You're probably implementing a sales funnel on your website without even realising it, but by understanding the ins & outs of one, you can make small changes which have positive impacts on your online business.
What is a sales funnel
The easiest way to understand the sales funnel is to consider it as a path that the customer takes from being completely unaware of your business to being a loyal customer. A good sales funnel will focus on user experience as well as up-selling their own products. Sales funnels online use a combination of advertisements, landing pages and email marketing. If you want a consistent approach to marketing, here's the answer.
Sales funnels are made up of 4 stages.
Stage 1 - Awareness
The first section of any sales funnel online is the awareness phase, and this is when you catch the consumers attention for the first time, they know your business name and they know what you’re about. Online this could be through organic search results on Google, paid marketing efforts or social media!
Example: To make people aware of our business class gym, we’re going to run a series of Facebook & Instagram advertisements purposefully driving traffic to a beautifully designed landing page. Other niche or business types might not benefit from using Facebook and Instagram advertisements, but the health sector thrives on Instagram. This is a form of targeted marketing, and we can use the features that Facebook provides to target specific audiences.
Stage 2 - Interest
At this stage the customer already knows who you are and they likely are going to be comparison shopping, looking for the best company to provide the service or product. It’s then your job as the business owner to establish your enterprise and allow the user space to breathe and make an informed decision. It’s important to note, you shouldn’t just sell, sell, sell. Overselling to the customer will overwhelm them and potentially put them off. Online you could spark interest through providing a free consultation or resource in exchange for an email address, or a review.
At this point, we know that our prospect is viewing our landing page, we know this is built for optimum performance as we’ve conducted some thorough AB testing! To really grab the prospects attention, surely we’ve got to give them an offer they simply cannot refuse and as we are a luxury gym it seems relevant to offer a FREE 24 hour pass in exchange for their email address. This gives the customer the option to try before they buy and it eliminates the need to build trust, as they can do that themselves.
Email addresses are great as we can market continuously to the customer, so if they decide against joining the facility today, they might decide to join at a later date! It’s super important to ensure you follow general data protection rules in this process as it could lead to immense amounts of trouble.
Stage 3 - Decision
It’s now come to the point of the funnel where the user needs to make the decision of what company to use. Is it going to be you, or your competitors? This is the section of the funnel where you can sell. You need to give your lead an incentive to make a purchase with your company, for example a buy one get one free scheme or discounted first purchase.
Example: So, now the prospect is weighing up their options. Hopefully they’ve activated the 24 Hour free pass and had an excellent experience at the business. It’s important to know that when you’re building your online sales funnel, the standards of the funnel should match the standards of the business or you’re going to lose clients just as quick as you sign them up!
Stage 4 - Action
Congratulations if you’ve managed to get your customer to this stage, but this isn’t the end. Sales funnels go further than just converting cold leads into customers, it’s about retaining the customer and encouraging them to make repeat purchases. This could be in the form of continued customer support, up-selling and generally making the most out of your customers.
Example: This is the most critical segment of the sales funnel, the prospect is making their decision… Will they become a loyal customer or will they avoid you at every cost? You’ve got to give your business a chance when competing against similar businesses and that’s achieved by offering incentives to buy. In the case of the luxury gym, we’re offering a 20% discounted memberships if the customer pays for a minimum of 6 months upfront. This is good for both us and the customer, because we can secure our payment and they get a discounted fee! It’s a win win scenario!
How to get the most out of the sales funnel?
The customer has already been on one hell of a ride from not being aware of your existence to a fresh faced customer, hopefully they are enjoying the experience, but your hard work has only just begun. You can use a customer for so much more, you can use them to create repeat business!
Looking back at the example we used earlier, with the luxury gym, our marketing team have decided that the landing page could be further improved by adding reviews written by the happy customers we've got. So using the email address that we’ve retrieved from the client when they originally signed up either via the online sales funnel or directly to the gym, we are going to produce an email marketing campaign which offers all existing customers a FREE guide to nutrition and healthy eating, but only if they leave us a review online.
This will help to increase the conversion rates as reviews help to build social proof, and if you don’t know what social proof is, we’ve an entire blog dedicated to it! As well as improving the rates of conversion, we can increase the quality and quantity of traffic inbound of the business, by running a referral scheme to our already existing customers.
Whether you haven’t even considered your sales funnel in this much depth or at all for that matter, you can now see how important it really is.
Once you’ve built the sales funnel it will constantly bring in revenue for the business, you will have to optimise and maintain it if you want to continuously grow online.
So now you can see the levels of intricacy and finer details within the sales funnel. If you’d rather spend your time focusing on business operations, give our team a call today and we’ll see what we can do. Sales funnels aren’t a new concept, whilst ever there has been business there has been sales funnels, and just because this blog focuses on sales funnels appearing online, doesn’t mean to say you can’t apply the same logic to your brick and mortar store. Pretty much, every time you go to buy something online, you are being put into the top of the sales funnel and with all this knowledge you are going to pick up on it even more!