Illustration representing stages of the marketing funnel
Illustration representing the marketing funnel stages

Learn the 5 stages of the marketing funnel, how it connects to the TOFU/MOFU/BOFU framework, and how to develop a cross-funnel marketing strategy.

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Illustration representing Stage 1

Stage #1: Awareness

At this stage, potential customers may discover a brand through various channels, such as social media, blogs, webinars, advertisements, or word-of-mouth referrals.

This involves finding the audience to address their needs or problems. It's important for brands to be positioned as a trustworthy and reliable source of information within the industry, as this is often when initial impressions are formed.

Metrics to measure performance in the awareness stage include:

  • Website traffic: Measure the total number of visits, unique visitors, and pageviews to gauge how effective awareness strategies are at gaining visibility.
  • Social media reach: Track the number of followers, likes, shares, comments, and mentions on social media channels to assess the effectiveness of content and community-building efforts.
  • Keyword rankings: Monitor organic search rankings for targeted keywords to gauge the success of SEO efforts.

Stage #2: Interest

At this point, prospective customers are not yet ready to buy but are open to exploring their options. This is when potential customers start engaging, allowing the brand to nurture their interest.

The main goal of the interest stage is to engage leads, provide valuable help in the form of content or communication, and to develop a relationship where they look to the brand as an authoritative and helpful source on topics connected to the brand’s offer.

Metrics to measure performance in the interest stage include:

  • Lead generation: Track the number of leads generated through form submissions, newsletter sign-ups, and other lead capture methods, as well as the quality of those leads.
  • Email Engagement: Monitor the open rates, click-through rates, and conversion rates of emails to assess their effectiveness.
  • Content Engagement: Measure how many people are downloading resources, the time they spend on various web pages, and interaction with branded content.
  • Social Media Engagement: Analyze likes, comments, shares, and direct messages to evaluate the level of engagement on social media channels.
  • Retargeting Campaign Performance: Look at click-through rates and conversions from retargeted ads to gauge their impact.
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Illustration representing Stage 3

Stage #3: Consideration

This is when prospects are actively considering the brand’s offer as a viable solution. They're developing their understanding of multiple solutions and comparing the company’s offer against competitors and alternatives.

The main goal of the consideration stage is to show that the company’s solutions can solve prospect problems and pain points, proving efficacy through social and data-driven proof, and positioning the company’s solutions as superior to competitors and alternatives.

Metrics to measure performance in the interest stage include:

  • Engagement with sales materials: Measure the number of prospects who engage with your product demos, case studies, sales consultations, or other decision-making materials.
  • Lead quality: Evaluate the quality of leads based on their engagement, demographic fit, and likelihood to purchase.
  • Demo or Trial Sign-ups: Track the number of demos or trials requested or completed.
  • Feedback from sales consultations: Gather and assess feedback from sales consultations to understand how effectively the brand addresses prospects' concerns.

Stage #4: Conversion

This stage signifies the culmination of the brand’s marketing and sales efforts and the beginning of a new customer relationship.

The main goal is to convert leads into customers. This is typically accomplished through sales calls, sales pages, sales emails, or any combination of those three.

Metrics to measure performance in the Conversion Stage include:

  • Conversion rate: This is the percentage of prospects who complete a purchase compared to the total number who reach the Conversion Stage.
  • Average order value (AOV): This metric measures the average total of every order placed over a defined period.
  • Customer acquisition cost (CAC): This measures the total cost to acquire a new customer, considering all marketing and sales expenses.
  • Time to purchase: This assesses the average time it takes a customer to go from lead signup to purchase.
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Illustration representing Stage 5

Stage #5: Loyalty

This stage is about delivering the best possible experience for the customer, from the quality of the product to the presentation to the followup messaging sent to help the customer improve their purchase-related outcomes.

The primary goals of the Loyalty Stage are to deliver a great customer experience, turn first time buyers into repeat buyers, and turn repeat buyers into enthusiastic brand advocates.

