We all know that the most important aspect of running a business is converting your audience into actual customers—READ: those who buy your product or service and hopefully, refer you to their friends, colleagues, and family.
Let’s say you have an amazing product or service but your target market doesn’t know you or they can’t see what differentiates you from the competition. This makes it difficult to grow revenue.
Timing is everything. If you hard-sell to tire kickers or those just canvassing, they may be turned off by your “aggression”. If you are running awareness campaigns to the component of your audience holding space in their cart, you risk losing them in the process.
It is important for you to evaluate your potential customers’ purchase decision journey. Identify how to approach them to raise awareness of your brand and then lure them into buying what you are offering. You can do that through a sales funnel.
So what is a sales funnel and how do you create one for your business?
Here is your step-by-step guide.
Sales Funnel Defined
A sales funnel, also known as a marketing funnel, is an essential marketing strategy and development tool that every marketer should use. Shaped like an inverted pyramid, it provides a breakdown of the stages or steps that a customer goes through in their purchase journey.
Now imagine you’re running an ecommerce website selling essential oils. Before a person purchases your product, he or she could;
- Search Google for “essential oils seller AU”.
- Visitor sees an ad about your shop or discovers your business in the SERPs.
- The user clicks on the link and visits your online shop.\
- The user browses through your product listings and views the one he/she likes.
- He/she adds items to the cart.
- The user finalises the order by paying for it.
Stages in the Customer Journey Funnel
A funnel’s purpose is to provide sound promotional tactics based on the intent of your buyer. The funnel is divided into three or four stages that represent the steps the customer undergoes.
This is the stage where the buyer recognizes they have a problem that needs a solution.
Let’s use our example above on essential oils.
Let’s say that the person has regular headaches. He is looking for essential oils to relax his mind and lessen his stress at the end of the day.
You have the product he is looking for. Great! But… how will my target market know I have the answer to their problem? How will they know I sell essential oils to alleviate stress and headaches?
When your prospects are still in the awareness stage, remember it is not ideal to have a very salesy approach. It will just turn them off. Instead, make them aware of who you are and what you sell. Run a paid search campaign that uses the keywords that your target market uses in their searches. You can also post a link of your website on your social media channels using the appropriate hashtags and boosting the post to show to the right audience.
Alternatively, start showing informational content, for instance, about the health benefits of essential oils. You can put this online either as a blog post, infographics or even as a short video to grow interest in your offering.
Remember, the goal is to provide useful information and to lead your target market to the next level of the funnel.
Interest and Evaluation Stages
In the ‘Interest level’ stage, people already know who you are. They are aware you sell essential oils. It is therefore crucial to lure them further into the ‘evaluation stage’, which you can only do with the right marketing business development actions.
Before making a purchase decision, they will often compare you to your competitors on the below factors:
- Price point
- Effectiveness of solution provided
- Promptness of delivery
- Returns policy
- Materials / ingredients used
- Reputation of company
So how do you approach this phase successfully? The simple answer is educate and engage your target.
Sharing customer testimonials detailing how your product has benefitted others is a great angle to approach. Featuring real people and highlighting their problems and solutions you’ve provided can help earn the trust of your target market.
The evaluation process will also be less complicated for potential buyers if you offer them a FREE TRIAL pack or a similar promotion in exchange for their email addresses. PLUS, once you have their personal information on file, getting in touch and utilising an email remarketing campaign will be easier and more succesful.
The key thing to remember at this point is, your audience is closer to making their purchase decision. Don’t let them go. Give them valuable content that will help make the decision process easier.
This is the final step in the sales funnel. Your prospective buyer has identified his problem, sought for and investigated the solutions in the market, and finally narrowed down the options with the final choice. What needs to be done at this point is entering the payment details and clicking on the BUY or ORDER button.
A good way to hook the customer is to offer something of value to them at that exact moment. For instance, you can offer an exclusive discount if the person orders in a timely manner. Always capitalise on personalisation so that the customer feels special; this emotional tug will contribute to their final decision of purchasing from you.
After the Conversion, What Happens Next?
Your role as a marketer should not end when the buyer finally purchases your product. In fact, business marketing development efforts need to be undertaken post-purchase in order to convert your buyers into advocates of your business.
Sending them a thank-you email or a voucher for their next order will make a huge difference in your reputation as a business. Your customer will most likely refer you to their peers, which will be PLUS points for you.
Remember, at the end of the day, it is by treating your customers right, even after the end of their transaction with you, that will keep you relevant and loved in this highly competitive industry.