A sales funnel is a set of automated actions designed to guide potential customers through the process of making a purchase, from initial interest to final conversion. To better understand the concept of sales funnels, it’s important to consider the psychology behind a purchasing decision.
Scholars agree that every decision-making process goes through stages such as identifying the decision, gathering information, identifying alternatives, weighing the evidence, choosing among alternatives, and taking action. In the context of a sales funnel, these stages can be broken down as follows:
Awareness: the potential customer is made aware of the product or service
Consideration: the product or service promises an outcome that the customer desires
Authority: the seller establishes themselves as a credible authority in the field
Trust: the customer trusts the seller
Price: the customer agrees that the product or service is worth the price.
It’s worth noting that a person will only make a purchase if all these factors are met.
A well-designed sales funnel is structured around the key milestones of the decision-making process. This has been true for centuries, whether in ancient markets or today’s digital landscape. The principles remain the same, regardless of the product being sold – whether it’s a grain of salt or fresh fish.
In digital marketing, the arena is virtual and communication with customers takes place online. However, it is important to remember that it is still about people and helping them. The stages of a sales funnel are designed to allow you to communicate effectively with potential customers and show them that you can help them
In the first stage of the sales funnel, you introduce your products to your target audience for the first time. The goal is to make them aware that your products or services exist. This may be their initial impression of your brand. It’s important to note that most people will not make a purchase after first seeing a product, as it takes time to make a decision. Therefore, the objective of this stage is simply to raise awareness
Web tools to create awareness: First and foremost, SEO. After all, nothing online is more powerful than authentic & free organic traffic. When building your sales-funnel SEO strategy keep in mind that the #1 SEO factor is high-quality and search-term oriented content. By providing valuable information to your audience, you will help to establish their trust and familiarity with your business. Relevant and valuable content will help you build your brand authority and become a reliable educational resource. You don’t have to be a writing pro. Like many other business-owners, you can use professional content-writing services.
What else can help to create awareness? Social media posts and engagement, Facebook, Instagram stories, LinkedIn articles, Pinterest Content. Online forums such as FinalThought or Reddit. Blog posts and articles on your site, Google My Business posts, Pay Per Click Ads including search ads and display ads. “Suggested Content” ads such as Taboola and Outbrain, Tiktok. On top of that you can use Press Release to get your content to the press. It may surprise you but many of them are keen to find good content. Write guests blog posting, create videos on Youtube of Facebook or show some authority in your field by answering questions on Quora.
Do not forget to keep your content laser-targeted:
Failing to plan is planning to fail. The same goes with publishing content. Don’t spread random content around the web and hope for a bite. Your content needs to be strongly associated with specific search terms. Every post you create needs to be planned to pick the interest of a specific audience. Remember, this stage is about Awareness and its objective is to move the prospect to the next stage which is Consideration. You want your prospect, who is aware now, to start considering your products. A 65 year old woman probably won’t consider Nintendo Mario for herself. Make sure then, that you curate suitable content to target audience. An effective content plan is based on information about your audience’s interests. SEMrush Content Platform allows you to conduct topic research by giving you the full picture of what your audience needs in just a couple of clicks.
The sales funnel is narrowing as we move to the next step. Congratulations, your content has worked and the prospect is now considering your product or service. At this stage, they have taken the next step and clicked on your post, ad, or link.
It’s important to remember that at this stage, you may not know who they are yet. However, they have given you an opportunity to continue communicating with them. The goal is to establish a higher level of trust, position yourself as an authority, and reach an agreement on the price.
3. Lead Capture
But how will you be able to communicate with them if you don’t have their contact details? That’s where the lead magnet stage comes in. In order to obtain their contact information, you need to provide something of value to them in return. This is typically something that is given away for free.
The idea is that you offer your prospects something of value that they can access for free, such as an e-guide, valuable newsletter, recipe, ebook, tutorial, wait-list registration, quiz results, or anything else that requires signing up. This way, you can continue communicating with them and guide them through the rest of the sales funnel
3. Deeper engagement
Hit the steel while it’s hot, it’s time for a gradual sales pitch (or a CTA- see below)! Hey, your ‘prospects’ are ‘leads’ now. At this point they are aware of your products. Not only are they aware of them, they actually took a sample. An indication for there high interest. In addition, a good degree of trust has been established. They gave you their contact details. A mutual relationship between you and the buyer is forming. You also know who they are thus new powerful marketing tools such as email marketing can step in and help you communicate with your audience at a new level of segmentation.
Time to automate your communications with you leads and to use email marketing to generate sales! Email marketing allows you to get personal with your leads, automate the discourse, segment your audience into relevant groups, monitor their reactions, condition specific messaging, enhance your CRM data and of course increase sales.
What are the best email marketing software for SALES?
It’s time to make a sale, but remember to be subtle. Your potential customers have given you an opportunity, so make sure to handle it carefully. Emails can be an effective tool for communication, especially with the help of email automation, which is a cost-effective way to reach out to leads. If your leads liked your freebie, use this as an opportunity to explain why they would love your actual products even more. Don’t be pushy, but make sure to highlight the benefits of your products and how it can solve their problems or fulfill their needs.
Sometimes it’s too early to expect a sale to happen. Sometimes the lead is not yet ready to make a purchase, so it’s important to have a mid-stage in the sales funnel. This can be an action taken by the lead, but not the actual purchase. A call-to-action (CTA) is a request for the lead to take that action, such as a free consultation, demo, meeting, or questionnaire.
In some cases, the product itself cannot be sold without a one-on-one consultation or demo, such as with financial services, medical practices or law offices. However, it’s important to remember that the CTA is also an opportunity to pitch and make a sale.
Congratulations, you made a sale! This is a great accomplishment and it’s important to remember that the sale was based on a real decision-making process of the client, not just an impulse. This means that you have also reduced the chances of refund or charge-back requests. The client, who was previously a ‘prospect’ and then a ‘lead’, went through all the stages of the sales funnel and made a purchasing decision, which was in favor of buying your product
But what happens if there is no sale?
That’s a great question and a good sales-funnel should be prepared for this option as well. Let’s think for a second, what are the two optional reasons, for a sale NOT to happen?
Option 1: They don’t like the product
Option 2: They don’t like the price
If the answer is option 1 and your leads are not in the market for your products, it’s either that something with your targeting methods should be improved, or that the leads simply want to think about it.
If they are not the right audience, try to find the weak points in your targeting methods. Perhaps you should check your keywords or your audience criteria. On the other hand, if they just want to think about it, stay in touch and let them think. Automate a proper newsletter and make sure to keep around.
If option 2 is the answer though, they want the product but hate the price, your sales-funnel should be built in a way that a discount offer is automated. Typically with email automation.
You are probably asking now, well how do you know what is the reason they didn’t purchase? The answer is that a good email marketing software should come with “deep segmentation” capabilities. Segmentation is an essential key in every sales funnel. Email automation should help you automate segmentation based on events like “the lead read the email but didn’t click”, or “the lead viewed the page but didn’t purchase” or “no action at all”.