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How to Build a Marketing Funnel That Powers Startup Growth

Updated: Apr 9

As 7 Fits Coaches, having navigated the challenging waters of building two scalable SaaS businesses and successfully achieving an EXIT, we've come to understand the crucial role that a solid marketing funnel plays in a startup's journey. We reflected this understanding in our 7 Fits Product-Market Fit Framework. This framework, particularly its four post-launch fits, serves as a cornerstone in our strategy to build marketing funnels that convert, embodying our commitment to guiding startups towards finding Product-Market Fit.

A Quick Recap of the 4 Post-Launch Fits

in our 7-Fit Framework

If you validated your startup idea, introduced an MVP or an early product and had a group of early adopters willing to pay for your product to have a problem solved, then we say that you have successfully achieved the pre-launch fits. It is time for you to move on to the post-launch phase of our 7 Fits Framework.

We have The Product-Channel Fit, Channel-Model Fit and Model-Market Fit that will help you find your way towards the Product-Market Fit.

Here are a few critical questions to ask while you are trying to navigate in the post-launch phase:

  • The Product-Channel Fit: Do you have the right product for the right channel?

  • Channel-Model Fit: Do you have the right revenue model for your distribution and customer acquisition channels?

  • Model-Market Fit: How well are you capturing the market with your model?


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Building a solid marketing funnel can help a startup team navigate through the post-launch fits - especially the Channel-Model Fit - with ease. With our fractional CMO practices, our mission is to help early-stage startup teams design a marketing funnel for sustainable growth and low churn customer acquisition.

Let us now start talking about the fundamentals of marketing funnels and conversion optimization.

7 Fits Framework Towards Product-Market Fit

What is a Marketing Funnel?

At the core, a marketing funnel maps out the journey of a potential customer from the moment they first become aware of your startup to the point they make a purchase—and beyond. It's a systematic approach to creating customer interest and engagement, nurturing leads, and ultimately, converting them into loyal customers.

Understanding a marketing funnel through the lens of our 7 Fits Framework offers a profound insight into the startup's journey. The marketing funnel is not just a pathway to conversion but a reflection of the strategic alignment between your product and the market. It's a manifestation of the Product-Channel Fit, one of the crucial post-launch fits, where we identify the most effective channels to connect your product with its target audience.

Marketing Funnel Stages Towards Product-Market Fit

The marketing funnel stages are critical touchpoints that guide your potential customer through their journey. These stages—Awareness, Interest, Decision, and Action (AIDA)—serve as a blueprint for engaging prospects at each phase of their decision-making process. Tailoring your messaging and tactics to fit each stage ensures that you meet your potential customers where they are, providing value and solutions that resonate with their current needs and preferences.

Each stage of the marketing funnel aligns with our 7 Fits framework, particularly emphasizing the Channel-Model Fit and Model-Market Fit. For example, during the Awareness stage, we leverage insights from the Channel-Model Fit to select the marketing channels that are not only cost-effective but also scalable, ensuring they align with the startup's business model and market dynamics.


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Marketing Funnel Example Through the Lens of Product-Market Fit

Consider a startup offering a revolutionary project management tool. The funnel starts with content marketing to raise awareness, followed by targeted ads to spark interest. Webinars and free trials engage users at the decision stage, and exclusive offers or bonuses might nudge them to take action. This journey illustrates the funnel in action, showcasing the tailored approach needed at each stage to guide the prospect closer to conversion.

Incorporating an example of a marketing funnel, we can see how the iterative approach of the Build-Measure-Learn Loop, a principle at the heart of our Lean Startup and our PMF framework, plays a pivotal role. From awareness to action, each step is meticulously tested and refined, mirroring the continuous improvement ethos of the Product-Market Fit. This ensures that with each iteration, the funnel becomes more aligned with the startup's target audience and market needs.

How to create a Marketing Funnel - that converts - with the 7 Fits Framework?

How to Build a Marketing Funnel That Powers Startup Growth

Creating a marketing funnel that not only attracts but also converts requires more than just understanding your audience's needs—it demands a strategic approach that aligns your product seamlessly with those needs. This is where the 7 Fits Framework comes into play, providing a comprehensive blueprint for startups to not only navigate the complexities of market fit but also to construct a marketing funnel that truly converts. Let’s dive into how you can leverage this framework to create a marketing funnel that resonates with your audience and drives your startup towards success.

Step 1: Align with the Product-Channel Fit

The first step in creating a converting marketing funnel with the 7 Fits Framework is to ensure your product aligns with the right channels. This means choosing the channels where your target audience is most active and where your product can shine the brightest. Whether it's social media platforms, email marketing, or content marketing, selecting the right channels is crucial. This alignment ensures that the awareness stage of your funnel is set on a solid foundation, capable of attracting the right audience effectively.

Step 2: Leverage the Channel-Model Fit

Once you've identified the right channels and the right revenue streams, the next step is to align your revenue model with these channels. This is about understanding the costs associated with customer acquisition and ensuring they are sustainable in the long run. It’s about asking, “Can our chosen channels sustainably support our growth without compromising our revenue model?”

