Creating a Marketing Plan for Education Companies with Full-Funnel Marketing: Podcast Episode #9
In an earlier episode, I talked about the consumer journey and I'm just going to briefly recap that before I get into talking about full-funnel marketing, which is a little bit related to the consumer journey. The consumer journey, as a reminder, is the concept that people go through steps when they're making a purchase. And the steps take longer. The more complex and more people are involved in the purchase. But even if an individual is buying something, there is some kind of journey that people are going on. And it starts with coming up with a need that people need solved, or there's some kind of trigger moment that makes them realize that they need a solution to whatever it is that they're dealing with. And after they do that, they go through a process of searching, whether it's doing online searching on their own or talking to colleagues for recommendations or looking at online reviews. And they are adding new solutions to their list. They are removing some. They are comparing them, and then they go through and buy. And then after they buy, they either have a good experience or a bad experience. If it's good, then they'll stick with you. They'll buy again, they'll refer you if it's not a good experience and they'll go through that whole journey again.
So that process of the consumer journey and just realizing that people do go through a process when they're making a purchase is a really important one to understand in marketing, especially when you're building out your marketing plan and your marketing campaigns. So another way of looking at the consumer journey or at least applying it to your marketing campaigns and plans is this concept of full-funnel marketing. If you could, visualize a pyramid, an upside down pyramid, that's the full funnel. And basically that pyramid maps to the consumer journey. So at the top of the pyramid is awareness. And that's when people are first realizing that they have some kind of issue that they need to solve. And then the pyramid goes down through consideration where they're starting to look into solutions, evaluation when they're starting to compare purchase when they buy, and then loyalty when they hopefully stick with you.
So picture an upside-down pyramid with those paths. And what you want to do when you are developing your marketing plans is come up with your marketing strategies and then develop activities that will meet people in each stage of the consumer journey or each stage of the funnel. So let's just go through an example.
Let's say you have some kind of education product that you're selling and your marketing strategy is that you want to be positioned as the expert in whatever topic that product is helping people with. So you have more experience in this specific area than any of your other competitors. And you need people to know that you're an expert. That's your marketing strategy. Now you look at that funnel and you come up with your marketing activities around each step. So at the highest level around awareness, you might do things like speak at conferences and events or get press in certain outlets where you're interviewed so that you are looked at as the expert on this topic. That's one area for reaching people who are maybe first starting to realize that they have an issue or maybe they haven't even realized that they have a need for this and they start learning a little bit about what your company does.
And then the next phase of that funnel, you would do activities that are getting your brand, your company in front of people when they are starting to do some research. So you could do things like have a plug that's optimized for SEO so it shows up when they're searching. Or maybe you do videos that are also optimized or distributed out through social media or on YouTube, whatever it is. And then you also want to make sure that you have marketing activities for people who are looking at your website and they're maybe comparing you against someone else. Maybe you give away a demo or you do case studies again, all in the lens of making your company look like the expert in this space.
And then finally the loyalty phase. Maybe you do events or you host a community around other customers that you're leading. So again, you're looking like the expert because you are running these events.
So hopefully that gives you an idea of how to break things down in your marketing plan to reach people at all different phases of that buying process. And a lot of people are only focused on those people who are buying now. And I do recommend starting out with building your activities around that because you don't want to be bringing people in and then you don't have case studies or you don't have any kind of path for what to do with them after they inquire about your business. You do want to have activities for people who are evaluating your product, but you don't want to miss out on the people who are just starting their search. So they're at that awareness part of the funnel. And you don't want to miss out on the people who are in the loyalty phase because at both of those, those are prime ways to get new people into your pipeline and to help you six months from now when those people are ready. If you're only focusing on people who are ready to buy now and they're at that evaluation consideration phase, you're only going to be reaching people that are ready now and you're always going to be needing to do that. But if you do that, plus you do activities for people who are just starting their search or people who are your loyal fans, then you're going to be able to bring in more potential customers because you're reaching people at all phases of when they are purchasing.