As a business owner, you want to connect with people who are interested in your product or service. You want to introduce them to what you do and have them purchase from you.
However, that process is more complex than it sounds, especially in today’s competitive business environment. There are dozens of companies just like your vying for attention and customers.
What can you do to stand out? The first step is to create a process to help the customer move through your sales process. This process starts from when the prospect first becomes aware of you and doesn’t end until they’re an advocate for your brand.
Here’s what you need to know about creating a sales funnel and how it can benefit your business.
A sales funnel helps direct prospects through the “customer journey.” The customer journey is the process someone takes as they get to know your company and make the decision to buy.
Generally, a sales funnel consists of several parts. The prospect needs to become aware of you. Then they need to choose to engage with your company and learn more. From there, they may make a purchase.
After they are a paying customer, the journey isn’t over. It’s important to provide excellent customer service, offer additional purchase opportunities, and help them become an advocate for your company.
Having a defined process for each stage, and for the journey overall, helps you to define and understand your customers. Knowing who your best customers are and how they find you is essential to business success.
Let’s look at each stage of the sales funnel and how it can help your business grow…
In the beginning, your prospects haven’t heard of your company yet. The first step is to get their attention and help them get to know who you are.
Too many businesses throw up ads and information everywhere they can think of – social media, blogs, search ads, and more. While this may create awareness, it’s a waste of resources. What you want is targeted awareness.
The good news is that creating a sales funnel that gets you noticed by the right people helps you focus your business and better identify your target demographic.
Who is the best audience for your product? Dig down below age and gender. Look for things like geographic location, married or not, and whether or not they have kids. Think about what stage of life your ideal customer is in.
From there, consider what problems and motivations cause your ideal buyer to start looking for your product or service. Why do they need what you have? What results are they looking for?
With this information, you can create an effective awareness campaign. You can focus on getting your ads and outreach in front of your exact audience. You can make sure your message resonates with their needs.
When you take these steps, the right people will become aware of your offers, and they will be ready to take the next step – engagement.
Once people become aware you exist, you might hope they get their wallets out and make an immediate purchase. Unfortunately, only a very small percentage of your prospects are ready to buy immediately.
Instead, you need to get them to engage with you so that you can nurture a relationship. The good news is that nurtured leads make 47% larger purchases than those who buy quickly. That means that mastering the engagement stage of the sales funnel will have a significant positive impact on your bottom line!
So how do you engage? The first step is to get a prospect to opt-in to your communication. To do this, create a high-value free giveaway related to your industry and product. For instance, if you sell lawn care, you might give away “5 Tips to Prepare Your Lawn in the Spring.”
When someone downloads this document, they opt into your email marketing. Through email – along with social media and other methods – you can build a relationship with them.
To nurture a prospect toward a sale, share more free helpful information. Help them see you as an authority they can trust. Also, talk about how you solve common problems so they feel like you can help them. Don’t forget to be authentic – sharing behind-the-scenes information, videos, and humor can make a big difference.
As you nurture prospects, you want to give them frequent opportunities to take the next step in the customer journey – making a purchase!
Related Research: The State of Customer Engagement, 2020
Encouraging prospects to make purchases is what business is all about. Once you have people who are aware of you and are beginning to know, like, and trust you through engagement, you are well on your way to a sale.
Remember, it’s essential not to rush this. You need to start with targeted prospects, help them get to know you, and then invite them to purchase. Don’t get discouraged if a lead doesn’t respond to the first offer. It takes a lot of contacts and offers before someone is ready to commit.
You can make it easier for them to decide by educating them fully about your products and services. Make it very clear how the benefit of making a purchase. Help them see the transformation they can experience if their problems are solved.
From there, consider having limited-time promotions and sales that make it easier for a customer to make a decision. You should also make sure your checkout page is optimized to reinforce the purchase and remove any barriers to the sale.
Once the customer makes a purchase, the journey isn’t over. In fact, a buying customer is your most valuable resource – don’t let them disappear!
Related Infographic: The Online Purchase Journey Across Generations, 2018
Once someone makes a purchase, what’s next?
Someone who has already purchased from you is much more likely to make another purchase. In fact, the more they buy, the more likely they are to purchase again.
For instance, someone who has purchased once has a 27% chance of buying again. A two-time buyer has a 45% likelihood of making a third purchase. And someone who has bought three times has a 54% chance of making future purchases!
Obviously, encouraging additional purchases is more profitable than trying to win new customers from scratch. So be sure to nurture your customers and offer them additional chances to purchase. Your nurture sequence for customers should be separate from the sequence for leads.
One of the other big benefits of a loyal customer is that they can become an advocate for your business. When they are willing to share your messages with others and recommend your business, you’re getting free, high-quality advertising. After all, a personal recommendation is one of the most persuasive forms of marketing.
Related Article: Why Brands Need to Drill Into Data to Cure Customer Loyalty Decay
When you send email communication, invite your customers to share it with others. Let them know they can forward it or share it on social media. In addition, consider creating contests or a social media community just for customers. This allows them to build their loyalty to you while allowing you to give them marketing messages to share with others.
Having happy, loyal customer advocates is the end goal of any marketing funnel. They are pure gold for your company!
As you can see, a systematic approach to how your leads become customers and advocates is essential to succeeding in business.
You need to start by ensuring the right people are becoming aware of your company. From there, get them to opt-in and engage with you by sharing useful information.
You can invite them to buy, although it will take several offers for them to respond. Finally, nurture your customers so that they become repeat buyers and advocates for your brand.
When you implement a clear sales funnel, your business will reach heights you never expected!