A sales funnel is arguably the most important part of any digital marketing effort.
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You can do everything else right in your marketing efforts and if you don’t create a really great sales funnel that actually works, your entire endeavor could fall apart.
Let’s get started by learning what a sales funnel is, and a little bit about the entire buying cycle, so that you see what happens to the customer as they go through your funnel.
What is a Sales Funnel?
So, you might be wondering just what exactly a sales funnel is.
Sales funnels aren’t complicated, but they can be a little confusing to anyone who is new to digital marketing.
Basically, a sales funnel is simply the process that someone goes through to buy a product or service from you.
The reason that it is called a “funnel” is that everything within the process is geared towards them making a purchase at the end.
The Sales Process
In order to understand the sales funnel, the first thing that you need to understand is the sales process, which is essentially the framework of the funnel.
We will go over each step of the process below and explain it in detail.
The first step in the process is the awareness phase. Remember, every sale that you make is not only a value proposition – it is also a solution to a problem.
The customer is looking for a solution and you need to be there to provide it. So, the first step in the process is them becoming aware of the solution.
You don’t have to worry about the problem; they are already bringing that part with them.
So, suppose someone gets online and opens up their favorite search engine, then types in “sleeping bag for 20 below weather.” They are looking for a sleeping bag that is going to keep them warm.
If you know that they are looking for that sleeping bag, then you can get them to come and check out your site.
All you need to do is get their eyeballs to land on your listing in Google and have an HTML title that speaks to them.
In this case it might be something like: Sleeping Bags for Extremely Cold Weather.
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So, now you move onto the next stage in the process. Now, you have their interest.
They want to know what you have to say and find out whether or not you really have the best solution to their problem. But you only have their interest temporarily.
They are not yet invested in your sleeping bag website. They are just a casual visitor. It’s your job to groom that interest and make it grow.
So, for example, if they get to your landing page, and you have a number of sleeping bags with the temperate rating listed on each one, they’re probably going to take a closer look.
But they might also take a closer look if you had an eBook titled: “How to Choose the Perfect Cold Weather Sleeping Bag,” or an article titled: “10 Tricks to Make Cold-Weather Sleeping Bags out of Average Ones.”
Next, they’ll move onto the evaluation phase of the proposition. The evaluation stage is where they compare your product against what they were looking for in the first place, as well as other products.
For example, suppose that you had the aforementioned cold weather sleeping bags listed on your site. A visitor might see them and buy, but they could just as easily think: “What if I can get a lower price somewhere else?”
Now, imagine that you had some way of convincing them that they won’t be able to get a lower price anywhere else. Do you see how drastically that turns the odds to your favor?
Of course, the trick is to actually convince them. Just putting the phrase: “You won’t find a lower price anywhere!” is probably not going to do it. People are savvy when it comes to advertising, so you’ll have to get creative.
So, the next thing that will happen is your buyer will make a decision. They will decide one simple thing: whether to buy your product or not.
If you have done a good job and convinced them that your product will solve their problem, then they are likely going to buy. If not, they will go elsewhere.
Making that decision depends upon what you have presented them within the evaluation stage. If you have made a good pitch then they will make the buying decision.
But when it comes to a sales funnel, them saying “no” doesn’t have to be final. For example, you could have a pop-up when they close the browser window that offers them a discount
The next step in the buying process is the purchase stage. You need to make it easy for them to buy at this point.
They are committed but that doesn’t mean that they can’t back out. For example, think about purchases that you have backed out on.
Just one example: if you purchase something that seems like a really good deal and then find out that the buyer is charging four times what the shipping should be, you’re probably going to back out.
In addition to making it as easy as possible for the buyer to complete the transaction, this would be an excellent time for you to get their email address and permission to send them valuable emails on future products and services.
They are already excited about buying from you, so it’s the best time to ask.
Next, we’ll go over each of the most Common Types of Sales Funnels in detail.
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