Nurturing Leads Through Funnels

In this blog I will be discussing what lead nurturing is, nurturing leads through sales funnels and some of the tactics used, and discussing a more sophisticated funnel – the Bow Tie.

So, what is Lead Nurturing?

Lead nurturing involves the building and developing of relationships with your prospects which guides them through each stage of the sales funnel with the end goal being that of gaining their custom.

Rarely, prospects are ready to make a purchase immediately. Depending on which statistics you look at a prospect will usually hit between 5-10 marketing touch points before deciding to make that purchase. Therefore, gaining trust, providing information, answering queries, and creating brand awareness are all part of a successful lead nurturing campaign. 

Never has there been a better way since the digital era for us to engage in two-way conversations with our prospects to help with their decision-making process, until they are ready to make that purchase from us.

Digital Tactics used in Lead Nurturing

There is definitely no shortage in tools and tactics we can use in lead nurturing campaigns, so much so, to fit them into this two-minute read would be a near enough impossible task to do, so without writing a dissertation on each, here are some of my favourites:

Email Blasts: Software such as HubSpot, ActiveCampaign and MailChimp have made it super easy and a cost-effective way for managers to re-engage with their audience. Most managers recommend a maximum of two emails a week to be sent to prospects. Emails should contain relevant and practical information which creates value to your lead, such as guides, ebooks and further information about your business which can help them find solutions to problems or create a need for your product or service, keeping your business front of mind and helping leads through the buying process. 

Content Marketing: What’s those words again? Oh Yes, Content is King. Similar to the content which you use within Email blasts, content marketing is the content you create and share across Channels. Again, Content marketing focuses on consistent, valuable, and relevant content without needing to directly promote your product. It’s about creating something that gains trust, provides valuable information whilst showing your audience that you really know your craft. 

Retargeting: Retargeting is another cost effective and mainly automated tactic, done correctly and you’re on to a winner. Retargeting is simply that, you are targeting those who have already shown an interest in your business. However, whilst this seems simple and logical, it also takes some strategic thinking to make it work. Simply just retargeting all those who have visited your website using a Facebook or AdWords retargeting campaign, while it can be effective, simply won’t perform its best. All those visitors will differ, one may have watched a video then bounced but visitor 2 may have watched the video, then read your blog and possibly checked out your pricing page. Each one would require different ads which creates value for them, as they are each at different stages of the purchase decision making process.

What is a sales funnel?

A Sales funnel is a model which focuses on a customer’s journey theoretically. It is an illustration of the steps a consumer makes before they make a purchase. 

Traditional Funnel Approaches

As stated previously, in the marketing world there is no shortage of tactics that can be used to nurture leads through the sales funnel but most organisations tend to look at shorter term tactics and for those quick wins, using funnels based upon the AIDA model and often longer term tactics are neglected. Whilst these funnels of course work for a quick conversion, it is quite shocking that these types of funnels are still used alone without adaptations considering they were first developed in the late 19th Century. The AIDA model is basic to say the least, Focusing on drawing Attention, then creating an Interest followed by creating desire before the prospect takes action, the model does not consider the consumer after the sale has happened. 

Now, I can think of very few organisations, if any, from the top of my head, that would only want a customer to buy from them just once. Particularly when just over two thirds of businesses reported that over half of their profit comes from repeat purchases. What’s more it can be 5 times more expensive to obtain new customers than what it does to keep existing ones and those existing customers could be worth up to 10 times as much as their initial purchase.

Introducing the Bow-Tie Funnel

This is where a more sophisticated funnel comes into play, which nurtures the customer after their first purchase in a continuous measurable loop. Introducing the Bow Tie, a consumer centric funnel.

The left-hand side of the funnel is geared towards getting the lead to convert or the acquisition of the customer, using the stages, Attract, Nurture, Convert and Engage. The central ‘knot’ of the horizontal funnel is the sale where the prospect now becomes a customer. The right-hand side concentrates on retaining the consumer, so, from taking the new customer and turning the customer into a brand ambassador. This side of the funnel uses the stages of Adopter, Loyalist, advocate and finally Brand ambassador. In this section of the funnel the new customer becomes loyal and repeats their purchases, not only that but by nurturing the customer through this part of the funnel, they are more likely to recommend your business to others using various methods such as Electronic Word of Mouth (EWOM). 

At each point of the funnel the consumer journey is measurable and can be measured using tools such as Purchase Action Ratios (PAR) and Brand Advocacy Ratios (BAR) which allows you to see the effects of your marketing efforts and gives you insights to where optimisation is needed throughout the consumers journey. How to do this is a story for another day.


Whilst traditional funnels and short-term tactics can provide businesses with quick wins. Smart organisations need to focus on the longer-term nurturing strategies. Generally, the higher the price or higher the complexity or lower the awareness of a product, the longer it will typically take for someone to convert. Therefore by businesses concentrating on longer term nurturing strategies it will increase brand awareness, customer loyalty and increase earned media. Being able to measure the Bow-tie funnel provides insights to the customer journey, campaigns can therefore be optimised so they are performing their best.

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