You can’t read anything about digital marketing these days without coming across someone talking about a sales funnel. The phrase is everywhere! In fact, online sales funnels are generally lauded as the secret sauce to supersizing your business.
Not everyone knows what they actually are. Some of us have a rough, “sort-of” idea, but many are completely at a loss. They’re clearly, however, something we need, and need now. So, let’s take a look at the amazing phenomenon known as the online sales funnel, and explore why your small business has to have one.
What Is A Sales Funnel, And How Does It Work?
In basic terms, a sales funnel is a proven method of converting eyeballs into paying customers. The function of this funnel is to move customers through a series of steps, from no awareness of your product of service, to the point where they are ready to buy from you. By creating great video and blog content, you can “warm” up your audience to what you have to offer, which helps establish you as an authority in your field. Finally, once you’ve gently massaged them all the way down the funnel, the customer is ready to buy.
Of course, a sale is not the only successful outcome – although admittedly it is the most desirable! Sales funnels are also great for generating leads – if a visitor ends up making an enquiry and/or leaving their contact details, that’s still a good result.
Imagine you wake up one bright Saturday morning and decide to surprise your family with a brand new TV. So you take a trip to the big appliance store nearby, intending to look around at all the different TVs, find out more about the benefits of each one, check out the prices and determine which ones have all the essential connector doohickeys at the back for your children’s gaming consoles. However, before you even get the chance to ask the sales assistant any of the questions from your long list, he asks you if you’re paying cash, EFT or card. Flustered, you say you haven’t yet decided which TV you want to buy, and are keen to find out more about each of the available models. But the salesman is only interested in how you plan to pay.
Not surprisingly, it’s not long before you leave the shop – without a TV!
This scenario may sound extreme, and indeed, it would probably never happen out there in the real world. So why then, do we think it’s OK for it to happen online? In the online world, it’s even more important to first gain the trust of audiences before you try to sell them anything.
Making a sale doesn’t start with the payment. In fact, payment is at the very bottom of the funnel. A sale starts right at the top, with a “cold” visitor to your website or social media pages. Someone who’s looking to buy, but isn’t yet sure they want to buy from you. Your job is to convince them that they do – not by being pushy and overly “salesy,” but by slowly warming them up. Audience warming is about building the know, like and trust factor. Once an audience knows, likes and trusts you, your product or service, then they are more willing to part with their hard-earned cash. Offer useful blog and video content that better informs their decision. Let them download an eBook, or subscribe to your email newsletter – for free. All these processes gradually move the customer further down the sales funnel until they’re finally ready to take out their wallets.
Every business’ sales funnel will look different because every business is different. There are, however, four key stages all customers go through, and which form the critical foundations of every funnel. The four stages of customer readiness mimic normal human interactions – they help you build the know, like and trust factor with clients. When customers know like and trust you and your business, then they will be ready to buy what you are offering.
Let’s look at how the sales funnel helps to create the know like and trust factor.
At first, customers may not be aware of your product or service. Blogs and video ads are very useful in creating awareness of a problem and helping customers understand the challenges they face and how their problem could be better solved. They’re also great for audience warming. This is the start of the lead nurturing process, which helps to build trust with the potential customer.
Your customer is no longer sitting at the very top of the funnel. You’ve got their attention and they’ve slipped inside. Now that you have their attention, you can start showing them how your solution is the best one for them. This is when your website or landing page has to work really hard, giving them all the information they need to make the decision to choose you.
With a great ad and an irresistible offer, you can get customers to your landing page to take advantage of your offer. Landing pages perform much better than websites in converting eye balls to paying customers. All eyes are now on the customer – who has moved right down to the bottom of the sales funnel – as you wait for that magical “take action and make a decision” moment. At this stage, the customer just needs an irresistible offer to help them take the necessary action to submit their details to become a lead. Once the customer becomes a lead, a quick telephone call can help the customer redeem your offer, or get them into your store.
In our next blog, we’ll share with you some invaluable tips on how to build a sales funnel that really works. In the meantime, if you’d like to know more – about online sales funnels or any other aspect of digital marketing – chat to us. We empower small and medium business owners, helping them generate and nurture leads and turn them into loyal and profitable customers. We can do the same for you.
Are you ready to grow your business through Lead Generation and Digital Marketing? We would love to have a conversation with you about your goals and strategies to generate quality leads for your business.