Marketing Funnel Explained: Why it matters to you as an Influencer

January 19, 2023
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6 Min read

As an influencer, it's important to know what a marketing funnel is so that you understand why a business would use it to hire you. A marketing funnel is a roadmap that companies use to plan the journey of how someone becomes a customer. The simplest form is made up of four parts: awareness, interest, trial, and repeat customers. As an influencer, one of these parts probably fit your current style of influence really well, and we'll talk about how you can make this knowledge work toward your benefit when getting hired for a campaign.

Let's start with the basics: what is a marketing funnel? 

A marketing funnel is a visual aid to map out how someone becomes a customer with a company. It's a funnel shape because the widest part of the funnel (awareness) captures the most amount of people, and as you move down the funnel towards repeat customers, it get's more narrow. Marketing funnels can get extremely complex the further you get into the concept, but for now we're going to talk about the 4 main parts of the funnel and why it matters for influencers: awareness, interest, trial, repeat.

But first, a chart to show the terms a traditional marketing funnel would use, and how to think of it as an influencer.

Awareness > Reach

In this phase of the marketing funnel, brands will likely be reaching out to you on a gifted collaboration opportunity. They're trying to make their reach for whatever they are launching as wide as possible at the cheapest cost. That's not to say that they won't pay you for these types of awareness campaigns, but they'll generally be looking for exceptional engagement/ above average reach in the niche they're trying to target for paying opportunities.

High reach also doesn't have to mean just high number of followers, it could also mean your daily reach per post is higher than others averages in your niche.

If you want to get paid for awareness campaigns, you need to communicate that you can drive higher engagement than average for the brand that's hiring you. A sample response to a gifting/ awareness campaign would be "thanks for thinking of me for this opportunity. I would love to promote your product to my followers. On average, I see a XX% (insert your percentage) higher reach rate than other creators in my niche for this type of product. If you're interested in reaching my audience, do you have a budget in place to work with me?"

Most marketers think this is the only part of the funnel that influencers "really" fit into, but we know we're more valuable than that and we actually interact with the whole funnel.

Interest > Click Through Rate (CTR) 

Interest (also known as consideration) is the point of a person's journey where they are now aware but want to learn more. They're curious about what this product/ service does for them, and how it can benefit their life. This is the job of the marketing team to structure further messaging on the brand's page and social channels to inspire a click, signing up for email lists, following on social media, and engaging with the brand.

What does this mean for influencers? It means, being able to convey your click through rate (the number of times people click on the thing you're promoting divided by the amount of reach it gets) is a strong metric to show that you drive INTEREST for the brands you represent.

These types of leads for brands are generally worth a lot more than awareness because it shows that a customer is more committed to engaging with buying into the brand.

Generally you'll never hear a brand reach out to you asking you "what amount of interest do you drive for x brands", but this IS a VERY CONVINCING metric to add on to your Awareness response from above. Here is an amended script with the new verbiage: 

"Thanks for thinking of me for this opportunity. I would love to promote your product to my followers. On average, I see a XX% (insert your percentage) higher reach rate than other creators in my niche for this type of product and when I worked with a similar brand, I had a CTR of XX%. I would love to introduce your brand to my audience. Do you have a budget for this campaign?"

Trial > Conversions aka Affiliate Sales

At the end of the day, it's every brand managers *hopes* that the gifted campaign turns into one that sparks purchases and conversions for their brand. However, that's not always the case. When a brand wants to really drive trial sales through influencers, they generally want to put paid ad dollars behind it to make it as impactful to the end customer as possible. In this stage, they're ready to invest in creators to drive the message home for their brand which means they're looking for influencers with a track record of conversion in their niche.

How do you position yourself as the perfect person for this? You want to collect as much relevant affiliate sale data as you can for the brands category and niche to show "I can drive sales". If you sell products through any affiliate marketplace like Amazon, LikeToKnowIt, ShopStyle, Howl, etc, they have a dashboard that will show the conversion rate that you drive. On average a good conversion rate is .5-1%. If you're above this conversion rate, it's time to hype that up.

We would list an exceptional conversion rate on our media kit, and in negotiations when a brand is pushing back on our sponsored post rate.

Repeat > Community Engagement Markers

A brands ideal goal is to have as many repeat customers as possible. It means their customers love them so much, the brand doesn't have to spend additional dollars to acquire their business. It's just pure profit.

This part of the funnel is the most narrow because it's the MOST difficult part of the funnel to get to and to sustain. Between product switching and a thousand other reasons, customers here are they most valuable to have, therefore the most expensive to acquire.

But as a smart influencer, do you know how to turn your brand fandom into this high pay opportunity? By sharing those community engagement markers with the brand to let them know "my audience is curious about you, they love you, they want more information about your brand and can't get enough of you." 

Influencers who mention brands that they want to partner with will have these conversation markers ready to show to brands and they make a really impactful story for your pitch.

(If you need some pitch strategy guidance, we talk about this in our Strategy templates here)

Understanding where you fit and how you serve the marketing funnel is a great way to differentiate yourself from other pitches and from turning gifted opportunities into paid ones. Brands will pay influencers who are able to back up their claims with data, and showing them how you add value to a campaign is monumental for a brand to hire you.

Every part of the marketing funnel is worth paying for, especially if you know the value you drive and have data to support it. If you need help pricing your work, that's what we're here to help with. Our sponsored post calculator (click here) can figure out what you should charge for brand campaigns.

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