You may have heard talk of funnels at points in your work-life. Maybe you’ve wondered whether they were talking about opening a new company sandpit for funsies or perhaps syphoning some fuel out of a competitor’s vehicle? Fear not, we shall explain.
A sales funnel is a set of stages or a process by which your target audience become aware of your brand and then eventually end up making a purchase. It’s a way of describing the journey each person goes on from the moment they find out about your product, to being ready to part with their hard earned cash. The reason it’s a funnel, is because we start with a large target audience, but only a proportion of that audience will go on to be more interested by your service or product, and only a proportion of them will go on to engage with your business in some way, and so on until we have that select group of people who will become your customers.
How does a sales funnel work?
Sales funnels can be general like the featured image above, or the can be specifically designed to fit a company’s sales process.
As applied to digital online marketing it might go something like this:
At the top of the funnel is the Awareness stage. This is where a client initially finds out about your product. In terms of digital marketing, this could mean the use of Social Media or pay-per-click advertising to increase the visibility of online content from a blog, say. Repeatedly producing high quality content and sharing it to a researched and targeted audience hopefully results in producing awareness of your brand. Awareness is the lead-generation phase of the funnel. We’re looking to make initial contact with people and hopefully find a little corner of their brain to lodge in.
With the interest stage of the funnel, we’re looking to pique a person’s interest through the content we’ve created. We’re trying to get them to engage in some way with the content. This might be by following you on Facebook, instagram or Twitter, clicking through to your website to read your blog post, or possibly signing up for your email newsletter.
By doing all of these things, your prospect is showing interest in your business and products or services. They’re sending you signals that they may well be prepared to purchase from you at some point. For now, they’re interested in what you have to say, and that’s the beginnings of building trust with that individual.
During this phase, you’d be making use of social media, blog content, email marketing and landing pages.
This stage is where the lead’s interest is sufficient to provide you with an opportunity to sell to them. It’s the point at which the lead signals to you through a definitive action, such as enquiring through your contact form, that they would like to know more. This is your moment!
There are many different tools available to help you close the sale and help the person make the decision. Whether it’s an automated email campaign that shoots out various sales process messages when triggered by a particular action, or a special offer that is used to entice them, or perhaps a free consultation with the client. If you’re providing software as a service, or an app, you may be able to provide a demo or free trial of your product to help the user make up their mind.
Finally, there’s the action stage, where the lead becomes a client and makes that decision to buy, completes the ultimate conversion goal – signing up to your subscription, buying the product through an eCommerce store, placing an order, buying a ticket. Or if you’re ultimate goal is not something that results in a purchase, it might be joining your list, group or signing your petition – just whatever your final destination to convert your lead into a client.
At Deluxe Web, we might add some additional stages to this process. Once the lead has become a customer, we need to maintain that relationship and continue to offer valuable advice, help and support, ensuring that our client continues to be delighted with our ongoing service. Regardless of whether you sell a one-time product or offer a subscription service, there’s usually a chance to sell again to your customers, so now you have created a relationship, it’s time to nurture it by staying in touch, and continuing to support and delight.
Another stage might be the cross/up-sell where you can continue to do business with your client by offering new services or other products in your range. Your customers are your most important sales leads as they are pre-qualified and ready to repeat business with you – especially if you have delighted them, and nurtured that relationship.
Define Your Sales Funnel
Every business is different, and leads will take a slightly different journey depending on what it is you provide, but most sales funnels look a bit like the one featured here. You can define your own process for your clients. Think about how you first engage them, create interest in your brand, and get them to engage with you to the point where they trust you enough to make a purchase. You might have an offline sales funnel for out-in-the-real-world marketing such as flyers, postcards, workshops, banners, or networking, as well as an online sales funnel which uses a combination of web-based avenues to help you attract customers.
Break each stage down into smaller steps. Which tools will you use at each stage?
Check out this great course at Udemy that will teach you how to design a sales funnel that converts.
Would you like specific advice on which online tools can be integrated into your sales funnel? Talk to us today and see how a Deluxe Web site can increase your online sales, or sign up to our mailing list below to get great small business advice and tips straight to your inbox.