You may not even realize the existence of your sales funnel.
If you do realize its existence, you can influence the effectiveness of your sales funnel a lot more.
Website optimization is the most important thing where your sales funnel is concerned.
Each stage of a sales funnel can influence the behavior of the prospective consumer.
If you can learn these stages, then you can make your sales funnels more influential.
It all begins with your website because this is the first place your consumers will visit.
You can collect analytical information about them when they visit.
That way, you can understand who your target audience is and the actions they take on your website.
Once you learn about this, you’ll have a better understanding of your sales funnel and how your audience comes to their purchasing decisions.
Let’s go over what a sales funnel is and how it can help you market your products or services.
Sales Funnel Defined
When people visit your website, they are at the beginning of the sales funnel.
The sales funnel is the pathway from your website all the way to the checkout page where a customer completes their purchase of the product or service you are selling.
Everything in between these two points is marketing materials that motivate customers to continue on the sales funnel path until the very end.
Since it is your sales funnel, you have the power to influence its effectiveness. It is no different than operating the sales funnel of a brick-and-mortar business.
For example, when a potential customer walks into a clothing store, they will roam the aisles and browse the various clothing products for sale.
A sales associate who works there will eventually greet the customer and ask if they can be of any assistance.
The customer may express interest in a pair of jeans that are $10 off. The sales associate will talk with the customer and understand what they’re looking for.
Based on their conversation, the sales associate may offer to give the customer $50 off if they purchase three pairs of jeans together.
Since the customer will be able to save more money by purchasing multiple pairs of jeans, they willingly accept the offer.
When the customer goes to the checkout lane to purchase the jeans, another sales associate offers to sell them three T-shirts at 50% off to go with the jeans.
The customer agrees and purchases the T-shirts too.
After a few weeks, the customer goes back to the store because they’re so happy with the previous deal they received.
They end up finding a new deal on other clothing products and the process continues.
Website sales funnels are similar to this process.
The only difference is the sales pages represent the sales associates in this analogy.
The sales pages guide people down the sales funnel and convince them to make various discounted purchases along the way
The Importance of Sales Funnels
A sales funnel is a path that brings prospective buyers to the checkout lane of your website. It is how you end up selling items and making a profit.
However, you may have holes in your sales funnel that cause prospects to leave the website and not complete the sale.
If you can understand your sales funnel better, then you can discover these holes for yourself.
Then you can optimize your sales funnel by filling these holes and getting buyers to complete their purchases.
You must understand which elements of your sales funnel influence people to continue moving along through it.
In a nutshell, the marketing strategies you implement will help make this happen.
These strategies must target a specific type of customer and cater to their needs and wants.
Here is How a Sales Funnel Works
The various stages of a sales funnel can be described in many ways.
All these stages help turn the casual visitors of a website into prospective buyers, leads and actual buyers.
First, a visitor searches on Google, Facebook, or some other social media platform. They find your website in the search results and click on it.
They visit your website and look around at your blog posts and product listings. At this point, they are now a prospective buyer.
As they continue to navigate your website, they will see a newsletter signup form where they can submit their email address to receive updates on your products or services via email.
After the form is filled out and their content is submitted, that visitor is turned into a lead.
If their mobile phone number was submitted too, then you can reach out to them via phone or text messaging as well.
Leads express an interest in your website, so they’ll likely want to come back again in the future.
That is why they’re willing to receive information about your blog posts, or your products or services, including any discounts you might have available.
You could even use your newsletter to promote a coupon code to motivate your leads to become customers.
You’ll always have fewer visitors at the end of your sales funnel than you will at the beginning of it.
Your message becomes more targeted by this point so that you can successfully convert prospects and leads into paying customers.
The Four Stages of a Sales Funnel
The four stages of a sales funnel are Awareness, Interest, Decision, and Action.
You can easily memorize these four words by putting them into the acronym “AIDA.”
The mindset of your potential customers is characterized by these stages.
As the marketer of a sales funnel, you must develop a unique strategy for each stage.
Otherwise, you won’t convey the right message to your potential customers. Not only that, but you won’t convey the message at the right time either.
After all, would a waiter ever ask you to choose a dessert before you’ve even chosen an appetizer? Of course not.