The way you make money - subscription based, annual contract, mid-market SaaS, etc. - and the way you price your products are also important in what kind of a marketing funnel you are going to create.

You need to make sure that the process remains economically viable and scalable as potential customers move through the interest and decision stages of your funnel.

Step 3: Ensure the Model-Market Fit

Your marketing funnel is not just about leading prospects through a series of steps; it's about creating a journey that resonates with the market. As the startup team, you need to be able to define the market, calculate its size and estimate what percent of the market you can feasibly capture. If your aim is to attract a hundred new clients in a given time, then you need to work backwards and estimate the number of prospects who will enter your marketing funnel in the first stage.

Step 4: Integrate Continuous Feedback and Iteration

A crucial aspect of the 7 Fits Framework - and the Lean Startup - is the iterative process of learning and adapting based on feedback. This applies to your marketing funnel as well. By continuously gathering and analyzing feedback from each stage of the funnel, you can make informed adjustments to improve conversion rates. Whether it’s tweaking your messaging, refining your targeting, or adjusting your value proposition, iteration based on real-world data is key to creating a funnel that not only attracts but converts.

Step 5: Focus on Retention and Growth

Finally, a marketing funnel that converts is not just about making a sale; it’s about creating lasting relationships. This ties back to the ultimate goal of achieving Product-Market Fit, where your product meets market needs so well that customers not only make a purchase but become repeat buyers and brand advocates. Implementing strategies for customer retention and upselling within your funnel ensures that the journey doesn’t end at the purchase but continues towards building a loyal customer base.

Marketing Funnel Builder To Help You Find PMF

Leveraging a marketing funnel builder or software can streamline the creation and management of your funnel. These tools offer templates, analytics, and automation options to optimize your funnel for conversion. Choosing the right builder involves evaluating how well it integrates with your overall marketing strategy and the 7 Fits Framework, ensuring it supports your goals of finding product-market fit.

Selecting a marketing funnel builder is akin to achieving the Product-Channel Fit, where the tool must not only facilitate the creation and optimization of the funnel but also integrate seamlessly with the startup's chosen channels and overall marketing strategy. This strategic alignment ensures that the marketing funnel is an extension of the startup's core value proposition, resonating deeply with the target market.

Marketing Funnel Content To Support PMF Efforts

Content is the lifeblood of your marketing funnel. From informative blog posts and engaging videos at the awareness stage to detailed case studies and testimonials at the decision stage, each piece of content serves a strategic purpose. Tailoring this content to address the pain points and interests of your target audience at each funnel stage amplifies its effectiveness, driving engagement and conversion.

Marketing Funnel Content  To Support PMF Efforts

The content within the marketing funnel embodies the essence of Model-Market Fit, ensuring that the messaging and value proposition are tailored to meet the market's needs and preferences. This strategic alignment of content with the target audience's expectations and pain points is crucial for moving prospects through the funnel towards conversion.

Marketing Funnel B2B

For B2B startups, the marketing funnel often involves longer decision cycles and multiple stakeholders. Here, the emphasis shifts towards building relationships, demonstrating value through in-depth content like whitepapers, industry reports, and personalized demos. Understanding the unique journey of B2B buyers is crucial to crafting a funnel that effectively nurtures leads towards a sale.

For B2B startups, the marketing funnel's complexity underscores the importance of achieving Product-Market Fit. Here, the funnel must address the nuanced needs of multiple decision-makers, reflecting a deep understanding of the market's dynamics and the startup's unique value proposition. This intricate understanding facilitates a funnel that effectively nurtures leads, showcasing the startup's ability to meet and exceed market expectations.

Marketing Funnel Conversion To Find PMF

Conversion is the ultimate measure of your marketing funnel's effectiveness. It's not just about the number of leads but how many of these leads take the desired action. Optimizing your funnel for conversion involves continuous testing, tweaking, and refining—ensuring that every stage is aligned with your audience's needs and your startup's value proposition.

Optimizing the marketing funnel for conversion is a testament to the efficacy of the 7 Fits framework in action. It exemplifies how the iterative process of refining the funnel, grounded in the principles of the Product-Market Fit, leads to increased conversion rates. This optimization process mirrors the startup's journey towards finding its fit in the market, making each conversion a step closer to achieving product-market fit.

Marketing Funnel Social Media

Social media plays a pivotal role in the modern marketing funnel, offering a platform for awareness, engagement, and conversion. Whether through organic content or paid campaigns, social media can amplify your reach and provide valuable insights into your audience's preferences and behaviors, informing your broader marketing strategy.

Leveraging social media within the marketing funnel

Leveraging social media within the marketing funnel highlights the significance of the Channel-Model Fit. It's about choosing the right social platforms that align with the startup's business model and target market, ensuring that every engagement and conversion is a step towards achieving a sustainable business model in sync with market demands.

B2B Sales and Marketing Funnel

The B2B sales and marketing funnel underscores the collaboration between marketing and sales teams. In this model, marketing efforts focus on generating qualified leads, which are then nurtured by the sales team towards closing. Alignment between these teams ensures a seamless transition for the prospect through the funnel, enhancing the likelihood of conversion.

