Goodbye Funnel, hello Flywheel: This is what modern marketing looks like 2020 -

Dear Funnel,

you have served us a lot.

You made marketing more tangible for us. You gave us feedback that we needed to continue growing.

But now it’s time to say goodbye.

Here are some posts that have already predicted that you are slowly going out of service:

Like all good things in life, you are unfortunately history. Well, maybe not quite yet. But at least as a “go to” metaphor. Now someone else has to take your place.

May I introduce? The Flyhweel!

But what is that exactly? Where’s the difference? Why is one better than the other? And what does modern marketing look like?

Let’s take a look at this in peace.

What is a funnel?

In 1989, the advertising man Elmo Lewis broke down the customer journey into several stations:

  • Attention
  • Interest
  • Desire
  • Action

Tada! The AIDA formula was born. And at the same time the concept of a funnel.

The sales funnel is often also called “marketing funnel”, “conversion funnel” or simply “funnel”. Basically everything is the same.

You can think of a funnel as a funnel. You put prospects in at the top and customers come out at the bottom. This funnel is then divided into individual phases (similar to the phases of the customer journey):
funnel newThe big advantage of this approach is that your marketing is a lot clearer and more tangible becomes. Maybe you just don’t have enough attention? Maybe you don’t hold the interest? Maybe you are not waking the desires? Or, quite simply, maybe you don’t make any action at all?

Either you are already fully in funnel mode and optimize individual aspects like a wild one, or you are not even looking at your marketing with the funnel glasses.

No matter where you stand, the flywheel is already waiting on the horizon. And it scratches with the hooves.

What is a flywheel?

To clarify this, we first have to travel 200 years in the past. It was then that engineer James Watt (jup, the guy who put his name on every light bulb) invented the edge of the swing:
Flywheel 01
A flywheel is a wheel on an axis that was very energy efficient. The amount of energy it could store depended on how fast it turned how much friction was created … and the composition of the wheel itself. Today there are still flywheels in cars, trains and power plants.

I imagine a flywheel in marketing similar to what Jim Collins describes. I always have to think of the thick concrete turntables on the playground. Do you know the? They were really difficult to make as a child. But once they turned, oh man, you had to be careful about the Momentum was not taken away. The thing stopped turning very slowly. You only had to poke it a little bit and the disc continued to rotate for what felt like an eternity. Your momentum worked for yourself. That is momentum. That is physics.

Amazon recognized this early on with its “virtuous cycle” and brought Brian Halligan to the idea of ​​inbound marketing flywheels. He presented this in his keynote at Inbound 2018:

flywheel hubspotIt looks pretty cool at first glance, doesn’t it? But why is this metaphor so good?

Why is a flywheel better than a funnel?

I like funnel thinking. But the strictly linear approach, where you get your prospect on hell out of your funnel squeezes, I do not like it.

I like the picture of the Flywheel much better because your customer is there in the Focus stands.

In addition, a cycle is always better than something linear. After all, life is also a cycle. (And let’s think further, everything good in life is round: the sun, the moon, our planet … pizza! 🍕)

Okay, Funnels produce customers. But watch them Nothow these customers give you growth help. All of the momentum you’ve built up is gone after graduation. And you have to start over every time

Flywheels, on the other hand, use their momentum effectively and keep turning. Besides, because it’s momentum preserve, the extra energy is used to keep the bike moving more quickly and further turns.

For example, I used to Weeks needed for a blog article to attract 1,000 visitors. Today I click on “Publish” and wait.

With a flywheel, you build a system that builds on each other. Stone on stone.

In the beginning, the effort is high and the yield is low. But the longer you stay on the ball, the higher your yield will be until it eventually exceeds the effort and goes up continuously.

In a funnel, all the energy is used to attract visitors and turn them into customers. In the flywheel, on the other hand, you use a large amount of power to close your customers inspire. So that they can tell others about it. Because she keep your turntable spinning.

That is exactly the difference: So you focus on that relationship and the entire Customer experience. As it should be, but unfortunately it is still too rarely lived.

When you put on the flywheel glasses, you simply make other decisions.

I have observed this myself. When I think in the funnel, as soon as a prospect has become a customer, the process is emotionally complete. But in reality this is not the case! Since you’re all in flywheel fashion Farther should satisfy and inspire.

Let’s see what that looks like in detail now. I have already spoken about the classic inbound marketing process. However, it is more linear in nature and appears somewhat complex. That’s why I took Brian Halligan’s flywheel model, adjusted it a little and added blocks. This should make it clear how modern marketing works.

Phase 1: tighten

Tighten flywheel phase 1We start with a potential customer. This is a person who has a problem or a wish. Maybe he is already aware of it. But maybe not yet. Since you want to be found in inbound marketing, you want this person now attract.

For this you work with the following building blocks:

  • Content – Content is the heart of inbound marketing. Without it, you couldn’t attract potential customers. Therefore, you should create a solid content hub (blog, podcast, video channel or membership) and fill it with a lot of useful content. Your hub should added value deliver and gladly a little entertainment Offer.
  • Search engine – You optimize this content (and of course your pages and landing pages) for the search engine, so that you too found will. If you’re really on high quality Focus on content that spreads virally and takes care over time Inbound links To get relevant and strong websites, you’re already doing a lot for search engine optimization.
  • Social media – Of course, you should spread your content via social media so that your potential customers can read about it here stumble. After all, they hang out there right now. You do this by using your page, your private profile and also in relevant groups post. You should also check your presence regularly care forby responding to comments and sharing content from your company and others. It cannot hurt if you are active in relevant groups, help there and therefore one reputation builds up.
  • Influencer – It is strategically wise to slowly build relationships with people with influence in your industry. This can be people, companies, organizations, blogs, magazines or portals. This is the fastest way to get to your target group. Because they already have the audience you want to reach. It is important, however, that you should help first before you get one Guest post or Guest appearance please (where you also deliver high quality content).
  • Paid Ads – You are welcome to advertise your content (not your product or service) with paid ads (Facebook, Twitter, AdWords etc.). This allows you to increase your range even faster. This is useful at the beginning, because the start time can be very tough.

