You Create the Experience Inside the Funnel
You are the alchemist of experiences for your target market. Once you’re inside the funnel, the”experience funnel” that is, you create an experience-flow that engages your prospect, customer, or client. This experience flow is a series of experience engagements. Those engagements are intended to create rapport, a relationship, and trust. And that leads to your ability to make an impact in the lives of others.
Inside the Funnel is Where “IT” Happens
What is “IT?” Integrating with your target market’s belief system. That’s “IT.” This might sound a little heady, but the reality is that the market has to believe you are going to deliver value to them in a meaningful manner.
Integrating into their belief system is what happens inside the funnel. The content and flow of experiences creates familiarity, a powerful heuristic force. That familiarity essentially creates a relationship, not unlike that of a good friend. In essence, your focus must be on developing, nurturing, and sustaining a relationship. That relationship is essential if the customer, client, or prospect is to entrust you with their attention.
Until you have been assimilated into their belief system, you are just another one of “them,” where “them” is an irrelevant content producer.
Podcast | Relationship Relevant Marketing Episode 5: Inside the Funnel
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Where Should Your Focus Be: End-Game Objective (EGO) or Relationship
To be clear, you need to know what your End-Game Objective (EGO) is. That’s ultimately the action you want your prospect to take, but that’s just the “end-game.” What matters most is the process in getting there. This is what is going on inside the funnel. That process is what creates, nurtures, and sustains a relationship with your client. That relationship is how you build trust, confidence, and belief.
If you focus too much on the end-game, you’ll likely be pushing for them to buy something. If you focus on the relationship, you’ll be preparing them to make a decision. There is a big difference.
What is the right amount of focus on end-game vs. relationship? That’s the million-dollar question. It will depend on the nature of the market and your target customers, but there are some guidelines that can help you decide. Inside the funnel, you seek to provide a flow of content experiences that will engage and sustain their attention.
Inside the funnel, you seek to provide a flow of content experiences that will engage and sustain their attention.
Guidelines for Your Experience Flow Inside the Funnel
The nature of your content inside the funnel is going to depend on your product and the nature of your market. However, there are some guidelines that can help you create an effective plan.
First, it would be helpful to understand the concept that there are three degrees of relevance to consider:
First Degree Relevance
This is where the content you create inside the funnel directly ties your product and it’s various forms, functions, features, value, etc., to the prospect’s needs, wants, what they value the most, and so forth. This is the kind of content that can be viewed as sales or pitch oriented. While is may be truthful, beneficial, and relevant, too much of this kind of dialog, or injecting it into the experience flow too soon, can cause a relationship failure.
Second Degree Relevance
Here, the form and function of your product is related to the needs, wants, what they value the most, etc., without correlating it with your product. You are teaching, educating, information, and giving them information on what works and may solve their problem. But YOU ARE NOT PITCHING OR SELLING! This must be clear: in the second degree of relevance, you are educating, not selling.
Third Degree Relevance
Third-degree relevance is when the content you publish in the experience flow has nothing or very little to do with your product. You are in essence talking about lifestyle or interesting subjects. You are relating to them as a fellow human, and simply building a friendship and relationship based on common interests, etc. This is valuable content in that it shows you empathize with them, and are not just about trying to sell them something.
These three degrees of relevance will give you a framework around which you can create your experience flow.
Experience Flow Guidelines
Most situations are going to be contextual: meaning your funnel, prospects, clients, or customers, and the market you are pursuing, will be different than others. As such, how you implement the following guidelines will be subjective. Nevertheless, these guidelines are just that – guidelines.
You can custom fit your plan to the market your are working in. What you do inside the funnel should be consistent with the objective of creating a long-term, sustainable relationship that gives you the opportunity to achieve your EGO.
We’ll refer to each of these steps below as “elements” of the experience flow.
Note: your prospect, customer, or client may not “buy” this time around, so stay engaged. The objective is not to make a sale and move on. It is to develop a life-long customer who will buy more in the future. It’s about creating a customer base of loyalists who will grow with you as you increase your product offerings and value.
Element 1: This is the content that got you inside of the experience funnel in the first place. This is what was relevant or interesting enough to them to allow you to enter their funnel and their life. This is what got their attention in the first place. It may have been your product or a benefit the product can deliver, or it might have just been relating to that which they value the most in their lives. Ultimately, you will be giving them some or all of what they value most in some form and degree.
Element 2: This is the first content experience you will deliver after you get in the funnel. In this element, you thank them for the opportunity to be of service and to add value. You reinforce the value of the solution you offer, but without going into sales mode. In essence, you affirm they have made the correct decision in allowing you into their funnel. Here you set the expectation of value that will follow. This is a second-degree content experience. It does not push the product, rather it talks about the value you will be delivering.
Element 3: This is second-degree content. Here, you are expanding on the subject and relevant value that got you in the funnel. They are expecting this. However, you are not pitching, selling, or going for any decision. In this element, you are going into more detail. You are taking education, information, and enlightenment to the next level above Element 2. In so doing, you are fulfilling their expectation of value.
Element 4: Now, step back to third-degree relevance content and share something interesting, valuable, beneficial, and so forth. Go for a lifestyle moment, a story. This is where you depart from any product marketing and just go for lifestyle content. In general, this is feel-good stuff. The objective for this element is to build the relationship at the “friend” level.
Element 5: You now return to a second-degree relevance topic. You certainly can make it a follow on from Element 4, but be careful not to overdo it! Once again, the purpose of this element is to fulfill the expectation of value, and not the expectation of buying something.
Element 6: Repeat element 5: in other words, deliver a content experience that is second-degree of relevance.
Element 7: This is a third-degree relevance content element. You can continue from Element 4 above, tie it to Element 6 or create a difference experience. There is value in continuity, but you don’t want to make any of this content sound like the same thing said differently. That is boring and will get you ejected from their experience funnel.
Element 8: This is a first-degree relevance element, but is a “soft introduction” to your product. Here is where you tie the second-degree element from earlier in the flow to your product. You now teach how your product embodies the functional and beneficial attributes you taught and disclosed in the prior elements.
Element 9: Deliver a third-degree experience. Entertain, education, inform, or whatever works. Just say away from pitching your product or reminding them of what you just presented in Element 8.
Element 10: Make the offer for your product – a first-degree relevance experience. Be consistent with the tonality of your prior messages and content. You will also want to be congruent with the second-degree relevance experiences you’ve delivered. After all, the purpose of these experiences was to educate, teach, inform, and to set their expectations of value. Now, with your product pitch, you are bringing it all together.
Element 11: Deliver a second-degree experience that is a “day in the life” having acquired your product. This can be a factual situation, or fictitious “what if” or “imagine if” story. The objective is to either: A. Affirm that their purchase was the correct decision; B. Give them further incentive to acquire your product.
Element 12: Go back to Element 3 and repeat the process.
You will likely modify this flow to what works for you. The concept is simply to mix up the content such that your prospect integrates you into their belief system as someone who brings value in multiple appreciated and relevant forms.
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Remember: Don’t put probabilities on your possibilities. Dream big, believe in yourself, take bold action, and achieve!
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