Contrary to what most people think, your marketing funnel isn’t about marketing. It’s about conversion. If you pause and think about what a funnel essentially is, you realize it’s about cutting the noise and narrowing down your target audience to a point where they’re ready to sign on the dotted line. In marketing, this means using digital techniques to convince and convert your audience through a series of persuasions. When performed with surgical precision, you’re engaging in a marketing process that doesn’t just rely on standing on a soapbox proclaiming your business brilliance. Instead, you’re going down a carefully crafted road that not only has the capacity to launch and build your business, but also has the means to build a powerful brand.

Brian Moran of 5 Minute Marketing, lays out a concise guide on getting this done. After launching your website, Moran argues that your number one goal as a marketer is to get people to you site. He recommends achieving this through YouTube, Google, SEO measures, Facebook, blogging, and email marketing. (Ideally, using a combination of all these strategies is ideal – at least until you’re able to filter performance through analytics to determine which mode of operation is proving most successful.) For Moran, the first step of the digital marketing funnel comes in the form of what he calls a “squeeze” page, citing that this is where you “build your list by making a promise in exchange for a list.

Think back to all the sites you frequent that present you with an email sign-up pop op, enticing you with a freebie of some sort in exchange for your email list. That, or a static landing page with a tantalizing promise, can be considered a squeeze page. Once your new-subscriber has signed up, Moran recommends you send them to a content page that thanks them (and if applicable, delivers on the promise; in some cases, the promise is delivered via email). Notably, he comments on how this is your opportunity to build on a relationship with new prospects and also where you take advantage of presenting a sales page that offers additional products or services.

All this happens before checkout, after which additional one-time products are offered with a one-time discount. This is very much like a ‘real-life’ checkout at the grocers. You’ve gone in for an item and as you’re funneling through checkout, you’re often made to wait in a line that presents you with additional product display, all for the sake of ‘squeezing’ the customer right before checkout (a.k.a the conversion).

Once you’ve got this done, you’ll have to do a little side-step over to another ongoing process. You’ll need to juggle two pictures in your mind. The first, of an on-going process of stimulating traffic to your website and ‘squeezing’ visitors; and the second, of what to do with your squeezed customers.

The latter are now privy to a set of automated emails where they’re promised compelling original content. Of course, the goal of these emails is to continue getting conversions from people who’ve now trusted you as a thought leader. This isn’t as gimmicky as it now sounds – and mostly because you have a responsibility to keep informing or entertaining. You’re either digging in to do the research to create thought-provoking content, or you’re developing creative visuals meant to entice an entirely other set of consumer groups. In either case, your goal is to provide content.

As recommended, be aware of the fact that you’re going to have two sets of email lists, one for ‘squeezes’ that didn’t convert (and are just leads at this point), and the other for squeezes who have converted (into paying customers). The first is for automated campaigns that don’t get sent out daily; this group gets one-off broad list of emails covering anything from content, to launches, webinars, sales, or special promotions. Your goal with this first list is to continue to build relationships so you can encourage a conversion. On the other hand, the second list is privy to unique invitations; this is the group you can have the conversation with because they’ve already proven interest through converting to clients. The idea fueling your digital marketing funnel is that you should really be focusing driving traffic to your landing pages, even if that content is divided per the interests of each email list.