paperstack logo

Multichannel Marketing For The Funnel


A multi-channel approach to the marketing funnel
“Make everything as simple as possible – but not simpler.” Alfred Einstein
Being a marketer in 2020 can feel a bit like being Wile. E. Coyote in the famous Road Runner cartoons, with your customer playing the part of the ever-speedy bird. You put in the hard work studying the current digital landscape, and use all the latest channels and platforms to create an irresistible “trap” for your ideal customer. Unfortunately, by the time the trap is sprung, your customer has raced off into the distance chasing a new technology, leaving you with nothing but a depressing “beep beep” sound in your ears. But it doesn’t have to be this way – you can keep up with your customers, though it requires fully integrated, fully multi-channel approach to marketing.
In this guide we are going to explore how these ideas work in practice, explaining why your marketing strategy shouldn’t place all its bets on any one (or even three) channels or platforms, and needs to be strong but supple enough to adapt to new ones. We’ll also provide some of the latest developments, trends and studies you need to understand, so that you’re brought up to speed with the current climate. However, we’re going to be applying all of these 2020 lessons within the framework of one of the most trusted marketing models of all time, the 122 year old marketing funnel.
Why? Because that model works. It is still the best way to nudge or push strangers into becoming buyers. And because – unlike some marketing gurus or agencies -we don’t want to pretend to re-invent the wheel. The wheel remains a fantastic invention, just like the funnel. We just want to make sure that you have a fully modern car with all the latest functionality on top of those wheels, not a horse-drawn carriage.

Multi-channel marketing 101
If you want sobering evidence of the ceaseless churning change that characterizes our digital age, you only need to look at future-gazing articles from a handful of years ago naming all of the social media giants of the day, many of which have already disappeared. Just 7 years ago, Heather Fletcher of Target Marketing Magazine was lamenting the demise of Friendster and MySpace and trumpeting the rise of branded networks like Facebook, Foursquare, Google+, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Twitter and Vine. While some of these are even mightier now than they were then, others – like Vine and Google+ – have long since bitten the digital dust, while present day giants like Tik Tok weren’t even a glimmer in their creators’ eyes.
That’s why a marketing strategy which places all its bets on one channel or platform is usually doomed in the long-term. Not only is it in danger if that platform sinks like a Vine or a MySpace, but it is often vulnerable to sudden and sweeping changes to terms and conditions by unaccountable corporate giants. Facebook in particular has made many changes to its algorithms over the years which have sometimes helped and sometimes hurt businesses, such as the brief but bruising experiment called Facebook Explore which severely wounded many businesses and publishers in six countries in 2017.

In fact, a move towards greater diversification in the channels marketers use for advertising is one of the big trends predicted for the rest of 2020. Emma Franks of Hanapin Marketing says, “Facebook is no longer the one-stop-shop it used to be. Younger demographics are favoring the sister platform of Instagram, as well as TikTok and Snapchat.” Even more interestingly she points out that “Every ‘early-mover’ advertiser who embraces smaller networks now (e.g., Twitter, Quora, Reddit, Snapchat) will enjoy an environment of relatively low cost due to lower levels of competition.”
A truly robust approach to digital marketing will recognise channels and platforms are important in as much as you need to understand their unique qualities and quirks, and how to get the most out of them, but secondary to having the right marketing strategy and messages underpinning all your work. The only truly important thing about any channel or platform is whether it’s where your target audience can be found, whether that’s through paid advertising (anything from old school TVCs to much more modern, micro-targeted Google Ads), content marketing, email marketing or even a physical place where you know your audience will be.
There is of course a reason why even the global megabrands we associate with huge TV commercials and Super Bowl promos increasingly choose to prioritise digital channels and platforms over traditional ones. The world is still becoming more digital and more social at an astonishing pace. Hootsuite’s annual report into digital developments, released at the end of January 2020, shows that 298 million new people came online last year, meaning that almost two thirds of the world now have Internet access. What’s more, half the world’s population are now on social media. Most staggeringly of all, the average internet user will spend 6 hours and 43 minutes per day online in 2020—more than 100 days in total over a year. The lesson is simple: if you want customers, you know where to find them.
As for the specific platforms, each – whether it’s Facebook, Tik Tok or Reddit – will still usually reach a particular audience more effectively than any of its rivals, while often having vast numbers of customer overlap with other platforms. That means expertly choosing different channels and platforms will allow you to target different audiences at different stages of the marketing funnel (see next chapter). Marketers need to know which channel or platform is most effective for reaching a particular segment of their audience, and at what point in their journey down the marketing funnel. Some channels may be appropriate for just one stage in the marketing funnel, others will be used in all, even if they are used differently.
Unfortunately, even those businesses and marketers with a sophisticated multi-channel strategy often neglect the importance of providing an integrated and consistent experience across those different channels. A study by Gladly found that 71% of customers do want a consistent experience whenever they encounter a brand, no matter what channel they happen to be on at the time. In reality, less than a third believe this actually happens, meaning that many receive a fragmented and even contradictory impression of a business, which can damage trust in the brand.
This doesn’t mean that you can only use one message in your marketing, and in fact you will need many as you move through the marketing funnel, but you have to ensure that you have consistent brand values underpinning all your messaging. Your approach should be channel and platform agnostic, and consistent, with your presence across all different channels and at all different points in the funnel working together like an ensemble cast in a play.
Marketing funnel 101
Which brings us to the funnel. Not the most glamorous name for a core part of your business strategy, but it works as a metaphor. In this it is much like an actual funnel: functional but incredibly effective.
If you’re reading this, you’ll almost certainly know the funnel is important to developing your marketing and sales strategy, but may be confused by all the different versions you’ve seen littered across the Internet. Sometimes it’s called the marketing funnel, sales funnel or even the purchase or conversion funnel, while the illustrations used to demonstrate it sometimes have many different steps with different names. Some outline the classic four steps, while some have expanded it to ten or more. Don’t let all of this noise distract you, the core concepts are the always same and too important to ignore.
Their power can be demonstrated by their longevity. The classic four stage funnel was invented at the end of the century by ad agency executive Elias St Elmo Lewis. As that extraordinary name might suggest, we don’t mean the end of the twentieth century but the end of the nineteenth century – 1898 to be exact. Lewis was an early advertising advocate who wrote and spoke prolifically about the potential of advertising and analysed how people come to make a decision to buy. He ultimately broke it down into the four classic stages, which still apply powerfully today – to attract attention and raise Awareness, maintain Interest, create Desire and get Action. These are now summed up as AIDA.

