Your sales funnel, whether you know it or not. But if you see the funnel, you have much more influence over it.
The concept of a sales funnel becomes even easier to understand when you relate it to the way people navigate your website and make buying decisions.
Each step of the sales funnel impacts consumer behaviour, and you need to know them intimately.
What matters most in your sales funnel is website optimization.
Starting with your website allows you to glean information from data and better understand your audience.
What Is Sales Funnel?
Here are the sales funnel explained in its simplest form: The path that website visitors take to purchase your product or service. Some people never leave the top of the sales funnel, while others reach the very end.
The good news? You influence how many people reach the bottom of the sales funnel.
The people at the top of the sales funnel enter the store. They are just “browsing”. A sales employee welcomes them warmly and offers them help.
The same process takes place on your website. Instead of the salesperson, you have pages to help guide visitors through the sales funnel.
Why Is the Sales Funnel Important?
Your sales funnel illustrates the customer journey of visitors to the website before purchasing items.
Understanding your sales funnel can also help you find the holes in the funnel, i.e. the places where visitors give up and never convert (bounce rate).
If you don’t understand your sales funnel, you can’t optimize it. We will see later how the funnel works, but for now, know that you can influence how visitors move through the funnel and whether they end up converting.
The Sales Funnel Explained: How Does It Work?
Although there are many words used to describe the different stages of the sales funnel, we will use the four most common terms to explain how each step works. A consumer moves from a visitor to a prospect and then from a qualified candidate to a customer.
A visitor lands on your website through a Google search or a link. The visitor can view some of your blog posts or browse through your product list. At some point, you offer them the opportunity to subscribe to your mailing list.
If the visitor fills out your form, he becomes a prospect. You can now market to the customer outside of your website, for example, by emailing.
Prospects tend to come back to your website when you contact them with special offers, information about new content on your blog or other exciting messages. Perhaps you offer a discount code.
The sales funnel narrows as visitors pass through it. This is partly because you will have more prospects at the top of the funnel than buyers at the bottom and because your message needs to be more and more targeted.
Understand the 4 Steps of The Sales Funnel
It is easy to remember the sales funnel’s four steps by the acronym AIDA: Awareness, Interest, Decision and Action. These four steps represent the state of mind of your potential customer.
Each step requires a different approach because you don’t want to send the wrong message at the wrong time. It’s a bit like a waiter asking you what you want for dessert before you’ve even ordered the drinks and appetizer.
Let’s Take a Closer Look at Each Step of The Sales Funnel.
This is the moment when you first attract a consumer’s attention. It could be a tweet, a Linkedin post shared by a friend, a Google search or something entirely different.
Your prospect becomes aware of your business and what you offer.
More often than not, the awareness stage is more about wooing. You try to convince the prospect to come back to your site and become more involved in your business.
When consumers reach the stage of interest in the sales funnel, they research, compare and reflect on their options. It’s time to get out there and create compelling content that helps them but doesn’t sell them anything yet.
If you push your product or service from the start, you will drive away potential customers. The goal here is to establish your expertise, help the consumer make an informed decision and offer to help them in any way possible.
The decision phase of the sales funnel is when the customer is ready to buy. He or she may consider two or three options – hopefully, with your participation.
This is the time to make your best offer. It could be free shipping when most of your competitors charge, a discount code or a bonus product. Either way, make your offer so irresistible that your potential customer will be eager to take advantage of it.
At the very bottom of the sales funnel, the customer acts. He buys your product or service and becomes part of your company’s ecosystem.
But just because a consumer reaches the bottom of the conversion funnel doesn’t mean your job is done. The action is for the consumer and the seller. You want to do your best to turn a purchase into 10, and 10 into 100, and so on.
In other words, you focus on customer loyalty. Express your gratitude for the purchase, invite your customer to give you feedback and be available for follow-up if necessary.
How to Quickly Create a Sales Funnel
You want to create a sales funnel now – and quickly. Don’t worry; it’s not as difficult as it sounds.
Step 1: Analyze Your Audience’s Behaviour
The more you know about your audience, the more effective your sales funnel becomes. You are not marketing to everyone; you are marketing to a good match for what you are selling.
The goal here is to effectively define your persona to target your prospects with a relevant Content Marketing strategy.
