Mastering the Art of Funnels

Marketing Funnel
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Funnels! They’re not just for filtering liquids anymore. In the marketing and sales world, they’re the secret sauce to guiding potential customers through a journey—from just discovering your product to becoming your brand’s biggest advocate. Let’s dive into the top funnel models and categorize them, making sense of which ones to use for different business goals.

Type of Funnels

Traditional Sales Funnels

These are the granddaddies of funnel models. They’ve been around forever and are still incredibly effective.

AIDA Funnel

AIDA Funnel
  • Awareness: Capture attention.
  • Interest: Spark curiosity.
  • Desire: Build a craving.
  • Action: Seal the deal.


Apple’s iPhone Launch Campaign

  • Awareness: Apple creates buzz through teaser ads and social media posts hinting at new iPhone features.
  • Interest: Detailed videos and reviews showcase the iPhone’s sleek design and advanced camera capabilities.
  • Desire: Highlighting exclusive features like Face ID and augmented reality apps build desire among tech enthusiasts.
  • Action: Customers line up outside Apple stores or pre-order online to be among the first to own the latest iPhone model.


  • TOFU (Top of the Funnel): Attract visitors.
  • MOFU (Middle of the Funnel): Nurture leads.
  • BOFU (Bottom of the Funnel): Convert prospects.


Amazon’s Product Purchase Journey

  • TOFU: Amazon attracts customers with targeted ads on social media showcasing popular products.
  • MOFU: Customers explore product pages, read reviews, and compare options to narrow their choices.
  • BOFU: Amazon offers limited-time discounts or free shipping to incentivize immediate purchases, closing the sale efficiently.

BANT Funnel

BANT Funnel
  • Budget: Can they afford it?
  • Authority: Can they make the decision?
  • Need: Do they need it?
  • Timing: Is now the right time?


Enterprise Software Sales Process

  • Budget: Sales teams qualify leads based on their budget for implementing enterprise software solutions.
  • Authority: They identify key decision-makers who can approve the purchase within the organization.
  • Need: Understanding specific pain points or inefficiencies that the software can address, ensuring it meets critical business needs.
  • Timing: Determining if the organization is ready to implement the software, considering factors like budget cycles or project timelines.

Marketing Funnels

Focused on drawing people in and keeping them engaged, these funnels are the bread and butter of digital marketers.

Marketing Flywheel

Marketing Flywheel
  • Attract: Pull in potential customers.
  • Engage: Keep them hooked.
  • Delight: Make them happy, so they spread the word.


Nike’s Customer Engagement Strategy

  • Attract: Nike engages customers with inspiring content on social media, promoting active lifestyles and their latest products.
  • Engage: They interact with customers through personalized emails, offering exclusive sneak peeks and rewards for loyalty.
  • Delight: Nike provides exceptional customer service, quick resolution of issues, and surprise gifts for long-time customers, turning them into brand advocates.

SaaS Marketing Funnel

SaaS Marketing Funnel
  • Awareness: Get noticed.
  • Acquisition: Bring them in.
  • Activation: Ensure a good start.
  • Retention: Keep them coming back.
  • Revenue: Drive sales.


Dropbox’s User Acquisition Model

  • Awareness: Dropbox uses content marketing and SEO to rank high for cloud storage searches, attracting businesses and individuals.
  • Acquisition: Offering a free basic plan, they entice users to sign up and experience the ease of cloud file sharing.
  • Activation: New users quickly grasp Dropbox’s features through a simple onboarding process, syncing files across devices effortlessly.
  • Retention: Regular updates, referral bonuses, and collaborative tools keep users engaged and subscribed.
  • Revenue: Dropbox offers premium plans with advanced storage and security features, converting free users into paying customers.

HubSpot’s Marketing Funnel

HubSpot’s Marketing Funnel
  • Attract: Draw in leads.
  • Convert: Turn leads into prospects.
  • Close: Convert prospects into customers.
  • Delight: Make customers promoters.


