Something in the world of floating have you stumped?
Graham and Derek break down the ins and outs of what, exactly, a marketing funnel is and how to develop one when speaking to banks and investors.
If this is something you don’t understand, you’re not alone! Graham consistently explains how a marketing funnel works in the Apprenticeship every year to a bewildered class. Don’t be afraid to take notes and ask questions.
Listen to Just the Audio
Transcription of this episode… (in case you prefer reading)
Graham: Alright, hello everybody.
Derek: That’s funny.
Graham: Loyal listeners out there. I am Graham.
Derek: And I am Derek.
Graham: And we don’t have an Ashkahn with us today, so it’s just Graham and Derek, Marketing-
Graham: I was going to say Marketing Hour, Marketing Minutes. Marketing Minutes.
Derek: We can take an hour.
Graham: Yeah, sure. Do really long, extra long extended edition.
Derek: I’m all hyped up on Mountain Dew.
Graham: Summer special. Cool. So we’re gonna answer marketing questions. For those of you who haven’t been listening long, Derek Wyatt is one of the marketing experts with us at Float On and handles a lot of the behind the scenes marketing stuff that we do. So we like to focus on that when he’s on the podcast and today’s question is, “I’ve been advised to develop my marketing funnel for a business plan. What is that?”
Graham: Good question. Well a business plan is something that kinda lays out what you think you’re-
Derek: Planning for your business.
Graham: No, I assume they meant marketing funnel.
Graham: Sorry, misinterpreting questions is sort of my shtick on here. You know, like, they ask a question, I purposely think they ask something else and then I just picture the audience in the background laughing their heads off.
Derek: Is that what that was the whole time?
Graham: “Graham you’re so clever.”
Derek: I thought it, okay. Makes more sense now after all these months. Alright. cool.
Graham: Right. So. Marketing funnel. I guess before we get into what an ideal marketing funnel is for a float center specifically, just talk about what a marketing funnel is. It’s actually something that I talk about during the apprenticeship every month when we host it and very people, like shockingly few, understand the concept of the marketing funnel.
Derek: I think the word funnel is a term used by a few marketers that might follow, you know, some other marketers. It’s also called a sales pipeline or a marketing pipeline.
Derek: It’s basically the flow of a customer from not knowing floating exists to becoming like your most avid floater. And so there’s a whole gap in between there and steps you need to take to kinda nurture them along the way.
Graham: Yep and so it kinda just starts at the top, you know, where people have no idea who you are. And somehow they need to be introduced into your center and that’s the top of the funnel. And just like a funnel starts really broad and there’s kind of the entire world out there and then you pour stuff into it and it goes down through a smaller spout. That’s also why they call these, you know, marketing funnels, or sales funnels, is you start with this huge audience, which in this case is kinda everyone in your city and then it’s being funneled down to people who actually become your most extreme advocates.
Derek: And as it tapers, you can just kind of visualize people dropping off at different points. Like, so, you might have the whole entire town but then half of them don’t even care what floating is. And so you’re left with the remaining half and then half of that is interested in floating but concerned. And then after that and you just keep going down the chain and this fewer people until you get down to those that are buying, those that are becoming members, those that are referring other people to float centers.
Graham: Yeah and so the top of the funnel really is just people who don’t know about you yet. And then how do they discover you? So they might discover you through word of mouth, that’s what everyone says is kinda the biggest referrer of float customers.
Derek: Paid advertising.
Graham: Yep. Facebook ads. They might find you just through Google search, they might find you through an article they read in the newspaper.
Derek: Driving by your shop looking to the left and seeing your center.
Graham: Yeah, sure, like physically, like even just like walking by your shop and actually being like, “What is this?” And wandering in. Foot traffic is totally.
Graham: So like I said, somehow people who didn’t know about you, now know about you. And that’s that first step in the funnel.
Derek: And then what?
Graham: And so I would say the next big step is going to your website. Even with foot traffic, if the first thing they do is go into your shop, they’re probably not going to schedule a float right then and there, right? They’re not gonna like talk to you and be like, “Oh great, well can I hop in for 90 minutes right now?” Like very rarely do we have that happen at Float On. So probably even then they’re going to grab some literature, go back home and read more about floating on their computer. So I would say visiting your website and getting more information is kind of the next step.
Derek: So they’re there getting information and so hopefully the information on there is answering some of the frequently asked questions first time floaters have like, “Can I drown?” And you know those kind of things that people have like have natural knee jerk reactions and you’re kind of squelching some of that to get to the actual benefits of floating.
Somewhere along that line there’s little actions I like people to take like “drop your email to find out more information about floating”, so at least you can capture an email. So like in the funnel the ultimate goal is a sale, but you have little goals before that. Like visit the Facebook page and “like” the Facebook page. So any of these little touchpoints you can continue the conversation helps guide these people further down the sales funnel.