Where do Internet users click? When do they scroll through the pages? How much time do they spend on a particular page? All these data points will help you refine the personality of your buyers.
This CRM strategy is called Inbound Marketing, and here it focuses on optimizing your customers’ buying journey and the user experience throughout your conversion funnel.
Step 2: Capture the Attention of Your Audience
The only way to make your sales funnel work is to generate qualified traffic. This means that you need to make your content available to your target audience.
Take the natural route and post tons of content on all your platforms. Diversify your offer with infographics, videos and other types of engaging and SEO-optimized content.
If you’re ready to spend more money, run a few ads. The best place to run these ads depends on where your target audience is. If you are selling B2B products, LinkedIn ads might be the ideal solution and the Google Adwords platform.
Step 3: Create a Homepage
Your advertisement or other content must take your prospects somewhere. Ideally, you want to direct them to a homepage with an offer they won’t want to miss.
Since these people are still at the bottom of the sales ladder, focus on capturing leads instead of pushing the sale.
A landing page should direct the visitor to the next step.
They need a bold call to action (CTA) that tells them exactly what to do, whether it’s downloading a free white-paper-like e-book or watching an instructional video.
Inbound Marketing allows you to optimize this marketing automation to maximize your conversion rates.
Step 4: Create a Mailing Campaign
Email your prospects by providing them with unique content. Do it regularly, but not too frequently. One or two emails a week should be sufficient.
Prepare for the sale by educating your market first. What do they want to learn? What obstacles and objections do you need to overcome to convince them to buy?
At the end of your sales campaign, make an offer. This is the content that will motivate your prospects to act.
Step 5: Stay in Touch
Don’t forget your current customers. Instead, keep reaching them. Thank them for their purchases, offer them additional discount codes and involve them in your social media sphere and newsletter channel if you haven’t done so before.
How to Measure the Success of A Sales Funnel?
Your sales may need to be modified as your business grows; you learn more about your customers and diversify your products and services. That’s okay.
A great way to measure the success of your sales funnel is to track your conversion rates.
How many people, for example, join your mailing list after clicking on a Linkedin ad?
Pay attention to each step of the sales funnel:
- Does your initial content attract the attention of a sufficient number of consumers?
- Do your prospects trust you enough to give you their contact information?
- Have you made purchases as a result of your marketing campaigns?
- Are existing customers returning to buy from you?
The answers to these questions will tell you where you need to modify your sales funnel.
Why Optimize Your Sales Funnel?
Here’s the truth: your potential customers have many possibilities. You want them to choose your products or services, but you can’t force them. Instead, you have to market them effectively.
Without a narrow, optimized sales funnel, you’re only guessing what your prospects want. If they are not optimized for conversions, most people will click.
How to Optimize Your Sales Funnel?
You can optimize your sales funnel in many ways. The most important points you need to focus on are the touchpoints through which consumers move to the funnel’s next level.
Test your landing pages. It takes time, but you will reach more people and convert prospects more reliably.
You can also test your email campaigns in A/B test mode. Modify the design, offers, and layout to see how your audience responds.
But the best way to optimize your sales funnel is to pay attention to the results.
Start at the top of the funnel. Whether paid or organic, you create content to draw attention to your brand and encourage people to click on your CTA. If one piece of content doesn’t work, try something else.
When you ask people in action to buy from you, test your offer. Is free shipping more effective than a 5% discount? Those little things can make a huge difference in your revenue.
And finally, track your customer retention rate. Do people come back to buy from you a second, fifth or twentieth time? Do they recommend their friends?
Your goal is to keep your brand at the forefront. If you never disappoint your audience, they will have no reason to look elsewhere.
Creating and optimizing a sales funnel takes time. It’s hard work. But it is the only way to survive in a competitive market.
Believe it or not, a detail as small as the choice of font can impact conversions. And if you ask people to buy from you too quickly, you’ll drive them away.
Take the time to build a sales funnel that represents what you want and what your audience wants. Cultivate it over time, adapt your approach to the different stages of the sales funnel, and determine why your efforts aren’t paying off.
Contact us today to start collecting real and relevant data about your website visitors to launch effective Inbound Marketing campaigns based on your audience.