Have you heard of the Marketing Flywheel? For years at Squishy Peanut Marketing, we’ve had a little marketing trick that we had learned and had held in the back of our minds. It was the marketing funnel. The typical idea of a funnel is to attract leads, engage with prospects, and then delight your customers. Ultimately, you’re taking each lead through a journey in order to become a customer. 

Alternately, you can think of it as attract = sales, engage = prospects, delight = keep them as your customer. We perform and recommend to our clients’ different marketing tactics based on each phase of this funnel. 

In the last year or so, as peoples’ purchasing habits continue to change, the marketing funnel is becoming less and less useful. Instead, the marketing flywheel is beginning to take its place.

What’s the difference between the marketing funnel and the marketing flywheel?

With a marketing funnel, the lead is input into the top of the funnel. Then, you work towards continually getting them to move through the funnel. You nurture a lead enough that they turn into a prospect. Then, you nurture a prospect enough that they turn into a customer. The downside to this philosophy is that once a customer hits the bottom of the funnel, that’s the end of their sales and marketing process. It’s sort of a mentality of, “Yay! We got them! Onto the next!” In today’s marketing landscape, customers aren’t always happy with this because they want to be taken care of long-term. Customers become more of an afterthought vs. the focus of how your sales and marketing work.

Funnel-to-Flywheel
Image Credit: Hubspot.com

With the marketing flywheel, you keep leads, prospects, and customers all within the shape of a circle vs. a funnel. We first heard of the idea through HubSpot, a SaaS company, who helps customers with their marketing automation. 

For the flywheel, the same metrics can apply. For instance, your sections of the flywheel might still be Attract, Engage, and Delight, however, they continually move in a circular motion from one to the next, without ever stopping, and all while gaining momentum. Likewise, you’ll see that your customer acquisition does the same.

Marketing Flywheel
Image Credit: Hubspot.com

Within this process, customers become your brand promoters, which in turn can turn strangers into repeat customers.

Why the flywheel is important

With a flywheel, your customers are literally at the center of everything you do. Based on the flywheel, your marketing can be broken down into a few categories – the things you do to attract, delight, and engage your audience. 

Attract:

This is the phase of your marketing where you really need to know WHO you want to have as your ideal customer. Often, this means you may want to do some market research about your customers to get some additional information so you can create some solid buyer personas. (If you’re unsure how to do market research and create a buyer persona or don’t have the time – we have you covered.) 

To attract customers, you’ll typically want to use some of the following tactics:

  • Organic social media content
  • Blog articles
  • Content
  • Organic SEO (search engine optimization)
  • PPC (pay per click ads on sites like Google or Facebook)
  • Freebie downloads

These are all ways to get clients to find you and get your name in front of them.

Engage:

Now your ideal client knows who you are, but you need to tell them more about why they might want to convert into being a customer. For this, you may use some marketing strategies such as:

  • Email marketing
  • Marketing automation
  • Promotions
  • CRM integrations
  • Drip campaigns

Delight:

Now you have acquired your customer and you need to keep them. Here are a few ways you can do this through marketing:

  • Customer Service
  • Promotions
  • Chatbots
  • Social media engagement and listening
  • Customer satisfaction surveys

If you’re constantly implementing these sorts of marketing tactics, then your customers will stay happy and you’ll have a higher chance of getting repeat customers, as well as having your customers refer you to their colleagues, friends, and family. 

(If you need help implementing any of these services, we’d love to chat.)

Keeping the momentum of the flywheel going

One of the key differences of the flywheel vs. a traditional marketing funnel is you use the momentum of the flywheel to continue acquiring and keeping customers, as well as using those customers to get referrals. 

As Hubspot states, the flywheel gains momentum based on three different variables:

  1. How fast you spin it
  2. How much friction there is
  3. How big it is

You can picture the flywheel like a tire on your car. The faster you spin it, the faster you get to your destination. The same goes for marketing – the faster you can implement your marketing plans, the faster growth can start to happen.

As for friction, let’s say you get a nail in your tire. What happens? Well, it can cause a slew of things to go wrong including getting a flat tire, ultimately stopping you in your tracks. With business, you want to eliminate friction. Friction can be caused by areas of weakness with your leads, prospects, or customers. For instance, is getting a sale really difficult for you? Could you make it easier for your prospects to convert? It can also be internal friction. Do certain people on your team cause processes to be more difficult or do you not have procedures in place to make your team work as efficiently as possible?

The Marketing Flywheel

The flywheel can grow based on how much it’s being used. Going back to the car analogy, if you have a big tire, you’re more likely to weather bumps in the road and less likely to get stuck on the side of a mountain. If you’re using that tiny old spare, you’re going to potentially run into problems and you probably can’t even drive the speed limit on the freeway. You’re going to fall behind. With the flywheel, if you have a lot of people who love your brand and feel taken care of, then your flywheel will inevitably be bigger and will keep the momentum going. If it’s smaller, you want to try to grow it. 

So my challenge to you is to put the flywheel into practical use. How can you take care of your customers in the best ways to keep them and turn them into your ultimate brand advocates?

Need help implementing your flywheel strategy? That’s what we’re here for. Contact us for a free consultation today.