The integration of B2B sales and marketing funnels embodies the holistic view of our 7 Fits framework. It's a strategic orchestration that ensures alignment between the startup's product offering, market needs, and the sales strategies, culminating in a seamless journey from awareness to conversion, reflective of the Model-Market Fit.

Marketing Funnel vs. Sales Funnel

While often used interchangeably, the marketing funnel and sales funnel serve distinct purposes. The marketing funnel focuses on attracting and nurturing leads, while the sales funnel is concerned with converting these leads into customers. Understanding the differences and how they intersect is vital for startups looking to streamline their customer acquisition process.

Understanding the distinction and interplay between the marketing and sales funnel through the 7 Fits framework illuminates the path to achieving Product-Market Fit. It's about ensuring that each touchpoint and conversion opportunity is aligned with the startup's overarching strategy to meet the market's needs, driving towards the ultimate goal of sustainable growth and market fit.

How can a Fractional CMO Help Create a Converting Marketing Funnel?

In the dynamic landscape of startups, the role of a Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) is pivotal in crafting strategies that lead to sustainable growth and market penetration. However, not every startup has the resources to bring a full-time CMO on board. This is where our fractional CMO services, structured around the 7 Fits Framework, become a game-changer.

Let's explore how you can leverage our Product-Market Fit framework to create a marketing funnel that not only captures attention but also drives conversions.

How can a  Fractional CMO Help  Create a Converting Marketing Funnel?

Deep Dive into Market and Product Alignment

As fractional CMOs, we begin by deeply understanding your product and market, guided by the Product-Channel Fit and Model-Market Fit principles of our 7 Fits Framework. This initial alignment ensures that your marketing strategies are not just broad strokes but are finely tuned to resonate with your target audience, increasing the likelihood of conversion right from the awareness stage.

Strategic Channel Selection and Optimization

With our 7 Fits Framework, we identify the most effective channels for your startup, considering where your potential customers are most engaged and receptive. This isn't a one-size-fits-all approach but a tailored strategy that ensures your marketing efforts are focused, efficient, and scalable, reflecting the Channel-Model Fit to optimize your marketing spend and maximize ROI.

Iterative Campaign Development and Execution

As your fractional CMO, we leverage the iterative nature of our 7 Fits Framework and the Lean Startup"s Build-Measure-Learn loop to develop, launch, and refine your marketing campaigns. This methodology ensures that every aspect of your marketing funnel is continuously optimized based on actual data and feedback, enhancing the funnel's effectiveness and your startup's ability to pivot and adapt to market demands.

Focused Conversion Strategy and Customer Journey Mapping

We map out a detailed customer journey, identifying key touchpoints and opportunities for engagement and conversion. By understanding the nuances of your target market and aligning this with your startup's value proposition, we can craft compelling messaging and offers that effectively move potential customers through the funnel towards making a purchase.

Data-Driven Insights and Performance Optimization

Our 7 Fits Framework emphasizes the importance of data in making informed decisions. As your fractional CMO, equipped with analytics tools and insights, we can closely monitor the performance of your marketing funnel, identifying bottlenecks and opportunities for improvement. This data-driven approach ensures that your marketing efforts are not just creative but also quantifiably effective in driving conversions.

Sustainable Growth and Scaling

Finally, by implementing the 7 Fits Framework, we ensure that your marketing funnel is not only about acquiring customers but also about fostering loyalty and encouraging repeat business. We focus on strategies that contribute to sustainable growth, leveraging insights from the Model-Market Fit to refine and scale your marketing efforts efficiently.

In essence, in our fractional CMO practices armed with our 7 Fits Framework, we aim to uniquely position and architect a marketing funnel that is not only aligned with your startup's strategic goals but also optimized for conversion at every stage. This partnership enables startups to navigate the complexities of marketing with confidence, ensuring that every effort contributes to the ultimate goal of achieving product-market fit and driving sustainable growth.


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The Wrap-Up: How to Build a Marketing Funnel That Powers Startup Growth

As we've journeyed together through the ins and outs of marketing funnels, it's clear that these are more than just steps on a path to sale—they're the heartbeat of a startup's connection with its audience. Drawing from our own experiences and our robust 7 Fits Framework, we've seen how crucial it is to align every part of your funnel with the market's pulse. Remember, a marketing funnel isn't just about moving people from A to B; it's about sharing your journey, understanding theirs, and meeting in the middle where your product fits just right.

Navigating through awareness, interest, decision, and action stages shouldn't feel like ticking boxes. It's about crafting moments that resonate, speak to needs, and spark action. Whether you're rolling out content that informs and engages or leveraging social media to amplify your reach, the goal is the same: meaningful connections that lead to growth.

In the end, the magic lies in blending strategy with empathy, insights with action. Your marketing funnel, created by your fractional CMO and enriched by the 7 Fits Framework, isn't just a tool—it's your startup's narrative arc, leading to a place where product and market fit like two pieces of a puzzle. So, let's keep making those connections, refining those messages, and building funnels that not only convert but also captivate and connect. Here's to crafting journeys that matter, together.


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