Managing Your Business
Sales Funnel: What It Is and Why Your Small Business Needs One
Would you like a 24/7 automated salesforce that puts your products in front of potential buyers and convinces them to buy? Develop a sales funnel.
A sales funnel is a process that directs customers through your website and soft-sells them into purchasing. It's a vital tool for the growth of any online sales venture. Considered the backbone of a successful digital marketing plan, sales funnels can help you experience robust online sales. They allow you to secure a steady stream of sales without actively chasing and converting prospective customers.
How Sales Funnels Work
Most customers won't buy from your website on their first visit. Sales conversion takes time and relationship building. Think of it as a slow-drip campaign.
Sales funnels are automated steps consisting of various sales techniques that your visitors funnel through on the way to eventually purchasing your product or service. The process uses digital sales tactics, including content marketing and advertising, to convert visitors to customers. The potential customers start at one end of the funnel and filter through, experiencing various touchpoints along the way. By the time they've made their way through, they're familiar with your product or service and interested in experiencing it.
Sales funnels aren't new. Successful companies have always used them, both online and offline. For example, you may see a commercial for a brand on television, then drive by a billboard for the brand, spot a physical location, and visit to make a purchase. For a digital sales funnel, you simply use the same tactics in webspace.
Why you need a sales funnel
Sales funnels provide a way to consistently and automatically funnel potential customers through your company offerings. When done well, sales funnels can allow you to scale quickly, introducing an exponential number of would-be customers to your services. This gives you time to focus on tasks such as product development and customer service.
Sales funnels provide a process by which you can systematically generate new leads and build relationships through automated campaigns, such as newsletters and digital ads. When it's time to turn prospective customers into clients, your sales funnel does the job for you. A well-designed sales funnel will create repeat business from converted customers by continuing to build relationships with them, offering them special access to new products, services, and special deals.
The sales funnel process
A sales funnel is a step-by-step process that enables you to move potential customers through your sales campaign and head them toward purchasing. This is done through a series of marketing steps, including email signups and onboarding campaigns, videos, blog posts, and landing pages — all designed to sell your products and services for you.
Customers come to your website. This could be because they're looking for a solution to a problem or are interested in your content. Either way, they become aware that you exist. Ideally, your website features an automated system to attract leads.
Building awareness is the exploration phase. The more information you have for website visitors (via blog posts, articles, and videos), the more quickly they become well-versed as to what your company does and how you could potentially help them down the road. You also want website visitors to see stellar customer reviews about your company.
At this point, it's ideal if you can get website visitors to opt into a newsletter. That way, you can keep in touch with them and remind them that you exist. Offering something free in exchange for signing up for the newsletter works well.
Gradually, potential customers become more and more interested in your product or service. The more they hear from you via newsletters and on social media, the more they become invested in checking out your products further.
This is the stage at which you're developing a relationship with future customers. In addition to getting to know your product or service, they're getting to know all about you. The more personalized you can make the interactions, the more likely it will be that they will convert to customers.
This is the point when interested potential customers decide to try out your product or service. At this point, they have a good idea of what they can expect by becoming a customer. They're eager to see if their assumptions and your promises are correct.
Potential customers purchase your product or service. If they like what you sell and the customer service you provide, you now have a chance to convert one-time buyers to regular customers.
Sales Funnel Conversion Rates
How easily and quickly you move potential customers through the various stages will affect your conversion rates. Remember that not every site visitor will convert to sales. You might have 200 people click on an offer but only two who actually purchase.
The formula for finding your conversion rate is simple. Just divide sales by visitors. In the above example, you would divide 2 by 200 to give you a 1% conversion rate.
The benefit of knowing your conversion rate is understanding how many clicks you will need to get a certain outcome. If you're looking for 10 new customers, with a 1% conversion rate, you'll need 1,000 clicks on your offer. Knowing your conversion rates can also help you know how much you can budget for ad spending.
Continuously Improve Your Sales Funnel
Once you've used your sales funnel for some time and have had a chance to keep performance records, you'll be able to see how profitable the funnel is and make tweaks for improvement when necessary. Knowing your conversion rates also helps you plan according to performance. The information will likely help you improve future products and services, making them even more desirable to your customers.
A sales funnel is one of the best ways to get your products and services in front of prospective customers. In today's digital world, that can potentially catapult your sales into the stratosphere.