Clearly, a lot has changed since Lewis’ day. After all, a large chunk of his career was spent managing advertising for the Burroughs Adding Machine Company (think of a hand-cranked calculator, but one which can’t subtract or divide) so he didn’t have quite the same technological resources as we do today. However, take a look at any aspect of your marketing now, whether a Google Ad, a mailout or an SEO-driven blog, and if it isn’t doing something to contribute to at least one of those four stages then you shouldn’t be doing it. That’s how well this model has held up over 122 years.
Of course, the model has been adapted and adjusted many times, sometimes streamlined and more often expanded. But take a look at even the most complex new version of the funnel – this maze-like creation by Forresters is probably the most visually elaborate – and you’ll quickly see the same overarching principles. In Forrester’s case they have been slightly crunched into Awareness, Consideration and Purchase.
Even those marketing agencies who claim they want to “ditch the old marketing funnel in favor of something new” usually end up with something which might look slightly different, but turns out on closer inspection to be powered by the same ideas. We agree with SEJ Magazine, who say at the start of their predictions for the year ahead: “In 2020, the big trend will actually be a return to the basics”.
The multi-channel approach to the marketing funnel
The simplest way of explaining how you should think about the marketing funnel in 2020 is that it is a multi-channel, multi-platform, multi-step strategy designed to reach your potential customers and guide, nudge or push them forwards to take an action, usually a purchase.
That journey from initial awareness to purchase can be extremely short or much more meandering and will always feature multiple channels. In an extremely simplified version, a customer might first see your name in a Facebook ad (this corresponds to the Awareness stage of the funnel), which might later lead to them reading a blog post on your own website or on a platform such as Medium or Linked In (the Interest stage), which might progress to signing up to a Mailchimp newsletter and staying in touch with your news and views (the Consideration stage) and finally to a sale, subscription or similar prompted by a Google Ad (the Action stage).
This is very simplified, so now it’s time to dive deeper and go on a journey down the tunnel. But let’s take a moment before we begin to make sure you are prepared for the road ahead. Before you can even begin targeting customers through the marketing funnel, you have to have a sound marketing strategy in place. Depending on your business, your marketing strategy may end up being large and intricate, targeting many different audiences with many different messages through many different channels, or it may be much simpler and more direct. Either way, you still need to have the right foundations in place for it to stay standing once it’s out in the world and exposed to the storms of competition and change.
You may be sure that what you do and offer is entirely unique, and perhaps you are right, or you may know that you are offering something that many others are offering. It almost doesn’t matter – the chances are that there are lots of other businesses who are at least claiming to offer something similar. That is why rising above the competition to create awareness is perhaps the most cut-throat and brutal stage of the funnel, but also one of the most exciting. It’s also a good time to keep in mind what your mother told you, and try to make a good first impression – you only get one chance.
Before you even begin to actively pursue awareness raising you therefore need to get your core brand strategy and messaging right. A clear, consistent and powerful set of values and messages can be one of your most powerful long-term assets. You should develop them with a very clear understanding of what you are offering, who you believe needs it, and why you think they will buy it, which you can base on the market research you will hopefully have done to even get to this stage.
Messages should always be created with your audience clearly identified and at the forefront of the mind. As Christopher Newman, associate professor of marketing at the University of Mississippi, has said, “Too often marketers create a campaign first, and then try to identify a target market they hope will be receptive to it”. To gain a really precise understanding of your audience you will need to answer key questions about their age range, their income, their values, their needs and the problems they face which you can help them solve.
If you have been in business for a while, you may need to review your original brand purpose, values and messaging to make sure they are still as strong as they were when you first laid them down. You should also check whether your target audience is the same and if not you may need to redevelop your strategy to keep it well-oiled and effective.
With your strategy and messages in place, it’s time to move to the top of the funnel – Funnel Stage 1: Awareness.

