38 | Full Funnel Approach with David Schulhof


Dave Schulhof is CEO at Red Hot Penny, a digital marketing agency that specialises in search. He’s a speaker raising awareness of the challenge of that full funnel approach.

In this episode we talk about why it is important for a brand to have a full funnel approach. How do you approach digital marketing? Dave raises the different challenges of different ends of the spectrum and shares experience of brands that have a predetermined view of how to be more efficient or drive growth.  

Most common starting points; how can we drive more conversion; can we bring cost per acquisition down; how do we get terms ranking better and get content converting better. But, you can only drive so much growth by looking at one area. You need to make people aware of the brand, says Dave, product or service whilst in comparison to others. The key is how to engage this.

Top of the funnel stuff is usually overlooked for start-ups, SMEs or big brands, they focus on ROI generators but they need to look at the funnel in its entirety and so, measure it in its entirety too. Understand the metrics, audience and buying behaviour.

Top tip: although Google says they don’t use your Google Analytics data, it doesn’t mean they don’t see whether someone has bounced/came off your page to find what they’re looking for elsewhere.

How is your customer buying online or coming to a decision?

Here’s a Lipsy example with Lipsy dresses. They launch prom dresses in spring but competitors getting it in earlier and of higher volume. Higher intent searches were actually starting in January if not before Christmas as prospective customers were looking for ideas, colours and styles. The intent was starting early which Lipsy wasn’t fulfilling but by transforming their strategy and starting content early to fulfil this intent for more inquisitive searches, when it did come to buying the actual dresses, searchers would directly type in ‘Lipsy dresses’ for example rather than their competitors. The brand didn’t have to spend more money but simply started the process earlier and increased their traffic by increasing brand searches by 4k  around prom time!

Get into the mind of your customer.

Another example: I’ve been reading this book called Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert Cialdini, that gives a marketing story about toy selling and purchase behaviours. Essentially, it’s a super clever way to get your customers to spend more by understanding WHY they are doing something. You better listen to the episode to find out exactly what this is ;). Trust me, it’s smart!

Activating people at several parts of their journey.

Everyone wants channels working together. There is no world where it’s just a linear cycle, apart from maybe spontaneous purchases in a store but even then, that’s questionable, as they could have seen an advert and not realised.

Although it’s a challenge to find and measure this, brands often get feedback during checkout stage, emails or popups. You need to measure the loop and get any source of information that works and influences them to shop. Arguably, the more data you have the more complex it gets. Last click information is often what you get but what are the first stages of that which activates behaviour?

Attribution & Testing

Once you have confidence in the individual channel data, testing is where you start. It’s never going to be simple when more touch points are involved so you need to trust the data you have. Once you have a customer journey plotted then you can increase / decrease by channel to understand its effect at the end. You need to find scalable channels and those that are sustainable. But once again, you need to track those independently correctly. There’s no science to it but need to be prepared to test and tweak.

Knowing how to use data effectively is the key to the full funnel.

Element of assumptions, test them to start driving that type of analysis and get actionable data to find out where to invest more or less and what channels are missing. It’s not to drive a magic number to put money in here and get an output of X but about being smarter about how they work together and what works for the brand.

At Digital Elite Day I saw a talk on Google Analytics data by Craig Sullivan and Charles Meaden. They spoke about ensuring your filters and buckets actually do what you want them to do as you may not have something accurate or useful. Understand what you have, is it trustworthy and then do smarter stuff. What’s important to you and what you can do to use the data you already have.

You need to look back at basics. Dave has worked with big brands who assume their data is correct but attribute numbers into wrong channels. This is common. Also, a shoutout to Arnout Hellemans who always starts the conversation about data integrity.

Understanding your User Journeys

Certain audiences we know, shop in very specific ways. Word of mouth or digital PR or others need more touch points for example, some are impulsive on how they buy. Assume the right channels for segmentation of user buying journeys and then you can only find out by testing this. This also depends on the product that the same audience looks to buy.

You can’t assume what works for one works for the other.

Where to start for a Full Funnel Approach?

Key thing is to look at marketing you’re doing and create three columns:

  • Awareness
  • Engagement
  • Conversion

What are you currently doing and where does it sit in these columns. Is there anything missing from any of these columns? Can you be more efficient by spending more time in the middle stage for example. Identify this and then you need a good mix to drive all of those three rather than just one. Find what you’re currently not doing but should be. Facebook for example is between awareness and engagement. It’s a matter of going for lookalike audiences, similar audiences and get them to engage with the brand.

Another example is by Stacey McNaught who I saw speak at Digital Elite Day talking about viral content. Her journalist friend told her that she only deals with viral content so she went ahead and bought that (I think she said she paid only £5) which meant she got people engaging with her content and getting thousands of shares, comments etc. This meant that it was now seen as a ‘viral’ piece of content which was then picked up by journalists and got them a link back to the piece of content. What a great way to use a full funnel approach to get to your end goal (links for authority and relevance.)

David Schulhof is on LinkedIn at Red Hot Penny.

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Music credit: I Dunno (Grapes of Wrath Mix) by spinningmerkaba (c) copyright 2017 Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (3.0) license. http://dig.ccmixter.org/files/jlbrock44/56346 Ft: Jlang, 4nsic, grapes.

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