Have you ever heard of a Sales Funnel? They rarely get the credit they deserve, but are the easiest path to new customers. Sales funnels help convert leads into sales, and sales increase revenue. It is that simple, done right, they are a license to print money, done wrong they are a waste of time and effort. Today’s blog is all about Sales funnels done right!
Let’s start by talking about what a sales funnel is. Just like a funnel we have all used around the house, all you need is the top of the funnel, and the funnel does the rest of the work. Now I have made that seem rather simplistic, they do require a little more work than that, but you get the point.
A sales funnel is a marketing term that describes a customer’s journey from their first interaction with your business until they are ready to make a purchase and become a customer. They are a way to outline your marketing strategies and map the interactions through the customer lifecycle and provide insight into consumer behavior allowing you to reduce friction in the buying process and optimize conversions.
Like an actual funnel, the sales funnel is widest at the top. As prospects move through the sales funnel stages, each stage becomes progressively smaller as qualified customers move to the next stage, and unqualified customers drop off.
Although there are several different models of sales funnel stages, the most popular and widely referenced one is the AIDA model, which consists of the following four stages:
The Awareness stage is a “top of the funnel” stage where customers become aware of:
- A problem they’re facing and, in some cases, a solution to it.
- Your business and its product or service that addresses their problem.
Your goal in the Awareness stage of the sales funnel is to reach your target audience, help them discover your offering, and gather leads. You can do that using PPC campaigns, relevant blog posts, eBooks, and social media.
Regardless of how you engage them at this stage, ensure it is compelling and generates enough interest to encourage them to move to the next stage of your sales funnel.
When your target audience engages with your business in the Awareness stage, you have engaged them enough that you have created interest in what you offer. You have most likely not engaged them enough to consider purchasing from you yet, but you have their attention.
Your goal in this stage is to figure out what your potential customers pain points are and what motivates them to move forward. You can do this by engaging with them through direct and indirect sales channels.
One of the ways to do this is create a email drip campaign that focuses on common pain points and showcases your services or products as a solution. Another way to move potential prospects through the interest stage is by write blog posts or offering free trials or a free sample. Yep, you guessed it, this post is an example of interest stage engagement. Once they’re convinced your service or product will help them solve their pain, the prospects will move on to the next stage.
Once your prospect reaches this stage, they are aware that your service or product may meet their needs and are considering a purchase, they just aren’t there quite yet. They may be reviewing pricing, competitors, checking reviews and case studies to make sure they are making an informed purchase.
Your goal in this stage is to convince customers by showing them:
- Why your product fits their needs.
- How well your offer suits their budget.
- What they can expect post-purchase.
You can achieve these goals through one-on-one demos, discount codes, customer testimonials, and reviews. The key here is to show them what life as your customer can be like. You will not move your new prospects past this stage until they trust you. Once you’ve earned their trust, they’ll move on to the next stage.
The Action stage, or the purchase stage, is the final stage of the sales funnel. This stage is where the nurturing and guidance of the past three stages bear fruit. Customers know your service and or product is what they need, and they’re ready to make a purchase.
Your goal in this stage isn’t just to nudge the customer into purchasing products. You should give them everything they need to get the best value from their purchase.
For example, you can use email campaigns, targeted promotions, and community building to help customers get the best value from your products and retarget them with upsells and cross-sells to boost sales. Adding as much value as possible will create not just a new customer; but a happy customer that will tell their friends.
Now that we have discussed the sales funnel and different ways to engage prospects as they move through the stages, let discuss how to optimize your funnel for conversions.
First and foremost, you need a plan. Map out our funnel, starting with the options of filling your funnel. Are you going to use a newsletter sign-up, ppc ads, SEO efforts, Blogging etc.? Whatever lead magnet you choose to use, you will need to prepare your funnel stages.
With the four stages of a sales funnel in mind, create a plan that uses the “if this then that” methodology. For example, if someone signs up for my newsletter, then their email is added to my subscriber list, then they receive a welcome email, and then they get my newsletter.
Now that we have a plan and our components are built out, let’s optimize.
How To Optimize Your Sales Funnel
Define your target audience.
You can’t sell to an audience without understanding who they are and what they like. The best way to identify who you should target is with a buyer persona.
Buyer personas give you insights into who your buyers are, how they think, and what motivates them. They can help you target prospects at the top of the funnel, minimize drop-offs at the Awareness stage, and improve your sales funnel conversion rate.
To build out your sales funnel you will need data, do your research. You can use data from Google Analytics, social media analytics, and your customer database. Here’s what you should focus on:
- Social media preferences
- Issues they are facing
Armed with this data, you can create an outline of your ideal customer. Look for recurring patterns and try to build multiple personas for your target audience.
2.Create content that solves problems.
Once you’ve identified your target audience and what motivates them, it’s time to create content that targets their pain points. We’re still at the top of the funnel in the Awareness stage, which is why it helps to create content that solves your audience’s problems. Informative content helps position your brand as an expert and builds credibility. It is important to remember that people do not pay for information, the internet is a vast place filled with free information on just about any topic you can think of. Providing information is a great way of building credibility and trust. They will pay for your expertise, your unique skill set, your experience, and convenience so sharing some knowledge is not going to prevent them from buying from you. It’s a great way to target a new audience, deliver value, and engage with users to build awareness for your brand.
