what-is-a-sales-funnel-and-how-does-it-work

Have you recently started trading online? In order to effectively turn prospects and leads into your biggest fans - you're going to need a sales funnel.

Now as most of us know, by definition a funnel is generally a tube or a pipe. At the top the opening is very wide, before it narrows dramatically at the bottom to guide substances to where you want them to go. A sales funnel is more or less the same thing - except that the substance is your audience. While increasing conversions, the end goal is usually always to turn a one-time customer, into a loyal and raving fan.

How Does A Sales Funnel Work

A sales funnel is the process of guiding consumers through to a purchase, generally through four key factors.

Awareness - As business owners, we usually have to cast the net wide to start. This is where prospects discover you, and were you could potentially be the answer to a question or problem for them. This initial spark of interest can stem from Google, a podcast or social media.

Interest - Well done, you’ve “hooked” the prospective customer - but make sure that they don’t swim away. Common examples include signing up to email newsletters, following your social media accounts, or having further queries about your product or service.

Consideration - Decision time. This is the moment of truth as to whether your prospect chooses your product or service, or if they will take their business elsewhere. Focus on your unique selling points, and offer things like product demonstrations, walk throughs and follow ups.

Conversion - Congratulations, your prospect has made a purchase and turned into a conversion! The funnel doesn’t always stop here though, as the next step is retention. You want this customer to come back, and to bring more potential leads with them. Never underestimate the power of “word of mouth” referrals.

what-is-a-sales-funnel-and-how-does-it-work

How To Create A Sales Funnel

Although the above four steps seem rather straightforward, a successful sales funnel or marketing funnel usually has a fair bit of thought and data behind it.

Brand awareness via “step one” is usually the broadest pillar. Depending on your audience, this can be moulded or tweaked into just about any form of content marketing. Many operators make the mistake of putting all their eggs into one marketing basket, and choosing to use paid advertising across all social media platforms, but this isn’t generally a viable long-term solution. 

Instead, invest your time, energy and resources into creating some organic content that won’t “expire”. Things like YouTube videos, SEO-friendly blogs and podcasts can go a long way when it comes to producing evergreen content, or content that offers long term lead generation.

Before any of this happens though - you need to know your audience. Failure to do so increases the risk of attracting the wrong kind of people or leads that are highly unlikely to convert into sales. Don’t be afraid to talk to your existing customers, as they are the type of people that you (ideally) would like to see more of. 

  • Which product or service do they love the most, and why?
  • Are there any challenges or questions associated with the product or service?
  • Where are they from, and what other passions or interests do they have?
  • Why did they choose you?
  • Why do they keep coming back?

Your existing clientele base can assist in clarifying your unique selling points, areas to improve on, and ultimately what sets you apart from your competitors - so use it. From there, you will then be able to craft different buyer personas. This allows brands or businesses to cast that awareness net as wide as they can, without the risk of alienating potential leads. It’s also a great way to test and analyse which strategies are working, and which aren’t.

What Else Should You Know?

Once you’ve carefully constructed a sales funnel, it’s important to note that the work isn’t finished - in fact, it’s really only just the beginning.

A sales funnel is inevitably going to need maintenance. This can involve audience development, product updates, and even world events that are outside of your control. Regular monitoring of data and analytics will help you to understand both your audiences, and what it takes to convert them.

To get started with your brand awareness strategy, you’re going to need some killer content. This can be the most daunting part, as it’s not uncommon for brands or businesses to simply not have the experience, time or resources to action this properly. 

Thankfully here at Content Hive, we specialise in getting brands buzzing online with digital marketing services done for you. Book in your free discovery call with us today, and take the first step in developing a sales funnel and content marketing strategy that actually gets results.