Graham: Yep. Yeah. Definitely. And that’s, you know, a lot of people don’t know what floating is, so some kind of education on your website is always important. Primarily though, you know, after the education, I would say the next big step in the funnel is getting people to actually go and schedule a float.
Graham: Or buy one for a friend. You know one of the two. Like they thought it was cool, they’re like, “Ah, well I’ll send my friend as a guinea pig,” I’d still call that a success.
Derek: Yeah, I’m kinda curious how many people actually, you know, discover floating, because somebody asked for that for a Christmas gift or something like that, right? So it’s like, “Hey I’m just looking for a gift card to Float On.” People are like, “What is this place?” And so now they have to go through word of mouth, not even interested in floating themselves, but maybe can become interested. So there’s different points people can enter the funnel, and so your idea is like wherever they enter they might already have some baseline knowledge, I mean they found you so they at least knew to find floating. And then so the next step is to educate after that, get them to buy, you know.
Graham: Yeah. So get them in, get them in to float. And then after that to become members.
Graham: And that’s kinda like what I’d call the main course of the pipeline. So just to review really quick as an overview, it’s, they have no idea who you are, they find out about you somehow. They go to your website, they decided to buy a float. They come in and float and then they like it so much that they get a membership. Or at least they come in and float again and they’re kinda stuck in that float cycle until they become a member. And that’s kinda the full length of the main customer pipeline.
Derek: Right. And to kind of add on to that, if they don’t decide to buy on their first visit, getting some kind of piece of information from them, like an email address or having them “like” your page on Facebook or something, Instagram, Twitter, whatever you use to continue the conversation.
Graham: Yeah, I mean email is great. You know, I still think an email mailing list is your best asset that you have out there, even better than a big Facebook audience or anything, which we’ve talked about before. Yeah I would say even before they come in to float, you know, like if they, if they hear about you at trade show, that trade show should have had a chance at capturing their email and then when they go to the website, the website should have a chance to capture their email. And when they come in person to float, you should have a chance to get them on your mailing list and then get permission to email them.
And the reason for that is just like the funnel doesn’t go according to plan all the time.
Graham: And if at any point during that people drop off, you know, maybe they found out about you and they’re like, “I totally wanna visit that website,” and they just forget. Well if you got their email now you can email them actively and remind them they were interested in floating and they’re like, “Oh, that’s right. I totally forgot about that.” And same any step of the way, you know.
It’s human nature that we get excited about thing. You might even go to a website and say, “Oh, I just need to check with my wife,” or whatever, and “I’m gonna schedule a float tomorrow evening,” and it drops of the radar and you totally forget and you got sick and then you never go back to the website. So if only a fraction of those people, you can get their email address, at least then again you can actively call them back and re-engage the process. So, same thing goes with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram. And I don’t know what you think about this, Derek, but for me I really do consider those secondary. Like my primary attempt is just to get email addresses and then as a fall back, try to get them to subscribe on social media. Or for the people who feel more comfortable with that.
Derek: Well, I 100% agree because with an email list, 20, 30, 35% open rate is far better than a 5% Facebook’s going to give you.
Graham: Yeah they kinda hold your audience for hostage.
Derek: Right. Right. I think we’ve talked about that enough.
Graham: Yeah. Yeah, for sure. Building on someone else’s platform, you’re just living by their rules.
Graham: And when you have a big email list, even if you need to pay something like Mailchimp to send it out at least you’re the one making the rules and you can be guaranteed to at least hit like a promotions tab in their inbox.
Derek: So I mean if somebody’s really excited and it might be their first time purchasing a float, there’s things you can kind of do to enhance, you know if you’re a float center with a massage, you can try to upsell them for a float and massage package perhaps. You have opportunities to upsell people, you know, at that time they’re actually going to purchase. Maybe when they come in and they check in you can try to upsell them to a membership, you know, “if this was something you really enjoy, you can save money in future floats by becoming a member” and kinda planting that seed. And so there are ways to nurture people from purchase to continuation of keep coming back.
Graham: Yeah and we didn’t really talk about it I guess during the summary but even once they’re a member, maintaining as a member.
Graham: You know you could almost consider having bene a member for six months to be another step in the funnel. And having been a member for a year to be another step in the funnel. Like there’s this longevity, where if you, you know, if half your members stick with you for over a year, that’s way better than having five times as many members who only stick with you for a couple months, right?
Graham: So yeah, you can kinda go as deep as you want. I guess, in a certain sense, the funnel never ends.
Graham: You just keep distilling down to your best customers.
Derek: They keep coming back and they start referring people and then those referrals come in and it’s like a whole new life cycle again.
Graham: And so I guess one of the important takeaways and when I really start to think about this for anything I’m designing a funnel for or helping a new center start up, it’s a lot of recognizing that each step in the process the most important thing for that step to accomplish is just the next step in the pipeline.
