He who fails to plan, plans to fail.
– Benjamin Franklin
– Josh Sandefer
Every business needs customers. Not every business has enough customers.
We need a way to define a potential customer’s journey from first contact to final sale.
WHAT IS A SALES FUNNEL, IN A NUTSHELL
How many of your potential customers have never heard of your brand before? If you’re reading this post, I’m willing to guess it’s a lot.
If it’s not a lot, I don’t know why you’re here.
Here a prospect comes into contact with your brand for the very first time. They have officially entered the top of the funnel.
Maybe they saw your logo, a blog post, or a social media post. They now have some recognition of your brand.
Welcome them with open arms, my friend.
It’s up to you to take charge and guide them through the story of your brand that you want them to experience.
After spending some time in the awareness phase of the funnel, a lot of your prospects will fall off the face of the earth.
These are the people who would never buy from you anyway. For the rest, we move on to phase 2: Interest.
A prospect in the middle of the funnel has now decided that they are looking for a solution to a specific problem that they are having.
You might be that solution.
Prospects in this part of the funnel may start looking for more specific information on your product/service offerings. They may write in to ask questions.
This is your opportunity to convince them that your product or service is the right fit for their needs.
Still more of your prospects fall off at this stage. You are left with only those most qualified prospects ready to move onto the final phase: Purchase.
Your prospect has now decided that you alone are the solution that best fits their concern or budget.
They are ready to allocate part of their budget to your service.
All that’s left to do now is to guide them through the sales process and help them find the right fit service that you can offer.
As you can see, each stage of the funnel has a set of requirements. Obviously, exactly how this works will vary from person to person, organization to organization.
TOP OF THE FUNNEL
Our goal as marketers is to get as many people into the top of the funnel as possible. Since all we have to do to move people into the top of the funnel is make them aware of our brand, that is what we do.
Our goal is to put our brand, logo, content, and so on in front of as many eyeballs as we possibly can so that those people will begin to recognize our brand.
Staying in front of people is the name of the game.
All the advertisements that you see on a daily basis that you may pay no attention to, are all working to put you into the top of the funnel.
You may not actively investigate those brands, but if you ever decide that you need a product, that brand just might come to mind.
Our objective is to reach as many people as possible, so let’s dig into some details about how we can increase our company’s reach. To maximize efforts, let’s be sure to only target people who would potentially be interested in our product. Don’t try to sell a car to a ten-year-old or anything crazy.
Get out there and find your ideal customers in the wild. Outbound marketing is exactly what it sounds like, you go out, and find prospects to add them to your funnel.
Networking. Get out, meet people, give them your business card, if that’s something that you’re into. Joining your local Chamber of Commerce can be a terrific way to meet other decision-makers in your community. Make sure not to be human junk mail and hand out your business card to everyone within 15 feet of you.
Email marketing. Outbound email marketing, for B2B businesses, can be a powerful strategy. (B2C avoid at all costs) Find a person interested in your product or service, and just shoot them an email. Easy as that. Cheap and effective.
Social media. Just be on the internet! There are a lot of opportunities to be had on social media. Without spending a dime, you can potentially get your stuff in front of millions of people (What up TikTok!!)
Paid advertising. Facebook ads, Instagram ads, Google Ads, even newspaper ads. With a bit of a budget and a bit of know-how, these can be effective, but potentially expensive, ways to add prospects to the top of your funnel.
Blogging. There are 6 billion searches per day on Google alone. Every one of those searches is looking for something, and if you can be that thing they are looking for, BOOM! you’ve added someone to the top of your funnel. Most importantly of all, you get to share all that wonderful knowledge you have with the world.
eBooks. Have you ever given your email address in exchange for someone’s FREE EBOOK!! Well, the promise of more knowledge is a very effective way to convince someone to exchange their contact information. This doesn’t need to be a full-fledged book, but several pages detailing all the knowledge that you have on a topic.
There are a million different ways to reach your ideal customer, you just have to find the right fit for you and your business.
MIDDLE OF THE FUNNEL
Time to get personal.
Your prospect is beginning to become a little bit invested in your brand. You may have a little bit of an idea what they are looking for.
Make them feel special.
At this point in the process, you are trying to serve your prospect personalized content and help based on their specific pain points.
For instance, if your prospect is a wedding photographer, and you are an advertising agency, you may want to show them advertising tips specifically for wedding photographers.
In this stage, as in all stages, it is essential that you stay relevant to your prospect. If you miss too many opportunities to communicate with them, they are likely to forget about you. Try not to reach out to them every day, either. That’s weird.
Email Marketing. Email marketing strikes again, except this time it isn’t just for business-to-business folks. Personalized emails using senders like Mailchimp allow you to stay top of mind, and provide real personalized value to your prospects.
Messaging. Be sure you are available, or a bot is available at least, to answer any direct questions the customer may have. Messaging built into your website, or just a quick turnaround on emails can be incredibly useful here.
BOTTOM OF THE FUNNEL
Here at the bottom of the funnel, you are finalizing the details of the sale. \
You’ve filtered out most of the people you put into the top of the funnel.
This is the moment to convince the prospect that you are the best choice for their needs right now. They are likely comparing you closely with your competition and weighing their options.
It is more critical now than ever to really blow them away, show them that not only is your product the most effective, but you are the best. I know you are. 😎
At some point in this phase, your customer makes a buying decision. This small number of people at the bottom move on to purchase your product.
Congratulations on making it through this introduction to sales funnels.
Understanding this process empowers you to create unique journeys and stories for each one of your prospects, and control how other people experience your brand.
Now go make your own funnel!