The sales funnel is a well-known marketing strategy. Essentially, the funnel maps the buyer on their buying journey. At the top of the funnel it is wide and metaphorically filled with many potential customers. The funnel grows narrower as it moves along to represent the committed customers at the bottom.
This marketing strategy is a great one to implement if you are a small business or a start-up seeking greater lead generation. It increases your awareness of the customer and their buying journey and can help you improve your own sales process.
The top of the funnel
The top of the funnel is filled with prospective customers. While all the potential customers may seem exciting, keep in mind that in their funnel your business is one of many that is swimming in the overpopulated digital marketplace.
If you are a start-up or a relatively small business then you are more than likely unknown to them. This is where you build up the awareness surrounding your business. This section of the funnel is essentially controlled by your traffic sources.
Establish an identity & create a landing page
Identify your brand and establish your business identity. This is the starting point of standing out in the sea of competitors.
Creating your landing page is the first step in establishing yourself in the digital selling market. It is the first impression that a lot of your buyers will get so ensure it portrays your value message clearly. Ensure call-to-actions are available at different points on the landing page encouraging visitors to sign-up to newsletters or subscriptions to your content.
Digital tools are essential to establishing your brand. Having a clear idea of what your brand is, and who your target audiences are, can help in narrowing down the digital tools that are the best fit for your business.
Social media presence
There is no way in avoiding the internet when establishing your brand, just as much as there is no way to deny the impact social media will have in your digital selling process.
Create a social media account for your business. Which social media platforms you choose will depend solely on who you are trying to attract to your business. They are an effective digital tool for distributing your value message across different platforms and audiences.
LinkedIn is a great place to begin your social presence. The professional social network is used by 94% of B2B marketers for sharing content.
Creating content is the next step. Stay true to your value message and integrate your business’ identity within the content. While this is important it is not the most important aspect of creating content.
Think about who you are creating the content for. You are creating content to attract potential customers at the beginning of the sales funnel towards your website. In turn, they can learn more about your product.
Content should be aimed at what your target customers want. Create high-quality content that educates them and gives them the answers to their questions.
Optimizing your content for search engine optimization (SEO) ensures that your content is offered as a solution to their research using an organic search in a search engine. Engaging content can move the buyer along their buyer’s journey and through your sales funnel.
Once your first point of contact with your potential customers has been established and their interest has been peaked, they move through to the middle section.
This is the section where you further establish the relationship and build trust. This is where the customer gets a deeper understanding of you and what your business can do for them.
Offering free trials of your product can help the customer engage with your product and give them a taste of what is to come down the line and perhaps motivate them to make a purchase. Buyers are now focusing their attention on you and your product so now is the time to promote yourself.
Open communication with the potential customer is key to moving the customer further along the sales funnel. Engage with the buyer and ensure to answer any questions they might have in an informative and timely manner.
Invite feedback and engage in conversation through the email address that they may have provided you with at this point of the process. If they have provided you with their email through signing up for a newsletter or subscription be sure to provide them with further content. Ensure to distribute content of interest to them through email marketing campaigns, but do so at a timely pace. You don’t want to turn them off by spamming their inbox.
Social media is another digital tool that should be used during this process. Engage with your leads on each of your social media platforms, and invite feedback on your content to initiate a conversation.
The bottom of the funnel is where the magic happens, so to speak. At this point, the communication between yourself and the buyer will transition towards the closing of a sale.
It is likely that by this point the potential buyer is already considering his decision. Now is your chance to sway them in the direction of your product with an offer that they just can’t refuse. Perhaps offer an introductory price for the first yearly subscription of your product.
Don’t forget to continue providing valuable content to the buyer to move them along in their journey and towards closing the deal.
Where to begin?
I don’t want to confuse anybody by asking this question. In my layout of the funnel, I began at the top of the funnel (the widest part) and worked my way down towards the bottom of the funnel (the smallest section). This is the buyer’s journey through the sales funnel. Is the supplier’s journey different?
Daphne Sidor at Leadpages points out that the most effective place for a business to consider in the sales funnel is the bottom. As a business, it makes sense to put your initial focus on your goals in order to develop the strategy to achieve them.
Focusing on the end game, in this case, the sale can help when developing your sales process. Understanding what content to share during the different stages of the buyer’s journey is essential to them reaching the end of the funnel as a new customer.
Why use a sales funnel?
Creating a sales funnel for your business ensures that you are aware of the buying process and what aspects of your sales strategy is working. Understanding the process of your consumers and their buying journey is key to the success of your sales process and, essentially, the success of your business.
Understanding at what stages in the sales funnels leads tend to convert is one of the key benefits of using the sales funnel. The conversion rate at each stage can give you a better understanding of when these leads are likely to convert, and an overall picture of the value generated from each stage.
Understanding the conversion ratio of each stage of the funnel can give you direction in understanding which areas need improving. This is valuable feedback that helps you to remain focused on providing the best buyer journey and improving lead generation.