One core concept that is applied in the world of digital marketing issales funnel. This concept may sound odd initially but it can elevate your business from being non-existent or unknown to a multi-million-dollar business overnight.
As a matter of fact, a lot of skilled professionals have successfully built careers around the application of this concept.
If you want an efficient sales process for your business, you need to have a sales funnel for it. In this article, we will outline top strategies that will convert your website visitors to paying customers.
What Is a Sales Funnel?
A sales funnel is simply the steps involved in making someone your customer. Imagine a funnel in the real world; when you pour a substance from the top into the funnel, it filters down into a definite location. This is what happens in sales. A lot of visitors will arrive at the top, but not all of them will get down to the final point.
Sales funnel is multi-stepped because a lot of activities must go on from the moment the prospect is aware of your funnel and steps into it, to the period they decide to make a purchase.
So, basically, sales funnel breaks down a customer’s journey into two major stages – awareness and purchase. However, there are other stages involved which we will discuss in detail. Now, let us see how that works in digital marketing.
First, you need to set up your online store, e-commerce site, or blog. The purpose of this is to sell a product or a range of products. Second, you have to drive traffic to the site. You can gain organic traffic by creating content that is search engine optimized. However, you can use other means like backlinks.
Read more on how to drive traffic to your site: https://www.wordstream.com/blog/ws/2014/08/14/increase-traffic-to-my-website
As more people become interested in your product, your methods will have to become very personalized. This can involve a demo of the product, sending a free sample, calling the prospect, or sending emails. This will continue until the prospect finally buys the product.
Sales funnel is not limited to only digital marketing. Every marketing channel you use to make sales is a part of your business’ sales funnel. These include personal consultation, email, website, sales team, or a retail store.
What Makes Sales Funnel Important?
The importance of sales funnel in business is to identify loopholes in your marketing strategies. Because the funnel has different stages, you can actually see the point where the prospect drops out and does not convert into a customer. But for you to know this, you have to understand how the funnel works, so you can optimize it and stop losing potential customers.
The Stages in a Sales Funnel
There are 4 stages in every sales funnel, and they can be remembered with an acronym – AIDA. This stands for:
They represent the mindset of your prospective customers. Each stage calls for a different kind of approach to ensure that the right message is delivered at the right time. It’s just like when you are serving meals; you have to serve the appetizers before the main course.
Let’s explain the different stages in a sales funnel.
In this stage, your aim is to grab the attention of the customer. This can be via a tweet, Google search, Facebook post, or any means you choose to advertise your product or service.
The prospect will get to know what you can offer. Some prospects convert into customers at this point and buy immediately. It is about being at the right place and at the right time.
You can liken this awareness stage to courtship. It is like making an attempt at wooing your prospect into coming back to your website to have more engagements with you.
As soon as prospects become interested in your offer, they start researching, comparing different products or services with yours, and thinking about all available options.
At this point, it is important to provide awesome content that will help your prospects. You do not need to sell anything to them here.
If you keep talking about your products or services, you will chase your prospects away. Customers do not buy from you because of how much or how well you projected your product.
They buy because they know they will get value from it. Customers always look out for what is in it for them before making a buying decision.
Consequently, your aim in the interest stage will be to educate your prospects on how they will benefit from your products or services. You need to assist them in making a buying decision.
This is the stage where the prospect is prepared to make a purchase. They will be considering about 2 or 3 products and yours may just be included. At this point, you need to put your best foot out.
You can offer a bonus, a discount, or free shipping (especially when your business’ competition charges for this).
Whichever option you choose; just make them an offer they cannot resist. You need to make the offer look like the prospect will be missing out if they do not make an instant decision to buy.
This is the bottom of your funnel where the prospect takes action. They will purchase your products or services and become a part of the business’ ecosystem. But that is not the end.
The aim of every business is to sell products that people will keep coming to buy. Just one purchase is not enough to say you have a customer. So, you need to think about how to sustain your customers.
Simply put, after the action stage, your next line of thought should be customer retention. You can reach out to the customers and thank them for buying, ask them for feedback, and offer after-sale support, when necessary. Click here to access free sales funnel templates.
Let’s see an example of an efficient sales funnel…
Imagine you run an online business for the sale of gluten free foods, and you discover that your potential customers spend more time on Facebook.
You also know that they include both genders (females and males) that are between the ages of 20 – 35 years. As result, you decide to pay for a Facebook Ad to drive traffic to your landing page.
The landing page is where the prospects will be asked to subscribe to your mail list. You will exchange this action for a freebie which is known as “lead magnet.” At this point, all you have are leads, not prospects.
Subsequently, you will send emails to your subscribers, educating them on gluten free diet. You can also share recipes with them. After doing this for some weeks, you offer them a 5% discount on their first order.
Boom! This sells like crazy and more people are placing orders because you also told them that the discount is for a limited time.
Finally, you will create a new mail list for your customers. The process will be repeated but this time, the content will be different. You can give them a printable gluten free food and drinks list or a diet plan for beginners. That way, you are requesting that they keep purchasing from you.
You are feeling excited, right? Creating a sales funnel is not difficult and you can do it right now. There are various tools for sales funnel design that you can use to turn your business into an automated sales machine.
How Can You Evaluate Your Sales Funnel?
You can know if your sales funnel is making good progress by checking your conversion rate. For instance, if you sponsored a Facebook Ad, you need to know how many people actually clicked to subscribe to your mail list.
You need to monitor each stage of the funnel. Ask yourself these questions:
- Is your first content getting enough attention?
- How many people are willing to trust you with their contact details?
- How many people have made purchases during your email campaigns?
- Are your current customers willing to come back for more purchase?
When you have figured out the answers to these questions, you will be able to modify your sales funnel.
Creating a sales funnel for your business requires a lot of time, hard work, and consistency. The market is saturated with a lot of competition and you need to strive to make your business stand out. A tiny detail can either skyrocket your conversion rate or chase prospects away.
We have discussed the 4 stages in a sales funnel which can be easily remembered using the acronym AIDA. We highlighted the importance of making a good first impression in order to grab the attention of a potential customer.
Finally, people do not just buy products or services; they buy solutions and value. So, ensure that what you are projecting is how your business can help people not just telling them to buy.