You have a sales funnel. If you’re aware of it, there’s a possibility to drive more sales to your business.
It could be your website or a landing page. You have traffic coming in, leads submitting forms, and purchases trickling in.
At each stage of your sales funnel, there’s an impact on consumer behavior, and, when you apply the right techniques, you can improve the outcome in your favor.
Think of a sales funnel as a concept where people are navigating your business, interacting with it, and coming to a decision to buy.
That’s what we’ll be discussing in today’s article.
What is a Sales Funnel
Let’s define sales funnel in the simplest way: The route website visitors take along the way of buying your products or services.
Some people get stuck at the top of the funnel while others pass right through. Fortunately, you have the ability to influence every stage of the sales funnel to encourage more prospects to reach the bottom.
If you’re just getting started with online marketing, let’s take a moment to use an example from a brick-and-mortar business.
At the top of a sales funnel is a prospect that walks through the door. They wander around the shop, browse through merchandise, then interacts with a sales clerk. The sales clerk says to the potential-shopper that they can get 1 free if they buy 3.
Upon deciding 3 items and choosin 1 for free, they walk up to the register to check out. That’s when the sales clerk offers a complimentary gift for a discounted price. The now-paying-customer purchases their things then walks out the door.
However, it doesn’t end here.
The customer was so pleased with their purchase, they returned a few weeks later to shop some more.
With this in mind, its a very similar process occurring on your website. Instead of a sales clerk, you’ll have information blog posts, FAQs pages, on-site support, automated bots and more. All this help guide visitors to a point of purchase.
Why is a Sales Funnel Important
If you can visualize, map out and analyze your sales funnel you can take actions to improve the process that leads to a purchase.
You’ll be able to identify where in your sales funnel potential customers lose interest and disengage. Or, figure out why no one converts or how to retain current customers longer.
When you understand your sales funnel, you have the ability to optimize it (discussed below). This is the fundamentals of online marketing. To be successful, you must be specific, targeted and focused on your customers.
4 Stages of a Sales Funnel
There’s an easy-to-remember acronym describing the 4 stages of a sales funnel, AIDA: Awareness, Interest, Decision, and Action. These stages represent the thought process and perspective of your customers.
Understanding each of these phases will allow you to create better sales funnel.
This is when you catch your potential customer’s attention. It could be a paid advertisement, a social media post, or organic search engine traffic.
Prospects are now aware of your business.
Some prospects may proceed directly to the bottom of the funnel while others will present objections, questions, doubts, and concerns. These must be addressed throughout your sales funnel.
In this phase of the sales funnel, prospects are doing research, comparing the competition, and thinking over their options. This is the moment to share value-focused content (without selling to them).
This is a critical stage. If you’re pushing your products and services too hard, you’ll lose them. The goal here is to offer help and support in any way possible.
At this stage, a prospect is ready to buy. You can present your offer and hopefully, the transaction will go through.
You could sweeten the deal to make the first time buyer remember a great experience. Offer free shipping, a discount code, or a bonus product. When you’re offer is so good, how can they refuse it?
We’ve reached the bottom of the funnel. Here, customers take action. They may serve as an ambassador or become a repeat buyer.
The bottom of the funnel is not the end for your business. It brings prospects from one sales funnel to another. From prospect to customer to returning buyer. Be sure to reach out to capture feedback and testimonials (to help attract more prospects stuck at the top of your funnel).
3 Steps for Creating a Sales Funnel
Here’s how you can create a sales funnel of your business.
Step 1: Identify Your Prospects
First, you must identify the prospects for your sales funnel. Spend time, energy and resources effectively by targeting interested people into the wide end of your sales funnel. When they arrive, you can begin to qualify them as good prospects or as no return on investment.
Start by creating a buyer persona. This is a hypothesis of your ideal buyers, their interests, demographics and more. If you run a sports store, ask yourself:
- What national sports are popular right now?
- Are the majority of customers teens, university students, or middle-aged adults?
- Is there a product preference toward a specific demographic?
You’ll need to come up with your own qualifying questions. This is simply a planning strategy to identify who you’ll be targeting your marketing efforts to at the top of the funnel. Remember, focus on pain points, desires, fears, and aspirations.
Step 2: Qualify Your Prospects
Qualifying prospects is quite simple. You can offer surveys, conduct polls, start discovery calls and start conversations to reveal the needs and desires of your prospects. You can also learn valuable insider information to tailor your products and services to appeal to the right audience.
As a rule of thumb, those who qualify will bite while thor who don’t, won’t.
Step 3: Develop Your Funnel
If you have a $150 product, you have to find the people willing to hand over that money for the benefits you’re offering. How do can you do that? The best way to develop your funnel is to plan backward.
Let’s say the only way someone is going to pay $150 for your product is if they trust you. To achieve this, you can share value-content using blog posts or video content. You can also offer a lower-priced product.
At every step in your sales funnel, always ask yourself: What will build trust with my prospect at this stage.
Then, find that answer to this: How can I drive my prospect to that decision?
Here’s an example of breaking down a sales funnel from bottom to top:
- Flagship product
- Mid-range product
- Intro product
- Free educational piece (teaser)
- E-mail opt-in campaign
- Blog conversation
- Social media interaction
- Facebook Ads
The key to a successful sales funnel is to identify your customer. Once you have a background about the types of people buying, you can begin to tailor the marketing message and strategies to target these buyers. You may have to create new products and pages to appeal to a broader audience or narrow in on your ideal customers.