From Awareness to MQLs: Where Are the Best Leads?


An effective sales funnel is paramount to a business’s ability to attract and retain quality customers.

A funnel is designed to not only attract attention, but the right attention from the right audience.

Brands need to consider every stage in the customer’s journey to attract their ideal customer and lead them through the process until they secure the sale. To find a marketing qualified lead or MQL (to lead a customer through an organic buying process that answers their questions and ensures they've found their ideal product or service) we need to understand how the four steps of a marketing funnel work.

What Is the Marketing Funnel?

This is the process of attracting prospective customers through campaigns, informing them about the solutions your product or service offers, and securing the sale to turn them into a loyal customer.

The way we make purchases online has changed. Direct advertisements aren’t as impactful for online buyers. They see so many advertisements through a single day of browsing that they can all fade into the background, like putting on advertisement blinders. Instead, online customers need to be led through an organic experience: the marketing funnel.


At the top of the funnel, at its widest section, you use campaigns to attract prospective customers. These prospects are just becoming aware of your product, service, and your brand. This stage brings in a wide array of potential customers and sorts out MQLs by bringing them through to the next stage in the buyer’s journey.

More than 84% of shoppers begin their research on digital channels that are not on the brand’s own website. They garner awareness through various other channels that help shape their opinion and likelihood to buy from a brand.


At this stage, you’ve captured the attention of prospective customers, so now it’s time to engage with them. This is where online content that you create or host, such as case studies, buying guides, and videos (among other mediums of content) allows a prospective customer to evaluate your product or service.

Since you have their attention, there’s a chance they’ll convert to a sale. The consideration stage is designed to increase the likelihood of the prospective customer converting to a SQL, or sales qualified lead. This further narrows the funnel and pool of potential sales, but it’s all part of the process.



Your goal is to convert that prospect into a paying customer. You’ve captured their attention, engaged with them, and they’re still around–it’s time to secure a sale, though that’s easier said than done. The thing is, you’re not their only choice. Other brands that sell the same product or service as you do have also made their shortlist. It’s up to you to present yourself as the best choice.

When a customer converts, they’re not solely choosing who they think the best is: they also choose based on convenience. If you make your method of conversion difficult to navigate, whether it’s a landing page, search ads, or a comparison tool, they will choose another competitor.

Your goal is to encourage the customer to make a sale while reinforcing their belief that they’ve made the right choice by selecting your brand.


Building a loyal base of customers is imperative to your brand’s longevity. You create loyal customers by solving their problems, then providing continuous relief. You also create loyalty by continuing engaging content just like you did in the consideration phase.

Some examples of content that create loyal customers and retain their attention and awareness of your brand are newsletters, surveys, postcards, user-generated content, help articles, and more.

On average, it costs a brand 5x more to acquire a customer than it does to retain an existing customer. You can achieve this through email nurturing programs as well as loyalty programs and rewards. By nurturing an existing customer, you turn them into brand champions.

Where are the Best Leads?

You want leads beyond all else. What if you just skipped the marketing funnel steps and solely focused on leads? You may be able to generate traffic to a landing page or through paid social media, but there’s one looming issue that stems from not having a proper buyer’s journey in place: bounce rates.

When a visitor to your lead magnet bounces, it means they barely stay on the page. They don’t feel invested or nurtured along the way, so their conviction to remain on the page and fully absorb your offer simply isn’t there. The best leads are the ones you create through dynamic marketing.

Contact us and schedule a free marketing consultation at your earliest convenience. At iMarket, we are dedicated to contractor success.