5 Tips to Build and Document a Winning Marketing Funnel

Post by
Andrew Pierno
5 Tips to Build and Document a Winning Marketing Funnel

Why did the marketer cross the road? To document the other side of the funnel! Jokes aside, funnels (or flywheels - depending on the philosophy you subscribe to) are crucial, but it’s not always easy to keep your efforts streamlined with so many shiny new tactics to try out.

So today, we’ll walk you through our growth team’s 5 favorite tips for building and documenting marketing funnels. Plus, we’ll throw in the top FAQs we’ve had and heard!

Ready? Let’s dive in!

1. Luck Favors the Prepared

We could give you all the best practices in the world, but it’s all a moot point unless you prepare your marketing funnel carefully.

In addition to mapping out the key steps (awareness, consideration, conversion + loyalty -> they depend on your audience, so there may be more), your funnel documentation should contain:

  • Actions you want the leads to take at each stage
  • Associated processes
  • Tools
  • KPIs

For example, let’s take the awareness stage. Your funnel documentation should look something like this:

  • Awareness
  • Channels: Facebook Ads, landing pages, lead magnets
  • Target actions: Lead form fill-outs, mailing list subscriptions
  • Tools: FB ads, Google Analytics, RedTrack
  • KPIs: Organic traffic, % of signups, stage conversion rate, etc.

If you use multiple channels (which - you probably do), highlight the touchpoints where the lead interacts with your brand. 

For example, every engagement on social media is a touchpoint, as is every email open, ad view, etc. 

marketing funnels with touchpoints example

2. Create Your Marketing Funnel Story (or Don’t)

This is a tricky one. Obviously, it’s much easier to weave a story with your marketing funnel like so:

Meet Jane, a busy professional looking to buy a new car. She's heard good things about your dealership but isn't quite ready to commit.
Awareness stage: One day, while scrolling through Facebook, Jane sees an ad for your dealership. The ad features a sleek new car and a call to action, inviting her to learn more. Intrigued, Jane clicks the ad and visits your website.
Consideration stage: Jane finds a landing page on your website with more information about the car she saw in the ad. She also sees a form to schedule a test drive. She's not quite ready yet, but she does sign up for your email newsletter to learn more about your dealership.
Decision stage: Over the next few weeks, Jane receives personalized emails from your dealership. These emails provide information about the car she's interested in and other cars that might be a good fit. They also include customer reviews and testimonials, which help build trust and credibility.
Conversion stage: After a few weeks of receiving your emails and researching independently, Jane decides to schedule a test drive. She fills out the form on your website and gets a confirmation email with the details of her appointment.
Retention stage: Jane has a great experience during her test drive and decides to buy the car. She leaves your dealership happy, and even leaves a positive review. Over the next few months, she keeps receiving emails from your dealership, including special offers and promotions.

The problem is that leads keep popping in and out of the funnel. Not every lead will follow your idealized progression, navigating your funnel like our friend Jane.

Instead, they’ll see your ad on Facebook, and your CTA will linger in their minds, but they’ll forget about your business until, one day, they stumble upon your blog post and convert.

💡 Pro tip: We’re not against stories, but make sure you also ground them in behavioral data. Identify and capture behaviors - for example, take automated screenshots whenever a lead doesn’t follow the charted path but converts. It’ll be interesting to analyze the outliers.

3. Visualize Your Marketing Funnel

We tried doing it without visualizations, but everyone just got confused, and they asked to “please pop up the Miro.” Which - fair. It’s much easier to understand what your marketing journey looks like if you can actually see it.

You have plenty of options:

Visualize with Screenshots

What you’ll need:

  • A Google Doc
  • Screenshots

Pop open a fresh Google Doc, and start writing down the key stages, actions, processes, etc. Then, add screenshots of the target actions.

For example, if you collaborate with influencers to improve your success rate in the consideration stage, you can take screenshots of their posts.

Similarly, you might want to keep track of your SEO rankings if it’s crucial for drawing leads to your funnel. Since we all know that Google Search Console can be messy, get real-time data with automated screenshots.

Not only will this make it easier to collaborate with your team, but you’ll also understand what the experience is like for your target audience.

Visualize with Tools

What you’ll need:

  • A tool like Miro or Canva
  • (Virtual) post-its

The next option is creating a detailed diagram of your marketing funnel. This is pretty handy if you’re running multiple simultaneous processes. In it, you should clearly mark what happens at each stage, so having a storied marketing funnel helps.