HubSpot’s Inbound Marketing Method

  • Attract: HubSpot publishes educational blog posts and guides on SEO and inbound marketing, drawing in digital marketers seeking expertise.
  • Convert: Visitors are encouraged to download free e-books or attend webinars in exchange for their contact information, converting them into leads.
  • Close: Leads receive personalized emails and demos from sales reps, highlighting how HubSpot’s CRM can streamline their marketing efforts.
  • Delight: Ongoing customer support, training sessions, and a vibrant user community ensure HubSpot users maximize their CRM investment.

Customer Journey Funnels

These models map out every step a customer takes, from the first encounter to becoming a loyal fan.

AARRR (Pirate Metrics)

  • Acquisition: How do users find you?
  • Activation: Do users have a great first experience?
  • Retention: Do users come back?
  • Referral: Do users tell others?
  • Revenue: Do you make money?


Airbnb’s Growth Strategy

  • Acquisition: Airbnb attracts new hosts and guests through viral referral campaigns and targeted online ads.
  • Activation: They ensure first-time users have a positive experience with easy booking processes and user-friendly interfaces.
  • Retention: Personalized recommendations, loyalty programs, and responsive customer support keep guests coming back.
  • Referral: Satisfied hosts and guests refer friends and family through Airbnb’s referral program, earning rewards for successful bookings.
  • Revenue: Airbnb earns revenue through service fees on bookings, incentivizing hosts to list their properties and expand their network.

McKinsey’s Consumer Decision Journey (5A’s)

McKinsey’s Consumer Decision Journey (5A’s)
  • Aware: Customers notice your product.
  • Appeal: They find it appealing.
  • Ask: They seek more info.
  • Act: They buy it.
  • Advocate: They promote it.


Tesla’s Customer Journey

  • Aware: Tesla creates awareness through sleek electric car designs and viral marketing campaigns emphasizing sustainability.
  • Appeal: They appeal to tech enthusiasts and eco-conscious consumers with advanced features like autopilot and renewable energy solutions.
  • Ask: Detailed product pages, virtual test drives, and customer testimonials provide information for potential buyers to make informed decisions.
  • Act: Seamless online ordering, flexible financing options, and transparent pricing simplify the purchase process.
  • Advocate: Tesla owners share their experiences on social media, influencing others to consider electric vehicles and promoting Tesla’s brand.

RACE Framework

RACE Framework
  • Reach: Build awareness.
  • Act: Encourage interactions.
  • Convert: Turn leads into customers.
  • Engage: Foster long-term loyalty.


Netflix’s Digital Marketing Strategy

  • Reach: Netflix reaches a global audience through targeted ads on social media and partnerships with popular influencers.
  • Act: Viewers sign up for a free trial or subscribe after watching trailers and reading user reviews on Netflix’s platform.
  • Convert: Personalized recommendations based on viewing habits and exclusive content encourage users to upgrade to premium plans.
  • Engage: Regular updates, interactive content, and personalized emails keep subscribers engaged and reduce churn.

E-commerce Funnels

For the online retailers among us, these funnels ensure your store is a well-oiled machine.

Purchase Funnel

Purchase Funnel
  • Awareness: Get noticed.
  • Interest: Generate curiosity.
  • Consideration: Make them think.
  • Purchase: Get them to buy.
  • Post-Purchase: Keep them happy.


Amazon’s E-commerce Journey

  • Awareness: Amazon attracts shoppers through personalized recommendations, sponsored products, and targeted email campaigns.
  • Interest: Detailed product descriptions, customer reviews, and comparison tools help shoppers evaluate options.
  • Consideration: Special offers, product bundles, and related items encourage shoppers to add more items to their carts.
  • Purchase: One-click ordering, secure payment options, and fast shipping options make checkout seamless and convenient.
  • Post-Purchase: Order tracking, delivery updates, and customer reviews encourage repeat purchases and build trust.

E-commerce Conversion Funnel

E-commerce Conversion Funnel
  • Site Visit: Attract visitors.
  • Product View: Showcase products.
  • Add to Cart: Encourage action.
  • Checkout: Close the sale.
  • Purchase: Finalize the deal.


