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Here’s How Leads and Prospects Fit Into The Conversion Funnel.

Not all individuals who see your marketing message or products will eventually patronise you. Before you make up your mind to invest in a brand by paying for their services/goods, you must have gone through the conversion funnel unknowingly. As a business owner, after reading this article you will begin to apply the right marketing strategy to match your ideal customers’ stage in the funnel. Also, as a customer, you will be more aware of how you interact with brands before and after you patronise them. When you hear about the conversion funnel or customer journey what comes to your mind? You are about to find out.

The Conversion Funnel

In digital marketing, the conversion funnel is an expression that describes how potential customers are led from one stage to the other until they eventually patronise the advertised product/service. This concept was first proposed by William Townsend in 1924 but now has various names. Some of which include customer funnel, marketing funnel, or sales funnel. Looking carefully, all these names contain the word ‘funnel’. A physical funnel looks wide at the top but gradually becomes narrow at the bottom. Let’s just say a lot of people view your ads but not all of them will eventually reach the bottom of the conversion funnel i.e. ‘Action’.

the conversion funnel

Levels in The Conversion Funnel

Many online marketing experts have broken down the conversion funnel into 3 broad categories – the top of funnel, middle of funnel, and bottom of funnel. For every marketing effort, there are 4 major levels in the customer journey. Anywhere in the world, these 4 stages are commonly referred to as the AIDA model. They are Awareness, Interest, Desire, and Action. 


At this stage, an individual is just getting to know about your brand, product/services, it’s benefits, unique features, and all those great stuff. People get aware through various medium, for example via ads, word of mouth marketing, traditional and other marketing efforts. 


Once an interest is aroused, they make conscious efforts to learn more about you by visiting your website, reading your testimonials, and asking people about the experiences they’ve had while doing business with you. It is possible that they decide to subscribe to your newsletter, engage with some of your content, e.t.c. Reaching out to the brand now qualifies them to be a ‘lead’. A lead in digital marketing is an ideal customer who shows interest in your product but isn’t ready to take any action that indicates conversion.


Interest leads individuals to a point where they want to experience such brand or the advertised product/service. For some, they might not assume this level immediately. This makes it important to remarket to leads. Remarketing keeps you top of mind and gives you another opportunity for consideration by the lead. At this stage, the lead is likely to reach out to the brand in question to make an enquiry or interact with them on a more personal level. Reaching out to the brand now qualifies them to be a ‘Prospect’. The brand’s representative will also start relating with you one way or another.


This is the bottom of the funnel and could sometimes be called Conversion. Here the individual goes ahead to carry out an action which is profitable to the brand, for example registering for a programme, paying for an item, or even downloading an app. They now become full-fledged customers or clients.

To wrap things up, here’s a typical example of how the conversion funnel works. You see an ad about a new product (Awareness). Your curiosity makes you click on the ad which then leads you to the product’s landing page or website (Interest). After going through their available products, testimonials, terms and conditions as well as delivery policy, you finally add the product to the cart (Desire). Now you have become a prospect. If at this point you fail to proceed in the buyer journey, you are likely to hear from a representative of such a brand. If not, they will include you in a remarketing campaign until you make a purchase or indicate that you are no longer interested in continuing the journey. However, paying for the item or carrying any other action that qualifies as conversion leads you to the bottom of the funnel (Action).

We hope this article has done a great job of breaking the conversion funnel into easy-to-understand bits. If you found this post helpful, don’t forget to share it with your online community.


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