Why Sales Funnels Matter
In today’s digital age, the fight for actual paying customers is more competitive than ever. Relying on the excellence of your product or service and word of mouth recommendations from loyal customers will not cut it if you want to grow your brand and keep it thriving.
It is important to understand both why and how you should go about promoting your brand digitally and that you stay in step with the market.
Many make the erroneous assumption that having a snazzy website that gets good traffic is sufficient; that it is a sign of healthy, successful digital marketing strategies.
But site visitors do not equal paying customers. You have to convert your visitors into paying customers. But unless your website applies a deliberate sales funnel approach, you could continue to have plenty of visits without actually securing enough successful conversions to stay afloat.
What Is A Sales Funnel?
Really, sales funnels aren’t terribly complicated to understand. A sales funnel is ultimately just the representation of the process that prospective customers/clients go through as they learn about your business/service, investigate and evaluate it, decide whether or not they want to purchase it, and then take an action.
However, it would be a huge mistake to assume that just because you have a website that sells products or services, you have an effective sales funnel in place.
Sales funnel experts will tell you that for your website to truly act as a sales funnel, it must be set up to deliberately and subtly lead visitors from one phase of the process to the next, making sure you provide appropriate content and actions for each phase.
The goal is for you as the seller to recognize the phases and deliberately lead prospective customers/clients from one to the next by presenting appropriate information and actions relevant to that phase that will guide them naturally to the next one.
One of the numerous situations a deliberate sales funnel process will help you avoid is the example of the overly pushy, salesy website that jumps on a prospect and tries to sell to them before they’re really even familiar enough with the service/product to be ready to buy. The frequent end result of that kind of poor timing and pushiness is loss of the prospect.
An effective sales funnel will help you intrigue a prospect, inform them, interest them further in what you have to offer, subtly bring them to an evaluation phase where they seriously consider your product/services alongside other like services, and then present them with tempting purchasing options when they are actually ready to buy.
To better understand what we mean, it would be beneficial to review some of the basic phases common to almost every single effective sales funnel.
The 4 Basic Stages
Every sales funnel will be a bit different depending on the type of service or product being sold. However, there are a few universal stages that every sales funnel should have in place.
- Awareness: as evident by the name, this is the phase where a person first becomes aware of your existence and product/service. It could be through Facebook ads, a Google search, word of mouth – however the method, they are now aware of you.The content you have set up for folks in this early stage should be geared toward piquing their interest and deepening their awareness. Help uncover a problem they have that your service/product will solve. Don’t focus on what you’re selling yet, but on exposing possible needs and reasons why your services are relevant to them.A part of your website that is perfect to use for prospects in this phase are your blog and landing page. These are spots where you can inform and capture their attention. Once you have gained their genuine attention and shown them a need, you lead them naturally into the “interest” phase.
- Interest: the interest phase of the process is when a prospect is truly looking for your product/services because they know they need/want them. At this point in the process, they are intentionally investigating you (and others) to learn more.Important to note is that leads can discover you for the first time when they are already in the interest phase. In other words, they may not have accidentally become aware of you, but may have been in the interest phase when they searched the web for a solution to their problem, and that search could have led them to you.This is a serious prospect, not just a possible window shopper. They want more information and are ready to be persuaded.Examples of appropriate content for this phase are emails, newsletters, social media and general about and product web pages.
- Decision: this is the phase where the lead knows they want to purchase from you. They have learned enough to make that decision, and are not trying to determine exactly what they will buy.This is where your website’s detailed product and/or packages pages will be relevant, as well as other forms of sales offers, which you may make through calls, webinars, sales pages, etc.
- Purchase / Action: the goal of all sales funnels – the moment where the prospect becomes a paying customer, whether by the click of a mouse or the completion of a contract and service agreement.
Improving Your Sales Funnel
Important to understand is that there can be many additional phases before, in between, and after those listed here (a good example would be those who have contracts that will have to be renewed – you may want to include a 5th and 6th step for re-evaluation and re-purchasing).
You need to evaluate your own business/service and determine what steps your sales funnel needs to work effectively to help shepherd prospects from leads to actual paying, loyal customers.
So, how is your sales funnel structured? What is your rate of success in leading folks from awareness to purchasing customer?
If you don’t have a deliberate sales funnel in place, it is time to implement one and end clumsy handling of your website viewers and leads.
Don’t know whether you have an effective sales funnel or not or where to begin?
Contact us today so that our team of sales funnel experts can help get your marketing goals on track!