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Beyond the Engagement Funnel: How to Target Your Potential Customers

We are excited to share a guest blog from Diane W. Pease, Inbound Marketing Manager at Cisco, on the topic of buying behavior. We have discussed the Zero Moment of Truth (ZMOT) before and this ties right in with that concept of utilizing your content marketing strategy to first gain your buyers' trust and, eventually, increase sales. But, if you take the approach of a hungry salesperson, buyers will sense that and feed your competition instead! The tide has changed which means we have to change with the tide!


Anyone who is involved in digital marketing today knows about the conversion funnel – it comes in various versions and formats. Go to Google Images and type in “conversion funnel” – you will see dozens of images, with no two being the same! Regardless, the funnel represents the buying cycle that a consumer follows when making a purchase or decision. But the main consideration is the same – no matter at what point a customer comes into the funnel, you have to reach them with the right messaging, at the right place, at the right time. And nurture them through the funnel with targeted content.

The days of push marketing are over. It’s all about pull – driving customers by providing them with what they are looking for. Having the right digital marketing strategy for every phase in the funnel is critical to your online success. For example, messaging at the top of the funnel is very different than what you provide to customers who are at the purchase or decision making part of the funnel.

Below are some best practices for targeting your future customers:

Understand who your potential customers are.

Sounds simple, but oftentimes when we are creating campaigns, we get focused on finding the right keywords and messaging. And in doing so, we don’t always realize how our customers might be searching. If you are targeting high-level executives, for example, your keywords and messaging should “speak their language”, and target their pain points. What keeps them up at night?

Know where your customers are.

It’s no longer about pushing marketing collateral out and hoping someone will download it. Especially if they are in the awareness stage of the funnel. Potential customers need to be targeted where they are – such as Twitter, LinkedIn, and other social media outlets. Your message needs to be where they are, and when they are searching. Providing “snackable” content – short and concise – helps draw them in. By piquing their interesting, you can then nurture them through the funnel journey by later providing more detailed and in-depth information.

Target your customers with the right messaging.

A potential customer who is in the awareness stage of the funnel is probably not at the buying point. Therefore, the messaging needs to provide information to them, not trying to sell them something right out of the gate. They are in research mode, and the more information that you can provide them, the better they are able to continue going down the conversion funnel path.

No matter where you customers are in their buying journey, ensure you provide them with the right messaging and content!

About the author

Diane W. Pease is an Inbound Marketing Manager for Cisco, and has been in online and traditional marketing for over twenty-five years. She has expertise in SEO, social and traditional marketing, but her primary specialty and passion is paid search and analytics.

Diane has worked with a large number of big national and international clients including Lowes Home Improvement, Sirius Satellite Radio, ULTA Cosmetics, Glaxo Smith-Kline and Accenture, among others. She focuses on providing clients with solid paid search strategies and seamless campaign execution.

Diane is a monthly contributor to Search Engine Watch and SEMRush. She is also speaker at the SES conference series, ClickZLive, SMX and Internet Summit.