Funnel Stage 1: Awareness
Awareness is that all-important point of first contact between your brand and your potential customer.
For most of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries there were a limited range of extremely powerful and usually extremely expensive weapons available to warriors in the battle for awareness. There were the big guns of advertising of course, whether in print or on screen or radio, as well as the additional firepower offered by PR, media relations, sponsorship, etc. All of these channels should still be at least considered when you are developing the awareness stage of your marketing strategy, but have now been supplemented and often supplanted by a dizzying new arsenal of digital channels.
The awareness stage of the funnel, even more than the others, will normally include inbound and outbound marketing. Outbound marketing can be thought of like a loudhailer. You draw on the messages you have already identified and shout them out loud and clear to potential customers, essentially saying – though probably with slightly more sophisticated messaging – “this is us, and this is what we do, are you interested?” In the past, outbound marketing almost always meant broadcasting to a large audience in the hope that some of the people you wanted to reach would be found within it, but now you can broadcast to a tiny and already, in theory, interested audience thanks to digital micro-targeting.
Outbound marketing includes mailouts (the electronic kind with Mailchimp or one of its competitors, as well as the old school direct marketing kind) and advertising in all its forms. It is often the main way to reach people right at the “top” of the funnel, those who don’t know you or your product or service yet. That’s why getting the messaging right, as referred to above, is so crucial.
Most businesses, particularly start ups or SMEs, will be looking at using social media as a core part of their strategy. Depending on your target customers, you might be creating a cocktail which mixes Facebook, Linked In, Instagram and Tik Tok (particularly if you want to reach young people or position yourself as a progressive brand). Social media is often the most fun bit of your digital marketing strategy but also one of the hardest to get right – social media users can be extremely cynical about brands interfering in their social experience, and tune out things they’ve seen before and detect insincerity very quickly. Smart targeting is absolutely crucial at this stage, reducing your costs throughout your funnel strategy by as much as 56% in the case of Facebook ads.
Another key element of your top of the funnel digital marketing strategy is likely to be display ads and that will usually mean turning to that big beast of the Internet, Google. According to the search engine provider, its display network now reaches over 2 million sites and over 90% of people on the Internet, with ads appearing across a range of websites, mobile apps, and video content. You may think these ads are old fashioned and say to yourself that you never pay attention to them but you’d be wrong. More people read them than you think, as proven by their measurable results, and you may in fact be absorbing more than you know – researchers at Duke University have found that we often take in information even when we think we are looking at something else.
If outbound marketing is the loudhailer, consider inbound marketing to be more like your siren song, subtly and seductively drawing your customer in with something they want to hear. Again, your menu of inbound activity should include a range of channels, including content marketing through publishers and platforms, social media marketing, placing features through a PR campaign, and search engine optimization work. Many of these channels will take on even greater importance at later stages in the funnel.
Here at the top of the funnel, your target audience does not know you, so hard selling is rarely effective. You should consider this to be introducing yourself. Imagine you are single and going to a party where you don’t know anyone but hope to find someone you might want to date in the future. Consider the impression you would want to leave behind – you will almost certainly want to be memorable, but do you want to be remembered as charming and trustworthy, or loud and eccentric (this isn’t a trick question – on some occasions the right choice might be the latter)?
All of your work through all your channels should aim to leave behind the impression you just chose. And if your goal is to walk away with a few phone numbers, that same rule applies here – you want them to give you a means of contact so that you can continue to gently nudge them down the funnel towards the next stage, which is Interest.
Funnel Stages 2 and 3: Interest and Consideration
To continue with the dating metaphor, you’ve now met your possible date and arranged to meet them for dinner – now is the stage at which you have to go deeper and really hold their attention, with the aim of leading to (commercial) consummation.
The Interest and Consideration stages are different from one another, and a thorough digital strategy will recognize this with specifically tailored content and carefully selected channels, but there is enough overlap between them to consider them together here, under the term “Middle of the Funnel”. This is the most complex and most difficult part of the journey, lacking the clarity of the first stage (“grab attention!”) and the final stage (“land the sale!”) so it’s perhaps unsurprising that many marketers and businesses are nervous of it and don’t embrace it fully.
This is a mistake. These stages are absolutely crucial in moving people from that first introduction and preparing them to make the big commitment of a purchase or long term commercial partnership. Typically, your customers at the middle of the funnel are interested enough in you or your services to have shared contact information with you, but are still far from actually buying. These stages are where you move them towards that destination.
At the top of the funnel you will have raised awareness of your brand with people who know they have a need or a problem that you might be able to help with. However, they may still think that perhaps it’s not a pressing need or problem, and they probably aren’t yet convinced that you offer the best or most cost-effective service. They are likely to still be in a mode where they are researching and considering.
As they do their research, you must make sure that you remain front of mind. All of your effort at the top of the funnel will be wasted if, once they start to research the problem they are dealing with, they find your competitors and not you. SEO (search engine optimization) is almost certain to be your primary source of organic web traffic and leads. As you may have heard before, it being one of the most widely shared marketing facts on the Internet, 93% of online experiences begin with a search engine. But did you also know that at least 75% of Internet users never scroll past the first page of results? That means you have to be on page 1. Even page 2 isn’t good enough. A smart SEO strategy combined with effective Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising can get you there.
Customers will be measuring you against competitors, and will still need to be persuaded that they should listen to your ideas and purchase your product or services. They will be asking themselves key questions. Is this business trustworthy? Do they offer me the best value for money? Can they really deliver everything they promise? Do they really understand me as a customer?
You need to anticipate these questions and answer them in the form of blogs, features and FAQs on your website, all of them optimized for SEO and bristling unobtrusively with key words. The important thing while developing this content is to always strive to be genuinely original, engaging and – if possible – entertaining in the content you create. There is a reason why stage 2 is called Interest, after all. Make sure to get expert help: drab design and wan writing reflects poorly on your brand.
Once your SEO work has successfully brought customers to your content, video can be even more effective than blogs in maintaining interest and pushing consumers to consider taking action. In fact, 72% of customers say they would rather learn about a product or service by way of video. Facts like these can frighten younger businesses or those with smaller budgets, but videos don’t need to be high production affairs to impress consumers. We aren’t talking about Michael Jackson music video extravaganzas here.
Simple videos edited using professional apps like Adobe Premiere Rush or free services like Blender can be effective, if you make the content useful and engaging. Your content could be as simple as quick introductions to your business or a “how to” video that answers your customer’s questions.
As a case study, you could look at the single most trusted brand in Australia, which – according to a 2019 survey – is the DIY chain Bunnings, who have turned helpfulness into an art form and a juggernaut marketing strategy. For years, Bunnings have filled their website with information and videos on how to tackle DIY projects, giving away this knowledge for free and in the process creating a huge network of engaged and loyal customers who are highly likely to purchase lower down the tunnel.
Having made a video, which will always require an investment in time if not in huge budgets, you must make sure you get as much value as possible from it across as many channels as you can. You will want to place videos on landing pages and blogs on your site, backed by SEO-geared text, and you will want to promote on the almighty YouTube as well as the whole range of social media sites where you have identified your audience as spending time, from Facebook through to Tik Tok.
Another key channel here for many businesses – like it or not – is review sites. 93% of consumers say that their decisions are influenced by them and a rather extraordinary 58% say they check review sites once a week. Although not all review sites are created equally when it comes to trustworthiness, and there are often debates over which are most reliable (go here to see a debate on Quora about Australian review websites), they are almost always trusted over an organisation’s own advertising and marketing, for understandable reasons.
The subject of how to generate good reviews through quality products and services and excellent customer care would fill a much larger guide than this one, but it is essential to get right. What concerns us here is that it is absolutely crucial to the “Consideration” stage of the funnel and also ties into SEO since you can mark up reviews on your website for search engines.

One other reason review websites are valued is because they create a sense of community, and most digital experts agree that increased community marketing is going to be one of the most important trends in in 2020. In fact, this is just one more way in which digital marketing is going to return to its roots, given that communities were at the heart of the early Internet. Now people crave online community more than ever, and the exploding amount of new social media groups, online forums and meet-ups are the evidence. “You have the power to build a strong community around your brand”, says Lenka Koppova, the founder of Cambridge Social Media, “create movements that have an impact beyond increasing sales.”
That’s why you shouldn’t simply create a traditional Facebook page for your business, you should also be creating and facilitating a Facebook group for your customers and potential customers, and exploring how to build communities on channels like Reddit, Linked In, Medium, Quora and more. It can require patience, dedication, and time but the results are the development of strong bonds that will almost certainly push your target audience further down the tunnel, into the final stage – Action.

