how the marketing funnel works from top to bottom

How The Marketing Funnel Works From Top to Bottom

The key to successfully converting website visitors into customers lies in a marketing strategy called the marketing funnel. 

Every marketer and I hope, SEO expert, knows this, so you should too. 

By understanding how they work, you can create a highly effective marketing strategy that attracts new leads and over time converts them into paying and returning customers. 

So let’s dive deep into how the marketing funnel works from top to bottom and how can you use the marketing funnel to move customers along in the buyer journey.

What is a Marketing Funnel?

A marketing funnel, also known as a sales funnel, is a strategic framework that outlines the various stages that potential customers go through on their path to making purchases. 

It is a visual representation of the customer’s purchasing journey, from the initial stage of becoming aware of a product or service to the final stage of making a purchase.

Over time, the marketing funnel evolved. But it started with the traditional funnel which is based on the AIDA model. 

This model was developed in 1898, by E. Elmo Lewis, an American advertising advocate. 

His model consisted of 4 stages: 

  • Awareness Stage – where prospects become aware of your brand. 
  • Interest Stage – where prospects show interest in your brand by engaging with it.
  • Consideration Stage – prospects begin to investigate whether your brand is the best fit for them by comparing and contrasting it with other brands.
  • Action Stage – where the prospect finally becomes a customer. 

Some marketers have modified these four stages to three: 

  • Top of the Funnel (TOFU) – this comprises the awareness stage 
  • Middle of the Funnel (MOFU) – this comprises the interest and consideration stage 
  • Bottom of the Funnel (BOFU) – this comprises the action stage. 

While we’re thankful to Elmo Lewis for this funnel, some marketers thought it was insufficient. 

After all, the funnel only covered the awareness stage down to the action stage.

So what happens next? 

Do customers wander away only to repeat the process all over again? 

As a result, they added two more stages to the funnel: 

  • Loyalty Stage – where your new customers remain your customer 
  • Advocacy stage – where your customers begin to recommend you to others

How The Marketing Funnel Works from Top to Bottom

But to fully understand how the marketing funnel works from top to bottom, we need to have a breakdown of the different stages.

What Are The Stages of The Marketing Funnel?

1. The Awareness Stage 

In this stage, prospects are only just finding out that you exist. 

And it could be through any of your social media platforms. 

Or even Google. 

2. The Interest Stage

This is the stage where customers like you and like what you’ve got. 

They realize you have a possible solution to their problem or an answer to their question. 

Now they’re a step deeper into the funnel and want to know more about you so they stick around either by following you on social media or becoming a subscriber. 

3. Consideration Stage 

Now you’re a possible option, but your competitors are options too. 

They begin to do research, compare prices, read reviews, and simply just weigh their options. 

4. Action Stage 

Congratulations! You’ve got a new customer! 

How to Use the Marketing Funnel To Scale Your Business 

Wouldn’t it be great if people followed the marketing funnel as it is? 

Your work would be a lot easier! 

But unfortunately, that’s not how it works in the real world. 

Sometimes, people skip all the stages and take action immediately. 

Other times, they stop at the second stage and you never see them again. 

And that’s okay. 

You win some, you lose some. 

So how exactly do you use the marketing funnel to scale your business? 

  • Create content for each stage of your funnel 
  • Be prepared for each stage of the funnel 

Let’s break it down. 

1. Awareness Stage

Think visibility, because this is what you need. 

  • Publish high-quality SEO content on Google consistently 
  • Optimize your social media to target keywords your audience use
  • Engage with other people’s audience on social media and even podcasts 

Your ultimate goal is to get your brand out there and get as much awareness as you can. 

Your customer might just be around the corner. 

2. Interest Stage 

You need to keep them engaged and interested. 

Create something that’ll help you know if they’re interested. 


  • Creating an email list and CTAs around it
  • Creating CTAs on your social media so they follow or subscribe

3. Consideration 

Are you the right man for the job? 


Then prove it! 

You’ve got lots of competitors out there so stand out! 

  • Share testimonials 
  • Get reviews 
  • Create a versus page to compare your brand with others 

You’ve got to put your best foot forward because someone else is. 

4. Action

Although prospects might have gotten to this stage, they can drag it out for a long time. 

So here’s what you can do: 

  • Create urgency ie “offer lasts for 3 days only!” 
  • Offer a money-back guarantee 
  • Offer a discount or coupon code
  • Create a smooth checkout process 

How Do You Do a Marketing Funnel Analysis?

You know what a marketing funnel is, you know how to use it to scale your business…

…but how do you know you’re actually getting results? 

Create Metrics for Each Stage 

  • Awareness: measure the number of your monthly clicks. I suggest you do this with Google Analytics so you can check what channels are bringing in traffic i.e. LinkedIn, Instagram, Google, maybe a podcast you featured in etc. 
  • Interest: if you’ve set up a measuring parameter such as an email list or subscriber count, you can use that to measure your interest rate. You can also check your returning visitors on Google Analytics. 

  • Consideration: Consider the Click-Through-Rate for your emails and even your website. 
  • Action: the number of sales you’ve made. 

At each stage, you’ll understand what you can do differently to get more results. 

For example, if your CTR is high but you’re not making any sales, try a competitor analysis, maybe your prices are too high or your products aren’t good enough. 

Either way, you’ll figure out what’s wrong and how you can fix it. 

Although this post focuses majorly on how the marketing funnel works from top to bottom, there’s a lot more to learn about content marketing.

So make sure to subscribe and follow me on LinkedIn so you’ll get notified when I post! 

But before you leave, tell me in the comments how you found my website! 

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Amanda Nze, the founder of AmandaTalksSEO, is an SEO specialist who has successfully boosted her client's website traffic from almost zero to over a thousand organic clicks with limited backlinks.

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