultimately expanding your reach and attracting more interested prospects.

Run SMART content marketing

By producing blog posts, videos, infographics, or other content relatable and valuable to your target audience, you establish your brand as an authority and build brand awareness. This improves search engine rankings, making it easier for potential customers to find you and ultimately driving increased website traffic.

Acquisition Stage

In the acquisition stage of the growth marketing funnel, your focus on converting prospects (who are already aware of your product or service) into leads. This step involves taking specific action like signing up for a newsletter or downloading a free trial to bring these prospects closer to becoming loyal users of your product or service. Here are two ways to take advantage of some tactics you’re already using to improve acquisition:

Optimize landing pages

Creating landing pages on your website lets you provide compelling offers and capture visitors' contact information to increase lead generation and improve conversion rates as you guide potential customers further along the funnel. It’s not just about putting good content and some images on a webpage, though.

Each landing page has the potential to provide valuable insights about who’s visiting. Use fill forms, gated assets that require an email address to unlock, or provide another incentive to capture that user’s information so you can better market to them. 

Harness email marketing  

Email campaigns let you nurture leads and guide them toward conversion. Though far from a new tactic, personalized and targeted messaging helps you build relationships, provide valuable information, and incentivize leads through regular communication with your prospects.

Activation Stage 

In the third growth marketing funnel stage, activation, your goal is to guide product users toward initiating the buyer's journey. The key challenge here is helping them understand the value and benefits of what you offer–over other similar providers to win their business–and complete the purchase. Here are two ways to help entice them to stick around:

Simplify Onboarding 

How you onboard users to your product or service is a huge factor in whether or not that user keep moving down the funnel. In fact, 52% of surveyed businesses that leave a new partnership within 90 days of onboarding cite poor engagement and customer experience as the reason for leaving. Therefore, creating a seamless and user-friendly experience with clear instructions, tutorials, and resources already puts you in favor of winning–and keeping–the business your competition loses because of this critical area.

Retarget With Smart Ads

You can also encourage users to return and take the next step by sending targeted ads to users who have shown initial interest or interacted with your brand but have yet to complete a desired action. These ads provide a gentle nudge to re-engage with your product or service. Adding a new incentive like a special deal or free trial period further sweetens your offer. 

Revenue Stage

Congrats – you’ve won your customer… but that doesn’t mean the work is done! Your existing customers have the power to impact your business's profitability, growth potential, and viability.  And you want their impact to be good.

You set your business and your customers up for increased success and longer relationships by focusing on driving actual revenue through upgrades, subscriptions, and add-on services. Here are two ways to maximize existing business.

Upsell and cross-sell 

Everyone loves free stuff. Consider offering customers complementary or upgraded products or services that enhance their initial purchase to increase their overall spending and revenue contribution.

Optimize discounts and promotions 

Enticing discounts, limited-time offers, or special promotions don’t just have to be used during the consideration funnel stages. Optimizing them for existing customers lets you create a sense of urgency for customers to upgrade their purchases. If you run this as a dual offer, it also provides an opportunity to attract new customers who may be enticed by the promotional offerings your supporters are already getting.

Retention Stage

The retention stage is crucial in the growth marketing funnel because it’s your chance to drive sustainable results through profitability and establishing a strong competitive advantage in the marketplace. You do this by fostering loyalty, minimizing churn, and leveraging the power of word-of-mouth marketing. Here are two specific tactics to improve customer retention: 

Personalize user content

You’ve already gathered customer data and insights during acquisition and awareness. Now, you can use that information to personalize your messaging, recommendations, and offers to their specific needs and preferences. This approach creates a sense of relevance and enhances their overall experience, making your customers feel more valued and understood.

Offer excellent customer support

By offering responsive and helpful assistance whenever customers have questions or encounter issues, you demonstrate your commitment to their satisfaction. Promptly addressing their concerns, providing solutions, and going the extra mile to exceed their expectations can significantly impact customer retention. These steps can increase customer satisfaction and loyalty, as customers feel supported and valued.

Referral Stage 

We’ve finally reached the end of the growth marketing funnel, the referral stage. Here, your goal is to encourage satisfied customers to refer others to your product or service and naturally expand your customer base even further to new prospects. Here are two simple ways to step up your review game: 

Launch referral programs

Motivate customers to promote your brand by providing incentives or rewards to those who refer others to your product or service. It’s a simple way to turn customers into brand advocates and let them actively participate in your brand’s growth.

Collect social proof 

Finally, use social proof like positive reviews, testimonials, or user-generated content that highlights existing customers’ experiences and satisfaction. This approach builds credibility and trust in your product or service, making potential customers more likely to consider and act upon referrals. Unless you’re paying for collaborations, social proof in the form of testimonials and reviews are generally free and happy customers are more than willing to provide them.

Guarantee Funnel Profitability with Lean Labs 

In the fast-paced world of digital marketing, understanding and effectively implementing the growth marketing funnel can be the difference between business success and failure. By mastering this funnel, you can better engage prospects and customers, increase conversions, and ultimately achieve your growth goals.

However, navigating the complexities of the growth marketing funnel requires expertise, time, and resources to tailor strategies to specific business needs, maximize efficiency, and deliver tangible results. If you’re not confident marketing to your funnel alone, consider outsourcing growth marketing funnel activities to an agency or hybrid growth team.

At Lean Labs, we’ll build your ideal marketing funnel to scale growth and profitability. So whether you need a growth website, growth marketing, or conversion rate optimization, get in touch to find out how we can help.

Shaun Samonini
Post by Shaun Samonini
Oct 18, 2023
Shaun is a Growth Marketer at Lean Labs, working with deserving brands to create, implement, and optimize proven growth strategies.