Funnel stage 4 – Action
Finally, after all that hard work, we reach the part of the funnel which your CFO and your bank care about – turning awareness, interest and consideration into an action, such as a sale, subscription or contract. Or, in our dating metaphor, the point at which the relationship is consummated or becomes a marriage.
You have done the hard work of raising awareness of yourself and the problem you are here to fix, and you’ve created the content that has grabbed their attention and convinced the potential customer that they should consider buying your products or services. Now, in this final stage, you need to focus your energy on making these potential customers feel confident that they would make the right decision in tapping in those credit card numbers.
What content and what channel will push your potential customer into an actual customer will vary according to your offering and your audience, but one which is always powerful is customer success stories. If your lead sees that your service or product really did have the impact you say it will on a customer not unlike themselves, they are much more likely to hit that “buy” or “order” button. This can work just as well if you are a giant like Salesforce (take a look at this excellent collection of Australian case study videos on their website) or a tiny start-up. Other tools to close the deal might include offering demonstrations or running promotions such as free trials.

Clearly you should be featuring this crucial sales content across your own channels, such as your website and social media pages. But as well as inbound marketing, outbound marketing can be an important part of closing the deal. You should be looking to promote and advertise the best of your testimonials or case studies across all of your key channels and platforms, and interweaving them into your PPC, SEO and content marketing strategies.
Of course, your marketing efforts aren’t over the moment the purchase has gone through. The impression your brand makes immediately afterwards may be just as important as everything that went before. If your new customers are greeted by excellent care and support throughout and immediately after the , they will be able to get the most out of their product or service and become either repeat customers or advocates who are likely to pass on their satisfaction to others in the form of recommendations and product endorsements. This feeds directly back into all your work higher up the funnel.
The other side of the coin, of course, is that if they are disappointed by the product or service, or the care they receive, they are likely to express this through social media or review websites, undoing all the good work you have done in building that relationship. Don’t take an ostrich approach if this is happening: if you engage with negative feedback quickly, openly and creatively, you may even be able to turn it into another opportunity.
As you will have gathered if you have read this far, a modern digital marketing strategy is a complex creature with many moving parts, more symphony orchestra than traditional four man rock and roll band. Though we have focused above on certain actions and types of content in different stages of the funnel – with advertising heavily featured at the awareness building stage, SEO prioritized in the middle of the funnel, and customer case studies loaded at the bottom of the funnel – the truth is that these different tools will probably be deployed at multiple stages.
A good customer case study could be a powerful way of turning Interest into Consideration, for example, both key elements in the middle of the funnel. Advertising can also be a great way of converting a potential customer into a paying customer in the final Action stage. As Chris Schutte of Launch Digital said in a fascinating Ten Scores interview from two weeks ago, marketers should “understand that users exist at any given time in a certain space in a funnel, and depending on where they are, that is how you’ve got to reach them and it determines what tools you use and the language.”
Crucially, you should be learning every step of the way. No digital marketing strategy should be set in stone. The customers and the technologies will keep moving like the Road Runner, and you need to be responsive enough to adjust accordingly. Keep a close eye on your analytics and have the courage to recognize when something just isn’t working for you, so you can shift your energies into something that does. Constant learning should be applied at every stage of the funnel, in every piece of content, and in every channel or platform you use. This is the key to long term success in digital marketing, and if you remember one thing from this guide let it be that.

Would you be comfortable writing a 5000+ word pillar piece of content around multi-channel campaigns and the ability to target customers at different stages of the marketing funnel? What would you charge for this?

Needs to be well-researched using current information, assertive and informative, value-adding and completely original. 5000-word minimum. Do you need anything else?

– All original content
– Confident and informative tone
– reference to the marketing funnel would be great too with explanations of each stage

A content pillar is a substantive and informative piece of content on a specific topic or theme that can be broken into many derivative sections, pieces, and materials. Examples of content pillars include eBooks, reports, and guides.
Basically, it’s a large piece of content that you can turn into many smaller pieces of content to fuel all those channels you’re currently struggling to fill. By focusing your attention on creating a single content pillar, it’s easy to break that finished piece into blog posts, infographics, videos, emails, social media updates, and more, to attract different kinds of buyers through different channels.

Well, I think the first thing that’s important is to break the misconception that Google ads or any PPC advertising for that matter is reserved for the bottom of the funnel marketing. I mean, you can use PPC advertising very successfully, as top of the funnel awareness generating stuff and even middle of the funnel email list building type of activities, that’s the first thing. So, that’s a mindset that needs to change on the agency side as well as the client side. Agencies push this idea that you’ve got to get direct leads and sales on Google ads and the problem is then clients think the same way too. They believe this is the only way to can get leads and sales. Or rather that PPC is is only suited for this bottom of the funnel.

we give them real world examples, the exact examples of strategies that we use. I think that really is how we sort of convinced them that it’s not, is that we, we show them examples of campaigns we have run. We will have created awareness and that for clients where we’ve both email lists through PPC that have been cheaper than if people were to go buy an email list. You can generate emails from PPC for, you know, 30, 40 cents an email. Whereas if you go buy a list, it’s a lot more, you know.

Yeah. So we ran a a campaign for a pool owner. He runs a pool cleaning and maintenance business. He was struggling to use PPC to drive sales and leads. And then, I mean we were big into the inbound marketing methodology, right? So we were very big into creating valuable content that attracts people. We created some eBooks for him on simple things like “how to keep your pool clean after rain” and other things that pool owners struggle with. We created eBooks and promoted them on social profiles. We had sold them on this big inbound marketing funnel thing. Like, you know, creating eBooks, getting people to sign up and building email lists [organically].

And to our dismay, it didn’t quite go that way because the organic traffic that was going to site wasn’t sufficient. So we had this beautifully set up funnel, you know, but what we were lacking was traffic generating strategies to get people to the site to complete this thing. So anyway, long story short, we started to run a Facebook campaign and we targeted pool owners on Facebook, just purely with one of his eBooks. And it was a lead gen campaign. So someone just clicked on the advert, it popped up a form in Facebook, they filled out the form and then we used Zapier to integrate that with his CRM system, which is Active Campaign and, and it put people into a little thing there. And then he started building a list and we really started generating email addresses of his target audience.

