How to Get That Sales Funnel Working for You, Part I
If you’re running a small business without any formal marketing training, you might not think in terms of a sales funnel. Most of my clients don’t, in fact. They write that kind of stuff off as “marketing speak” and they get back to trying to sell things.
But with today’s online research and buying, it’s important that you understand the basics of a sales funnel and how you can build one. Without that knowledge, it’s impossible to know what’s working and what’s not.
You might be experiencing an all-time high in sales but without understanding what goes into buying, and the steps your customers are taking, you can’t control it or increase it. You must understand how it’s happening before you can try to reproduce or grow those results.
This article will walk you through the basics you need to know and how you can start applying content to eliminate sticky areas and get more conversions.
In the next installment of this two-part piece, we’ll go over the numbers of getting people through and how you can better understand your sales process by looking at your funnel.
A basic sales funnel is made up of:
There are some sales and marketing people who have added additional steps and maybe your sales funnel needs some. But let’s start here.
This is the part of the customer journey where you become the kind of business you’d want to do business with and you show them you are.
Here’s an example of the funnel stages and the type of resources you can tie to them.
- Awareness - create a targeted Facebook ad addressing a common problem your product or service helps with. Provide an additional resource such as a checklist that can help them navigate whatever challenge you’ve just highlighted. For instance, if you’re a boutique you might advertise that you are the perfect stop for Mother’s Day gifts. Your checklist might be creative ideas for different types of mothers (such as the fashionista, the gardener, the bookworm, etc.).
- Interest - they know who you are and they like what they see. Now you have to give them more. This is where effective web copy comes in as well as a blog and consistent posting to the social media sites your ideal demographic is on. Most people prefer to learn more about companies on their own before approaching a sales person. A blog helps you showcase content that will help move them closer to a...
- Decision - now they know who you are and what you have. Be clear about what you offer and the different ways they could solve their problem with your help. This part includes providing the necessary resources to educate people on your product or service and the upsells possible. These resources should always direct them to...
- Action - this is where they buy. You want content that drives the buying process and makes it easier. This should include “buy now” buttons if you sell online or directions on how to purchase if you don’t.
As a small business owner, you might not refer to it as a sales funnel but you probably know the steps it takes the average customer to go from stranger to purchaser. Look for ways you can tie content into those processes to move people along and avoid snafus in the buying process.
Next time, we’ll learn how you can analyze your sales funnel to see where potential issues are holding people back and you’ll learn just how many leads you need to increase your sales.
Christina R. Green teaches small businesses, chambers, and associations how to connect through content. Her articles have appeared in the Midwest Society of Association Executives’ Magazine, NTEN.org, AssociationTech, and WritersWeekly. She is a regular blogger at Frankjkenny.com and the Event Manager Blog.
Christina is an introverted writer on a quest to bring great storytelling to organizations everywhere.