Having trouble with your online business and don’t know why?
The reason is usually right in front of your face, and it’s something that many new entrepreneurs often neglect. That reason is your marketing strategy.
More specifically, it’s your sales funnel system—or lack thereof.
If you’re wondering what is a sales funnel in marketing? Then you’ve come to the right place. Creating a sales funnel is one of the first things that you need to do to be successful in a competitive marketplace.
So, if you’re a struggling entrepreneur then it’s time you’ve learned how to build a sales funnel. Keep reading to learn more about the sales funnel stages and how to apply them to your business.
What is a Sales Funnel in Marketing?
Your sales funnel by definition is essentially the path which your potential clients take to purchase your products or services. It is the very thing that converts your leads into buyers. However, not all of your leads will be converted. In fact, many of them will remain leads, which means it is up to you to help them on their way.
Here’s a real-life scenario:
you walk into a bar that you’ve never been to before. You’re greeted by the bartender who asks if it’s your first time visiting. Now, during this time you’re thinking to yourself, I’m just going to have one drink. So you order an old fashion.
That’s when the bartender begins to make suggestions. They ask if you’ve ever tried an old fashion made with tequila. Of course, you look at them strangely, but they continue to explain the similarities between an añejo tequila and bourbon. They even give you a sample shot of the añejo so you can see for yourself.
You decide to go for it because that añejo did not taste anything like the tequila from your college years. You end up liking it so much, that you order another one—and an appetizer or two. Before you know it, you’re three añejo old fashions deep and on a first-name basis with your new favorite bartender.
Fast forward to two months later—you stop in once a week, and sometimes you bring friends. You’re now a repeat customer of this bar.
This is how sales funneling works in real life. And this is exactly how it should work for your website. Only instead of the persuasive bartender, you have pages to guide your potential customers through the sales funnel stages.
Why is Your Sales Funnel Important?
As mentioned before, your sales funnel is what will convert your potential customers into actual customers. It’s also something that you have total control over, which is why you should get to know and understand this marketing tool.
Once you have an understanding of your sales funnel, you’ll be able to see the holes—where your potential customers drop out before making a purchase. from there, you can optimize your funnel to better influence the potential to the actual.
If you don’t understand your sales funnel or how it works, it’s time to learn.
How to Does a Sales Funnel Work?
The first thing you need to learn about creating a sales funnel is how to build a sales funnel model. Different models have different stages, but they’re all pretty similar in their guidance and goals.
Here’s the popular AIDA example of sales funnel stages to get you started:
Stage 1: Awareness
This is when people become aware of what you’re offering. A solution to their problems, if you will. The key to this phase is knowing who your target audience is, how to target them—and where.
Stage 2: Interest
You’ve piqued interest in your audience. Now they’re aware that they have a problem and you may have a solution. This is when they begin to follow you on social media, subscribe to your lists, read your content, or even reach out to ask questions.
Of course, they’re probably comparing you to your competitors as well.
Stage 3: Decision Making
This is when the customer is ready to make a purchase. Of course, that purchase could be from you or a competitor, which makes this phase crucial. This is the time to make the better offer—free shipping, discounts, bonus items, money back garantee—Something that will make them choose you and not your competition.
Stage 4: Action
This is the very last phase and the most important. This is when the potential customer becomes an actual customer by purchasing your products or services. They are now a part of your business’ ecosystem. Yay!
Of course, your work here isn’t done. Just because you turned a potential customer into an actual customer, it’s still just one purchase. Now it’s time to focus on your follow up, so you can turn one purchase into recurring purchases.
This follow-up is also referred to as customer retention. Take the time to express your gratitude by reaching out with a thank you, inviting them to give feedback, and making yourself available for support. Coupons don’t hurt either.
These stages are the fundamental building blocks of your sales funnel. But of course, there’s more to learn.
Inside the Sales Funnel Stages
Creating a sales funnel based on the stages as AIDA seems easy enough—and it is easy. You just have to be willing to put in the leg work. There are five steps you need to take to build your sales funnel and I’m going to walk you through them.
Step 1: Get to Know Your Audience
You’re not targeting everybody—you’re targeting a specific audience that will be a good fit for your products or services.
Where do they scroll? Which apps do they use? How much time do they spend on particular websites? Where do they congregate? The more you know about them, the better.
There plenty of online marketing tools out there to help you identify and learn about your target audience. They’ll uncover things like demographics, average income, geographic location—and even how they found you.
As I said, the more you know, the better.
