• Published On April 10, 2024

Most marketers know what sales funnels are. Yet  very few know what a messaging funnel is

And that’s not because I just made up this concept. Okay, it kind of is.

But it’s also because most marketers treat leading their audience from brand awareness to conversion as a tactical exercise. Not a messaging exercise.

The thing is, great messaging creates viral appeal that will help you overflow your funnel no matter what tactics you use. 

Let me show you. 

As I break down all four parts of the viral messaging funnel, you’ll see how some of the hottest brands in history have crafted messages that have attracted and converted new customers for decades.

What Is A Messaging Funnel and How Does It Work?

A messaging funnel is a way to use your messaging to match your brand awareness to your target audience while also differentiating your product from every other competitor in the marketplace.

Messaging Funnel Step 1: Write Your Micro-Script

At the top of your funnel (Awareness stage), you have your least aware audience.

These people have never heard of your brand, but they are probably aware of your product category.

Put more simply, they know of products like yours, but they have no clue who the fuck you are.

To educate these potential customers about your brand, you need to write something called a Micro-Script.

What is a micro-script?

It’s a concept that was made somewhat famous by Bill Schley. If you haven’t read his book yet, The Micro-Script Rules, I highly recommend you do.

But in case you don’t, here’s the simplest explanation of what a Micro-Script can do for you.

It’s a way to “...tell your story (and differentiate your brand) in a sentence or less.”

For a little more clarity, a Micro-Script is like a tagline, but it also communicates the unique value of your product or business.

Here are a few examples of Micro-Scripts:

Messaging funnel example: Enterprise car rental
Enterprise Car Rental: “We pick you up.”
Messaging funnel example: Apple iPod
Apple iPod: “1000 songs in your pocket.”
Messaging funnel: M&M Melts in Your Hand
M&M’s: “The candy that melts in your mouth, not in your hand.”

 Think of your Micro-script like your one-sentence flag in the ground. It communicates to your top-of-funnel audience exactly what space in the market you own.

Messaging Funnel Step 2: Tell A Story Worth Sharing

At the next level in your funnel (“Consideration”), you have your brand-familiar, product-familiar audience.

These folks are interested in the category of product you sell.

And you want to harness their interest and focus it on your specific brand of product.

What kind of message can help you capture this audience’s interest?

What Is A Micro-Story?

Your Micro-Story is the story that other people will tell each other about your brand or product.

For instance, take the recent Stanley Mug craze…

What was the story that made the “big dumb cup” go viral?

A woman had a car fire. In the aftermath, the only thing left intact was her Stanley mug… and it still had ice-cold water in it.

That’s an example of a Micro-Story.

How to create a micro-story

One of the best ways to come up with your micro-story is to ask yourself what a customer who brags about your product might tell another.

When you imagine this scenario, remember your prospective customers don’t brag about your product because they love you.

They talk up your product because it makes them look cool or smart.

So ask yourself, what is the story about your product that makes your customer look awesome?

Returning to our Stanley example, the “cool” factor is that their mug is so durable and good at chilling beverages it can withstand a fire.

Messaging Funnel Step 3: Show Your Proof

The third level down in your messaging funnel is proof.

What kind of proof?

Proof that validates your Micro-Script and Micro-Story.

Most often, this proof is found in how your product was created.

For instance, here’s how Stanley Mug validates the viral appeal of their product.

“Thanks to Stanley’s vacuum insulation, your water will stay cold for 11 hours, 2 days when iced.”

The proof is a simple feature-benefit equation.

The feature is “vacuum insulation.”

The benefit is “your water will stay cold for 11 hours, 2 days when iced”

This copy isn’t amazing. But it doesn’t have to be.

Because viral messaging isn’t about "mind-blowing” copy. (We can save the hardworking copy for those 5000-word sales pages that have to sell $1000+ products.)

Viral messaging is about feeding your audience a sequence of facts they can remember and repeat.

Messaging Funnel Step 4: Create Urgency

The final layer of your messaging funnel is urgency.

Typically, as marketers, we think about urgency in terms of an “offer deadline." The urgency in your messaging funnel could be a limited-time offer. But it could also be another factor…

  • a new release
  • market circumstances
  • need

Returning to the Stanley craze, here’s how they created urgency:

“New black chroma collection.” (When you have a red-hot product, you don’t have to do a whole lot to create urgency.)

The key to creating urgency in your messaging funnel is the same as every other part of it. Identify what’s going on in your audience’s life that would stimulate them to run — not walk — to buy your product.

Exploring all four levels of a messaging funnel

Recapping, here’s the steps to creating a viral messaging funnel:

  1. Market Aware→Micro-Script
  2. Product/Brand Discovery→Micro-Story
  3. Evaluation→Proof
  4. Intent→Urgency

And here’s an example of how this all comes together in one ad:

Messaging funnel in one ad.

Is a Messaging Funnel just AIDA on steroids? 

One other important distinction about creating a viral messaging funnel…

The four steps in the messaging parallel the AIDA (Attention, Interest, Desire, Action) formula.

Yet the crucial difference is this…

AIDA is really more about writing copy.

Whereas your messaging funnel is about implanting copy in your audience's brain.

It's a framework to evaluate how your messaging will land in the marketplace. And it’s a system for looking at your product or brand from your audience’s point of view.

The aim of it is to answer the following question:

What is the one thing, one story, one fact, one reason to purchase now that your audience will remember about your product?

Figure that out, and watch your funnel, mug, cup, or whatever type of drinking receptacle you prefer overflow!

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