Excellent.org: Human in a tunnel - symbolize the trust funnel

Trust Funnel – Why the Marketing Funnel is no longer sufficient

Almost every company wants to increase sales figures and boost turnover. However, it is not enough to focus all processes exclusively on this. Instead of just making a sale and then more or less dropping the customer, it is now much more about customer loyalty. Customers have to be picked up after the sale, continue to be looked after – and the marketing funnel must become a trust funnel. This week, we want to explain in more detail what distinguishes the two and what a central role valuation marketing plays in this.


The Marketing Funnel has had its day

The Marketing Funnel follows the classic concept of increasing sales and is based on the AIDA concept:


First of all, the attention is attracted, then the interest of the potential customer is aroused. The next step is to create a desire for the product and finally the action (e.g. a purchase) is taken. The funnel is intended to illustrate that at each stage of the model potential customers are lost and from an initial number of interested parties only a few actually become buyers in the end.

Now the Trust Funnel is on the agenda

With the so-called trust funnel, the phase up to the action (here: conversion) is divided into only 3 instead of 4 steps. However, the model is supplemented by 2 additional steps, which are added at the end. The focus of this model is still on the generation of sales, but the generation of trust is added to this. Customers should be bound to the company in the long term and satisfaction plays a central role.

In the following, the individual stages of the trust funnel will be examined and explained in more detail and central differences to the marketing funnel will be highlighted.


Excellent.org: the grafic of the trust funnel

Generate awareness

The first step is of course to create awareness of the product and attract the attention of interested parties. The essential difference to the Marketing Funnel is the necessary basis of trust, which has to be established right at the beginning of the process.

This can be created via a variety of platforms and channels. If a company or product is ranked higher in search engines for different relevant keywords, this radiates seriousness and relevance for interested parties and creates trust. Search engine optimization (SEO) is and remains an enormously important topic.

Also the Internet presence offers different possibilities here: To emphasize transparency, for example, data protection should be emphasized and the processing of personal data should be explained in a comprehensible way. The website itself must convey competence, be easy to navigate and of course list all important information.

As one would expect, social media also plays a major role in this area. After all, an active channel that is up-to-date in terms of topics and information and communicates this to the outside world also has a credible effect on a prospective customer.

Encourage consultation

Once the first hurdle has been overcome, this positive perception must be consolidated in the next step. This is the only way to get the product into the customer’s actual purchase consideration and to reach the next step in the funnel on the way to the end customer.

In this phase, it is particularly important to be available to answer questions – preferably immediately and everywhere. Chat offers, which automatically answer standard questions and relieve the support team, are becoming increasingly important. More on this topic will be available in 2 weeks here on this blog.

Also often noticeable for customers: Whether and how comfortable employees feel in a company. If they can fully identify with it and stand behind the products 100%, this feeling is also conveyed to the outside world and ensures credibility with interested parties.

Influencer marketing can be equally important at this level. After all, 70% of teenagers state that they trust influencers more than celebrities[1] and one in four trusts the recommendations as much as those of friends.[2] For this to happen, the influencers in question should be known by the target group and have a good image, otherwise the project can quickly turn negative.

Excellent.org: woman is looking on a notebook and her phone. symbolize the stimulation of consideration

Achieve conversion

Now the customer is immediately before the purchase decision. In this thoroughly unstable state, transparency must be created once again in order to finally motivate the customer to buy.

Honesty is now particularly important: Are there negative reviews of you on the Internet? Not to worry. If handled correctly, they can certainly underline the credibility of a company, because customers appreciate honesty.

On the other hand, positive ratings are your most valuable asset and you should make them clearly visible. 3 out of 5 people consider customer reviews to be relevant and over 70% are convinced by positive reviews. [3] Use these statistics to your advantage.

Also important: No promises that you cannot keep! For example, don’t give utopian delivery times, but remain realistic. This way, no expectations are built up that cannot be fulfilled and the customer is less likely to be disappointed.

Starting from the marketing funnel, the process would now be over and the focus would be on winning new customers – that’s where the mistake lies. Because winning new customers costs about 5 times as much as customer loyalty [4].

Ensure retention

And that is exactly why it is now called: customer loyalty. Once a purchase has been made, the customer may well have further questions. Here, for example, you can help with the implementation or clarify important questions. A FAQ on your own website, as well as general maintenance and setup instructions, can often clarify a lot and save time. But also make sure that personal contact is always possible for the customer.

Another way to ensure this is communication via social media channels. Through original content and direct contact with customers, social platforms offer an optimal way to strengthen trust in the long term.

In addition, 68% say they turn away because of an indifferent attitude of the company. [5] Prevent this by actively asking your customers for feedback. For example, use our Review Collector and learn important things from your customers‘ opinions to improve and develop your product.

Ensure advocacy

Advocates are clients who voluntarily recommend your company to family, friends and acquaintances. So as you can imagine, these clients are very valuable to your business, but they are rare.

Try to develop this deep trust by staying in touch even after the purchase. Don’t just promote new products and promotions here, but engage with your customers. Birthdays and other occasions are ideal for regular communication.

A newsletter can also be used here. But the most important thing to remember is to continue to offer added value and make sure that the content is also interesting for existing customers. This is the only way to leave a lasting positive impression and boost recommendation.


Even if the achievement of sales as well as the acquisition of new customers remains important, the focus for a modern marketing strategy must be slightly adjusted. At every level, the customer is to be placed in the centre and the basis of trust should be given top priority. Especially after the purchase, care must be taken to ensure that the customer is not „lost“. Interlocutors must be easy to reach for him, his opinion should be asked for (get customer feedback!) and furthermore added value should be offered.


[1] Think with Google: Why YouTube stars are more influential than traditional celebrities (2016)

[2] iBusiness: Influencer genießen weiterhin großes Vertrauen (2019)

[3] unternehmer.der: Online-Bewertungen: Neun von zehn Usern lassen sich beeinflussen (2019)

[4] Franchise PORTAL: Was ist Kundenbindung? (2015)

[5] destinantion CRM: Listen to the Voice of the Customer (2009)