Shopify’s E-commerce Platform

  • Site Visit: Shopify attracts entrepreneurs and businesses with SEO-optimized landing pages, blog content, and success stories.
  • Product View: Visitors explore product demos, customer testimonials, and case studies to understand how Shopify can support their business.
  • Add to Cart: Clear CTAs, limited-time offers, and abandoned cart recovery emails prompt visitors to proceed to checkout.
  • Checkout: Multiple payment gateways, secure transactions, and guest checkout options simplify the purchase process.
  • Purchase: Confirmation emails, delivery notifications, and customer satisfaction surveys ensure a positive post-purchase experience.

SaaS and Subscription Funnels

SaaS businesses live and die by these funnels. They’re tailored to ensure users not only sign up but stick around.

The LOOP Framework

The LOOP Framework
  • Lead: Capture interest.
  • Onboard: Smooth onboarding.
  • Optimize: Continuous improvement.
  • Promote: Encourage advocacy.


Spotify’s User Engagement Model

  • Lead: Spotify attracts music enthusiasts with personalized playlists, music discovery features, and free tier options.
  • Onboard: New users experience seamless onboarding with customized music recommendations and intuitive playlist creation tools.
  • Optimize: Continuous updates, AI-driven recommendations, and exclusive content keep users engaged and satisfied.
  • Promote: Users share favorite playlists, songs, and Spotify experiences on social media, driving new sign-ups and expanding Spotify’s user base.

SaaS Conversion Funnel

SaaS Conversion Funnel
  • Awareness: Get noticed.
  • Consideration: Generate interest.
  • Decision: Encourage action.
  • Retention: Keep them subscribed.
  • Advocacy: Turn them into promoters.


Slack’s Collaboration Platform

  • Awareness: Slack promotes team productivity and collaboration through content marketing, webinars, and integrations with popular productivity tools.
  • Consideration: Free trials, case studies, and demo videos showcase Slack’s features and benefits to potential users.
  • Decision: Transparent pricing, flexible subscription plans, and responsive customer support help users make informed purchasing decisions.
  • Retention: Slack keeps teams engaged with real-time messaging, file sharing, and integrations with third-party apps that enhance workflow efficiency.
  • Advocacy: Satisfied users recommend Slack to colleagues and peers, contributing to word-of-mouth marketing and expanding Slack’s user community.

Growth and Retention Funnels

These are all about scaling and keeping customers around for the long haul.

The Hook Model

Hooked Method
  • Trigger: Prompt action.
  • Action: Encourage behavior.
  • Variable Reward: Reward unpredictably.
  • Investment: Get users to invest.


Instagram’s User Engagement Strategy

  • Trigger: Push notifications alert users to new likes, comments, or followers, encouraging them to open the app.
  • Action: Users interact by liking photos, posting stories, or sharing content within their network.
  • Variable Reward: Engagement rewards users with social validation, discovering new content, and connecting with friends.
  • Investment: Users invest time in curating their profile, following accounts, and sharing personal moments, increasing their attachment to the platform.


  • Awareness: Get noticed.
  • Acquisition: Bring them in.
  • Activation: Ensure a good start.
  • Retention: Keep them engaged.
  • Revenue: Drive sales.
  • Referral: Encourage sharing.


Dropbox’s Growth Engine

  • Acquisition: Dropbox offers extra storage for referring friends, and driving new sign-ups through viral sharing.
  • Activation: Users quickly grasp Dropbox’s value with simple file syncing and sharing across devices.
  • Retention: Regular updates, file recovery options, and collaborative tools keep users engaged and subscribed.
  • Revenue: Premium plans offer expanded storage, security features, and team collaboration tools, converting free users into paying customers.
  • Referral: Satisfied users recommend Dropbox to colleagues, earning additional storage and expanding Dropbox’s user base.

HEART Framework

HEART Framework
  • Happiness: Keep customers happy.
  • Engagement: Keep them engaged.
  • Adoption: Encourage use.
  • Retention: Ensure they stick around.
  • Task Success: Make them successful.