And now this is important to remember, but we started generating email addresses of his target audience for around 5 Rand, an email address, right? Which is about, it’s about 40, I dunno, 40 US cents, somewhere around there, which is ridiculously cheap because if you go by a an email list you know, you can buy a general email list of like two thousand three thousand people or as many as you want and it might cost you, you know, it’s slightly less than that. Put your mail address to buy that list that you’re not getting the actual target market, the chances that someone owns a pool in that list is slim to none. So we were generating real sort of pool owners, his target market at 5 Rand or 40 cents per subscriber.

So we sort of lost him after that. But the success and that story is that we were able to use PPC and Facebook ads specifically, to drive middle of the funnel activities and even top of the funnel activities. And you know, when we tell clients about that, then they’re like, okay. Then they start realizing, and then they start seeing and make up examples in their own mind. And I think that is the first thing we normally do with our clients. We just break their mis-conceptions.

Is that something you do at the beginning when you get a contract with the client to let them know what you guys are about, how you think about it, or can you also get somebody who’s already doing some PPC let’s say Google ads and then you may tell them: “Hey, I can see what you’re doing there, you’re going for the bottom of the funnel, but here’s a way that you can actually improve your results by targeting (the upper funnel)”. Is that something that you do as well?
Starting the conversation
with clients.

Chris from LaunchDigital (07:59)
So again, you know, the thing is that in a perfect world, so to answer your first question, it is part of our sales pitch from the, we, we, our methodology is very much an inbound sales funnel basis type of thing. You know, we’re very focused on that. We understand that users exist at any given time in a certain space, in a funnel and depending on where they are is how you’ve got to reach them and it determines what tools you use and the language and all those things. And in a perfect world, you could use PPC at all three stages or in your, as you use the DISCO model, you could use it in five stages of the funnel successfully, just tweaking your things and you use an example on that blog post you wrote about sous-vide cooking where you can advertise the actual model, that Anova model (equipment), which is right at the bottom of the funnel, but then they’re still study and comparison and all these other things that you can create landing pages for.

You know, you can create sous-vide recipe landing page on your website and that’s a very top of the funnel type of thing to drive people to that blog article. And that might not result in direct sales, but it’s putting people into the top of your funnel, who could either contact you or buy your product or whatever the case is. So in a perfect world, you can apply that methodology to every single business. You can take your business and look at them from each stage of the funnel and say, cool at the bottom of the funnel, what’s our language? What are we trying to achieve? You know, middle of the funnel, what are we trying to achieve? And then as I said, there’s multiple tools that you can use at each stage of the funnel to drive traffic and all these things. And PPC has one of them.

Had, yeah. So I was just saying that if you had the budget, and this is where trying to get to earlier… is that clients, our clients especially, don’t have the budget to be running PPC for all three stages. And I think a lot of smaller agencies, their clients don’t either have the budget. So that is why you always end up running ads for only the bottom of the funnel. Cause bottom of the funnel is the low hanging fruit. So that’s where you want to spend the money to move the needle. And then if you’ve got budget, then you start doing stuff for the middle of the funnel and the top of the funnel. But the problem is, and this is what we find is when the bottom of the funnel is working so well, clients don’t want to spend money on the top or the middle of the funnel or they just want to put more money into the bottom.

So, you know, that’s the thing. But now with this whole covid-19 thing, we’re saying “Hey, bottom of the funnel is out of the question because people aren’t buying a lot of services. In a lot of businesses, people aren’t buying, so you’ve got to now change your strategy”. And I’ve even written this up a little bit for you so I can even send it to you (read it here). So you know, the way I see it in terms of like, you asked the question of how are you retaining clients who are pausing service. So the first thing we did was to break this misconception and show clients that “Hey listen, PPC… you can use it for any stage of the funnel”. The next thing is we’ve given all of our clients a reality check….

We said to them: “Hey listen, it’s not going to be the same as before because of X, Y and Z. People aren’t buying.” But there is opportunity. And we’ve had to apply some strategic thinking for each one of our clients to determine what the opportunity is for them. So for the agency owners that are reading this or listening, you know, I believe all businesses and industries at this point in time fall into two categories. One is the category of businesses that are completely affected by covid-19 they cannot trade, they cannot provide services. They are completely sort of tied to a chair in that sense. Right? And those type of of businesses are generally speaking what they call the BEACH stocks and BEACH stands for Bookings, Entertainments, Airlines, Casinos, Cruises, Holidays, Hospitality, any sort of industry that’s related to that. You are like really directly affected and your whole strategy has to change. (Yeah. Beach. Yeah. I didn’t make that up by the way.)

The other category is those who are somewhat affected. Cause you know I did make a third category of those who are not affected. But I think this thing really affects everyone. I think there’s the second category of those are somewhat affected and those are the people who can still run businesses and still trade and service their clients. You know, either they’ve been doing it online for the whole lot. If you look at affiliate marketers or whatever, they’ll just carry on. But for other businesses like let’s call them fitness studios, walk in shops, you know, those type of guys. They’re affected by Covid because obviously people aren’t coming to their premises and doing those things. But they can take their business online. So we’ve identified, well, you know, that’s another example, is we are helping a fitness studio and she’s actually one of my good friends who came to us for a barbecue about a week ago.

Not that we’re supposed to be seeing each other, but anyway, that’s another story. So then she came over and she told me about this and she’s just moved into this really large new premise and fancy office and now she’s jumped down. So she was like, basically in tears going like “Man, I’ve invested all this money”. So I said “Well, you know, why don’t you move it online? Why don’t you offer pilates classes online through Zoom? You know, you sell a certain amount of spots that people have to buy”, because her clients still want to do these classes and Pilates yoga, fitness, a lot of coaching type of stuff can still be done online.

They just can’t go to the studio or whatever, that type of thing. And so, and so now we’re helping her set up the sort of online platform. We’re adding some e-commerce to the site, we’ll send people to a booking system. There’s a membership. So we’re helping her do that. And from a PPC perspective, what we’ve done is we’ve modified all of the Google ads copy around her new offer, which is online. So we’ve really customized the ad copy to be more specific around covid-19 and you know, do Pilates online and stay at home and do Pilates. And then also we’ve created a campaign very specifically that focuses on top of the funnel type of searches, which are things like “home pilates exercises”, and how did you pull out these at home and those types of searches, you know, and now they’re going to be hit with a Google ad that saying “Hey, you can deploy these from home, have a look!”

