what is a sales funnel

What is a digital marketing sales funnel?

If you have an online business you must have a sales funnel to convert your website visitors into paying customers.
Your sales funnel is an essential part of your digital marketing strategy.
sales funnel
A website visitor is called a prospect in the sales world.
Most of your prospects are unlikely to make a purchase during their first visit.
Especially if they have never heard of your business before.
Some prospects become buyers quicker than others.
For those that don’t buy straight away, you need to build a relationship with them.
They will need to get to know and trust your business.
That takes time.
In the end, they are more likely to make a purchase.

A sales funnel is really just a way to represent your customer’s journey as they move towards making a purchase.
Your prospects start their journey at the top of your sales funnel and eventually emerge as paying customers through an opening further down.
Your goal is to funnel prospects into buyers, moving them from the top to the bottom of the funnel.

Unlike a normal funnel, a sales funnel has leaks in it.
Not every prospect that goes in at the top comes out as a customer at the bottom.
You should maximise your sales funnel so it is as leak free as possible.

Building a sales funnel from scratch is a lot of hard work.
Thankfully there are plenty of sales funnel tools that take the hard work out of setting one up.

What are the stages in a sales funnel?

#1. Awareness

The first thing you need to do, when your visitors arrive at your website, is to get them to enter your sales funnel.

Getting your prospects into the sales funnel is not easy.
If your prospect arrives through organic search traffic (i.e. they found you when they searched Google) you already have an element of authority.
When you have authority, your prospects are more likely to enter your sales funnel.

The aim of your sales funnel is to show your prospects how you can solve their problem.
They may not even be aware they have a problem at this point.
Once they realise they have a problem, you need to convince them you have the solution.

YouTube videos are a great tool for creating awareness.
They can be used for the other stages of the sales funnel too.
By optimising the keywords on YouTube videos you can create lots of awareness and traffic to your website.
Social media can also attract visitors to your website and build an audience very cheaply.
Use Facebook or Google adverts to retarget your prospects and keep a heightened awareness of your products or services.

You need to create great content that attracts them into your sales funnel.
When your prospect is in your sales funnel you’ve completed stage #1.

But the danger is, once they are in your funnel, they may leak out of it.
Now your challenge is to keep them in your funnel and move them to stage #2.

#2. Interest

People are clever.
Nearly 99% of your prospects who visit your website for the first time will not make a purchase.

Once your prospects are aware of you, you need to build their interest in your products or services.
You need to cultivate a relationship with them.
This happens slowly over time.
They need to be able to relate to your business.

Use social media or email to build your relationship.
Offer them something of value, for free, in exchange for their email address.
This is the sales magnet.
It can be an email newsletter, a free sample, an eBook, or a quiz etc.
Something along these lines.
Use lead magnets to generate interest towards your product or service.
After subscribing to your emails or following you on social media your prospect becomes a lead.

Within a very short space of time, of signing up for your emails, you must make contact with your lead.
Decide how often you will email them after you send them your first email.
Contact them on a daily, weekly, fortnightly or monthly basis.
Daily or weekly is best.
You will need to develop and create stories to send them.

Your emails or posts should provide true stories that build the relationship.
Make sure your message is always consistent.
You need to decide how much of your email will be the ‘story’ and how much will be the ‘sales’ pitch.
It’s definitely not a good idea to send emails which are only a sales pitch.
Follow the 80:20 rule.
80% story and 20% sales.

Blogging is a powerful tool to share your stories.
It can develop awareness and interest in your solution.
You can share your blog posts by email or social media.

Encourage your leads to share your stories with their friends.
This way you will reach a wider audience and create more interest and awareness in your solution.

#3. Desire

Your lead is now seriously thinking of buying your product or solution.
They are paying more attention to your products and services and getting closer to making a purchase.
Your lead wants to make a purchase, but it may or may not be your brand.
They are in the final stages of evaluating whether or not to commit.

One of the best ways to get your lead to make a decision is to use customer reviews and testimonials.
Use any of these other ways to help your lead decide:

  • make sure your product or service has lots of value
  • try to get them to commit to something small e.g free shipping
  • write stories they can relate to
  • encourage them to share your solution
  • offer your solution for a limited time or price.

Webinars are a great way to convince people to make a purchase.
When your lead has signed up for your webinar they are seriously interested in your solution.
The goal of your webinar should be to build excitement so they take action.
At the end of your webinar, you should always have a ‘Call to Action’.
The call to action should be to buy your product or start a free trial or request a consultation.

#4. Action

The last stage of the sales funnel is when your lead takes the action you want them to.

How well you set up your sales funnel determines how well your lead converts into a buyer.
Take this example:
100 people visit your website.
10 people enter your sales funnel.
5 people make a purchase.
This gives you a 5% conversion rate.
It costs you £100 to send 100 people to your website.
5 people spend a total £500.
This gives you a 500% return on investment (ROI).

When you know your ROI, it is easy to scale your business and make large sales.
But you need to make sure you have perfected your sales funnel first.

Getting to this stage is not a simple as it seems and takes a great deal of hard work.
Don’t cut any corners because time invested in a sales funnel is well worth it.

If you would like help setting up your sales funnel please get in touch.
We would love to hear from you.