One of the most common questions we get asked by clients is, “What’s the most effective marketing technique that will get us, customers?” There is actually no single technique that will turn somebody who has never heard of your business into a paying customer.
Rather than looking for the one marketing technique that will get you, customers, instead think about how your marketing and sales efforts can work together to put your prospects on the right path to learning about and then buying from your business.
That may seem overwhelming especially if you’ve never done it before. Fortunately, the process is not that difficult and can be learned relatively quickly. A sales funnel can accomplish just that.
Here’s a quick overview of a basic sales funnel.
What is a sales funnel and why is it important?
Simply put, a sales funnel illustrates the ideal journey that your prospects go through on their way to becoming customers. While you may market your products or services to thousands of people, only a small percentage will provide contact information and become leads. Of those leads, only a fraction will become clients or buyers.
Understanding the concept of sales funnels is important because it’s a useful model for visualizing the customer journey from initial awareness all the way through conversion. The sales funnel provides a useful framework through which you can analyze your business and identify areas for improvement.
Below is an example of a product sales funnel.
The goal with this funnel is to qualify buyers by offering them an irresistible low ticket item. After the customer has purchased the low ticket item, you will offer them upsells and downsells to increase the average cart value. The goal with this funnel is to break-even with ad spend and ascend them up your value ladder where you make the real money.
You can use this template by creating a free account on Funnelytics.io
Marketing And The Sales Funnel
The sales funnel is fueled by marketing activities that generate awareness and build demand for a product or service, such as social media posts, webinars, blogging on relevant topics for your target audience, ad retargeting or strong SEO.
Moving a customer through the funnel is a carefully orchestrated set of activities designed to raise awareness and educate the prospective customer on the benefits of your offering to move them toward making a buying decision.
Over time, customers move down through the sales funnel – from initial contact to final purchase – as they learn more about your product and express intent to purchase and further interest in it.
As the funnel narrows at each stage, prospects drop off so that fewer and few potential customers left. The objective of an efficient sales and marketing process is to improve the conversion rate at each stage of the funnel so that more customers make it through the full funnel.
We present a five-step process below that will help you build your first sales funnel.
If your target audience doesn’t know or trust your brand, it’s impossible to ever increase your customer base and sales. Here are six innovative strategies you can use to increase brand awareness and help your business thrive.
- A basketball enthusiast sees an advertisement for a new basketball training class on Facebook.
- A coffee shop owner searches Google to find a new coffee bean supplier.
- An inspiring bodybuilder watches an Instagram video of his friend raving about a new brand of protein supplement.
Facebook ads are the perfect vehicle for driving awareness. In this example, Facebook users are introduced to an email marketing service:
Once a user clicks on the ad, he/she will then be directed to a squeeze page, landing page, sales page or whatever you want to call it. This page must include an offer, an interest-based content or a free report on some topic of interest so that the page is convinced purchase or to provide his/her name and email address for re-marketing purposes.
This needs to be connected to your autoresponder so that the prospect’s name and email address is added to it so you can email him/her after receiving it.
Here’s a good example of a landing page:
Converted leads or visitors who clicked on the try it for free or request a demo button will then be directed to this page:
Here’s another example:
Example #1 is self-explanatory. A user tries the free version then a series of email is sent to the prospect about the features of the paid version of the software until he/she takes the paid version.
Example no #2 is lead capture strategy where you collect interested leads to what you can offer in the future.
Once you have that prospect’s name and email address, you need to send out a welcome email to that prospect.
Inform him/her about your company or who you are, and let him/her know what information he/she can expect to receive from your email messages. You will present more information on the topic/issue/problem related to your free report to show the prospect that you are a respected expert in this field and can be trusted.
By providing mostly information and including a link to your main product offer, you can build a relationship with your prospect and get him/her to trust you and your recommendations.
When the prospect is comfortable enough with you and your recommendations, he/she will click the main product link and go to your main product’s sales letter. If the sales letter is convincing enough of the benefits your product will provide to him/her, he/she will order your main product.
These steps can be automated using an auto-responder sequence here’s an example.
It’s entirely possible that, until this stage, you have yet to turn a profit. In fact, if you’re in a competitive market (and who isn’t?) you may be losing money on the front end of this process to acquire customers.
This is totally acceptable as you are investing in your future profits and this is where your customer will be ready to buy more and more often. If your business has a core offer, this is the place to make that offer. Then once your customer purchases that core offer, it’s time to present them with other relevant offers.
When you execute this stage properly, your customers will thank you for these offers.
Herre’s an example of an email newsletter I have created for a 5-star hotel in Dubai after collecting over 10,000 subscribers using the first 3 steps.
5. Customer retention program
A customer retention program is a specific initiative or set of initiatives designed to increase customer value and encourage them to re-purchase and evangelize a company’s product or service. Customer retention programs can be company-led, such as instituting a customer onboarding process, or customer-led, such as downloading and using a mobile app to make purchases.
Customer retention increases your customers‘ lifetime value and boosts your revenue. It also helps you build amazing relationships with your customers. You aren’t just another website or store. They trust you with their money because you give them value in exchange
A few examples are Customer Feedback Loops, Communication Calendar, Customer Loyalty Program, Customer Advisory Board, Social Responsibility Program, Email Newsletter, and Customer Education Program.
Bonus: Learn how to map your funnels visually
Have you figured out your sales funnel already? By now, you understand how important the first point of contact your customer has with you. Now it’s time to map your funnels. Click the video below to use this software for free.