So that’s a way that we took a business that was somewhat effective and we built a strategy for them so that they can still continue to trade and do business online. So for the agency owners that are gonna read this, that we’ve had to apply some of this strategic thinking to that account specifically, and they’re going to have to do the same. They’re going to have to say, is my client a BEACH business, which is Bookings, Entertainment, Airlines, Casinos, Cruises, Holidays, Hospitality, and other related to those industries and all that. Can we somehow continue their business to go on? And you know, this isn’t a silver bullet. Not every business will be able to continue. So they might have to put things on pause. You know, especially if a client is hellbent on driving new sales and using PPC to drive new sales, and now you’re trying to tell them: “Hey, listen, instead use PPC to drive organic traffic or to drive awareness”. They might not be that keen to do it.

Chris from Tenscores (16:34)
So that’s really interesting. Can you give me like… let’s say this whole thing started and you have… I’ve been talking to agencies and they say, “Chris, my clients have decided to really step aside”. So how do you get into the conversation with current clients who tell you “We want to stop!”.
Reacting to the worldwide Covid-19 pandemic.

Chris from LaunchDigital (17:03)
We pre-empted it.

Chris from LaunchDigital (17:03)
Yeah. So what we did when this thing happened when, well at least when it was announced in South Africa, right? I think it’s different in every country. So when our president announced it in South Africa, which was two weeks ago, then he sort of came on air and said, “Hey listen, this is a national state of disaster”. And then a week later he announced was this Monday that’s just passed. Then he announced the lockdown, right? So after he announced the state of disaster, then I sort of saw the lockdown coming. So I told my team, I said, “Hey, listen guys, contact all your clients and find out what they’re going to be doing”. If we go into a lockdown in terms of the advertising, are they going to continue? And all that. And a lot of our clients did say no, they want to pause the ads.

And all of those guys that sort of said “We’re happy to carry on”, they sort of saw the benefits of being able to carry on. So that was fine. And then the clients that did respond negatively, we had to contact them and just say, “Hey listen, we need to keep doing what we’re doing. We need to pivot our strategy slightly, but we need to keep going in here”. The reasoning and you know I think this leads onto that sort of second question you asked me, which was for those clients that are out there, what should they do with the current ads? Like you’ve got Google ads running, like what the hell now? And for those, and the tactics that we’ve used, is for the businesses that are somewhat effected so they can still go online and adapt.

The first thing is you need to acknowledge that your clicks are going to drop guaranteed,I think so. I think paid traffic is going to take a dip. But conversely I think organic traffic can arise because the more people that are staying at home means more internet traffic, more internet usage, people are going to be concerned. Do you mean a lot more digital media? You know they’re going to be consuming less traditional media, so less flyers, less billboards, they’re street potheads less radio ads. They’re going to be consuming less of that and they’re going to be doing more digital media. So that is going to go up. I think the next thing then is you need to pivot your products and services to suit the times. So if you can offer an online service, move it online, you know you need to do that, then update your ad copy to be relevant to the times. And I think that’s very important. Now that’s again, because if you look at your Maslow hierarchy of needs, people are worried. What matters to people now is very different to what mattered to people a month ago. So your copy ad copy has to speak to those to those needs. Right.

This is the thing, people don’t see that. People just see the bad side. They go, “Oh man, you know what? No one’s going to buy!”. What they don’t see is that all of your competitors are thinking exactly the same. So there is opportunity. I mean I watched a video today. A seminar with Bob Proctor. One of the things he talks about is Marketing In Bad Times, a lot of people look at the economy and they go, “Oh man, the company’s down”. But, during the great depression and all of these recessions we’ve had, there’s been business owners that have made millions from them, because they haven’t bought into the negative media and they’ve looked at the opportunities. So there are opportunities to, as you said here, there’s going to be less people competing on your keywords.

You can’t be pushing the same message as you have been in the last year. You have to update your services slightly. And it’s not that everyone can do it. We understand that. Once you’ve done that, I think you also need to look at, as a business owner, automating your customer acquisition strategies. You know, creating more custom forms or more bespoke custom forms on your website using your CRM system, your marketing automation system. It’s using those, creating automation, getting online bookings, get an app like booklet or what’s the other one? There’s another one as well where people can book directly for your services online. Start automating that stuff and making it easy for people sitting at home on their laptops or their phones to get hold of your services. And then the last thing, my last piece of advice for those businesses who are only somewhat effected by this is “streamline”, use online tools to streamline sales strategy.

So again, qualifying customers. A lot of, especially in South Africa, the sales process is quite traditional. You generate leads through your website, you get a name and a number, you pick up the phone, you find that person, you have a conversation, generally you go out and see the person, people in South Africa love meetings. So they would go see a customer, go to their offices. You can’t do that now. You’re going to have to do more Zoom calls, Skype calls. It’s also about doing things like pre-qualifying sales prospects through online forms. And this doesn’t really relate necessarily to PPC but it really will help these businesses who have to start working remotely and dealing with customers remotely, especially if you’re going to continue advertising through PPC.

You’ve got to have those systems in place so that when you start getting customers coming through, you’ve automated as much as possible. And then finally for the businesses that are completely affected, the guys who feel that their hands are tied and they can’t do much, I think as we’ve spoken about, number one is … they need to change the ad strategy. They need to accept that the bottom of the funnel is not going to work for them. They’re not going to generate leads or sales anymore. But there is still opportunity in middle of the funnel and top of the funnel. So they can still do things like generate email subscribers. They can look at topics and this is a tough one cause it does require extra services or extra work, but they need to look at topics where they can really add value or create valuable content for their audience.

And then they can start promoting those blog articles through Google ads. So yes, you’re not going to generate your CPA or your cost per acquisition is going to go through the roof, but you are at least generating some traffic to your site and taking advantage of all these people that are all sort of browsing at home. And then the next thing is create valuable content, create content that people would want to download and that’s how you’re going to start building. I see this is a prime time now for these businesses to build their email lists and South Africa especially is so far behind on marketing. I mean we’re like 10 years behind in marketing from the rest of the world, I think there’s like maybe 1% of the population who are doing good marketing in this country.