The good thing about tools like Miro is that you can keep them updated with a few automation tricks. However, with a simple funnel, Canva will do just fine.

buyer's journey example
Source: LucidChart

You can expand into full-blown scenarios for each customer persona. Again, be mindful of presuming what your target audience might (or might not) do. Always back your hypotheses with data.

For example, in the example above, Sarah might not look up movies on her phone - she might drive straight to the theater and randomly pick a movie.

4. Document Objections and Conversion Barriers in Your Marketing Funnel

Very few marketers remember to add objections to conversion at every stage.

For example, what’s stopping your awareness leads from considering your solution? What’s preventing them from making a decision once they’ve come far enough?

These are tough questions, which is precisely why you have to answer them. 

Consider typical objections and then validate them with historical data (or create a focus group if you run a new business):

  • Budget: Is your product in the lead’s price range? Is it priced too high (or too low)?
  • Authority: If you’re in B2B, is your lead the person who can make the decision - or do they have to consult other or more senior stakeholders?
  • Need: Are the effects of not solving this problem painful enough?
  • Timeline: Is the time right, or are they just shopping for solutions?
  • Trust: Are you credible enough for them to trust you?

Objections and barriers will be different depending on your industry and business model. However, they will inform your placement and presentation.

5. Add Your KPIs to the Marketing Funnel Documentation

One of the main reasons why you’re documenting your marketing funnel is so you can easily track what’s going right and what could go wrong. 

As we mentioned in the example above - your barriers are going to change the tactics you use. For example, you may realize that your existing landing pages can’t convince prospects that their problems are that painful.

But how do you know your new iteration is better?

Hello, KPIs!

Critical Marketing Funnel KPIs

Awareness stage KPIs:

  • Website traffic
  • Social media engagement
  • Ad impressions
  • Brand awareness lift (we usually use organic branded searches)

Consideration stage KPIs:

  • Landing page conversion rate
  • Email open rates
  • Whitepaper or e-book downloads
  • Video views

Decision stage KPIs:

  • Sales leads generated
  • Demo or consultation requests
  • Cart abandonment rate
  • Quote requests

Retention stage KPIs:

  • Customer lifetime value (CLTV)
  • Repeat purchase rate
  • Customer satisfaction (CSAT) score
  • Net promoter score (NPS)

💡 Pro tip: Based on your audience and their barriers to conversion, add other relevant KPIs. If you’re creating a list with 20+ KPIs, outline your top three north-star KPIs, so you don’t miss the forest for the trees. 

If you're using an automated screenshot tool like ScreenshotAPI, you can even take snapshots of the metrics and attach them to the documents or share them with your team members like Hiaroaki Ohishi from Catallaxy:

screenshotapi review

Run a Tight Ship: Document Your Marketing Funnel

Forget about the spray & pray approach. The best way to keep your marketing efforts in check (especially when things get hectic or you have to collaborate with other teams) is to rally around your marketing funnel.

Use it as your central HQ, and you’ll see how easy it becomes to demystify the metrics and align your whole team around the essential goal: turning unsuspecting prospects into delighted customers.

Happy marketing!

Marketing Funnel FAQs

1. How detailed does my marketing funnel have to be?

It doesn’t have to be too detailed. It can be just a list on your yellow post-it. It could also be a Google Doc with attached screenshots. Still, we recommend visualization so it’s easier to understand how it works in practice.

2. How do I create a marketing funnel if I’m starting from scratch?

Outline the key stages where leads make (micro)commitments. Then, select 1-2 tactics for each step. Finally, create content and push it to production! For example, you could select social media and SEO for the awareness stage, email nurturing for the consideration stage, and demos for the conversion phase. 

3. How do I do a marketing funnel analysis?

Look at KPIs for each funnel stage and tactic, and then understand how it affects your overall conversions. For example, if you get a lot of leads but only a handful convert, you might need to pre-qualify your TOFU leads.

4. Should I create separate marketing funnels for different buyer personas?

Not necessarily, but keep them segmented. Make sure you can see the metrics for Group A vs. Group B. Separate them only if you’re selling different products and creating individual collateral.

5. How do I take automated screenshots to document my marketing funnel?

If you want to keep track of your leads’ interactions or take automated screenshots, just use ScreenshotAPI. You don’t need code to get programmatic screenshots - in fact, our team created a handy tutorial just for you!