Start Building Your Marketing Funnel

Are you looking to grow your business? It’s good to think about the growth in the context of a funnel. You know the funnels you use to put oil in your car or how you used to consume beer in college *wink*? It’s big at the top and gets progressively smaller.

You need to start thinking about the different stages of building relationships with your audience, customers, or group of people that you’re trying to grow. Once you understand the stages, then you can start to build a plan to move people towards whatever goal that you’re trying to accomplish. For most of you, that goal is revenue or sales of some kind.

When I started my first marketing job, I just kind of did stuff. Luckily enough, that user-base grew pretty rapidly. I’d imagine for as much as I did right that there was plenty I did wrong. I could’ve benefited from being more methodical about understanding my users

If you Google marketing funnels, there’s a million of them of varying complexity. So definitely feel free to take what I’ve written below as just a baseline.

Awareness – Does someone know that you exist? How do you start getting on someone’s radar? You could do this through advertising, press, social media, or optimizing to rank highly on search engines. Awareness is a BIG first step. This sounds like a pretty simple statement but it a doozy… someone’s not going to buy something from you if they don’t know you exist.

Consideration – This is where someone knows where you are and they’re starting to think about pulling the trigger on whatever it is that you’re selling.  What are the benefits of what you’re doing?

Acquisition – Now ya gotta get them to buy what you’re selling.  When someone’s thinking about buying something, they start thinking about the upsides and they finish thinking about the risks. At this stage, you want to assuage any fears that someone has so you can push them over the edge.

Retention – How do you keep them buying what you’re selling? They already have a relationship. You want to keep in touch. Make them feel the love. If they bought something, they likely already love you.  In some cases, it’s going to be easier to get an existing user/customer to buy more than to teach someone new why you’re awesome and then get them to buy something.

What’s the biggest problem for your business? Do people know you exist? Do people know you exist and they’re not buying? Have people bought but they’re not coming back? By understanding the funnel, you can tailor a solution that fits the problem. You can market yourself not just for the sake of marketing but to accomplish an important business objective.

In future posts, I’ll dive into each of these stages and the associated tactics.

Funnel Image By Donovan Govan. – Image was taken using a Canon PowerShot G3 (reference 7849)., CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

My favorite beers

If you know me, you know that craft beer is one of my hobbies. There are so many different craft breweries, regions, and styles. It’s fun to explore how the brewer can take simple ingredients and turn it into a really interesting beverage that tells a story and invokes an emotion.

The other day a friend asked me what my favorite beer was.  It depends on the day and my mood and the style that I’m excited about at any given moment.

So, I looked through my Untappd profile and broke down my favorite beers based on the style.  Yes, I’m sure there are other beers that I’d love that aren’t on here. This is influenced by the fact that I live in St Louis, MO and grew up in Michigan.

But here’s my list. What’s yours?

Everyday – This is the beer you gravitate to when you don’t feel like being adventurous but still want delicious.

Classic IPA

Rye IPA

Citrus IPA

Special IPA

Brown Ale

Scotch Ale

Saison – This is my favorite style right now.

Wheat-y

Stouts

Coffee Beer

Pumpkin

Desert Beers

Making Pancakes from Scratch with Ruhlman’s Ratios

My kids roll through different breakfast foods that are their favorites. For a while, it was oatmeal. It changed to eggs and then yogurt. They’ve recently been into pancakes. Lauren and I eat a low carb so it’s not something we really ever have or keep pancake mix in the house.

Well, that’s no problem. Food author and commentator Michael Ruhlman wrote an amazing book called Ratio. In many foods, there are common ratios that you use to make them. For example, pancakes are 4 parts flour to 4 parts liquid to 2 parts egg to 1 part butter.

To make it even easier, Ruhlman has a Ratio app that you can use to pull up and calculate the output of the ratios, along with standard cooking instructions.

I looked in our fridge and pantry and I had all of the ingredients. And it’s Saturday. I didn’t have anywhere to be. So, we made pancakes… from scratch. It was easy and the kids LOVED them.

I highly recommend the book Ratio. It covers things like bread and biscuits to mayo and various dressings. It makes cooking increasingly easier. Maybe Saturday morning pancakes will become a thing with the kids. 🙂

The Next iPhone is No iPhone

Every year, Apple upgrades the iPhone with the hope that it makes you feverishly want to buy a new one. It’s worked so well that it’s made them one of the most valuable companies in the world.

