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Apr 19, 2023 Phill Burrows

Flywheel Marketing: Better Than the Funnel?

The inbound marketing funnel has been a game changer for powering business growth through digital channels for decades. But today, prospects and customers are learning about brands and products through a variety of channels. Generating qualified sales leads from a broad list of marketing channels is challenging, and connecting with prospects at the awareness stage isn't a guaranteed sale. 

So what's the answer? For inbound marketing teams, the new focus is on the flywheel more than the funnel. The flywheel broadens the focus beyond awareness and brand recognition; it heavily emphasizes delighting customers, customer loyalty, and turning customers into brand promoters. How does it work? 

In this blog post we're going to examine and share actionable tips for adding technology improvements to help you join the movement toward flywheel marketing. So if you're looking for an insightful primer on where to begin or how to optimize for the flywheel, keep reading!

Funnel vs. Flywheel


HubSpot introduced the Flywheel concept at Inbound 2018, and since then, marketers have been shifting their funnel strategy. The pillars of a digital marketing flywheel focus on customers: attract, engage, and delight. By applying force to these three phases, companies are providing amazing customer experiences and keeping customers engaged for repeat sales, referrals, and additional products and services.  

A marketing funnel is still an accurate visual representation of the buyer journey, depicting the sales process from awareness to action. 

But the buyer journey is no longer linear. 

As internet usage grows, so does the volume of content that’s available to consume. Buyers are entering the sales cycle at various stages, they’re more educated, and in the B2B space, they are one of many decision makers. 

The image below represents the evolution of the marketing funnel. In the beginning, it was simply divided into three categories: TOFU (top of funnel), MOFU (middle of funnel), and BOFU, bottom of the funnel. Next, buyer personas became part of the funnel, and marketing teams began focusing on stages that lined up with personas:


The funnel still works by attracting new visitors, but closing sales and growing business volume with the funnel strategy isn’t as easy as it once was. 

What is a Marketing Flywheel Strategy?


HubSpot defines the flywheel as "the momentum you gain when you align your entire organization around delivering a remarkable customer experience."

This definition is key to understanding how the flywheel differs from the funnel. In the funnel model, each prospect follows a linear path from one section to another, and the process comes to an abrupt end after the sale. The funnel doesn’t include nurturing satisfied customers for referrals, improving the customer experience, getting testimonials, or keeping in touch with customers for renewals or future sales.

Attract, Engage, and Delight

Let's look at a few examples from several HubSpot case studies. 

Attract Right Customers with a Lead Generation Website

Instead of attracting as many prospects as possible, the flywheel strategy relies on attracting the best qualified prospects and leads. 

When rebuilding a website for lead generation, we gather a list of high-value personas and align them with matching services or products. Next, we create a design that simplifies the service or product offerings so that visitors can find what they need quickly. Then we create messaging that speaks directly to the ideal customer and invites them to take action or interact with your content. 

When improving search engine optimisation is a priority, we perform keyword research and build a SEO content roadmap that lines up with buyer personas and stages. Once the keywords and topics are agreed upon, we build the website with on-page mark-up, internal links, and content that improves indexing and ranking factors.

Don't get overwhelmed when it's time to pivot from funnel to flywheel. There are a few simple changes that can fine tune your lead generation efforts for the flywheel model. Start with landing page messaging, then focus on the design and layout of key service pages, and place calls to action that will automatically feed high-value leads to your sales team and add them to your prospecting database.

We’ve helped many companies make the transition from WordPress to the best alternative for lead generation: HubSpot CMS. Do you need to have a new website up and running within a few days or weeks? Check out our Sprocket Rocket Theme. 

Eliminate Friction with Automation

With HubSpot, we can build automations to meet buyers who are in any stage of the funnel. Remember, many leads are entering your sales funnel at the decision stage, and educational content won’t drive conversions. 

To avoid friction, HubSpot can instantly connect prospects with a sales team meeting calendar. Either on your website or an email autoresponder, the prospect can set up a meeting on a date and time that works best for their time zone and schedule. Using HubSpot’s smart marketing features, we can move prospects to a nurturing campaign if they don’t click on meeting links. 

When nurturing campaigns are hyper-targeted on topics that match up with content interactions, you’ll see open and click-through rates that drive engagement and sales. 

Delight Prospects AND Customers

A lead generation website combined with HubSpot’s CRM and Sales Hub can help your company provide value to customers long after the sale closes. The funnel strategy stops abruptly after the sale is complete, ignoring post-sale activities that can turn delighted customers into raving fans. The flywheel keeps the relationship active and continues to provide value and resources to the customer. 

Expansive dashboards provide a unified customer view, giving your team the power to delight customers with high-level personalisation from deal, contact, and company data. HubSpot’s Service Hub gives every employee access to information for solving problems or answering questions and linking those interactions back to the customer profile. 

From Customers to Promoters

A delightful customer experience is a crucial part of the flywheel strategy, and the better the experience, the faster your flywheel will gain momentum. With the right survey and automation tools, we can help you identify the happiest customers and ask them to advocate for your business. Word-of-mouth marketing still has value, and the flywheel model will not only embrace it, but it will grow your business. 

Shifting to the flywheel relies on a fully joined-up digital ecosystem. As part of the HubSpot partner network, Hub Masters offers HubSpot Onboarding, CRM integrations, and training.

Already using HubSpot? Start with a Website Performance Report or a free Portal Audit. 


Published by Phill Burrows April 19, 2023
Phill Burrows