There’s 1% of people who are actually implementing, ahead of the curve type of strategies and email marketing is a huge thing overseas, in the States, in the UK, Australia. I mean I must get at least 2030 emails a day from all of these people that I’m signed up to. Robert Kiyosaki and you know, I’m getting an email every day from these guys and I know you slipped with South African business owners and you go, cool, we got to do an email campaign. And they, they’re hesitant to send the people an email once a week, once a day. Like they don’t want to do it. They’re like, “No, we don’t want to annoy our people”. So email marketing is still something we’ve got to get into here, but it’s a prime opportunity to start building email lists because of the people in your market, your target audience aren’t buying, they’re still researching, they’re still studying, they’re still comparing, they’re just not buying. They’re doing everything else in your funnel. They’re just not ready to pull the trigger. It’s a rather build up of database of to buy customers so that when Covid-19 does end so to speak, we start returning back to normal. Then you’ve got the sort of huge database of hungry to buy customers that are already to open.

Chris from Tenscores (26:43)
What would you tell to the person who’s on the fence of actually going into actually building an email list and start doing email marketing? I mean, I know that a lot of us are okay with it, but I used to live in Belgium and helping some of my friends. And every time I talked about email marketing, it was like “Hey, nobody reads emails. This doesn’t work. I never open. Everything goes to the promotion tab and I never look at it.” What do you tell that person who’s on the fence?

Chris from LaunchDigital (27:10)
I would tell them that email marketing is the most effective marketing methodology out there at the moment today, and there’s stats to prove that. In terms of conversion rates and cost per conversions, email marketing is still the best way to market, but that being said, it is, it’s a volume game. You’re not going to have a successful email marketing strategy with a hundred subscribers. But with 10,000 subscribers, you’re going to be successful. You know why? It’s because it’s, it’s been, you know, they’ve all these guys that do all of these email marketing and Robert Kiyosaki, Anik Singal is that other guy. I mean there’s so many. It’s all mathematics. They know their conversion rates. They know that if they send an email out to their daughter, it converts at percentage. It’s math for them. So they spend the entire day just tweaking the system to try and get that conversion rate up or down.

Chris from Tenscores (27:44)
That’s a different story ther.

Chris from LaunchDigital (27:47)
You know why? It’s because it’s, it’s been, you know, they’ve all these guys that do all of these email marketing and Robert Kiyosaki, Anik Singal is that other guy. I mean there’s so many. It’s all mathematics. They know their conversion rates. They know that if they send an email out to their database, it converts at percentage. It’s math for them. So they spend the entire day just tweaking the system to try and get that conversion rate up or down.

But they know, man, if I send an email out to my subscriber list of 100,000, 200,000 subscribers, I will generate this much revenue. Like it’s there for them. And that’s why the email marketing thing is a volume game because you’ve got to get those numbers that you’ve also got to spit. You got to spend the time getting those numbers. And this is why business owners don’t pull the trigger on email marketing because they don’t have the patience, they don’t see the value in spending a year or two years or three years even building up a profitable marketing, no marketing database. The thinking, you know, “why should I do this?”. The proof is out there. I mean, you can see every single one of these guys that sell these online courses or when marketing or whatever, they are able to do all of this stuff through email marketing, you know. So the thing is, and I read a book by, so there’s a guy in Australia, his name is Sabri Suby, he owns an agency in Australia, he’s a bit like hardcore, confident, brash, like in your face, Australian type of guy. But his marketing strategies are so effective. And one of his core principles, he calls it the the larger market formula.

Chris from Tenscores (29:45)
What is that?
The larger market formula.

Chris from LaunchDigital (29:52)
The larger market formula. So really what that says, is that if you look at your entire target market, right, all 10 of them or 100,000 of them, right. Approximately three to 10% of that market are at the bottom of the funnel. So they’re looking to buy, right now they’ve got the means, the money, the know-how, and they’re ready to spend. It’s only 3%. It’s sometimes a little bit more, sometimes it’s a little less. Then the other 97% if we were to be extreme or the other 90% of the people are still in your target market, but they’re just not in the 3%, but they’re still in your funnel.

They’re still in the awareness phase. They’re still researching, they’re still studying. They’re still comparing. There’s all of those people and yes, there will be a percentage that aren’t interested in all because they may have just bought a service such as yours or something like that. But for the rest of the people, they’re still in your buying cycle somewhere. Comparing researching and stuff. So they haven’t made a buying decision just yet. And the number one mistake that business owners make hands down, especially in South Africa, is they only focus on their 3%. They only want to run one Google ad, the only want to find the people that are buying, they don’t want to spend the time or the money building up an audience or building their sales funnel to target those other 97% of people, which includes things like running a good email marketing strategy, creating content, social media, distributing content, organic SEO, it gets all these things and they don’t see the value in that because it’s not as tangible. The results aren’t as tangible as a PPC campaign where we put in some money today and tomorrow you’re seeing leads and sales coming up.

Chris from Tenscores (32:05)
Exactly. If I can actually expand a bit on the concept here of building an audience, when you’re doing advertising whether it’s Google or Facebook, there is that tracking code that actually builds an audience list for you that you can actually re-target afterwards. The re-marketing campaigns are a big thing and for people who don’t want to build an email list it’s okay, you still have that. You have other means of building an audience.

Chris from LaunchDigital (32:37)
Yeah. That’s it. I mean, dude, you’ve hit nail on the head there. So even if you don’t want to download emails, you can still on Facebook and on Google, you can create these audiences of people that have visited your site, read blog articles, like have taken certain actions on your sites. I mean, the analytics goes how far down the rabbit hole do you want to go? Like some guys will only create an audience if the prospect has read through more blog articles cause they’ve gone and, and looked at the analytics on their site and realized that the people most likely to convert have browsed three or more pages on their site before converting. So then they’re like, “okay, well let’s just create an audience of those people and then target them with LinkedIn ads, with Facebook ads”. You know, with all these things.

Chris from Tenscores (33:22)
That’s something I need to do better.

Chris from LaunchDigital (33:25)
Oh yeah. Same. Like we know all these things, but we struggled to implement them.