Airbnb’s Customer Experience Focus

  • Happiness: Airbnb ensures guest satisfaction with responsive customer support, personalized recommendations, and clean, comfortable accommodations.
  • Engagement: Interactive city guides, local experiences, and community events keep guests engaged and excited about their next trip.
  • Adoption: Hosts adopt new features like pricing tools and hospitality standards through educational resources and peer support networks.
  • Retention: Airbnb reduces churn with loyalty programs, special offers for frequent travelers, and incentives for long-term bookings.
  • Task Success: Guests easily find and book accommodations with intuitive search filters, secure payments, and detailed property listings.

Digital and Content Marketing Funnels

Creating and distributing content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience.

Content Marketing Funnel

Content Marketing Funnel
  • Awareness: Attract attention.
  • Evaluation: Build interest.
  • Conversion: Drive action.


Moz’s SEO Learning Center

  • Awareness: Moz attracts marketers with in-depth blog posts, webinars, and SEO guides that rank high in search engines.
  • Evaluation: Visitors explore Moz’s free tools and resources to assess their SEO performance and understand optimization strategies.
  • Conversion: Free trials of Moz Pro, email courses, and expert consultations convince prospects to subscribe to advanced SEO tools and analytics.

Digital Marketing Funnel

Digital Marketing Funnel
  • Awareness: Capture interest.
  • Interest: Build curiosity.
  • Desire: Create a need.
  • Action: Drive conversions.

Coca Cola

Coca-Cola’s Digital Advertising Campaigns

  • Awareness: Coca-Cola uses targeted PPC ads on social media and display networks to reach global audiences.
  • Interest: Interactive videos, sponsored content, and influencer collaborations engage consumers with Coca-Cola’s brand story and values.
  • Desire: Limited-edition promotions, contests, and user-generated content create excitement and demand for Coca-Cola products.
  • Action: Clear CTAs in ads and online promotions prompt consumers to purchase Coca-Cola products from nearby stores or online retailers.

Service and Customer Support Funnels

Providing top-notch service and support is crucial; these funnels ensure nothing slips through the cracks.

Customer Support Funnel

Customer Support Funnel
  • Inquiry: Capture queries.
  • Diagnosis: Identify issues.
  • Resolution: Solve problems.
  • Feedback: Collect opinions.
  • Follow-Up: Ensure satisfaction.


Apple’s Customer Service Journey

  • Inquiry: Customers reach out via Apple’s website, app, or phone support for technical assistance or product inquiries.
  • Diagnosis: Apple’s support team troubleshoots issues remotely or schedules appointments for in-store diagnostics.
  • Resolution: Fast repairs, replacements, or software updates ensure customers receive timely solutions to their problems.
  • Feedback: Apple gathers feedback through post-interaction surveys and online reviews to improve service quality continuously.
  • Follow-Up: Follow-up emails or calls ensure customer satisfaction and offer additional support or product recommendations.

Service Delivery Funnel

Service Delivery Funnel
  • Lead Generation: Attract prospects.
  • Consultation: Understand needs.
  • Proposal: Offer solutions.
  • Agreement: Seal the deal.
  • Service Delivery: Provide the service.

McKinsey & Company

McKinsey & Company’s Consulting Services

  • Lead Generation: McKinsey attracts potential clients through thought leadership articles, industry reports, and speaking engagements.
  • Consultation: Initial meetings assess client needs, challenges, and objectives to tailor consulting solutions effectively.
  • Proposal: Detailed proposals outline project scope, methodologies, deliverables, and estimated timelines to align expectations.
  • Agreement: Negotiations finalize terms, contracts, and service agreements to formalize the consulting engagement.
  • Service Delivery: McKinsey delivers strategic insights, actionable recommendations, and ongoing support to drive client success.

Advanced and Hybrid Funnels

These models blend various aspects to create comprehensive customer journeys.

