Although some small business owners may be aware of what a sales funnel is, it really does no good unless you know how to use it. You need to be intimately acquainted with how to make it work, because like literal tools, knowing what they’re called or even owning them, does not build you anything. Sales funnels, much like an assortment of tools, are designed to work for your business and help build your marketing into a sale converting machine. Here are some tips on how to make sure you’re utilizing your tools to their highest converting potential.
What Is A Sales Funnel?
Designing a smart sales funnel can impact your business hugely. Not just in the area of sales, but also in the area of communication and brand awareness.
The sales funnel is a step-by-step process that ushers potential customers into actual customers. Just like indicated by the title ‘funnel’, the top of the funnel is broad and easily accessible, this is the entry point of every potential customer.
Let’s say that you run an online ad for a real estate company to a group of 1,000 people, and 300 of them click on the ad. They have just encountered the top of the funnel and entered the next level. After clicking on the ad, they are taken to the agency’s website where they register some contact information to view houses. Mid funnel, they are contacted by an agent in regards to their online indicated interest, and if all goes well, that person will hire the agent and reach the bottom of the funnel.
Every funnel will look slightly different, depending on what the business product or service is, and where the general audience for that specific demographic is. In this example of a real estate company, this sales funnel utilizes digital tools such as online advertising and website tracking to build a lead generator for agents. However, if you were a retail store the tools in your funnel might look more like sidewalk signage, a creative store layout, and an accessible check-out counter.
Other great sales funnel tools could include:
- Email Marketing
- TV/Radio Advertising
- Website Tracking
- Online forms
- Online Advertising
…and others. Any marketing tool can be utilized as a part of your funneling machine, and typically the most successful ones are built with an assortment of tools. Figuring out the most intelligent design for your specific funnel is the trick. A good funnel can generate sales for you in your sleep, so it is definitely a worthwhile part of your business plan to fine-tune.
Why Is A Sales Funnel Important?
Essentially, your sales funnel is the path potential customers take to arrive as actual customers. Without a guided path and process to lead them through the decision process, you’d just be relying on happenstance and random selection. Although you might be able to make some sales that way, it’s inefficient and inconsistent at best. Having a smart funnel and understanding how it works will help you optimize your marketing, and regulate traffic more consistently. It also gives you more control over the types of people you are attracting by targeting your marketing with intentionality.
Although there can be many different terms and levels that refer to the inner workings of a funnel, here are the basic four that we use. Awareness, interest, decision, and action. These four stages are indicators of where your prospect’s mindset is throughout the funnel, and you need at least one tool for each of them.
This is the very top of the funnel. Nobody can make a decision, much less form an opinion of you without knowing you exist. The moment you initially catch someone’s attention, they have entered the beginning mindset of your sales funnel. It can come in the form of a billboard, a Facebook ad, an email blast, or any other attention grabber.
No matter what marketing tool you choose to utilize for your business, the top of every funnel should be eye-catching, clear to understand, and memorable.
Sometimes if you’re in the right place at the right time, you can close sales immediately at the point of awareness. However, that’s pretty nontypical and it would not be good enough to leave your funnel here as is.
At this point in the funnel, people are already aware of who you are, what you offer, and are interested in learning more. Welcome to the beginning of mid-funnel. This is a sensitive place in the funnel because although people are in the middle of your funnel checking things out, they are probably also in the middle of someone else funnel at the same time.
This is the point where people are quality inspecting, price checking, and competitor analyzing. It is important that you are able to stand out from everyone else mid-funnel. Not only in esthetics, but in mission and value. The real challenge is at this phase because mid-funnel is typically where a prospect is most likely to fall out of the process.
We suggest incorporating a marketing tool here that can collect data or contact information from the inquirer. In the event that they fall out or lose interest, you can easily retarget them back at square one this way.
The decision mindset of the process can be described as the ready point. The potential prospect is considered a serious prospect at this point because they are ready to choose. Naturally, this is the best point for you to make your best offer. You still aren’t guaranteed exclusive interest at this point, so the competition needs to be taken out once and for all here.
We have affectionately established the term ‘value zone’ for this part here as well. Offer free shipping, a complimentary 1-hour consultation, a discount for acting now, etc.
This is the moment we’ve been waiting for, the moment when the consumer will decide to act. Action is the very bottom of the sales funnel, and upon the decision to purchase a product or a service, a prospect converts to a customer. However, just because the sale closes here, doesn’t mean marketing ends here.
The ‘action’ step is a mindset for both business and consumer. Because now that you have the customer, you need to keep them returning business through retention. It’s cheaper and more effort-effective to turn one purchase into ten returned purchases than to reestablish a new customer from the very top of the funnel again.
Example of a Sales Funnel Structure:
- Awareness: Create a Facebook advertisement to lead people to your website
- Interest: Offer something valuable on your website in exchange for the lead’s information
- Decision: Provide ample content to inform and prepare your audience for a purchase
- Action: Offer a coupon or a deal that leads can’t resist, then continue marketing to them to build retention
Although there are many different ways to construct a sales funnel, and many different ‘tools’ to chose from. There are basic principles that can be applied to all of them. Here are some questions you can ask yourself about your sales funnel.
- Do I truly understand my target audience?
- Does my marketing material look legitimate, credible, and trustworthy?
- What are the areas of marketing that have generated leads for me in the past?
- Do existing customers come back and return business, or leave?
Anymore these days, a firm handshake and a recommendation aren’t enough to keep your business booming. Things like design and digital presence matter to consumers. This can all get kinda overwhelming fast, and we understand that. That’s why we love making it our business to help yours. At Spotted Fox Digital, we can help with one or all of the elements in your sales funnel, and start getting you more leads while looking great and having fun, no overwhelming feeling necessary.