The internet has become the greatest marketplace that mankind has ever seen. Every day millions of transactions are sent across international lines. No matter the location, the people, or the merchandise, you can find it online. This has created a unique problem for marketers. It is no longer sufficient to put your product online and wait for people to come to you. Enter marketing funnels: the smart marketers in the 21st century understand the art of sales funnels, how to bring people into them, and how to close sales with them. Before a business can use these funnels, they need to understand exactly what they are.
What is a Sales Funnel?
Before we look at how to best implement marketing/sales funnels, we need to take a look at what, exactly, sales funnels are.
Moving Customers into Marketing Funnels
Clients have a hundred different options. The chances of getting a sale because of their random choice is tiny at best. What successful businesses do is create finely tuned funnels to lead potential customers through to close sales. Successful businesses understand how to lure customers in and catch their attention. In order to grab a customer’s attention, the business needs to show off what they have, and why they’re special. Be ready to share as much information as needed with the customer. This will set the stage for a later sale. If you present the customer with a friendly offer, a quality product, and an informative presentation, you are ahead of the game.
The Basic Core Structure of a Sales Funnel
Every successful sale has at least 5 steps. The term “Marketing Funnel” refers to the range of influence each step has. Each of the five steps has its own style, its own personality, and it speaks to different people who are in different phases of the buying process. In order to make sure you make as many sales as possible, you need to guide your users through a sales funnel that speaks directly to them depending on what stage of the buying process they’re currently in, while guiding them to the next stage.
Here we’ll take a look at an overview of the key phases of any sales funnel. If you’re interested in learning more in depth about each phase, be sure to check out my post about Sales Funnel Stages.
The Awareness Phase
The consumer is exposed to hundreds of ads every day. Each of these ads has been tailored to make as much impact as possible. This means that consumers tune out the vast majority of what they see. In order to raise awareness for your product, you need to be clever. Your ad needs to quickly tell the consumer why they need your product, and how you can help. You can utilize content marketing to work on bringing visitors from search engines, or utilize social media to generate awareness and drive traffic into your funnel.
The Interest Phase
As soon as they are aware of your product, the customer needs to know why they care. Not everyone who is aware will be interested. That’s OK, you should be concerned only with the ones who are. Reward them for their interest with more information or maybe a special offer or two. This is the perfect time to offer them an opt-in for a free report, free software, a free consultation, etc. Use a solid lead magnet to collect their contact information so you can follow up with them to move them further along through your funnel.
The Evaluation Phase
Now they’re interested, and investing time in your company. They are aware of why they need your product. However, they are likely looking at alternative options as well. If you’ve provided them with a free lead magnet, now’s a good chance to offer them a small product or service that will get them more ingrained in your funnel. Follow up with them via email (or whatever form of communication they prefer) to give them more information and convince them that what you offer is what they need. This is also a great time to utilize tripwire marketing (as soon as they’ve opted in), and you can follow up with the tripwire offer again if they didn’t convert the first time you presented the offer to them.
The Commitment Phase
They’re in, they like your product and are preparing to purchase one of your main products or services. This isn’t time to let things go. You’ve brought the client this far. Be there to answer any questions or address any problems. Customer service can often make or break a sale at this point in the process.
The Purchase Phase
It’s done, congratulations. The product is in the client’s hands, and the cash is in yours. However, there’s much more to do. As they’ve committed to your purchase, offer them cross sells or upsells as they complete their purchase to try and maximize your returns.
After the Sale – Refining & Adding More
The same internet that brought the customer to you continues to be a driving influence after the sale. In today’s world of social media and instant communication, stories travel. If you have treated your customers well throughout the exchange, then people will hear good things about your company. If you failed to do so, then that news will travel twice as quickly. Accidents do happen, however. It is imperative to fix a bad situation as soon as possible. If a customer has a bad experience with your company, and you rectify the situation, that’s fantastic. If the customer isn’t satisfied on the first pass, fixing things for them will be almost as effective. It’s key to remember: Marketing doesn’t end after the transaction closes.
Once you’ve completed the sale, you’ll want to work on increasing the lifetime value of your new customer. Offer them a mix of free information to keep them interested while providing more value, and sprinkle in deals and offers on other related products and services. Extend your sales funnels to continue offering new and better services, or start pushing relevant leads into different marketing funnels to see which ones they respond to. As you’ve probably heard, it’s much easier (and cheaper!) to sell to existing clients than it is to acquire new customers.
Different Marketing Funnels for Different Ideal Customers
If you’ve taken the time to put together customer avatars for your products and services (which you should definitely do), you’ll probably realize that some approaches and offers convert better than others for different buying personas. Even if you only offer one main product or service, you’re missing out if you’re only running one sales funnel. People respond differently to the same offers, depending on how you frame them.