How to Market Your Business Using the Sales Funnel
February 27, 2019
The sales funnel isn’t a new tool; in fact it’s been in use for decades, long before internet marketing was even a thought. Despite it being a well-tested tool, it still applies today. There are many different forms of the funnel, but the basic breakdown can be summed up in 4-stages.
1. Awareness: The awareness stage of the funnel consists of the consumer first learning of or seeing your brand. At this early stage, he or she may have never heard of you before but is interested in learning more.
2. Research: The research stage builds from the awareness stage. The consumer has decided they want to know what your company does and researches it. This might include following you on social media, Googling your brand, or requesting a sample.
3. Consideration: As the title implies, the consideration stage occurs while potential customers deliberate over whether to buy from you. During this stage the consumer might even fill a shopping cart at your online store. At the end of the consideration stage the consumer commits to buying or backs off; possibly back into the research stage.
4. Action: The final stage of the sales funnel is action. This involves the customer making a purchase. From here the goal becomes retention as you try to turn this one-time customer into a returning customer.
So, how can you use this funnel to better market your business? Easily. Understanding where your customers are in the funnel isn’t important, so long as your strategies appeal to every level. From awareness to action, your advertising methods should shine a light on improving the customer experience and helping them follow through to a purchase.
Increase Relevant Content
The best way to begin implementing a new marketing strategy based on the funnel is to improve overall content. The content you create and disperse helps on every single level of the marketing funnel. In the awareness stage, a random share of a Facebook post could be the reason a new customer sees your brand for the first time. Therefore, this random post could be the first impression a consumer gets of your business. Think about that for a moment. Imagine that your last Facebook post is the first and most lasting impression a customer has of your brand. Would you still have posted it knowing that? If your answer is no then you should consider improving the content you share on social media.
Similarly, the content you write is also used by potential customers during the research stage. If somebody wants to know more about you, what’s the first thing they’ll do online? Probably perform a search, which should produce a link to your website. How does your landing page look to a new customer? Does it tell your brand story well? Does it make you look like an authority in your field? This content is crucial to developing a longing in this customer to continue further in the sales funnel.
During the consideration stage of the funnel, customers might browse your online store, or read through descriptions of your services. This content should be tailored to deliver a quick and meaningful explanation of what your brand could do for them. If information is lacking, hard to follow, or too long, you could lose a potential customer.
Finally, the content you post helps retain customers once they reach the action stage. Say a customer buys a tube of lipstick from your online store. You want that customer to come back, how do you get their attention, so they remember your brand? Newsletters, special promotions, and social media updates increase customer awareness and let shoppers know about new products they should try that might match that lipstick they just purchased.
Implement Universal Tools
Whether a customer is just getting to know your brand, or trying to checkout in your online marketplace, the website should work seamlessly. From landing page to shopping cart, every button, link, and widget should meet the same expectations. Customers who have difficulty traversing a website are more likely to exit your page and look for a similar business with a site that functions properly. It isn’t just speed that consumers want to see from the sites they’re using. Shoppers also want to see routine maintenance, smooth transitions, and quick fixes when a problem does occur.
The same goes for apps your company offers and mobile-friendly site formatting. If a customer can’t reach your site during the awareness stage of the funnel, they may never become interested enough to research. If they can’t click your links during the research stage of the funnel, they’ll assume your products could function as poorly as your website. These tools affect customers at every stage, making it more important than ever to monitor and update them regularly.
The sales funnel is good for more than just reviewing the current standing of your website and marketing methods. You can use the funnel to plan and create a whole new marketing strategy. Use polls, sales stats, and other analytics to determine approximately how many consumers are at each stage of the funnel with your business, and tailor your ads and content to meet them where they are. Your customers will notice the difference, and once these strategies are implemented, you’re sure to notice the difference as well. It goes to show that just because a marketing tool is old, doesn’t mean it’s outdated.