Step 2: Capture Their Attention
The only way to get your target audience into your sales funnel is to get their attention. How do you get their attention?
Get in front of them!
Diversify yourself and start posting across social media platforms. Use infographics, videos, and content which can be specifically targeted to them. This is the organic approach, as it doesn’t really cost anything to create and use social media accounts.
Here’s a pro tip: Don’t exhaust yourself and waste your time trying to be efficient on EVERY social media platform. Start with one or two of the most popular among your target audience, and nurture those platforms first. There’s no point in wasting your time on Facebook if your audience spends all of their time on Instagram.
If your budget allows it, you can also purchase ads to run wherever your target audience hangs out.
Step 3: Create a Landing Page
You want all of your ads and social media content to lead somewhere right?
Well, a landing page with intriguing offers is exactly where you want them to go. Since this is really the beginning stage of your sales funnel, you don’t want to push the sales right away. Your landing page should really focus on piquing their interest and making them want to learn more.
Create an informative and inviting page that takes them a bold call to action. This call to action should tell them exactly what to do, whether it be to sign up for a webinar, download a free ebook, or watch a video.
Step 4: The E-mail Drip Campaign
It may seem futile with all of the junk e-mail clogging up everyone’s inboxes these days, but this marketing strategy works.
You can market to your potential customers via e-mail as long as you provide high-quality content. It also helps if people are actually subscribing to your e-mail list. Just don’t flood their inboxes every day, otherwise, you’ll lose potential customers. Stick to sending out your content once or twice a week.
You can build up your sales by using these e-mails to educate your audience. Figure out what they want to know and the obstacles that you need to overcome in order to convince them to make their investment.
When you get to the end of your campaign, make an offer. This will inspire them to act—especially if there’s something in it for them, like a special discount.
Step 5: Keep in Touch!
Continuing to engage with your new and existing customers is a good way to keep them coming back.
Start by thanking them for their purchases and offer further discounts that will entice them to shop with you again. You’ll also want to make sure that you continue to reach out to them even after they’ve become a loyal customer.
These are the basic steps of building a sales funnel. However, building a sales funnel in WordPress involves a little more work.
How to Build a Sales Funnel in WordPress
It’s time to apply everything you’ve learned so far about the sales funnel stages to your WordPress site. This will include learning about the software or plug-ins that you’ll need to integrate within your website.
As a website (and product) owner, there are some basic but essential pages you need to incorporate into your WordPress funnel:
- An opt-in page
- A confirmation page
- A thank you page
- A sales page
- A one-time offer or deep discount page
- A download page
Given the right theme, WordPress can create all of these for you. In addition to creating these pages, you’ll also want to incorporate the right plug-ins. Plug-ins are components of the software which allow you to maximize and extend the features on your website for further customization.
There are a number of both free and for purchase plug-ins that you can find. For a more comprehensive look at the tools you’ll need for your sales funnel in WordPress, you can find them here.
Measuring Your Sales Funnel Success
Measuring the success of your sales funnel just as important as creating a sales funnel. The best way to measure this success is by tracking your conversion rates.
Analyze the things that convert and the things that don’t—
- Is your original content capturing enough attention?
- Are you gaining the trust of your potential customers?
- Are you securing purchases from all of your marketing platforms?
- Do you have repeat customers?
Answering these questions will help you analyze your conversion rates so that you can patch any holes in your sales funnel.
Optimizing Your Sales Funnel
Optimizing your sales funnel is your best offense and defense. Both your potential and existing customers have options, which means you need to make sure that you are marketing efficiently so that they choose you each time.
There are a number of ways to optimize your sales funnel. The best ways to optimize is to observe where your best conversion rates lie and what your results are. For example, if you find that paid ads work best, then run them. A LOT of them.
You’ll want to implement A/B testing. It’s time-consuming but extremely effective. You can use it for your website, e-mail, and everything in between. With A/B testing you’ll be able to test different versions of your marketing platforms to see which ones get the best responses.
From there, you can determine which changes you need to make for full optimization. Remember, it’s all about enhancing your customers’ experience in order to convert those leads into buyers.
Go Get Those Conversions
Going through the sales funnel stages and building an optimal sales funnel for your business is what will make or break you in a competitive marketplace. It may take time, but in the end, the creation and cultivation will result in the higher conversion rates you need.
If you’re ready to take the next step in creating a sales funnel for your business but need help, contact Josh Jacobs today. You’ll also get instant and free access to online marketing tips!