The Looping Model

The Looping Model
  • Trigger: Spark interest.
  • Explore: Encourage research.
  • Buy: Drive purchase.
  • Use: Ensure satisfaction.
  • Engage: Foster long-term loyalty.


Facebook’s Social Networking Strategy

  • Trigger: Notifications alert users to friend requests, comments, or shared content, encouraging them to engage.
  • Explore: Users discover new groups, events, or Marketplace listings based on their interests and social connections.
  • Buy: Integrated ads, sponsored posts, and e-commerce features allow users to purchase products or services directly on Facebook.
  • Use: Messenger chatbots, video calls, and live streaming tools enhance communication and interaction among users.
  • Engage: Groups, pages, and community forums foster ongoing engagement, discussions, and shared interests among members.

STDC Framework (See, Think, Do, Care)

STDC Framework (See, Think, Do, Care)
  • See: Capture interest.
  • Think: Generate curiosity.
  • Do: Drive conversions.
  • Care: Foster loyalty.


Google’s Online Advertising Platform

  • See: Google Ads reach businesses through targeted search ads, display campaigns, and YouTube video ads.
  • Think: Advertisers consider Google’s ad network based on performance metrics, ROI, and audience targeting capabilities.
  • Do: Setting up ad campaigns, selecting keywords, and bidding strategies to ensure effective ad placements and budget management.
  • Care: Google offers ongoing support, performance insights, and optimization tips to help advertisers maximize their ad spend and campaign effectiveness.

5E’s of Customer Journey

5E’s of Customer Journey
  • Entice: Attract attention.
  • Enter: Engage initially.
  • Engage: Keep them hooked.
  • Exit: Ensure a smooth end.
  • Extend: Encourage return.

Red Bull

Red Bull’s Brand Engagement Strategy

  • Entice: Red Bull entices extreme sports enthusiasts with thrilling videos, athlete endorsements, and high-energy events that capture attention.
  • Enter: Consumers engage with Red Bull’s brand through interactive websites, mobile apps, or sampling at live events.
  • Engage: Red Bull sustains interest with user-generated content, behind-the-scenes stories, and interactive challenges that foster community participation.
  • Exit: Seamless transitions from event experiences to online engagement keep consumers connected and excited about upcoming initiatives.
  • Extend: Red Bull amplifies brand reach through influencer partnerships, brand ambassador programs, and viral marketing campaigns that inspire advocacy and loyalty.

Behavioral Funnels

Understanding human behavior is key to these models. They delve deep into the psychology of users.

BJ Fogg’s Behavior Model

BJ Fogg’s Behavior Model
  • Motivation: Drive desire.
  • Ability: Simplify the task.
  • Prompt: Trigger action.


Duolingo’s Language Learning App

  • Motivation: Users are motivated to learn new languages for travel, work, or personal achievement.
  • Ability: Duolingo simplifies language learning with bite-sized lessons, gamified elements, and intuitive interfaces.
  • Prompt: Regular notifications, streak reminders, and push notifications prompt users to complete their daily lessons.

Nir Eyal’s Hooked Model

Hooked Method
  • Trigger: Prompt action.
  • Action: Encourage behavior.
  • Variable Reward: Provide benefits.
  • Investment: Secure commitment.


Spotify’s Music Streaming

  • Trigger: External triggers like notifications about new music releases or playlists. Internal triggers such as the need for background music while working or relaxing.
  • Action: Users open the app to play music, create playlists, and discover new songs.
  • Variable Reward: The unpredictability of discovering a new favorite song or playlist keeps users coming back.
  • Investment: Users invest by creating playlists, following artists, and personalizing their music preferences, which makes them more likely to continue using Spotify.



These detailed explanations and examples illustrate how each funnel model guides customers through various stages of their journey, from initial awareness to loyal advocacy. By understanding and implementing these frameworks effectively, businesses can optimize their marketing, sales, and customer service efforts to drive growth, retention, and overall success. Choose the funnel that best fits your business goals and customer needs, and adapt strategies to continually improve and evolve your customer journey experience.

Enjoyed this article? Want to learn about Product Management Frameworks, then check it out here.

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