Metrics to measure performance in the Loyalty Stage include:

  • Repeat purchase rate: This measures how often customers come back to make another purchase.
  • Customer lifetime value (CLV): This metric calculates the total expected revenue from a single customer account over the length of their relationship with the business.
  • Net promoter score (NPS): This measures customer loyalty by asking customers how likely they are to recommend the business to others.
  • Customer satisfaction (CSAT): This metric assesses customer satisfaction with a product, service, or overall experience.
Illustration representing TOFU MOFU BOFU

Top of the Funnel (TOFU)

This aligns with the "Awareness" and part of the "Interest" stages where potential customers become aware of the brand and begin to show interest in products or services. At this stage, the goal is to attract as many prospects as possible and provide valuable content that piques their interest.


Middle of the Funnel (MOFU)

The MOFU stage corresponds to the latter part of the "Interest" stage and the "Consideration" stage. At this point, prospects have expressed a clear interest in the brand and are actively evaluating their products or services. The goal is to provide more detailed and specific information to help them understand why a product or service is the best solution for their needs.


Bottom of the Funnel (BOFU)

This stage is shorthand for the "Conversion" stage, where prospects are ready to make a purchase. The goal here is to persuade them to choose the brand’s product or service and to facilitate a smooth and satisfying purchasing process.

The "Loyalty" stage goes beyond this version of the marketing funnel, but it’s a crucial part of maintaining and growing a customer base. It focuses on keeping customers satisfied after their purchase, turning them into repeat customers and encouraging them to advocate for the brand.

While the terminology and breakdown of each stage differ, both models describe the same process: guiding potential customers from initial awareness of the brand to the point where they become loyal customers and brand advocates.

1. Identify the Target Audience

The first step in building an effective marketing funnel is identifying the target audience. Understanding who they are, what they want, their challenges, and how the brand’s product or service can benefit them is the core of any successful marketing strategy.

Use market research, surveys, and existing customer data to create detailed buyer personas. These personas should reflect the ideal customer's demographics, behavior patterns, motivations, and goals. 

Having a clear understanding of the target audience helps guide marketing efforts at every stage of the funnel, making sure the brand connects with the right people.

LinkedIn’s Audience Targeting is designed to help B2B businesses reach the right people. It allows brands to customize their audience using LinkedIn’s demographic/firmographic data and matched audiences, allowing them to get their content in front of the most targeted market possible.

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Illustration representing relevant content

2. Develop Relevant Content for Each Stage

At each stage of the funnel, strategic content should be produced and distributed in a way that aligns with prospects' needs and mindset.

In the Awareness stage, content should aim to educate and inform. This could be blog posts, ebooks, and social media posts.

In the Interest and Consideration stages, content should demonstrate the value of the product or service. This could be webinars, case studies, or product demos.

In the Conversion stage, content should motivate prospects to make a purchase. This could look like customer testimonials, pricing sheets, or a compelling call to action.

Lastly, in the Loyalty stage, content should nurture the customer relationship, encouraging repeat purchases and brand advocacy. This could look like user guides, newsletters, or exclusive offers for existing customers.

3. Measure Performance and Improve With Data

Measurement is key to improving the performance of a marketing funnel. By tracking and analyzing key performance indicators (KPIs) at each stage of the funnel, brands can figure out what is working and where improvements are needed.

This includes metrics like website traffic, bounce rate, and conversion rate in the “Awareness” stage; email open and click-through rates in the Interest stage; sales meetings or demos in the Consideration stage; sales and customer acquisition cost in the Conversion stage; and customer retention and lifetime value in the Loyalty stage.

LinkedIn offers sophisticated conversion tracking for companies advertising and targeting content at professionals on the platform. Conversion tracking provides insights into post-click and view-through conversions of LinkedIn ads campaigns, giving brands the ability to measure the impact and ROI of their ads and better tailor future campaigns.

It’s also important for marketing leaders to be able to effectively report performance and progress to stakeholders. Reporting on these metrics helps both marketers and stakeholders understand the funnel's performance, make data-driven decisions, and continually optimize the marketing strategy for better results. 

Linkedin’s ad reporting makes this easy. 

Use the Company Engagement Report in LinkedIn Campaign Manager to measure engagement with your brand across LinkedIn and your website. See website visits, ad engagement, and organic post engagement by target company, and then easily create reports showing this information to stakeholders.

Illustration representing measuring performance
Illustration representing the marketing funnel