Let’s now dive into each stage and see what they’re all about.
Awareness is the way you capture the attention of a prospective customer.
It can be done through a Google search, Facebook post, tweet, Instagram post, shared post, or any other way of capturing the attention of your prospective customers and informing them of what you have available for sale.
Sometimes the prospective customers will purchase immediately if they are in the right place at the right time.
In other words, if they already did their research into what you’re selling and it is something they really want or needs, then they will likely purchase it if the price is right.
Think of the awareness stage as your attempt at encouraging visitors and prospects to come back to your website and consider doing business with you.
If your sales funnel has captured the interest of prospective consumers, they’ll consider their options by researching the competition and seeing if what you’re offering is a better deal.
For this reason, you’ll need to publish some amazing content that keeps them engaged with your business and not someone else’s business.
This content should not try to sell anything, though. That comes later.
When prospective customers first enter the sales funnel, they don’t like products or services being pushed onto them.
They’ll likely run away if you try to sell them something early on. What you’ll want to do is convince them of your knowledge and expertise in a particular area.
That way, they can come up with an informed decision rather than merely take a chance on something.
If your prospective customers are ready to purchase whatever you’re selling in the sales funnel, they’ve approached the decision stage.
Hopefully, they’ll have several different options to consider when they get there.
Give the prospective customers your best offer when they’re at the decision stage.
You could promote a special deal, such as free shipping, a discount code, bonus rewards, bonus points, and so on.
Make the offer so tempting that they cannot turn it away
When prospective customers get to the end of the sales funnel, it is time for them to buy our service or product.
Once they do, the prospect has officially become a customer.
You’ll also have their contact information so that you can reach out to them in the future and promote more of your products or services to them.
However, do not assume that your prospects will automatically complete their purchase when they reach the end of your sales funnel.
Action must be taken by the marketer too, not just the consumer.
This could make the difference in converting one purchase into dozens more.
Customer retention is how you build a successful sales funnel. If you thank the customer for their purchase and offer to answer any questions they may have, then it’ll make the customer feel good about your business.
This will increase the chance of them making future purchases from you.
An Example of a Good Sales Funnel
Let’s suppose you’re running an e-commerce website which sells vinyl signage wraps for vehicles.
You do your research and find that your target audience is businessowners who are male or female and between the ages of 30 and 65.
You also discover groups of Facebook which fit this demographic.
Therefore, you run a Facebook Ads campaign which targets this demographic and brings them to your website.
When they land on your website’s homepage, there is an email newsletter subscription form for them to sign up on.
Once they sign up, they become a lead for your business.
You’ll spend the next couple of weeks emailing educational content to your leads.
This is content about your vinyl signage wraps, such as design ideas and tutorials on how to apply the wraps to their vehicles.
At the bottom of the email content, you can put a discount code or coupon for them to use toward their first purchase on your website.
Since they’ll like having a discount, they’ll feel compelled to make a purchase on your website for the first time.
Perhaps you can make a second email list and invite those other subscribers to join it.
The new list could have a topic devoted to vinyl sign maintenance and how to make vinyl signs last for a long time.
Just get creative by coming up with multiple ways to get your leads and customers to stay engaged with your business
The Fast Way to Create a Sales Funnel
Step # 1 – Study the Behavior of Your Audience
If you can learn about your target audience, then you can create an effective sales funnel.
Don’t make the mistake of marketing your product or service to a general audience.
You must focus on the people who would benefit from what you’re selling.
Go to Crazy Egg and register for an account on there. It’ll allow you to track the activity on your website and create reports of how users behave on it.
By studying the results of the report, you can see how users engage with your website.
You’ll know what they click on. You’ll know how long they spend on each page.
You’ll know when they scroll up and down. You’ll know practically everything.
Step # 2 – Get the Attention of Your Target Audience
Your sales funnel won’t be effective unless you can attract people to it. Get your content seen by your target audience.
Use a lot of diverse content on several different platforms to capture people’s attention.
It helps to use visually pleasing content like videos and infographics. People respond to that content more.
You could also think about spending money on pay per click ads. Make sure you know where your target audience likes to go, whether it’s LinkedIn or Facebook.
Then run ads on that platform.
