The Different Stages of Online and Offline Marketing Funnels

Anyone who has studied business or entrepreneurship is fairly familiar with how marketing funnels work. But for those out there who don’t today, we’ll be discussing the different stages of marketing funnels both online and offline. Another reason for this discussion is to show offline business owners the benefits of online funnels.

What is a Marketing Funnel?

Before diving into the core discussion, let’s have a peek at the basics first. A marketing funnel is a step by step process of a customer’s journey from knowing about a product, to purchase and after-sales service.

Many people think marketing funnels and sales funnels are the same; they’re not. The difference between marketing and sales funnel is intent. A marketing funnel focuses on presenting a product. But a sales funnel focuses on generating leads that allow for identifying prospective buyers. While this basis stays the same for online and offline marketing funnels, there is one core difference- focus on content. Below we will demonstrate the difference.

Offline Marketing Funnel Cycle

In offline marketing funnels, the customer goes through the following stages:

  • Awareness
  • Interest
  • Desire
  • Purchase
  • Adoption
  • Loyalty
  • Advocacy

Online Marketing Funnel Cycle

On the other hand, online marketing funnels go through the following stages-

  • Someone sees a newspaper ad and learns about the existence of a product or a service. This is Awareness.
  • If the product reflects that person’s needs or desires it creates Interest.
  • Awareness and Interest create Desire in the person. So he/she visits the store where the product is available.
  • If seeing and verifying the product makes a good impression it leads to Purchase.
  • The Adoption period is how long it takes the customer to acclimatize to the product.
  • If the product creates sufficient long-term value it creates Loyalty.
  • The customer Loyalty leads to goo word of mouth which is Advocacy.

In short, this is the standard course for the average offline funnel.

On the other hand, initial stages of an online marketing funnels go through the same stages in a different manner –

  • Someone sees an ad on FaceBook or YouTube and clicks on it. This is Awareness, Interest, and Desire working in a conjoined manner. This is done via landing page ads which contain just enough hook to incentivize desire.
  • Once the person enters the landing page he/she goes through the reviews and product specification page to know more.
  • If the impression from the details is good enough it leads to Purchase from the Checkout page

These 4 stages align perfectly with offline marketing funnel stages albeit in a different form. But in case of online marketing funnels the following additional stages apply after:

  • After-sales emails are a good way to keep in touch with customers. This keeps them interested and aware of future products.
  • Referral bonuses are often provided to incentivize Advocacy

Adoption and Loyalty play out similarly in online funnels in the same manner as offline funnels.

Thanks to the extra two stages, building a personal rapport with the customer and incentivizing recommendations to others boost further sales chances. The focus on content creation kicks in these two stages.

Differences Between Online and Offline Marketing Funnels

To further differentiate between digital and traditional marketing funnels, here’s a table showing the subtler differences mediums used, how the 4Ps are used, control, timing and more-

Factor Online Marketing Funnel Offline Marketing Funnel
Medium Landing Page, Market use cases page, Product specification page Checkout page. Basically different pages of the same website. Newspapers, TV’s, Billboards, Posters, Cutouts, Seasonal decorations, etc.
Application of 4Ps of marketing The product can be non-tangible, price is usually lower due to lower marketing expenses, promotion is cheaper, placement can be both virtual and real Product has to be tangible, price is higher due to higher marketing expense, promotion is expensive, placement can be both virtual and real
Control Timing Yes Some
Interaction More Less
Customization More Less
Campaign Measurement Flexible Rigid
Cost Less More

Based on these differences it is easy to see why online marketing funnels are becoming more popular than offline marketing funnels. So if you have used offline marketing funnels for your business and are not satisfied, give online marketing funnels a try. To make the best marketing funnels online, ClickFunnels is the top choice of successful business owners. With ClickFunnels you gain access to the most versatile funnel development platform online. Just go the site and give the 14-day trial a go to see if that works for you.