It is in the best interest of every business owner, manager, and marketer to take a step back from their work to examine the sales funnel from the perspective of a customer. The stages of the sales funnel as experienced by the customer largely dictate whether conversion occurs.
Navigate the customer journey by playing the role of an interested party, take notes while performing this simulated experience and you’ll have the insight necessary to perfect your sales funnel.
The Sales Funnel Begins With a Point of Attraction
The initial stage of the sales funnel centers on generating attention from members of a target audience. Sparking interest from potential buyers is easier said than done. A combination of inbound and outbound marketing paves inroads to both online and offline audiences. This mixture of marketing strategies also reinforces one another for a cohesive whole that is greater than the two distinct parts.
Outbound marketing is characterized by traditional forms of customer outreach such as:
- TV commercials
- Radio spots
- Magazine ads
- Newspaper ads
In contrast, inbound marketing is characterized by online and digital forms of outreach that zero in on those who express a sincere interest in the product or service.
As time progresses, more businesses are shifting to inbound marketing as it is more affordable, more effective, and relevant to the masses who are gradually transitioning away from traditional forms of media to online content.
Connect with your target audience through the following:
- Pay-per-click ads (PPC ads)
- Social media
- Blog posts with SEO (search engine optimization)
- Additional relevant information
Dangle a worksheet, white paper, e-book, or other free source of information and you’ll find online traffic gradually moves your way.
When developing content to generate interest in the initial stage of the sales funnel, consider how your content maps by each unique buyer persona. Analyze how your current content can be improved to appeal to your target audience, make the necessary alterations, and the updated content will be that much more appealing to those most likely to be interested in your value proposition.
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Monitor the Ensuing Engagement
Now that you’ve perfected your inbound marketing content and other components of your customer outreach, it is time to quantify the results. Tech tools facilitate the monitoring of marketing results, keeping count of online views, visitors, downloads, and more.
Nurture the Growing Customer Base
Connecting with target customers is only part of the challenge of building a successful sales funnel. Embrace the opportunity to nurture your customer base after the initial point of attraction. Nurturing takes the form of regular contact through email and/or social media.
Collect email addresses so you can transmit ongoing updates and offers through the web. If necessary, hire a part-time or full-time social media manager to interact with those who leave comments and questions on your company’s social media posts.
Continue to prove that your business is worthy of ongoing customer engagement, provide relevant information about your product/service as well as your overarching industry and you’ll win the trust of your audience.
Help Target Customers Justify the Decision to Buy
Put yourself in the shoes of the average customer who shows an interest in your product or service. Such individuals often struggle to justify shelling out their hard-earned money, regardless of the price. It is your role to justify such a decision.
Convince customers that the purchase is justified using social proof through influencers on social media, how-to tutorial videos, and positive product/service reviews posted to your website. Such social proof constitutes the all-important validation that proves the value offering is worth the money.
Maintain an allegiance to the truth when attempting to justify the purchase of your item or service and you’ll fortify a truly impenetrable rapport with your valued customers.
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Snag Customers who Fall Through the Funnel Cracks
Maintain a laser-like focus on key performance indicators such as the bounce rate of your website and other online content. Target individuals who surfed the web to your homepage or other components of your online footprint through strategic retargeting.
Retargeting takes the form of a tiny piece of code, referred to as a pixel, that transmits a cookie to those who view your website or a specific page on the web. The cookie communicates to the retargeting provider to present specific advertisements on social media and other websites, repositioning the value offering in front of the coveted prospect.
Be patient and those seemingly lost prospects will re-enter the sales funnel and possibly convert into paying customers.