My husband is a home brewer, which means he brews beer at home for fun. He likes the chemistry of it, and all the fun gadgets and tools. Among all the tools he has collected for this hobby are a number of different funnels. He has to pour liquid of various kinds into flasks, fermenters and kegs. In order to do that, he has funnels of all different shapes and sizes -- big ones, little ones, metal ones, plastic ones.

In business, we talk about having a "sales funnel." And, as I was watching him brew, I started thinking about how important a funnel really is. Without it, he could pour a ton of liquid in the general direction of his container, but most of it would miss the mark and end up on the floor, lost forever. Not to mention, make a big mess!

This happens in business all the time. We may have some "top of the funnel" marketing activities to get our name out there and drive traffic to our business. But, unless we have a way to make sure people are entering a funnel, they will likely end up flowing right past us.

And here's the thing, it has to be a funnel. Not just a saucer, or pot, or straw. That may sound a little strange but stick with me. 

Some businesses think that having a call to action that leads directly to a sales call is their "funnel." It's not. It is a saucer that will still miss most people, and has a very small capacity to capture people. Some think that capturing people onto a list that is mostly dormant is their "funnel." It's not. That's like dumping people into a pot. You may catch more of them, but the movement stops. They just sit there and aren't moving forward, deepening their relationship, or heading toward a goal. Eventually they will get stale.

A funnel keeps people moving forward, engaging them more deeply with the business. When they come out the end, they will be much more likely to buy from you or hire you. If not, that's okay. You can let them flow into the pot for a while, but don't let them sit there for too long.

It's like the fermenting stage of beer brewing. You have to let it sit for a while, continuing to monitor it. Some might leave through the blow-off tube (I'm not kidding). But after a while, you have to pour it into another funnel.

That's right, one funnel isn't enough! Like my husband, you need to build a collection of funnels and connect them together.  It is the most effective way to make sure you are converting your watery prospects into engaged, delicious clients!

Thanks for sticking with this metaphor! Building sales funnels, especially automated ones using e-mail communications, is a big part of content marketing. Find out more about building funnels in the form of Opt-In Campaigns here.
 


Comments

01/05/2015 8:30am

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07/04/2016 1:36am

It must be nice that your husband is very engaged with a hobby. I believe that hobbies are important since it gives meaning to people's leisure time. Being a home brewer myself, I find it very amusing how you started having ideas about simple funnels and you connected that with life. The human mind is amazing that it has the power to take simple things with simple functions and attach a complex meaning to it. I love your metaphor. I can totally relate. You see, I am a person who has many messy ideas. I need to train myself to funnel those ideas, and guide them in to a paper where they can nicely stick- without spills and splats.

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03/15/2016 11:51pm

My husband is a home brewer too!))

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One funnel isn't really enough!

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