Inbound Marketing Funnel 

What is an Inbound Marketing Funnel? And how do you build an effective one? Learn more below and get more visitors, leads and customers.

What is an Inbound Marketing Funnel?

Imagine that a potential customer visits your site. What action would you want them to take? Ideally, the answer would be that you want them to become a lead so that you could get in touch and sell to them.

The process by which this is achieved is called an Inbound Marketing Funnel. Such a funnel allows you to get discovered by prospective customers, who then fill out a form to convert to a lead, and are then nurtured into sales ready contacts that you can sell to.

An Inbound Marketing Funnel is often built using a Marketing Automation software. Such a system can customize and automate personalized communication with your leads, and give you information about what they are interested in.

When they show signals of buying intent, you tag them as Marketing Qualified and send them to the relevant sales rep in your CRM system along with any helpful information to the sales rep.

In short, an Inbound Marketing Funnel is a software-supported buying journey that allows your potential customers to discover you, become leads, and be nurtured into customers.

How an Inbound Marketing Funnel works

An Inbound Marketing Funnel needs to achieve the following:

  1. Attract new visitors. This is called the top of the funnel.
  2. Convert those visitors into leads. This is called the middle of the funnel.
  3. Convert those leads into sales. This is called the bottom of the funnel.

Below, we will explain how to build each of those parts of your funnel.

Top of your funnel: Attract visitors

The purpose of the top of your funnel is to attract new visitors. Be careful to attract relevant visitors, otherwise there is no point. Meaning, the people visiting your site need to be potential customers.

How do you achieve this?

You write content about situations your potential customers find themselves in. Then you make this content visible on the channels they might be in.

A good methodology that works wonders for our customers is:

  1. Write regular blog articles about situations relevant to your customers (their problems, challenges, and solutions they want to achieve)
  2. Publish these blog posts on social media
  3. Publish ads and sponsored content that link to your content

The more content you produce, the more visitors you will get. Blog twice a week if you can. But anything is better than nothing, and even once a month will work wonders in comparison.

Middle of your funnel: Convert visitors to leads

If you don't convert your visitors, all the work will result in nothing. To convert, offer value to your visitors in return for their contact details. This is classic Inbound strategy.

What should you offer?

A good idea is to consider this: What situations your customers might find yourself in when they need your products or services? What insights can you offer them in these situations?

Such insights should not be about your products, but rather about the customers' situation, their challenges, and potential ways to solve those challenges. The solutions should not yet involve your products, but offer knowledge that helps your customers understand the situation they're in better.

Package this content in the form of of a guide, a video, a tool, a free software, or any other way you can think of that will be valuable for your potential customers. Then offer it on a landing page behind a form.

Link to this page from your blog posts about the same topic to drive visitors to this page.

The better your offers, the more visitors will convert to leads, and the more of those leads will build trust with you and your understanding of their problems, which can later be turned into sales.

Bottom of your funnel: Convert leads to customers

Next, you need to sell to your leads. How do you do this?

In a complex B2B buying process, the typical prospect is not yet ready to buy just because they downloaded and read a guide. Rather, they will need to understand their problem better (which hopefully your guide helped them do), learn more about various potential solutions, and decide on a way forward. To help them make this decision, you need to continue educating them.

To do this, track their behavior and send more relevant content. Send emails with educational nurturing content based on their interests, for example case studies of other customers in the same situation. Reach them on social media. And show relevant ads to remind them of how you can help them.

When they show buying signals, reach out with sales offers or offers to book a meeting with a sales rep or a consultant.

By following this methodology, you can stay more relevant, nurture many contacts, and your sales reps can talk to the prospective buyers who are interested in talking to them.

The complete Inbound Marketing Funnel schema

To build the top, middle and bottom of the funnel, we have used the following components:

  • Blogs
  • Social media posts and ads
  • Landing pages with form
  • Nurturing sequences and ads
  • Sales notification

The complete Inbound Marketing Funnel can be illustrated with the following schema:

marketing funnel

The entire funnel in the schema above should be about a single topic, and preferably about a specific situation that your prospective customers find themselves in when they need your products or services.

The left side is the top of the funnel. The further left, the more customer centric it should be - meaning, about the customers' situation and challenges. This is how you capture their interest.

The right side is the bottom of the funnel. The further right, the more you can talk about how they can solve their problems using your products. This way, you naturally guide your customers through their buying journey towards the products and solutions you offer.

How Inbound Marketing Funnels fit into your overall sales process

Each Inbound Marketing Funnel drives leads who find themselves in a specific situation or have a specific challenge you solve. The more such funnels you build, the more ways leads can find you and the more leads you get.

Because such leads have gone through an educational journey about their challenges, they will be highly relevant for your salespeople. And your reps will be able to talk to them about topics that they find relevant and interesting, rather than having to start from scratch.

By building more and more funnels over time, you can find customers in a variety of situations that you serve, and make your overall sales process, predictable, proactive and effective.

Step by step: How to build your own Inbound Marketing Funnel

  • 1: FIND

  • 2: EXTEND


  • 4: SELL


Find the topic of interest

Start by focusing on the left side. This gives you opportunity to test many different ideas and see what seems to be the most interesting ones for your visitors - which topics seem to drive the most interest.

To do this, simply write many different articles about many different topics.

Soon, you will discover that the 80-20 rule applies here too: One out of ten articles or pieces of content will most likely be disproportionally successful. This is your golden nugget. Now you can move to step 2 - Extend.

marketing funnel: step 1

Who are we? We help you build Inbound Marketing Funnels.

We offer the CRM and Marketing Automation platform FunnelBud, along with free unlimited help to build funnels just like the above. We take care of the system setup and guide you through your journey, while you write the content.

Read more about FunnelBud below and contact us to learn more.

SharpSpring: All-in-one Marketing Automation & CRM with help included

SharpSpring is an easy to use Marketing Automation and CRM solution that helps you get leads, manage your deals, and sell more. Complete with features such as contact tracking, lead scring and automations. Offered by FunnelBud a premium SharpSpring agency, complete with Professional Services and implementation at no extra cost.

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Want to learn more about SharpSpring?

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