Each stage of the sales funnel has an effect on how people act. You must know them very well.
If you know each step, you can use strategies to help more people move from one step to the next.
This could really mess up your business.
Let’s say that at two steps of your funnel, the number of people doubles. You get twice as many leads, and you get twice as many customers. That means you’ll get four times as many new customers each month.
One of the most important business ideas is how to define and run your sales funnel.
Let’s dive in.
What exactly is a sales funnel?
The sales funnel is all of the steps someone has to take to become one of your customers.
Let’s look at a sales funnel for a physical store.
The people at the top of the sales funnel pass by your store. The next part of the funnel is when some of them decide to walk in.
A customer notices a rack of T-shirts that are on sale. After looking through the rack, they move on to the next step of the funnel. The customer then picks out four t-shirts and walks to the cash register. They are almost done. If everything goes well, they finish the purchase and get to the bottom of the funnel.
Every business goes through this same process in some way or another. Your sales funnel could exist as:
Personal consultation with the sales team of a store
Your sales funnel can include any marketing channel. And your funnel might be spread out over more than one channel.
What’s the point of a sales funnel?
Your sales funnel shows the path that potential customers take.
Understanding your funnel can help you find the holes in the funnel, or the places where prospects fall out and never convert.
If you don’t understand your sales funnel, you can’t optimize it. We’ll talk more about how the funnel works in the next section, but for now, just know that you can control how visitors move through the funnel and whether or not they end up converting.
How Does a Sales Funnel Work? sales-funnel-how-works
There are many words for the different stages of the sales funnel, but we’ll use the four most common ones to explain how each stage works as a customer moves from being a visitor to a prospect to a lead to a buyer.
A person finds your website through a Google search or a link from social media. He or she is now a potential client. The visitor might read a few of your blog posts or look through your products. At some point, you give them the option to join your email list.
If a visitor fills out your form, he or she becomes a lead. You can now market to customers outside of your website, such as by email, phone, text message, or all three.
When you contact leads with special offers, information about new blog posts, or other interesting messages, they are more likely to return to your website. You might have a coupon code.
As people move through the sales funnel, it gets narrower. This is partly because you’ll have more prospects at the top of the funnel than buyers at the bottom, but it’s also because your messaging needs to become more specific as you move down the funnel.
Understand the 4 Sales Funnel Stages
The acronym AIDA makes it easy to remember the four stages of the sales funnel: Awareness, Interest, Decision, and Action. This is how your potential customer thinks at these four stages.
You, as a marketer, need to take a different approach at each stage so that you don’t send the wrong message at the wrong time. It’s kind of like a waiter asking you what you want for dessert before you’ve even ordered drinks and starters.
Let’s take a closer look at each stage of the sales funnel.
This is the first time you get a customer’s attention. It could be a tweet, a friend’s shared Facebook post, a Google search, or something else.
Your prospect learns about your company and what it has to offer.
When the conditions are just right, people sometimes buy right away. It was the right time and the right place. The customer has already done research and knows that what you’re selling is good and that your price is fair.
Most of the time, the awareness stage is more like dating. You’re trying to get the prospect to come back to your website and do more business with you.
When a consumer gets to the interest stage of the sales funnel, they do research, compare prices, and think about their options. Now is the time to swoop in with great content that helps them but doesn’t try to sell to them.
If you try to sell your product or service right away, you’ll turn off potential customers and drive them away. Here, you want to show that you are an expert, help the customer make an informed choice, and offer to help them in any way you can.
The customer is ready to buy at the decision stage of the sales funnel. He or she might be thinking about two or three choices, and hopefully, you’re one of them.
This is the time to give your best offer. It could be free shipping when most of your competitors charge, a coupon code, or a free product. No matter what it is, make it so tempting that your lead can’t wait to use it.
At the end of the sales funnel, the customer does something. He or she buys your product or service and joins the ecosystem of your business.
But just because a customer gets to the bottom of the funnel doesn’t mean that your job is done. Action is important for both the customer and the marketer. You should try your best to turn one sale into ten, ten into a hundred, and so on.
In other words, you’re concentrating on keeping customers. Thank the customer for buying from you, ask for feedback, and make yourself available for tech support, if necessary.
An Effective Sales Funnel Example sales
Imagine you have an online store where you sell old signs. You know that your target customers are mostly on Facebook and that they are men and women between the ages of 25 and 65.
You have a great ad on Facebook that sends people to a landing page. You ask your prospect to sign up for your email list on the page in exchange for a lead magnet. Simple enough, right?
Instead of prospects, you now have leads. They are making their way through the funnel.
Over the next few weeks, you’ll send your subscribers information about vintage signs, design ideas, and instructions on how to hang these signs.
At the end of your email blitz, you give each customer a coupon for 10 percent off their first order as a whole. Bang! You’re selling vintage signs like crazy. All of your customers want what you’re selling.
Then, you add the same customers to a new list of people to email. You start over, but this time with different content. Give them ideas for gallery walls, tell them how to care for their signs, and suggest signs as gifts. You want them to return for more.
So, here it is:
Awareness: You made a Facebook ad to get people to visit your website.
Interest: You give away something valuable in exchange for a lead.
