Content ManagementDigital MarketingSocial Media

What is a Sales Funnel?

What exactly is a sales funnel? You probably have some form of one already – whether you realise it or not.

Although I’m not a fan of jargon, it’s easy to remember the four sales funnel stages by the acronym AIDA: Awareness, Interest, Decision, and Action. These four stages represent your prospective customer’s mindset.

Each stage requires a different approach, you don’t want to send the wrong message at the wrong time. Imagine going out for dinner (remember those days) and the waiter asking you to order your dessert before you’ve even ordered drinks or seen the menu. I’d run a mile!

Understanding how a sales funnel works can help you find holes in your funnel, where people drop out and lose interest. If you don’t understand your sales funnel you can’t optimise it and plug those potential gaps with often relatively simple steps.

You will always lose people, otherwise it wouldn’t be a funnel, but if you can double or triple the number you are getting to the first stage of the funnel then you should, with the right processes, increase the number that get to the bottom and convert.

Understanding the role digital marketing plays in the process will help your business get closer to shining online.

Let’s break it down into each of the four stages*:

This is the moment at which you first catch a potential customer’s attention. It might be an Instagram Story, a Facebook post shared by a friend, a Google search… or something else entirely. Social Media plays a HUGE part here – HUGE!!! I really can’t put enough emphasis on how HUGE it is.

Your prospective customer becomes aware of your business and what you offer. When the chemistry is just right, the customer sometimes buys immediately. It’s a right-place, right-time scenario. The customer has probably already done some research and knows that you’re offering something desirable at a reasonable price.

More often, the awareness stage is more of a courtship. You’re trying to woo the prospect into returning to your site and engaging more with your business, you don’t want to come on too strong too soon… stay tuned for the next step in your courtship…💍

When a customer reaches the interest stage in the sales funnel, they’re doing research, comparison shopping, and thinking over their options. This is the time to swoop in with incredible content that helps them, but doesn’t sell to them.

If you’re pushing your product or service from the beginning, you’ll turn off prospects and chase them away. The goal here is to establish your expertise, help the customer make an informed decision, and offer to help them in any way you can.

See a common theme here – don’t come on too strong! But also – respond to to every comment, enquiry, silly question ✅

The decision stage of the sales funnel is when the customer is ready to buy. They are probably considering a few options — hopefully, including you.

This is the time to make your best offer and show your hand. It could be free shipping when most of your competition charges, a discount code, or a bonus freebie. Whatever the case, make it so irresistible and relevant that your potential customer can’t wait to take advantage of it.

Again this is a very general approach but this is the stage to come on a little stronger, the courtship is over but you still need to keep it classy 💍

You’ve led your customer to the very bottom of the sales funnel, and it’s finally time for Action. Your customer acts, they purchase your product or service and become part of your business’s community.

Just because a customer reaches the bottom of the funnel and parts with their hard earned cash, doesn’t mean your work is done. Action is required for both the customer and the business. You want to do your best to turn one purchase into 10, 10 into 100, and for them to tell their friends…

In other words, you’re focusing on customer retention. Thank them for the purchase, invite your customer to reach out with feedback, and make sure you respond swiftly to any questions. That you stay in touch, sign them up to your newsletter (with permission), ask them to follow you on social if they aren’t already doing so… and so the stages of the funnel begin again, except this time you are ahead of the game.

Does this make it clearer? You might need to tweak your sales funnel over time, and it takes some trial and error. Believe it or not – something as simple as font choices can impact your conversion rate. 

As always – if you need help and don’t understand where you are losing potential customers in your funnel – get in touch and we can work through the process and identify any gaps.

*Sales and marketing peeps – this blog isn’t aimed at you as I’m setting this out in very basic terms for SMEs

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