A sales funnel is basically the journey your leads go through, from the moment they see your ads or content (online or offline), to the moment they make that buying decision.
Normally, when you launch a marketing campaign to reach out to new prospects for your business, you start with a lot of people who have either seen or heard about your product or service somewhere (online or offline) or from someone, but along the line, you realize that only a small part of that group is showing interest in what you’re offering, and only a hand full of those showing interest actually contact you for the product or service you’re offering.
This is typically the way marketing and sales works – as the process continues to go on, prospects keep dropping and you’re left with the actual people who are really interested in your product or service, and they eventually become buying customers. When you draw it out, you realize that this whole process looks like a funnel.
In business, don’t only worry about figuring out the right audience and how to reach them (this is very important), you should also be concerned about figuring out how to convert a sizeable number of these target audience into paying customers. This is what determines the growth and survival of your business. And it is why creating a sales funnel for your business is necessary.
In this post, we will explain a couple of things to know while creating a sales funnel to convert more leads into paying customers.
Jump to a Section:
- Benefits of a Sales Funnel.
- Understand the Stages of a Sales Funnel.
- Know what a Leaky Funnel is.
- Types of Sales Funnels.
- Creating a Sales Funnel.
Before Building a Sales Funnel
Before you build a sales funnel for your business, here are things you should know about.
Benefits Of a Sales Funnel
1. Keep customers coming back: When a lead becomes motivated by your sales approach and eventually completes all the processes of the sales funnel to become a buying customer, it is your duty to satisfy them and make sure that they are willing to make repeat purchases. Satisfied customers that make repeat purchases drive business sales through the roof.
2. A tool for continuous leads generation: If you design your sales funnel properly – with your target audience in mind – it will continuously drive traffic to your website, landing page, etc, for as long as you need it to.
3. Improve conversion: When you hurry into selling to prospects, you drive them away. Don’t make it obvious from the start. Leads get irritated when you try to force them into making a purchase from the very first meeting. That is why every business needs a sales funnel strategy.
What a sales funnel does for you is; it helps you identify the problem(s) your target audience is looking to solve, find a solution for them, and then lead them towards an action.
You Should Understand the Stages of a Sales Funnel
There are 4 basic stages of a sales funnel:
- Awareness: This is the beginning of the customer journey. At this stage, your prospects are looking for solutions to a particular problem they have – a problem you have a solution to. In some cases, a number of these prospects might not even know that they have this problem. But after seeing your ad somewhere, they suddenly realize they do. This is the stage they visit your website or landing page, which they found from your marketing campaign (online or offline) or a Google search. In this stage, your target audience wants to be educated about their problem. You should provide them with content (blog posts, videos, pictures, infographics, etc) that will help them understand their problem and help them realize why they need your solution.
- Interest: At this stage, your prospects now understand their problem better and why they need a solution. This stage can be dicey if they aren’t fully convinced by the solution you’re offering. So, it is important to throw all the values of your product or service out there and try to build a relationship with them. For example, you can use a lead magnet (free trial, discounts, etc) to try to coerce them into making a buying decision.
- Decision: Here, you have provided them with all the necessary added values and they are convinced by your solution and are ready to make that buying decision. But you shouldn’t be quick to close the deal at this stage, your prospects might still be skeptical. Here, you can fully convince them with Testimonials, customer reviews, and product recommendations.
- Action: This is the final stage of the journey – where all the actions happen. Here, you are ready to convert them into paying customers. Your focus shouldn’t only be on selling, you should also make sure they are happy even after buying the product or paying for that service. For example, if you run a subscription model sales funnel, you want to make sure your customers are happy even after making the first payment. To do this, you can offer them product implementation and training webinars, ebooks, follow up emails, calls, etc.
Know What a Leaky Funnel Is
What do funnels do? They help you direct liquid from a particular source to another (container, maybe) with little or no loss during the transfer process. This is not the case, however, for sales funnels. The chances of sending all your traffic into the sales funnel, through the sales process, up to the point of conversion, without losing some, is very low.
All sales funnels have leakages – regardless of how well they were designed. Some leak profusely, others very little. You’re definitely not going to convert 100% of the traffic that goes through the funnel.
But this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t plug as many holes as you can to significantly reduces the number of prospects you lose.
In order to plug holes in your sales funnel, you first need to understand why your funnel might be leaky. Here’s a quick guide.
Types of Sales Funnels
1. Leads generation: Leads generation sales funnels help businesses capture as many quality leads as they would possibly need. This type of sales funnel will be effective if you’re trying to grow your email list, audience, or trying to gather quality leads before the launch of a product or service.
Leads generation sales funnels typically come with a lead magnet that solves a specific problem that prospects have, a landing page with an opt-in form, a thank you page, an autoresponder (email) that delivers the lead magnet, etc.
2. Organic content marketing sales funnel: You don’t necessarily have to use paid ads on social media to drive traffic to your website at all times. With a Google SEO and social media, you can actually drive a lot of traffic to the top of your funnel.
All you need is a high-ranking blog or website, publish blog posts (with relevant content to your target audience) constantly. In these blog posts, you should include several opt-in graphics that’ll encourage your audience to click.
When your target audience clicks, an opt-in pop-up should display or it takes them to a separate landing page where you can sell your value to them. You can as well use a leads magnet at this stage.
Here are a couple of other sales funnels you should check out that can help you improve sales.
Creating a Sales Funnel
1. Know Your Audience: After creating a sales funnel, its effectiveness is largely dependent on how well you understand your target audience; problems they are trying to solve, what they are interested in, and where to find them online. Understanding them better will help you figure out how to address their pain point.
2. Build buyer persona: Motivations drive customers’ decisions to purchase a product or service. Figure out what motivates them to buy a product, and why, will help you segment them into different groups. You can then target them based on their interests, needs, and motivations.
3. Develop a leads generation strategy: The amount of traffic you are able to drive to your website or landing page determines the volume of sales you get. There are different strategies you can adopt to drive traffic to your website or landing page: influencer marketing, social media marketing, PPC campaigns, SEO, etc.
4. Develop an engagement strategy: After gaining the attention of your audience, the next step is to engage them. Before they can conveniently buy from you, they need to understand the value you are offering. It is your duty to educate them. You could do this by creating engaging blog content, interesting informative videos, Involving influencers, etc.
5. You should use a sales funnel builder: Sales funnels builders are mostly automated, so there is little need for human interventions – saving you time. When you send customer series of follow up emails, it helps build a strong relationship with them and also help your leads get to know you and what you’re about. Sales funnel builders have the ability to use back end email autoresponders to send messages to leads you’ve acquired through your squeeze or landing page.
6. Lead magnets are important: When you launch your campaign, you’re going to encounter a lot of leads who are skeptical about patronizing you, not because you don’t have a great product or service, they don’t know you. You need to build a strong relationship with them and have them trust you. Lead magnets are effective at this. They help you build trust and authority.
There you have it, 16 things you should know before creating a sales funnel. If you want to maximize the full potential of your sales funnel, every step should be carefully planned and designed.