Step # 3 – Create a Landing Page
Your content and advertisements should direct your prospective customers to a website or landing page.
This is when they first enter your sales funnel, so only worry about getting leads rather than sales.
The purpose of a landing page is to move the prospect to the next area of the sales funnel.
Use a strong call to action where you show them an instructional video or offer a free e-book for them to download.
Step # 4 – Make an Email Campaign
Use high-quality email content to offer promotions to your leads. Don’t do it too often. Just send a few emails per week.
Educate yourself on your audience. What are they interested in learning about?
What roadblocks to they have to get past before they’re convinced to purchase what you’re selling?
Have an attractive offer available when they conclude the drip campaign. This is what will motivate your leads to take action.
Step # 5 – Stay in Contact
Stay in contact with your current customers. Continue to thank them for buying your items.
Offer them special discounts and deals whenever you can.
If you can include them in your social media fan page, that is even better.
Determining How Successful You’ve Made Your Sales Funnel
Don’t keep the same sales funnel forever. It may need some modifications as you gain more customers and learn about what they want.
You may end up having to add a lot of new services and products to reach your diverse customer base.
You’ll know if you have a successful sales funnel by tracking the rates of conversion.
For example, how many visitors click on your Google Ad and signed up for your newsletter?
Focus on every sales funnel stage carefully.
- Is your content successfully getting the attention of your prospective customers?
- Have you established trust between you and your prospects? Are they willing to provide you with their contact information?
- After all your marketing and email drip campaigning, did any of it help you obtain purchases?
- Do you get any repeat purchases from your past customers?
When you can answer these questions, you’ll know which areas of your sales funnel need to be modified.
The Importance of Sales Funnel Optimization
You must realize that prospects have several options to choose from. Even though you’re eager for them to choose what you’re selling, you must have patience.
Focus on optimizing your sales funnel so that you know what your prospects are looking for.
Crazy Egg Recordings lets you see how your website is engaged by people.
You can see what they click on and whether they appear confused as they’re navigating around your website.
Most importantly, you can see if they’re looking at the content you want them to look at.
If you don’t optimize your sales funnel to convert visitors into leads, then people will leave your website and never come back.
How to Perform Sales Funnel Optimization
There are several ways to optimize your sales funnel. You’ll mainly want to enhance the areas that bring prospects to the next stage of the sales funnel process.
When it comes to Facebook Ads, it is better to run up to 20 ads per day as opposed to a single ad.
Even though you might have similar ads here, they should target various buyer personas.
You can find a lot of targeting tools and features on Facebook that make it easy to get your ads shown to the right audience.
Put your landing pages through an A/B test. It is a more reliable way to convert prospects into real customers.
Conduct A/B tests on all your email campaigns too. Use new imagery, language, layouts, and special offers and see how your audience reacts to them.
The content at the beginning of your sales funnel should focus on introducing your brand and implementing a call to action to encourage user engagement.
If the content you’re using does not convert visitors into prospects and leads, then try adding new content.
Go to your landing page next. The call to action and offer should be the same as your Facebook Ad content and blog post content.
Try out different headlines, images, body content, and call to action to see what works and what does not work.
Your offer in the action stage should be A/B tested. Compare the effectiveness of a discount offer versus a free shipping offer.
When you find out which types of offers are more effective, it can help you boost your revenue tremendously.
Lastly, track your rate of customer retention. How often do your customers come back for more? 5 times? 20 times?
Do they refer people to your business?
Your overall objective is to establish your brand.
If people are satisfied with their experience of engaging with your brand, then they’ll have no reason to purchase from anyone else but you.
It takes time and hard work to create a sales funnel and optimize it effectively. But if you want to remain competitive, then you have no choice.
Every little detail counts when trying to gain conversions, including the style and color of your font. Don’t ask people to purchase right away or you’ll scare them off.
Creating a sales funnel takes time and patience. It needs to offer something your target audience wants rather than trying to push it on them.
Do not be afraid to optimize your sales funnel as time goes on, especially since your audience’s needs will change for sure.
Register for an account on Crazy Egg now and begin gathering real-time information about the people going to your website.
This kind of raw data will help you build and enhance your sales funnel to perfection.