Every business, whether for-profit or not-for-profit, is in the business of sales. And if you are in the business of sales, there’s one thing you must master in order to succeed and create Raving Fan Customers; sales funnels.
What Is A Sales Funnel?
A sales funnel is a marketing strategy that illustrates the various different stages that a customer goes through before making a purchase. It is used to convert prospects into paying customers.
Your funnel attracts as many prospects as possible at the top and narrows them down at each stage. This is why it’s called a “funnel” ― you are funnelling prospects through the various stages until you are left with only those who are qualified and willing to make a purchase.
Making sales funnels work for your business takes knowledge and practice. If you want to conquer your competition and skyrocket your success, it’s vital that you have a deep understanding of sales funnels so you can make them work to your advantage.
The Key To Success
Sales funnel expert Russel Brunson says “Funnels are the future…it’s where everything is going. But they aren’t just something you put out there and hope the best happens. You have to understand the marketing behind it.”
In fact, a study conducted in Harvard Business Review found that companies with simple, well-designed marketing funnels are 62% more likely to close high-quality sales. Building a well-functioning funnel can therefore be the difference between your business surviving and thriving.
The goal of your sales funnel is to move prospects seamlessly through each distinct stage until ultimately they commit to making a purchase ― this process of moving prospects down the sales funnel is known as lead nurturing.
The different stages of your sales funnel will help you structure and optimise your marketing content toward your prospects with the ultimate goal always being to move them closer to the point of purchase. All stages must be split tested, monitored and refined to ensure your prospects are converting consistently.
The most successful businesses deliver the right message at the right time to convert prospects into paying Raving Fan Customers. Furthermore, people don’t by-products, they buy states. Knowing this, the better you can make your prospect feel, the more likely they are to progress through each stage of your funnel.
Sales Funnel Stages
Before you can learn how to create a sales funnel, you must learn about the basic stages. There are four stages to a sales funnel. They are: Awareness, Interest, Decision and Action.
Below we’ll unpack each stage of the process in more detail along with listing which channels are relevant to that specific stage.
- Awareness ― Top Of The Funnel ― Cold Prospects
This is where your prospect enters your marketing funnel and first learns about your company and what you have to offer.
The key here is capturing your prospect’s attention and establishing a relationship. You must build rapport with them and create trust so that they are motivated to return to your site and engage more with your business.
Strategies for this stage include content marketing, social media, paid advertisements, SEO, SEM and public relations.
- Interest ― Middle Of The Funnel ― Warm Prospects
This is where your prospect researches to learn more about your company and what you have to offer.
The key here is to establish your expertise and explain why you are in the best position to solve their problem. You must help your audience make an informed decision by educating them about what you are selling and the benefits.
Strategies for this stage include landing pages, e-books, newsletters, free tools, case studies and retargeting.
- Decision ― Middle Of The Funnel ― Hot Prospects
This is where your prospect evaluates and compares you against your competition.
The key here is to provide more value than anyone else and make your offer so irresistible that your prospect can’t say no. You must offer something that makes you stand out from everyone else.
Strategies for this stage include reviews, testimonials, case studies, retargeting, free consultations, promotions, free shipping, free trials, add-ons, demos and email marketing.
- Action ― Bottom Of The Funnel ― Conversion
This is where your prospect commits to making a purchase and becomes a paying customer.
The key to this stage is customer retention and creating an extraordinary experience. You must do everything you can to retain your customers and turn them into repeat Raving Fan Customers that return again and again.
Strategies for this stage include maintaining engagement, offering outstanding customer support, inviting them to give feedback or simply expressing your gratitude and saying thank you.
You must also know your Conversion Value which is the amount of money you spend versus the amount of money you gain from each prospect that makes a purchase.
A sales funnel illustrates the path customers take before they commit to making a purchase. There are four stages to a sales funnel: awareness, interest, decision and action.
The goal of the awareness stage is to make a strong first impression. The goal of the interest stage is to differentiate your business from your competitors. The goal for the decision stage is to make your offer irresistible. The goal of the action stage is to generate repeat customers by going above and beyond to create the ultimate experience.
Each stage of the sales funnel is unique and therefore requires a different message. This means your marketing content must be designed to capture your prospects wherever they are in the funnel so you can keep them engaged with content that will move them deeper.
As a business owner, if you want to stay relevant and beat out your competition, you must build, test, refine and fully optimize your sales funnels. Learning how to create highly-functioning sales funnels is the key to effective lead nurturing that creates Raving Fan Customers who will come back again and again.