If your business sells products or services, you’ve probably heard of sales funnels. It’s become a common term in marketing, but many small and medium-sized businesses aren’t leveraging the idea properly.
Understanding your sales funnel can help you increase your return on investment when spending marketing dollars for your business.
What is a sales funnel?
Sales funnels help us imagine how customers move from awareness of a brand through to developing interest and making a decision. If we’re successful, they move to taking action, and staying loyal after their first purchase.
Imagine the shape of a funnel, with a wide-open top and a very narrow base. Now, imagine your customers moving through that funnel as they move along their purchasing journey. The idea helps us understand that a lot of volume may come through the top of the funnel, but only a small number come out the bottom as satisfied customers who have made a purchase.
Consider where customers are in your sales funnel, then customize your approach accordingly. To reach a wide volume of potential customers at the top of the funnel, we implement tactics reaching a wide volume of people at once for low cost. As we see customers becoming engaged and continuing through their purchase journey, we can invest more time and energy.
Your widest reach for low cost may be the content on your website, your blog page and your social media channels. As customers become more engaged with your brand and show more interest, you can offer resources like white papers and or a free demo encouraging them to provide contact information. The customers who stay engaged can then be invested in with more personal methods like phone calls and in-person meetings.
Why your business needs a sales funnel
We no longer control the customer experience from the moment they step into a store or sales office. Now, customers aren’t all learning about you in the same way, and they’re not all moving along the sales journey, or traveling down the funnel, in a straight line.
How you engage with your customers at each stage is important. Is this someone who has never heard of you? A prospect you think is a good fit or a warm lead you’ve engaged before? Perhaps a customer ready to buy or a repeat customer?
A customer becoming aware of your brand for the first time should be engaged differently than one who has had several interactions with you and is close to making a buying decision. Existing clients should also be engaged, but very differently as now your goal is to turn them into a repeat customer, or better yet, a loyal supporter who shares your brand with others. You should be customizing your marketing so that you approach them in a way that meets their needs at each stage.
Why should your business have a sales funnel? Learning more about how to effectively engage your customers at every step is a valuable investment in your bottom line.