A marketing funnel is a systematic process which people go through in order for you to establish who is seriously into what you or your band does.
The marketing funnel looks like this:
Suspect -> Prospect -> Customer -> Life Long Customer
The Suspect (Unknown interest)
With a marketing funnel, everyone is a suspect until they raise their hand and express an interest in what you do. You can’t be sure who is interested in what your band does until they give you a sign they are interested.
You can’t convince someone to like your music if they don’t, you just want to sort through and find the people who are interested.
The Prospect (Known interest)
As soon as someone indicates they are interested in what you do, they move on and become a prospect. This can be indicated by someone joining your mailing list or becoming friends on Myspace for example.
They have now qualified themselves as someone you should establish more contact with. The point now is to see if they are interested enough to move on and buy your music to become a fan or customer.
The Customer (Fan)
These are the guys and girls who have proven they like you enough to spend money on you. Treat them well and look after them as these are the people who most likely to spend more money with your band buying more music, merchandise, tickets to shows, etc.
The Life Long Customer (Raving fan)
These are the hardcore fans who will back you no matter what. They eat, live, breathe and believe in what you do to the very ends of the earth.
These are the people who are keen to help spread the message about your band, join your street team and want to help promote you. They will support and buy almost anything you do.
Why is a marketing funnel important?
It gives you a way for figuring out who is at what stage and how that can benefit you as an artist. As people move through the different stages, the numbers become less and less but their value to you becomes more and more.
A hundred raving fans will benefit you in so many more ways than a thousand interested prospects. What you need to do is nurture your relationships with people and figure out who is who.