3.Optimize your landing pages.
The landing page is where potential customers learn about your products and brand. Whether it’s through an ad, blog post, or webinar, when they reach your landing page, it should communicate what your brand represents, what it offers, and how it solves their problems. It’s essential to maintain a consistent brand voice and message across all channels. After all, we’re still in the Awareness stage of the sales funnel. Once they’ve reached your landing page and you’ve convinced them with compelling content, they’ll filter through to the Interest stage
4.Optimize your CTAs.
Every page and piece of content on your website needs a clear purpose and a call to action (CTA) that encourages prospects to move to the next stage of the funnel. CTAs can be used at every stage of the sales funnel to motivate customers to filter through. You can use phrases such as “Sign up for a free trial” or “Get the free eBook” in the Awareness stage to generate leads and customer inquiries. Similarly, you can use words such as “Jump on a call to learn more” or “Reach out to our team for more information” to engage with prospects in the interest stage. CTAs such as “Limited time offer” or “Exclusive discount” work great in the desire and action stages. The key is to use your CTAs multiple times on every landing page and position them in a way that captures your customers’ attention. Remember if you tell people what to do next they will, I have gone to countless pages armed with interest and landed in a place with no clear direction of next steps, and they lost an interested, qualified lead. Make sure that you aren’t overlooking the simplest optimization, a clear path to the next step.
Once you’ve impressed your customers with targeted content and compelling CTAs, it’s time to funnel them into the Interest stage. When customers share their information with your business, they’re expressing an interest in your product or service. In doing so, they move from the Awareness stage to the Interest stage. The best way to make this happen is using a lead generation form that captures their contact information and gives you an opportunity to start a conversation. Make sure you set expectations upfront during signup and offer something valuable in return. Prospects are unlikely to share their contact information without it. Access to a discount coupon or free eBook on signup are great ways to generate leads and deliver value.
6.Use email marketing to nurture leads.
Capturing your customers’ attention alone isn’t enough. You also need to increase interest in your products and move them to the next sales funnel stage. An easy way to do that is with email marketing. Contrary to popular belief, email continues to be one of the best-performing sales channels. However, respect their information, use it only to provide value. Don’t spam them with massive amounts of emails, you will lose them here if you aren’t thoughtful and intentional.
7.Incorporate trust signals and social proof.
Trust is essential to the success of every sales process. You can’t optimize a sales funnel without a healthy distribution of trust signals and social proof across all stages. The type of indicator you use can vary based on the funnel stage. For example, product ratings and reviews can work wonders for addressing friction with signups in the Awareness stage. Similarly, customer testimonials and case studies demonstrating past results and wins can boost conversions in the Desire stage. People love to do business with people that can help them with their problem, and have done it successfully for others just like them.
8.Reduce friction at the conversion stages
Nurturing prospects and establishing trust leads them into the Action stage. But your job isn’t done yet. Even your best leads can fall out at this point if you’re not careful. There are many reasons you will lose prospects at this stage, high fees, too many hoops to jump through, slow responses, lack of trust, or technical issues.
Each reason represents a friction point at the conversion stage and an opportunity to optimize your sales funnel. Run yourself through the entire funnel so you can have a fresh perspective and notice the little things you miss during the development stage. You know the old saying missed the forest for the trees.
9.Create measurable goals and track key metrics.
You can’t optimize a sales funnel with a set it and forget it mentality. You need to continue monitoring and optimizing each aspect of the funnel to identify areas of improvement as your business grows and customer needs evolve. An easy way to track key metrics of your sales funnel is with Google Analytics. It helps you visualize your sales funnel, identify drop-off points, and track progress when implementing fixes.
10.Stay active on social media
Social media is an excellent tool to optimize your sales funnel. Although it works best at the top of the funnel, you can use it to target prospects at every stage. You can use scroll-stopping visuals to grab user attention and video posts to engage users in the Awareness phase. The size of your audience at the top of the sales funnel is massive. But with the right buyer persona in place, you’ll be able to target prospects easily. Next up, in the Interest stage, you can use Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest ads to drive traffic to your website. You can use tracking pixels to retarget these users in the Desire stage with special discounts. Finally, in the Action stage, you can use conversion-oriented ads to promote your products and nudge prospects into customers. You can also use Instagram’s Shop feature and Facebook Marketplace to minimize conversion friction on social media.
Conversion goals at each stage of the sales funnel vary tremendously. Sales funnels aren’t meant to convert leads in the first interaction. So, make sure you aren’t forcing users to act. Instead, optimize your sales funnel to help them flow through it organically.
Focus on small yet consistent micro-conversions at each stage of the funnel and modify your creatives to target changing customer needs in each step of the buying journey.
If you have any questions, or would like some help building out your funnels reach out! We help businesses grow with fully optimized sales funnels everyday! A well oiled sales funnel will completely change the trajectory of your business.