Your content gives your audience information and gets them ready to buy.
Action: You give your leads a coupon they can’t refuse, and then you market to them again to keep them as customers.
How to Make a Sales Funnel Quickly
You’re excited, right? You need to set up a sales funnel right now—and quickly. Don’t stress. It’s not as hard as it may look.
Step 1: Watch how your audience acts.
The better your sales funnel works, the more you know about your target audience. You’re not trying to sell to everyone. People who are a good match for what you sell are the ones you market to.
Create an account with Crazy Egg and start making Snapshots. These user behavior reports help you track what people do on your site and find out how they interact with it.
Where do the buttons go? Why do they scroll? How long do they look at a certain page? All of these pieces of information will help you make your buyer personas better.
Step 2: Capture Your Audience’s Attention
Your sales funnel will only work if you can get people to enter it. This means showing your content to the people you want to read it.
Take the organic route and post a lot of content on all of your platforms. Use different kinds of content like infographics, videos, and other things.
Run some ads if you are willing to spend more money. Where your ads should be shown depends on where your target audience hangs out. If you sell to other businesses, LinkedIn ads might be the best way to go.
Step 3: Make a landing page
Your ad or other content should lead people somewhere. You should send them to a landing page with an offer they can’t refuse.
Since these people are still at the bottom of the sales funnel, you should focus on getting leads instead of trying to make a sale.
A landing page should point the visitor toward the next step.
You need a strong call to action that tells them exactly what to do, like downloading a free e-book or watching an instructional video.
Step 4: Make an email drip campaign to market to your leads by sending them great content through email. Do this often, but not too often. It should be enough to send one or two emails a week.
Prepare your market for the sale by teaching them first. What do they hope to find out? What problems and objections do they have that you need to solve to get them to buy?
Make an amazing offer at the end of your drip campaign. That’s the content that will move your leads to take action.
Step 5: Keep in Touch
Don’t forget about the people who already buy from you. Instead, keep trying to connect with them. Thank them for buying from you, give them more coupon codes, and include them in your social media.
How to Figure Out if a Sales Funnel Is Working?
As your business grows, you may need to change your sales funnel as you learn more about your customers and offer more products and services. That’s okay.
Tracking your conversion rates is a great way to figure out how well your sales funnel is working.
For example, how many people sign up for your email list after clicking on one of your Facebook ads?
Carefully watch each step of the sales funnel:
Are you getting enough people’s attention with your first content?
Do your prospects trust you enough to tell you how to reach them?
Have you made sales through your drip-email campaign and other marketing efforts?
Do customers who have already bought from you come back and buy again?
If you know the answers to these questions, you’ll know where in your sales funnel you need to make changes.
Why you should improve your sales funnel
Here’s what’s true: Your customers-to-be have a lot of choices. You want them to choose your products or services, but you can’t force them. Instead, you should market well.
Without a tight, well-tuned sales funnel, you can only guess what your potential customers want. Getting something wrong means losing the sale.
Use Crazy Egg Recordings to see how people use your site over the course of a session. Where do the buttons go? Does anything seem to make them confused? Are they paying attention to what you want them to?
This is very important for those landing pages we talked about. Most people will just click away if they aren’t optimized for conversions.
How to make your sales funnel work better?
There are many ways to make your sales funnel work better. Most of your attention should be on the parts of the funnel where customers move on to the next step.
We discussed Facebook ads. Don’t run just one ad. Run 10 or 20. They might look very similar, but you can send them to different buyer personas and use Facebook’s targeting tools to make sure they show up in front of your target audience.
Test your landing pages with A/B. It takes time, but you’ll reach more people and be more likely to turn leads into customers.
You can also test your email campaigns with A/B testing. Change up your language, images, offers, and layouts to find out what your audience responds to.
But paying attention to the results is the best way to improve your sales funnel.
First, look at the top of the funnel. You make content, whether it’s paid or free, to get people to notice your brand and click on your CTA. Try another piece of content if one doesn’t work.
Go to your landing page next. Make sure the offer and call to action match the content in your blog post, Facebook ad, or whatever else you used to get people to your site. Find out what works best by testing your headline, body copy, images, and call to action.
A/B test your offer before you ask people in the Action stage to buy from you. Is free shipping a better deal than a 5% discount? These small things can have a big effect on how much money you make.
And lastly, keep track of how many customers you keep. Do people come back to buy from you a second, fifth, or twentieth time? Do they recommend people?
Your goal is to make sure that people remember your brand. If you never let down your audience, they won’t have any reason to look elsewhere.
It takes time to set up and improve a sales funnel. It’s not easy. But it’s the only way to stay in business in a market with lots of competition.
Even something as small as the font used can affect conversions. And if you try to sell something too quickly, people will run away.
Spend some time making a sales funnel that reflects both what you want and what your audience wants. Grow it over time, change your approach for the different stages of the sales funnel, and figure out why what you’re doing isn’t working.
Get in touch with on of our specialist today to learn more about the sales funnels today to start collecting real, useful information about the people who visit your website. There’s no substitute for raw data, and you don’t want to build your sales funnel on someone else’s audience and reach. It should be completely unique to you.