Understanding How Digital Marketing Sales Funnels Work


The following is a guest blog post written by Chad Faith, director of content for the digital marketing agency, SmartSites.

In case you have been ignoring digital marketing sales funnels because you believe they are too simplistic or mechanical to explain, you are making a huge mistake! If you want the sales process in your business to run efficiently, you must get your marketing sales funnels right.

For a fact, a marketing sales funnel is something that is not too complex to understand. Keep reading to find out what a marketing funnel is and how it works!

What Is a Digital Marketing Sales Funnel?

A digital marketing sales funnel is a visualization for understanding the process of converting leads into customers, as seen from a sales and marketing perspective. Simply put, sales funnels are the steps that browsers or visitors need to undergo before they reach conversion.

To better understand this term, think about purchasing an item from an online store. Customers need to:

  • Visit the store's website
  • View the right product
  • Add the product to the cart
  • Payout

The goal of lead conversion process is to capture as many leads as possible and then, nurture them through the purchasing decision.  It is important to note that the audience narrows down as you go down the process. A lot of people will take the first step, but the volume of people who proceed to subsequent stages will reduce, sometimes drastically. This is why it's called a marketing sales funnel.

To ensure more leads complete a purchase, you need to find the best ways to maximize your funnel. This means they have to create and publish more valuable content, advertise to new audiences, add inbound marketing, increase brand awareness, and more. The more people you add to your funnel, the wider it will become.

Tip: You don't have to strictly include the digital marketing sales funnels on the purchasing page. You can include them in different pages of your websites to identify how your visitors move through various processes. For instance, you can include one on your signup page to see how visitors move from viewing the page to completing signup.

Stages of a Digital Marketing Sales Funnel

You need to understand all the stages of digital marketing funnels to understand how they work.

Note: This is an example of a digital marketing sales funnel for an e-commerce or SaaS business in which a purchase is made online, but leads go through these stages in various forms for service businesses, too. As you read through these stages, try to identify how leads act in each stage of the funnel for your business.


This is the uppermost stage of the digital marketing sales funnels. Here, potential clients are attracted to a brand through customer research discovery as well as marketing campaigns. Brands establish thought leadership and trust through advertising, valuable content, trade shows, direct mail, webinars, social media, media mentions, events, and more. This is the stage where lead generation occurs. Leads are added to the lead management system for nurturing to other stages of the funnel.


In this stage, leads learn more about the brand, the types and quality of products provided, and any other valuable information that could influence their purchase decision. Essentially, this is where leads want to dig deeper into your business. The interest stage provides brands with an opportunity to develop strong relationships with the prospects in their lead databases. For optimal results in this stage, brands need to ensure they have an attractive and responsive web design and consider adding live chat to their website. Marketers need to become authoritative and nurture leads through targeted content and communication.


In the consideration stage, leads understand their problems, the best solutions to the problems, and they are aware that your business can provide them with these solutions. They have gained the status of marketing qualified leads and are classified as prospective customers. However, this doesn't mean that they cannot seek alternative solutions for their problems. Marketers need to send more information about their products and/or services to these leads and continue to nurture them with targeted content, free trials, studies, and more. This helps them understand why they should choose their brand over the competition.


Prospects who qualify for the intent stage are those that show they are interested in purchasing a product from your brand. This happens when a lead places a product in a cart on an online shop, or in a survey done after a product demo. This stage offers you an opportunity to showcase why your product stands out and how it will solve the prospect's problems better than others in the market.


This is the stage where prospective buyers make a decision whether or not to purchase a product from a particular brand. Also, it's here that the marketing and sales teams within an organization work together to nurture the prospects' decision-making process by using an array of methods to convince them that their products/ or services are a perfect choice.


Purchase is the final stage in the marketing sales funnel, where a prospect has made a decision to purchase products/services from a particular brand. In this stage, prospects are convinced that you are the ideal solution for their problems, and they are automatically converted into customers.

If prospects are happy with the product/services offered and the overall customer experience, they can refer others to your business. This will power up the awareness stage, and the process will commence once again.

Benefits of Digital Marketing Sales Funnels

If you apply the right strategies in your digital marketing sales funnels, here's what you should expect:

  • Increased conversions: In digital marketing sales funnels, the number of people reduces as they go down subsequent stages. Those who stay are more likely to make offerings, and this boosts your conversions rate.
  • Consistent sales: With digital marketing sales funnels in place, you can switch your marketing into an autopilot mode and get more clients without much effort. This pads your sales and profits.
  • Brand trust: When you get leads into your digital marketing sales funnels, you can nurture them with valuable content that establishes you as an authority in your niche. These leads are later converted into customers and are likely to buy from you in the future.
  • Opportunities for improvement: Marketing sales funnels helps businesses to pinpoint problem areas in their products or services and rectify them before they become a crisis. With a sales funnel, you can find out why a prospect left at a particular stage and develop practical strategies that will ensure the issue doesn't happen in the future.

As a marketer, your ultimate goal should be beyond increasing conversions and enjoying the benefits that come with a sales funnel. You should also focus on methods that drive more brand awareness and referrals to widen the funnel and achieve more profitability. 

Sales Tips
Marketing Advice
Lead Generation
Written by Chad Faith

Chad Faith is the Director of Content at SmartSites. He leads a team of over 30 copywriters specializing in SEO, PPC, e-commerce & website copy.

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