When most people go on a first date, they don’t expect a marriage proposal. There’s a natural progression to the relationship before that point; you spend time together and get to know each other first.

In this respect, marketing is no different than dating. Too often marketers jump straight to selling their product, not realizing that the customer needs to take things slow at first. The result? A tone-deaf approach that loses marketers tons of potential business.

We can’t expect someone to hear about our product for the first time and then make an immediate purchase. That might work for some product-based brands, but generally, customers want to do their homework before giving you their business.

Thanks to our digital world, the buying cycle has lengthened considerably. Wary online users dedicate hours of their time to make sure your brand is the right fit for their needs. That means brands have to invest in smarter, more personalized marketing to “court” customers and build a relationship.

The good news is that there’s a readymade structure that helps you automatically foster relationships with customers. It’s called a marketing funnel.

What is the PPC Funnel?

A marketing funnel is a multi-stage process that a customer goes through, from the moment they learn about your company to when they make a purchase.

Funnels are a set process that help marketers create more specific campaigns tied to user needs. With funnels, marketing campaigns are personalized and relevant.

The PPC marketing funnel has four stages:

1. Awareness
The Awareness stage teaches users about your brand for the first time. You’re reaching people who aren’t aware of your brand so you can familiarize them with your product.

PPC ads are a great way to boost awareness, but keep in mind that you’ll need several touchpoints to get the most results. Cross-device campaigns work best for awareness, targeting users across their phone and desktop.

All funnel stages are important. But the downside to the Awareness stage is that it has lower ROI. That’s to be expected since users are just learning about your product.

Keep this in mind when it comes time to look at your campaign metrics. Awareness plays a critical role in getting more sales; it’s just difficult to quantify its effects.

2. Consideration
In the Consideration stage, the user starts reviewing their options. They might begin to click through your eCommerce page, read your social media, or look up reviews.

Marketers often use PPC in this stage to push users to a purchase. For example, you could target keywords with the word “review” in them to find customers at the Consideration stage.

But they aren’t quite ready to buy right now. Make sure your PPC CTA offers something of value to build a relationship with the customer, like a webinar, blog, resource guide, or giveaway.

3. Decision
During the Decision stage, the user is finally ready to buy, and they’ve chosen to go with you. This is the point at which most PPC strategists declare success.

4. Retention
But it’s not enough to convert a lead into a customer. The fourth stage, Retention, is about keeping past and existing customers engaged. PPC remarketing strategies keeps your brand fresh in a customer’s mind for Retention.

These four funnel stages are ideal, but brands can’t always implement a full four-stage funnel. Limited budgets, resources, and the nature of your business might mean you have a two or three-stage funnel instead.

The smaller your budget, the closer you need to start at the bottom of the funnel. So if you run an SMB, it’s best to start at stage four, Retention, instead of stage one, Awareness, since Retention customers are more primed to convert.

As your budget increases, you can add missing stages in the funnel to personalize the experience for your customers.

Avoid the “spray and pray” approach to PPC with a funnel that gives users more interesting ads while preserving your budget. It’s more upfront work to set up a funnel process for PPC, but this process generates far more ROI.

3 Best Practices for Mapping PPC to the Funnel

The marketing funnel should be integrated in every tactic you use as a marketer, including PPC. In fact, the key to PPC success is aligning your funnel with your PPC structure. Follow these best practices to map your PPC strategy to your funnel for higher ROI.

1. Set goals and KPIs
Goals are the lifeblood of any good PPC campaign. When structuring your PPC, make sure that you create a separate campaign for each of the funnel stages. This ensures your geo-targeting, language, and keywords tie in with the customer’s immediate needs.

Set unique goals for each campaign, including your KPIs. For example, your goal for the Awareness campaign might be to garner 50,000 page views by October 1. Your KPI might be views or clicks.

A chalk drawing of what SMART goals are

2. Create stage-specific keyword campaigns
Once you’ve set a goal for each campaign, create keywords unique to that campaign and funnel stage. Your customers need very different things at the Awareness versus the Consideration stage.

During the Awareness stage, a customer might search for “accounting services.” During Consideration, they would write “affordable accounting services near me.”

These keyword phrases are very different—getting them wrong means increased CPC and lower ROI for you.

Stage-sensitive keywords help you target users at the right point in the funnel. At that point, you can deliver hyper-relevant landing pages to feed them through to the Decision stage.

3. Use the right tactics for each campaign funnel
You’ll want to use different tactics for each campaign according to its funnel stage.

For Awareness, consider banner ads on the Google Display Network. This is also effective for Retention.

Customers in the Consideration phase want to learn more about your brand, so informative ads on YouTube are the way to go, as well as social media ads.

Your best bet for the Decision stage is a high-intent, sales-oriented ad like a Facebook Collection. This encourages people to buy from your product catalog directly on Facebook.

The Bottom Line

Marketing funnels aren’t a luxury; if your brand is marketing, you need to set up a funnel. Make sure you’re getting the most ROI possible out of your PPC campaigns by mapping them to this funnel. The funnel gives a framework to the often confusing and complex world of PPC.

Of course, you don’t need to do PPC alone. Logical Media Group specializes in PPC and all things marketing. Reach out to us now to set up your PPC funnel.

Chris O'Neill

Chris O'Neill

CEO at Logical Media Group

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