Business owners in every industry struggle with getting consumers through their sales funnel. In essence, a sales funnel is the process a customer goes through as they discover your company, and eventually become customers. A staggering 63 percent of business owners claim that generating leads and traffic is their biggest struggle.
We want to take a look at how sales funnels work and what you can do to get more consumers interested in your products or services. Let’s start at the first step of every funnel, brand awareness.
Spread Brand Awareness
It’s impossible to get leads interested in your company if they’ve never heard of your brand. Brand awareness, generally speaking, requires a combination of various marketing techniques on both social media and other websites focused on your industry.
For example, if you own a website that sells pet supplies, you would want to seek out medium-large pet food brands to see if they are looking for exclusive content on their blog. If they say yes, you can write a guest post that links back to your website, which helps in the awareness phase. Imagine if a customer was browsing the Friskies website, and they discovered one of your posts. Odds are, they would already trust you because you are publishing content on a site owned by a company they already trust.
Similarly, you may want to take a look at your user insight and eCommerce analytics to learn more about your consumer base. You’ll find trends that give you a general idea of what kind of content your existing viewers like to read, as well as their typical behavior on-site. You can use this information to create a brand awareness strategy that gets the attention of your target audience
Social media is another area ripe for spreading brand awareness. Use your business profile, and look for groups centered around your industry and interact with the community. If we used our previous example of an eCommerce pet shop, you would want to look for groups discussing pet health and care and voice your opinion and link any relevant blog posts featured on your website.
Build and Segment Your Lead List
Once new people know your business exists, it’s time to turn them into frequent visitors. You can use both email and social media to build and segment your lead lists.
Building your email list may require you to create a lead magnet. Essentially, a lead magnet is a gift that you’re giving to consumers in exchange for them signing up with your email list. There are countless examples of what qualifies as a lead magnet, but usually, it’s a digital download like an ebook or checklist.
When creating your lead magnet, think back to your customer personas and the type of information they crave. If you owned an online store that offers email marketing services, you could provide consumers with a free checklist that will help them create a newsletter.
Now that you’ve accumulated leads, it’s time to organize them into separate lead lists. During the third phase of the funnel, your goal is to build rapport with your audience. If you create multiple ad campaigns that target different customers, your personalized experience can sway consumers who are still on the fence about your brand.
The most straightforward example that comes to mind is separating your pet store email list into consumers who have cats, dogs, birds, and rodents. It wouldn’t make sense to send someone interested in cat products your content about dogs, right?
Nurture Relationships and Build Trust
You’ve gathered leads and separated them into different groups; now it’s time to start building rapport and a stronger bond with your audience. They may trust you enough to receive your emails, but they are still not ready to make a purchase.
There are various ways to nurture relationships between your business and subscribers. One of the best ways requires you to build an email drip campaign. Technically, drip campaigns encompass three steps in the sales funnel process, but this step is where they shine. These types of campaigns consist of 5-9 emails sent out over days, or even weeks. This is your chance to show subscribers that you’re reliable, trustworthy, and that you’re focused on providing a solution.
You can nurture relationships with your audience by sending them periodic blog posts, newsletters, or even emails, letting them know about a big event like a webinar. The email cycle starts the same way, but it’s staggered based on when the consumer subscribed.
Make an Offer
The last stage of the sales funnel is by far the shortest. This section is where you’ll make an offer to the subscriber. You could encourage them to buy a product at the end of your drip cycle, or you could add pop-ups to your website that trigger when a viewer performs certain actions, such as reading a specific blog post.
Your offer should provide clear and immediate value to the consumer. You want them to know that you understand their struggle and want to help them overcome their pain points. Calls-to-action are simple, clear, and move the consumer towards making a sale.
The Bottom of the Funnel
Some marketers believe that once the consumer becomes a customer, the sales cycle ends. The truth is, there’s another level below the sales phase that we call the bottom of the funnel. Your goal is to keep these customers engaged with your brand through email, social media, and your website.
You can keep customers engaged using several different tactics. First, consider engaging with your customers on social media by sharing their praise, discussing ideas, and keeping them entertained. If you create an online contest or poll, you’ll compel those familiar with your brand to end the discussion and participate.
Additionally, you can send out occasional promotions to email subscribers and customers that give them exclusive discounts for their dedication to your brand. Small gestures can go a long way towards maintaining and retaining consumers as you guide them through your sales funnel.