Increasingly, it seems like the next iPhone is no iPhone. What does that mean? It’s become less about an Apple device in my pocket. It’s now Apple devices all over me. My favorite Apple devices are now the Apple Watch and my Apple AirPods wireless headphones. I may not have my iPhone on me but I always have my Apple Watch on and I’m increasingly always having my AirPods on.

I’m seeing both the Apple Watch and the Apple AirPods more ubiquitously on people as I go throughout my day. People poo poo’d the Apple Watch when it was launched. They said it was a dud product. Increasingly,  more of my friends have one. When I was in NYC, I almost saw just as many Apple AirPods as I saw traditional Apple Ear Buds.

Now, the news in Bloomberg is that Apple is working to upgrade the Apple AirPods with better computer chips so you can more easily talk to Siri. They’re no longer just headphones. You really have a computer in your ear. Google has already made headphones that can translate languages its hears.

You have to believe, with Apple’s investment in augmented reality and ARKit, Apple Glasses aren’t that far off.  Maybe by that point, we’ll have Apple contact lenses that’ll display information on our eyeballs.

The future of the phone isn’t a phone. It’s computers all over you that help you navigate through your life.

 

 

I love my New York Times subscription

There’s a battle for power going on in American culture and the biggest casualty has been truth and facts. It’s hard to know what’s really happening in the world.

Plus, there’s an ever more crowded landscape of people trying to explain what’s happening. You never know who you can really trust as everyone seems to have a motivation or bias.

As part of being a responsible citizen, it’s important to find that cornerstone provider of news and facts that you can depend on. Too often in American culture, we turn to cable news for this service but I find that I turn my brain off when I watch video content, like cable news. When I’m reading, I’m forced to think about what I’m consuming.

Thus, I’ve turned to the New York Times as my cornerstone provider of news for what’s happening around the world. I’ve been a digital subscriber for 5 years now. They have reporters around the world, they have vigorous editorial standards, an opinion section that makes thoughtful arguments, and great technology to deliver that content to me in an easily consumable interface.

It’s no surprise to me that the New York Times’s “online subscription sales jumped 46 percent in 2017 to $340 million. Digital ad sales rose 14 percent to $238 million.” I’m thrilled that they’re finding their path to long-term sustainable success.

If you don’t have a cornerstone provider of news, subscribe now!

Sparkling water is so hot right now.

It’s been fascinating to watch as sparkling water has become such a mainstay of American culture over the last few years. According to The NY Times “Sales of domestic sparkling bottled water — not including imports like San Pellegrino — doubled between 2015 and 2017 to $8.5 billion, according to the DrinkTell database.”

This space has gotten so big that Pepsi Co is launching their sparkling water brand Bubly to try and compete with the dominant La Croix.

As I’ve become more health conscious, it’s been a great substitute for sugary soda and it gets me to drink more water, which is always good. I have a fresh 12 pack of La Croix in my fridge.

MoviePass on Recode Media

I’m fascinated by the content and media industry and it’s associated business models. One of my favorite podcasts is Recode Media with Peter  Kafka.

This week he talked to Mitch Lowe with MoviePass about how they’re re-thinking the way that people go see the movies. For those of you not familiar, MoviePass allows you to see a movie every day for $9.95 per month.

It was a fascinating conversation.

It’s interesting to listen to people that don’t necessarily listen to the way that things have been and make the future we all want, which is exactly what MoviePass is doing.  I recommend listening.

 

Inspiring us to dream

Like many others, I watched the launch of SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy rocket. It’s truly amazing to think that within my life time that we could have commercial travel to a real estate within space.

I have such respect for folks like SpaceX CEO Elon Musk that are willing to lay it all on the line to make their dreams a reality. Because Elon’s dreams are so big, its an inspiration to the rest of us. Elon is defining the future and so can we.

Falcon Heavy launches off historic Launch Complex 39A for its first flight.

A post shared by SpaceX (@spacex) on

David Chang’s Ugly Food on Netflix

I’m really impressed by how chef and Momofuku restauranteur David Chang has been able to build not just a restaurant empire but an audience to push his unique point of view.

That audience has gotten him a show on Netflix, Ugly Delicious. It’s launching later this February. Check out the trailer.