Why Your Marketing Funnel Isn’t Working

Sink Drain

“The money’s in the list,” say the listbuilders selling lists and listbuilding training.

Forgive me for noticing that there’s an abundance of lead generators and a shortage of people promising to help you close those leads and earn referrals. There’s a reason for that: 1) it’s easy to fill the top of the marketing funnel, and 2) the top of the marketing funnel is easily measured.

As one of my marketing mentors put it: “Reach can be bought.”

Far too often I see businesses throw everything into the top of the funnel, assuming the leads will close. And I blame marketing literature focused on derivative after-the-fact tests instead of building intentional businesses from the ground up. The latter sounds harder because it is.

You need to start at the bottom of the marketing funnel with your product and service because your top of funnel advertising can only be a function of your product or service.

Nike creates the advertising (top of funnel), social media and website (middle of funnel), and in-store signage (bottom of funnel) after it creates the shoes. The advertising might be abstract for 28 of 30 seconds, but rest assured, they sell the shoes in the remaining few seconds.

Somewhere along the way, business owners and marketers got the basics wrong.

It would be like a novice real estate investor spending $10k on list acquisition and direct mail (top of funnel), without a website or verifiable social presence (middle of funnel) and without conversion elements, such as lead forms, call-in numbers and the supporting processes to make sense of it all (bottom of funnel).

While we’re talking about it, what’s the business on the other side of the funnel? What kind of properties are you looking for? Is the strategy to wholesale, buy & hold or flip? Have you prepared the financing as much as possible (paperwork in order, individuals you’d approach, etc.)?

This is not to say you need to worry about serving non-existent tenants living in a non-existent property of yours and never start real estate investing. But this is to say, make sure you’re buying buy & hold properties that have a 10% property management fee factored into cash flow projections, regardless of whether you landlord or use property management. This is just one example of the details that should inform your marketing & advertising strategy and how you qualify success.

Movement in the top of the marketing funnel does not guarantee results. You could very easily have the wrong prospects. They might not value what you have to offer, and you might go into the poorhouse trying motivate them.

“Work on your business, not in your business” is a popular adage. That’s another way of saying, “Build your business intentionally and only target the people who match your criteria.”

If you want to target new people, build the business before you broadcast your marketing message. Remember, reach can be bought. You don’t get a second chance at a first impression.