Graham: The most important part of word of mouth or radio advertising or whatever it is, is to get people to go to your website. So making that you put that, you know, right up front in your advertising, make your website really big, make it stand out, don’t like hide it in a little corner as a tagline or something like that. You know that’s what you want people to do is visit your website or maybe pick up a phone and call your shop. But honestly with something as weird as floating, it’s gonna be the website and once they get to your website, the main purpose is just get them to schedule a float.
So you know the biggest button, the most obvious thing, above the fold, is just if they didn’t even speak your language, they’d know you want them to click here, should say, “Schedule a float,” because that takes them to the next step in the funnel.
Graham: So the only purpose of each prior stage is really to get them to the next stage down.
Derek: Yeah, you definitely don’t wanna hide the thing you want them to do.
Graham: Yeah and you get confused, if you just think of it from terms of, “Well I need to make a website,” all of the sudden there’s all these things you need to accomplish with the website. Well they need to be able to know my phone number, they need to know my address so they can come here, I need to teach them about floating. And just keep in mind all of that stuff is just to backup the primary step which is get them to schedule a float. And once they come into float, you want, you know it’s important like they have a good experience, you want them to feel at home, they have a really amazing time in the tank, and all of that is to accomplish them wanting to come back more and get a membership. And become one of your regulars because its been such a good experience and is good for them. So whenever you’re confused I guess about where to focus your attention, just keep in mind where that next step in the funnel is going to be.
Derek: 100% agree. So let’s look at how this works. They’re putting into their business plan or they were required to put in their business plan. Just kind of outline the life cycle of your customer. Let them know that these are going to be the first steps you’re going to use to garner awareness. And then once you’ve captured that awareness and they land somewhere, here’s what you’re going to do to nurture them onto the path of creating a sale. And then talk about once the sale happens and they come in, talk about your experience, that’s a part of the marketing funnel. Like marketing is everything, it’s not just advertisement.
Derek: So the experience and how you’re actually going to make people feel welcomed and relaxed and then talk about the float itself and when they get out the opportunity to sign up for a membership so there’s some recurring revenue that’s being shown in your business plan. And then referral programs and you can just start going into, again, all the points we talked about. Map that out in your business plan. Show them you have an idea of what to do when somebody finds out who you are and where you’re at.
Graham: Yeah and like we said there’s a lot of filler steps and stuff.
Derek: Oh, there’s so many fillers. I mean, I’m holding myself back from going okay, here’s what you say during this step.
Graham: Yeah, yeah, but for the sake of the business plan again, the main steps that we outlined there are definitely the ones to run with. And they probably, the people looking at the business plan, whether it’s a lender, an investor, aren’t going to want anything much deeper than that so.
Derek: So in one parting piece of advice when you’re designing your first marketing funnel is to keep is simple and then add on as you gain information. So one thing is you can, you know, hire somebody to create a funnel for you or you can try to map it out yourself and you start going, “Well what if this scenario and this scenario,” and you try to capture all these things, you know what? You don’t know what’s gonna happen until you get to know how your market’s actually going to respond to floating so have a base outline of how you’re gonna guide people through and then respond accordingly. You know the old mantra we say is, “Test.” And so put out something very basic, test how people respond to it and tweak the things you think that are actually going to move the needle in the right direction.
Graham: And if you’re wondering what to test, it’s you know, another important thing, the business plan is one thing, you need to do things to make investors give you money.
Graham: When you get this funnel in place, if you’re actually trying to figure out what places to improve it, just quick advice, you know, look for the places that are performing the worst.
Graham: Which isn’t worse by percentage. You know, if your Google ads are converting at like 3 ½-4% but then you’re only getting about 5% of your first time customers are becoming members, those mean two very different things. You know like 5% is higher in terms of absolute percentage but that means your Google ad is killing it at 3 1/2 or 4% and your customer conversion is probably not doing as good as it could be and could be brought up a little bit higher.
So getting to map out your whole funnel and just figuring what percentage of people drop off at any given point, gives you this really nice visual of, “Oh, like here’s where people are getting stuck. You know I’m doing a great job converting everyone until this point. And then there’s a huge drop off. Let’s spend a little bit of time, marketing wise figuring out how to plug that hole in the funnel.”
Derek: Right. And there’s plenty of things we can go into to talk about how to improve that but that’s why it’s a daily podcast.
Graham: And since we’re doing an hour long podcast I guess we have-
Derek: Oh yeah, that’s right. We did say that at the beginning. So let me get some coffee. No.
Graham: Yeah, I think that about winds it up.
Derek: Yeah, we’ll cover probably deeper parts of this in future episodes should you send the right questions so go ahead and do that at:
Graham: And we’ll talk to you tomorrow.
Derek: Take care everyone.
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