Using sales funnels to turbo charge your business
Sales is a key part of any business, and a sales funnel is a key facet of the sales process. But, with so much information out there on sales funnels – some good and some not so good – the question for those starting in ecommerce has to be; where to begin?
In this series we take a look at some of the basics of sales funnels, and hopefully leave you with some ideas about how you can start using them yourself to grow your online business.
What is a sales funnel?
Every business owner knows the pain of missing a sale after weeks and weeks of trying to turn a lead into a loyal client.
If your e-commerce website receives a lot of traffic but your sales volume is low, you’re not investing enough time in lead conversion. Creating a sales funnel for your business will help nurture leads from when their first point of contact with your business – whether a visit to your website or an interaction with one of your social posts – with the aim of increasing your conversion rate.
For further insights into what kind of conversion rate you should be expecting – check this article for more detail.
But, why do they call it a funnel?
A sales funnel represents the journey that customers go through before making a purchase. It is a multi-step process that helps business owners nurture visitors into leads and, finally, customers. At the top of the funnel is, basically, everyone. Your sales funnel then progressively filters this large group of people into a more focused group who – if you’re successful – will become your customers.
What are the stages of a sale funnel?
Customers pass through different stages from the moment they discover your products or services up until they make a purchase. These stages are:
The awareness or discovery stage is where people first become aware of your products or services.
At this stage, customers realise that they may have a problem, and their main goal is to identify what the issue is and how they can solve it. In the process of researching and learning about their problem, they stumble upon your business, whether it’s through organic search, social media, or advertising.
During the discovery stage, business owners should focus on increasing brand awareness through strategies such as SEO, PPC marketing, and content marketing. Your content should be informative, interesting, and it should also stand out from other competing websites.
At this stage, prospective customers have successfully identified their problem and know about your business, but they are not yet ready to buy your products.
They are looking for different types of solutions, so they’ll conduct competitive research to see who is offering the best product or service. Content such as blog posts and videos are crucial in this stage because they help explain to the customer how your products or services can solve their problem.
This article from Entrepreneur contains some great insights on how to effectively use blogs to turbocharge your marketing.
The customer is ready to buy, but they are considering you as well as your competitors. Your main goal at this stage is to show the prospect what benefits they stand to gain as your customer and what kind of returns they can expect from an investment into your products and services.
Most of their questions are vendor-driven, so you must make them the best offer.
Incentives such as free shipping, price discount, or a bonus product can help sway the prospective customer’s decision in your favour. In addition to that, reviews and testimonials from other customers can help convince prospects to buy from your business. If you haven’t offered them a free trial or sample product, this would be a great time to offer one.
In this stage of the sales funnel, the prospect will take action to purchase from you or not. If they decide not to do business with you, your efforts were not in vain. You can create nurture campaigns at this stage, to capitalise on the customer journey so far, and stay top of mind.
Now that you have a brief introduction to the basics of sales funnels and the different stages involved, our next article will look at the importance of a sales funnel for your business and some of the benefits you stand to gain by creating and implementing one.