Lead Generation Funnel: What It Is And How To Create One

Have trouble getting more people into your business? If so, what you need is a lead generation funnel.

Many business owners shy away from funnels thinking that they’re complicated and require too much work. The truth is, marketing funnels can be as simple as you want them to be. What’s important is that they enable you to visualize the entire journey of your ideal customer.

Sounds good? This article will help you understand the lead generation funnel system – why you should care, its four main stages, and how to build and optimize it for the best outcomes.

What Is A Lead Generation Funnel?

A lead generation funnel describes the journey of a person from being a stranger to becoming a potential customer.

Three words to describe this whole process: Attention to action.

To better illustrate it, here’s a scenario using the popular collaboration tool Trello as an example:

Let’s say you’re a member of a startup who’s struggling to focus on tasks. You don’t know about Trello yet. Then, you come across one of their articles on how to focus better:

Halfway through the article, you saw their sidebar form that says, “Get more done with Trello.” You click the button Get Started and sign-up for their $0 free plan. Now, you’ve become a lead!

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The Lead Generation Process: 4 Stages

Using this process ensures that you won’t run out of leads or potential customers.

Here, we break down the entire lead gen funnel into 4 stages which are depicted in the diagram above. They are the following:

  • Stage 1: Attention – This stage is at the top of the funnel where a person becomes aware of you for the first time. That person already has a problem that they want solved and that’s probably why they came across your content (blog post, social media post, ad, video, etc). In some cases, however, people don’t realize they have a problem until they see your content.
  • Stage 2: Interest – As your prospect consumes your content, they become more interested. So, they research further. Now, they start to understand how your product or service can improve their situation.
  • Stage 3: Desire – After learning more about your product or service, they develop the desire to have it. However, they may have objections that prevent them from making a purchase. This is where your free webinars, case studies, and free trials become valuable. They’ll convince your prospect that buying from you is the best decision.
  • Stage 4: Action – At this stage, your lead becomes a paying customer. Your goal here is to get them to take action right away. Create a sense of urgency with time-limited offers and bonus incentives.

How To Build A Lead Generation Funnel

Ready to create a lead generation funnel for your business? Follow these steps.

1. Create a buyer persona.

There’s no real value in attracting leads that have nothing to do with your business. By starting with a buyer persona (a fictional representation of your ideal customer), you’re able to hone in on their needs and run campaigns that speak to them.

The image above is an example of what a buyer persona looks like. Give your ideal customer a name. For example, Jhon. Complete the details about Jhon by answering specific questions like:

  • Where does Jhon live?
  • How old is he? Is he single, married, divorced?
  • What are his interests?
  • What frustrates him?

Once you get to know your customers better, you can start building a lead generation funnel with the right message, offer, etc.

2. Make a customer journey map.

A customer journey map is a visual representation of your target customer’s experience from beginning to end. It depicts their interaction with your brand through each stage of the funnel.

Keep in mind that the traditional customer journey no longer exists. Instead of a linear path, a customer usually takes several routes, goes back and forth, before converting.

For example, your prospect Jhon learns about your business through a Facebook ad. But instead of buying, he gets distracted, forgets about you, and remembers only after a friend recommended your product or service a few months later.

It helps to list all possible customer touchpoints from start to finish. For example, in the Attention stage, your customer might encounter your brand through various channels:

  • Word-of-mouth
  • Website blog posts
  • Social media posts
  • Facebook or Google ads
  • Mentions from other websites
  • Customer service

Along with these points of contact, also list the different actions that they might take such as clicking your article or watching your video.

Mapping out your customer journey this way helps you identify challenges that prevent them from reaching an end goal.

When you’re ready, you might want to use one of these funnel mapping tools.

3. Determine what content or offers will attract your ideal customer.

You need to give something of value to drive them closer towards your product or service. What free stuff would your audience want to receive? Think about this in terms of each stage of the lead generation funnel.

Your assets can be anything from blog posts to podcasts to whitepapers.

But don’t limit yourself to content especially for those already at the bottom of your funnel. You can offer them a free consultation or limited-time access to your tool for a very cheap price!

This is what we do at UpViral. Before a prospect pays full price for UpViral, they get a 14-day access for just $1.

4. Start driving traffic to your funnel.

Now that you’ve mapped out the customer journey and created your content/offers, how do you start driving traffic? (Because traffic comes first before leads and sales.)