Chris from Tenscores (33:30)

Chris from LaunchDigital (33:32)
But yeah, that’s the thing. So I mean those are the kinds of things. So you can still use PPC and all of that to reach those goals, to do one of those things. And I think that the main thing is that what we’ve, especially in, I suppose everyone sort of knows this, maybe it’s common knowledge, but there isn’t a silver of bullet. Google ads is an awesome tool. It’s an awesome tool and it serves a purpose. Definitely. But it’s not the only thing. You know, that you have to marry Google ads with a content strategy, with an SEO strategy. You have to marry all those things. Because I think a lot of businesses now are learning this the hard way because now they’ve built entire marketing and sales strategies around Google ads or LinkedIn ads or whatever, which is predominantly a bottom bottom of the funnel exercise. And now they’re suffering because they’re like, “man, no one’s buying”. So Google ads aren’t working and they want to cut the Google ads. And you’re like, “Okay, well you know that’s the problem is a way that you’re looking at Google ads, it can serve so many other purposes”.

Chris from Tenscores (34:42)
Yes, it’s the mindset, thinking about it in a different way and knowing that there is a full funnel there, you don’t have to focus on the bottom only. So let me ask you a question. So let’s say I’m an agency owner and I have already lost a few of my clients, let’s say one, two, three, four. If you were in my place, how would you go and actually try and get those clients back? I mean you’ve talked about giving examples, but how would you do it yourself exactly. Like if you actually have a real world example, that would be great. So how would you actually get that conversation started?

Chris from LaunchDigital (35:19)
Well look for assets. I mean, we didn’t really have a sort of sales process or anything specifically for us. It was just a phone call and the conversation, that’s how it really started for us. You know, it’s hard to create sort of funnel process, or something for this kind. So we had to have real conversations with our clients and we really had to understand their needs and look, we haven’t got that many PPC clients compared to a lot of other digital agencies. But I would say that of our clients, we’ve managed to retain 80% of them. And I think that’s still a good figure. You know, we’ve met in some way, in some way we’ve been able to retain, we offer a lot of other services for these guys. So it’s only a very few of our clients that are purely on PPC with us. For a lot of other guys, we’re doing some social for them. We’re doing content, we’re doing web stuff. We’ve been lucky enough to say, “Okay, well, maybe let’s pause the ads for you guys here, but then let’s ramp up the content over there”. So from a revenue perspective, we haven’t taken that much of a hit because we’ve been able to rely on other sort of services to sort of balance it.

Chris from Tenscores (36:42)
So why don’t you tell me more about the service that you offer and maybe actually tell our audience where they can find you a, if somebody needs some help, with all the good ideas that you’ve given us, all the examples. What do you guys offer and how I can they reach out to you?

Chris from LaunchDigital (36:58)
So yeah, I mean they can, I’m sure you’ll have all of our contact details. They can go to That’s our website address and they can contact me directly using and essentially we’re a full service digital agency. We offer everything from branding and design. So that’s general graphic design, website design right through to PPC and SEO. So we sort of look at the whole spectrum because we believe that successful marketing strategies are not built on one channel alone. You know, so we look at, that’s why a lot of our clients are spread across a few of our services because we try and encourage that from the start that if you’re running PPC, cool, that’s good, but you need to still be producing content, and if you’re only doing content, you still need to be getting some of that low hanging fruit. PVC,

Chris from Tenscores (37:58)
You know, I’ve been getting a lot of, some of our clients, they tell me, “Hey Chris, you haven’t written on the blog for a long time. What’s up? What are you doing?” I should be doing all the things you’ve be talking about. I should be doing that myself. And maybe this is the time to actually get into it.

Chris from LaunchDigital (38:16)
I hear you. The thing is that is the time now, you know, I sort of made a pact to myself that at the start of March, I’d try to write a blog article a day and failed miserably. I failed miserably, but I’ve written six blog articles and had if I had not set that challenge, I would have not written any blog articles. And I mean look, only one of them was really like an authority piece. The rest was sort of like SEO fluff. The point is that we need to start practicing what we preach in terms of content and it’s a case of the shoemaker’s children not having shoes. That’s so easy to do. You’re so busy doing this for the rest of your clients that you can do…

Chris from Tenscores (39:11)
I’ll put everything in the blog, in the blog post and probably I’m going to spend some time rewriting all the tips that you’re giving us here. What, what would would actually be great to do is maybe have a case study, a really word case study. Maybe we might talk about that later on where you can really give an example of somebody who actually took their business online and is able to continue generating revenue. That might be something that would be good. And maybe somebody’s got a question to ask they may put it in the comments and you’ll probably be also answering with me. I don’t think we’ve covered everything. I think we could have gone on for more and more, but probably with the feedback that we’re going to receive, then we might have more content and more audio calls to actually share with the audience. Thank you very much, Chris.

Chris from LaunchDigital (40:12)
Thanks very much for the opportunity. I hope it was informative and yeah, I look forward to it if you want to do more calls.

Chris from Tenscores (40:21)
I think we will.

The world has seen economic crises before – like the dot com bust and ’08 financial crisis. There are studies looking at what kind of actions by companies led to more success, and what kind of decisions didn’t pay off.
 Learning to love recessions (McKinsey)
This study shows that while most tightened their belts, companies that came out winners from the crisis refocused rather than cut spending. They traded lower short-term profitability for long-term gain.(Obviously that depends on what kind of reserves you have).
 Roaring Out of Recession (HBR)
This research shows that companies that got the prevention-promotion balance right got the most growth after the recession. They evaluated every aspect of their business model—making near-term changes that reduce costs now and after demand returns (unlike layoffs). Staying closely connected to customer needs was the filter through which to make investment decisions.
 Recession Strategies to Take the Lead (Bain)
This study concluded that companies that struggled post-recession had often “switched to survival mode, making deep cuts and reacting defensively.” Cost-cutting focus had the lowest probability of pulling ahead of the competition when times got better.
Companies that survived the recession best were playing offense: investing in product and market-share leadership.

We are channel and platform agnostic. We understand that eCommerce marketing and lead generation campaigns require a strategic and holistic approach for success.

Introduce your brand, products or service to your target audience for the first time. Create initial recognition and put your brand on their radar.


Now your target audience is aware of your brand, its time to drive them further down the funnel to take further interest in your brand. Nurture and build a closer relationship, familiarity and affinity to your brand.


Your audience is in the decision marketing stage, considering to make a purchase or taking specific action. your messaging is moving towards sronger and more specific call to actions.

Your audience has taken action towards becoming customers or clients. Depending on your business model this could be an online purchase, enquiry for completion or arranging an appointment.

Inquire about Paperstack Digital services

Get in Touch