The sales funnel is one the the most important concepts of modern marketing.
It does not matter if you have a large or small business but as long as you have a product or service to sell you should have intimate knowledge of sales funnels and how they work.
So what are they?
The sales funnel is an analogy used to convey the step by step process of converting a person who is potentially interested in your product or service into an actual paying customer.
At the top of a funnel you have the largest amount of people, as they filter through the process people will opt out and the funnel narrows.
Until you reach the bottom where you will have the least amount of people.
Generally speaking there are four main layers to the sales funnel but depending on your business model you could have even more.
Here we are going to look at the original four.
AIDA is a model widly used by advertisers and marketeers which stands for
At the top of the funnel we are concerned with grabbing peoples attention.
This can happen through a google search, a social media post an advertisement; whatever.
This is who we are,
this is what we do,
this is how we do it,
how can we help you?
Now, if the consumer has done their homework and knows exactly what they want and you fit the bill perfectly, sometimes this may be all that is needed for you to convert a Visitor to a Prospect, to a Lead and ultimately to a Customer.
But usually this is not the case.
I like to compare the sales funnel to dating.
The top of the funnel – Awareness phase.
Your flirting, looking nice, putting yourself out there to see what bites.
This is where the seduction begins.
You are trying to entice a person to get to know you and come back for more.
Here you give them a chance to sign up to your mailing list, they give you their details and them move to the next stage of the funnel and now you can start to market your product or service to them.
Effectively you have asked them out on a date..
And they have said Yes!
So now your dating.
Here you want to show your worth.
Woo them with amazing content, nurture your relationship, establish real connection show them them how you can change their life for the better without coming across as clingy or needy.
We have all have that first date where we have gone all-in, guns blazing from the beginning.
Resulting in our prospective partner running for the hills never to be seen again.
Show your prospective customers that moving things forward with you is in their best interests.
Help answer any questions they may have without giving them the hard-sell which could potentially turn them off you or your product.
Remember that consumers in this stage of the funnel will be researching the market, comparing alternatives and weighing up all the options available to them.
Much like a person trying to find a life partner.
I mean you don’t just run off and marry the first person you go out with do you!?
At this point the customer is ready to take the next step and commit to a relationship.
They have been weighing up their options and are informed enough to decide which is the right one for them.
Hopefully you are still in the running.
Now its time to put your best foot forward.
Show them why you are better than the rest and are committed to giving them what they need.
This can be done by seeing where you can improve on the offers of your competitors.
If after signing up to their service, customers get access for one year, you offer two!
Offer discount coupons.
A free gift
Or other bonus material and special offers only accessible to paying customers.
Try and be creative and find and edge over the competition that will make you irresistible!
Now the part we have been working so hard to get to.
It has all been leading up this this.
Getting some action!
Once the customer has decided to buy your product or service you don’t stop there trying to please them.
You want to give them the best sales they have ever had in their life!
Go above and beyond to satisfy their every need and they will keep coming back for more.
You have put in a lot of effort to get to this point, don’t just up and disappear have the first sale.
Any successful business owner will tell you that it is a million times easier and cheaper hold on to existing customers than it is to acquire new ones.
If they have bought from you once, they will do so again as long as you keep them happy and pay attention to their needs.
So, keep in touch.
Keep them informed with whats going with you and other plans you have for the future.
Ask them what other problems you could help them with, this could throw up an idea for a brand new product or service that you could develop.
Provide excellent after sales support. Show them that you are in it for the long haul.
Ask them how their was experience with you? See if there are ways you could improve your service.
And above all thank them, let them know you are pleased that they are your customer.
Gauging the effectiveness of your sales funnel
Once you have your sales funnel up and running it is critical that you know how it is preforming.
By tracking how many visitors are entering your funnel, how many drop out as the funnel progresses and how many convert into actual sales you can see how effective your funnel is.
And more importantly where the leaks are.
Lets take a look at an example,
You run advertising for your product or service and 5000 people see it.
Out of the 5000 people who have seen the ad 1000 people go to your landing page.
20% of the initial prospects.
Out of the 1000, 100 people sign up to your email list.
10% of our prospects turn into leads.
You send emails to your 100 leads and 80 of them buy your product.
80% of your leads converted into a sale.
You keep in contact with those 80 buyers and you offer a new product or promotion. And 60 of those people decided they want it.
75% of your buyers have turned in repeat customers.
So, we can see clearly from this example which areas of our funnel are preforming well and which areas need some work,
Our initial marketing is only bringing 10% of the possible prospects to our landing page. So we are definitely going to give this some attention.
Our landing page only coverts 20% of our prospects into leads. Again we have huge room for improvement here.
But out of the amount of people who we send emails to 80% buy our product.
That tells us that our emails are preforming well. Our leads are liking what they see and are and buying our products.
And finally in the last stage of the funnel we managed to retain 75% of our buyers by up-selling to them.
This tells us that our buyers are happy with the end product and want more from us.
Why not take this group of people who are engaging with your brand and create new funnel optimized for responsive buyers?
This is the beauty of sales funnels. There are many possibilities for the creative marketeer.
How can you optimize your sales funnel?
Now that we can see the strengths and weaknesses of our funnel, we can optimize it to achieve a better result overall.
There are many ways in which we can fine tune our sales funnels.
Lets take above example again.
We could see clearly that at the top of the funnel is where the majority of our potential customers are dropping out.
For example, if we managed to grab 5000 prospects from running one Google ad, it is reasonable to assume that we could increase this number by simply running more adds.
If already you are running tons of adds then we would look at tweaking the adds themselves.
Do not run the exact same add over and over.
Run slightly different adds customized to appeal to different areas within your target market.
Use all available options for your advertising.
If you are only running ads on Google, try using the social media outlets too or an old school banner advertisement until you are seeing the results that you want.
If your landing page is not generating enough leads you can test different styles of landing pages.
A/B testing can be a long and tedious process but once your have your landing page dialed in it can bring some phenomenal results.
Same goes for your emails.
Test different combinations of subject lines, images, copy writing, CTA’s to find that sweet spot that engages the most with your audience and gets them buying your product.
Track your sales closely and see how many customers are actually coming back to buy from you again and if you are not retaining customers, why not?
Is there a problem with your product or the delivery of your service?
Are people talking about your brand in a positive or negative light?
Do your customers refer you to their friends?
These are all very important questions to ask yourself at this stage of your funnel.
Sales funnels, ignore them at your peril!
I trust this article has given you a better perspective on what a sales funnel is and why they are critically important to your business.
Using sales funnels is not just a case of setting up a landing page, blasting out emails and waiting for the money to roll in.
It takes time, a lot of hard work and observation to create a sales funnel that best represents your brand and the end user that you are marketing to.
But once you have achieved that well oiled machine that is dialed in for what your customer wants, it can have a profound impact on your business.
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