The Six Stages of the Marketing Funnel (And How to Make Them Work for Your Business)

Marketing funnels are an essential tool in the life of any business, big or small. Whether you’re selling physical products, digital products, or even services, having a marketing funnel that works effectively can help you bring in more business and maximize your profits. But what exactly is the marketing funnel? And how does it work? In this article, we’ll look at the six stages of the marketing funnel and show you how to make them work for your business.

What are the six stages?

The classic marketing funnel stages that businesses rely on today are as follows: Awareness, Consideration, Acquisition, Intent, Evaluation, and Purchase. In order to make a sale in your business or increase engagement metrics with your current customers, you need people engaged at every stage of your marketing funnel.

Although some have argued against defining such a traditional model for technology and professional services companies, where direct-response models are more applicable, the funnel concept is still helpful when looking at broader brand awareness and individual customer experience through their user journey.

six stages of marketing and sales funnel
MQL = Marketing Qualified Leads, SQL = Sales Qualified Leads

1. Awareness stage

Awareness is all about getting people talking about your product or service. What better way to achieve that than by making an impression through high-quality, customized content. Although old, content marketing has become a necessary method of brand building. It keeps your brand at the top of the mind of the potential customers throughout their journey.

Whether it’s funny videos, infographics, or images, social media remains king in building awareness around a new business. The more user engages and shares your content, your brand credibility improves and that helps drive more traffic back to your website.

2. Consideration stage

The conversion rate through consideration is 12%. Once your brand has created enough buzz in the marketplace, it’s just a matter of time before your product/services will be on the top consideration list for customers.

You might have heard the term “subconscious mind”. It plays a critical role for marketers. Your awareness stage should be strong enough to make an impact on the customers’ subconscious minds. 89% of the first stage of product/vendor selection decisions are made by the subconscious mind.

Marketing engagement channels for each stage in marketing funnel
Social and Email marketing plays a vital role in the buyer’s journey

By using marketing automation software you can create triggered email campaigns that send emails specific to what action the user takes and helps them navigate through the funnel smoothly. When users receive emails triggered by these user engagement reports it makes them feel special and known and allows them to trust you more and increase their interest in your brand or product.

3. Acquisition stage

This stage is all about identifying prospects that are more likely to convert into sales leads while being cost-efficient. Most companies blindly spend money on social media and other channels without realizing the actual cost incurred to generate sales.

Your acquisition strategy should always try to lower the acquisition cost.

Once you’ve narrowed down our ideal demographic, you can focus on where those people hang out online, which keywords they use in their search engine queries, and what content they share on social media – this is all valuable information when trying to create a strategy for lead generation. By paying attention to what kind of content works well with a specific audience, you can more easily tailor your brand message that best resonates with them.

4. Intent stage

At the intent stage, users are taking their first step toward product evaluation. Products need to be pitched in such a way that the user’s intention remains high and he starts evaluating them seriously. For doing so, businesses should have strategies like listing out the pros and cons of each product. To improve on customer experience and keep their user engaged, companies can encourage their users through a series of questions via pop-ups which result in a smooth purchase process without any lags or disturbances.


5. Evaluation stage

During the evaluation, your prospects look closely at your brand’s website. Here are some things they look for: current and past web stats, social media mentions, and your brand’s CSR activities. If they can find any information that proves you actually know what you’re talking about, they’ll be more likely to give you their contact information so you can reach out with a follow-up marketing campaign.

The internet has become saturated with brands all claiming they are number one in everything under the sun. If you want yours to stand out from other companies, prove it by finding ways to back up your claims.

6. Purchase stage

At top-of-funnel or beginning-of-funnel, your job is brand building. The purchase stage occurs when you can actually move people along that funnel. You’ll set expectations, create urgency, and help your leads get into a buying mood at each level by playing to their concerns, and overcoming them with reassurance that you have everything under control. And there are usually specific ways you can reinforce your offer without being pushy or overly promotional. And if you’re talking about it on social media, the rules about being pushy and promotional change just a little bit.

B2B Internation’s article on Path-To-Purchase Research on the Right Track is a great read.

If a customer is at his or her purchase stage, you’ll likely need to work on brand building. Use promotional materials—think ads and discounts—to build your company’s image. Brand building doesn’t necessarily mean buying advertising spots, but it does mean identifying exactly who your customer is and using marketing efforts that cater specifically to him or her.


It’s no secret that sales and business growth tend to increase in proportion to how satisfied customers are. That’s why it’s a good idea to ask yourself, How well are we serving our customers? And, then, What could we do better? If you can improve your customer experience and/or your conversion rates at any point in your marketing funnel, you stand a very good chance of increasing conversions at every other point as well. If new customers aren’t being brought into your system through all stages of your marketing funnel, then you could be throwing away a lot of money on expensive acquisition efforts that don’t drive sustainable growth.

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