Here’s a rule to keep in mind: Hang out where your audience hangs out.

If they’re on Facebook, make sure your business is on Facebook. If they spend time on online forums, be on those forums.

Consider the following for increasing traffic:

Search engine optimization (SEO)

SEO provides a great opportunity for people to find you organically. When they type a relevant search query, your blog posts or landing pages show up. Some of the ways to do this include keyword research, link building, and increasing your website speed.

YouTube videos

YouTube ranks as the world’s 2nd largest search engine. This makes the platform a powerful vehicle for driving traffic.

Each video that you produce must reflect the type of content your audience wants. Take advantage of YouTube cards for clickable links that lead to your lead gen landing pages.

Contests or giveaways

Online competitions can drive massive traffic to your website. They work because who doesn’t want to win? Since a lot of random people enter contests and giveaways, you’ll need to pre-qualify your prospective leads by letting them answer a survey (in exchange for more points).

Paid advertising

Running Facebook ads is a proven way to drive high-quality traffic, thanks to the platform’s detailed targeting options. You can target a core audience based on the details of your buyer persona or you can target an audience similar to your existing customers.

Read more about Facebook targeted ads right here.

5. Close the sale.

You’ve already done your job in attracting leads. They gave you their contact information. And now, it’s time to sell them your product. In other words, convert them into customers.

When trying to close a sale, make sure to convey the benefits of your offer so people can see its value in their lives. This also helps justify its cost in case they have pricing concerns (which is common).

3 Tips To Optimize Your Lead Generation Funnel

This time, let’s discuss lead generation funnel optimization – the process of improving your funnel to make it work more for you!

1. Use personalization.

Dale Carnegie, author of “How to Win Friends and Influence People”, understood the importance of personalization. In his book, he wrote, “The rest of us are just like you: we are interested in what we want.”

Personalization is tailoring your content to match your audience’s demographics, interests, and behaviors.

An example would be recommending products that they recently viewed on your website. Or sending email content at optimal times according to subscribers’ open histories.

2. Always provide value.

To provide value means to make your audience feel that you truly care about them by going the extra mile.

Here’s an example:

Let’s say you run a blog on female health. You make sure that all your articles inspire your readers to live their best lives ― in a way that’s understandable and engaging.

Additionally, you feature helpful lead magnets like starter guides on common female health problems and daily 10-minute recipes. You’ve based these selections on what they’re actually interested in. As a result, your lead magnets were downloaded multiple times.

3. Automate lead generation.

Lead generation doesn’t have to be done manually. Using a lead generation funnel software, you can get a constant flow of leads while saving lots of time.

For example, if someone lands on your lead gen page and enters their email, your automation software sends them an email to confirm their entry and engage them further.

Also, you use your software’s geo-targeting feature to make sure that your campaign shows up only in countries where your audience is.

Interesting Facts About Lead Generation

By now, hopefully, it’s clearer to you how a lead generation funnel can help your business. At UpViral, our users have used contests and giveaways as a funnel to grow their email list and customer base.

For example, stay-at-home mom Rachel Ollen used UpViral to get 4,552 leads in the kids’ e-commerce niche. Another is David Fraser who runs a bunkie business and collected over 34,000 leads and made $300,000 in sales after a 26-day UpViral contest. 🎉

Here are some stats that back the effectiveness of lead generation and also guide your strategy:

  • Lead generation is one of the reasons why marketers use social networks in running campaigns. – Hubspot
  • 84% of video marketers say video has helped them generate leads. – Wyzowl
  • There were 4 billion email users worldwide in 2020. This number is expected to reach 4.6 billion in 2025. – Statista

Using UpViral To Generate Leads

There’s a good chance that by now, you’re looking for a tool that gets more leads into your marketing funnel. UpViral is a simple but powerful choice built for both small and larger businesses – even for those who are just getting started.

UpViral lets you run referral campaigns, contests, and giveaways. Create beautiful landing pages, set up rewards, send triggered emails that are personalized, and more. We have all the training and case studies you need to get the best possible results.

The best part is that you can start for only $1.

Final Thoughts

Without lead generation, any business will struggle to get visitors that convert into paying customers. We’ve already shown you its basic stages, the process, and how to optimize it. If you follow these tips and hopefully give UpViral a try, you’ll be on your way to success!