At the end of this phase you got a visitor. According to the law of reciprocity, you gave first instead of taking. As a result, he has built a small relationship of trust with your company without you having to do anything (apart from creating and marketing the content).

Phase 2: Connect

Connect flywheel phase 2Some companies that do content marketing stop here and to hopethat the visitor somehow becomes a customer. Unfortunately, only hope is not enough. Therefore, you should act proactively and that permission get permission to contact your potential customer to slowly to build a relationship with him.

For this you work with the following building blocks:

  • CTA – Your visitor should always be immediately aware of what to do next. A call-to-action (CTA) is therefore a direct request to perform an action (e.g. “sign up for our free newsletter”). A CTA can consist of a text, a button or a box. Either this leads to an opt-in landing page, or the input forms are located directly in the box. Also make sure that everything is GDPR compliant.
  • Landing page (opt-in) – A landing page is a separate page that focuses on a Focused on the goal and as little distraction as possible. It leaves you room to convince your visitor, one plot to execute. As the name suggests, this is about signing up for an email subscription. So you describe exactly what the advantages are, what the content is and what others say about it. For smaller decisions (e.g. free updates from the blog) you can place the input fields directly in the box. For lead magnets or freebies (e.g. a free e-book), it makes sense to create a separate landing page to get even more registrations.
  • e-mail – Email is the perfect channel to build relationships. That is why it delivers the best results. With manual campaigns (e.g. where you regularly send new content) and automated e-mails (e.g. where you explain a step-by-step topic) you inform your potential customers so that they can make the right purchase decision. Basically you deliver here in advance simply an incredible amount of added value. As soon as the relationship is established (this can take days, weeks, months or years), you can point to your solution. To do this, forward another email to a click-through landing page where you can offer your solution.
  • Landing page (click-through) – A click-through landing page is also a separate page, but the focus is not on email subscription, but on the sale of your product or service. You also describe here what the advantages and components are and what others say about them (everything that a good landing page should have), only in much more detail. After all, it’s a bigger decision. This landing page in turn has a button that redirects to the checkout process or registration. Most companies should use one landing page per solution. For startups, it is often the start page and the associated subpages.

Once here, your visitor became a contact. So you got the privilege to contact him when you want. In addition, you have mostly built up a relationship automatically and only after that attention to your solution. Your contact became the customer.

Phase 3: Inspire

inspire flywheel phase 3The old funnel already stops here. But the flywheel continues. It’s the extra mile. After you’ve got your customer, it’s not over yet! You want him to continue accompany and inspireto tell his friends and colleagues about it.

For this you work with the following building blocks:

  • Analytics – The nice thing about inbound marketing is that you can measure just about anything. So you know exactly what works and what doesn’t. So you can see where the flywheel is still out of round and where you should optimize. Therefore, you should regularly carry out an inbound marketing audit and improve your overall customer experience (e.g. more suitable content, more targeted marketing, more appealing CTAs, more compelling emails, better landing pages, etc.).
  • Feedback – Direct feedback from your visitors, contacts and customers is the best way to get to know your target group better. Therefore, regularly create surveys with relevant questions (e.g. “Which target group do you belong to?”, “What problems do you have?”, “What wishes do you have?”). This is also perfect data to create or refresh your buyer persona. Also use website surveys (e.g. “Why didn’t you buy?”) That your visitor can answer directly to optimize your pages and landing pages. Generally, take every chance when you call or speak to customers to get feedback.
  • Monitoring – An unexpected comment on social networks and blogs can inspire your target group. Monitors therefore your brand name, but also relevant keywords. Listen to the conversations and learn from them. But go one step further, react to it and become part of the conversation.
  • Offline – People want to deal with people. That’s why real relationships are still built offline. Events where laughing, shaking hands, listening to music, eating food and listening to “the bigger ones” remain one of the best ways to connect. Have you also thought about sending merchandise (e.g. stickers, T-shirts, hoodies, gingerbread hearts with your logo) or visiting your customers? Your fans will love that.
  • Love – We all want to know the producer. Therefore, have a dialogue with your audience. This is down to earth and makes you stand out from the crowd. Answer all comments (e.g. on your blog, in guest posts, on social media, etc.). Ask open questions (e.g. with an automated email) and answer them manually. Also bring people from your audience onto the stage (e.g. with a sound file that you can import into your podcast episode) and answer their questions. Just show that you value them and that they are part of it.

So you have after the sale Not stopped, but regularly get quantitative and qualitative feedback and improve your flywheel. You also demonstrate that you value your audience. This turns your customer into a fan or maybe even a hardcore fan. This will then help you to promote your reputation. And the cycle starts all over again.


With a flywheel you create a system that on each other builds up. Because that’s the obvious secret:

With inbound marketing you not only generate customers, you build yourself into them audience on!

Your audience will help you to spread your awareness. Since everything is digital, you can also measure almost anything. So you can always improve your system. And you never stop there. This will make your audience bigger and bigger. Over and over again. Almost to infinity.

When you hear all of this for the first time, you may think, “Oh man, that’s a lot!”. It’s a bit of a thing, but it’s not as much as it looks. Your goal should be to put on the basic ingredients as quickly as possible and then fine-tune them.

The funnel’s metaphor is simply out of date. Your customers are not just output. Your customers are more. There are real People. And they want to be treated with respect.

Therefore, dear Funnel. Thank you for accompanying us all these years. But now it’s time to say goodbye.