Practical ways to Improve the Flow of your Sales Funnel
A sales funnel is the visualization of your customer’s journey from visitor to customer. It’s a handy tool that breaks down the conversion process to make it easier for businesses to convert customers.
A common problem that a lot of firms face is they get stuck, or they specialize in one stage of a sales funnel and don’t pay attention to other aspects. This impedes the flow of the sales funnel and so firms don’t acquire customers according to their potential.
This article will show you what you can do to attract more people in each sales funnel stage, and as a result, acquire more customers.
How to attract visitors to the awareness stage
The awareness stage is when a visitor comes to know your product/service and is introduced to your brand for the first time. This is also when buyers become aware of a problem they want to solve and look for possible ways to solve it.
In this stage, people are usually acquainted with your brand through a blog post through search results, social media posts, ads, or word of mouth. A lot of questions are based around the ‘why’ of things.
To start adding people to your sales funnel, i.e. make them aware of your product, you can take multiple actions to increase your overall pool of potential customers:
Blogging is an excellent way to start attracting awareness for your brand. A common eCommerce marketing tactic, people can discover you through your blog posts and share them onwards with their network too. Well written blog posts also start to rank for keywords on Google. This also allows people to find you through search results.
By blogging, you also inform your visitors what your brand is about through the topics you choose to write about. At this stage, visitors want to feel educated and confident to articulate their problems.
The content that will serve them best will be pieces that address common problems like ‘why does my light keep fluctuating’ or ‘why is my knee hurting after exercise’, or conversely you can write entertaining pieces which will attract a lot of people. You should note that popular or viral pieces will attract a lot of traffic but it won’t always be the people you want to target.
2. Social media marketing
Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, and the likes can do wonders for your awareness and add people to the top of your funnel.
To gain traction on social media, you can post entertaining/engaging and problem-solving posts to reel in people. If you create share-worthy content and offer incentives for users to share, you will manage to attract a lot of attention on social media, thus cementing your existence in their minds.
3. Checklists, pdfs and tipsheets
Checklists, pdfs, and tipsheets are examples of lead magnets that can help you attract relevant and interested people to your sales funnel. Let’s say if you’re a Camera Lens brand and you create ‘A checklist for first-time camera buyers’, you’ll attract people who’ll also want camera lenses down the line. When you take their email addresses in exchange for checklists and tipsheets, you can then nurture them and move them further down the funnel.
These are just 3 options from a variety of tactics you can use to add people to the top of your sales funnel. Whatever tactic you employ, it's important to remember that your approach should be helpful to a general audience and shouldn’t be product-specific.
How to move leads to interest stage
A lot of brands forget this stage. Most companies become adept at attracting awareness but then fail to capitalize on the influx of website visitors and social media followers. This section focuses on how to make these people more interested in your brand.
In this phase of a customer’s journey, people are actively looking for solutions to their problems and they start researching how to achieve their goals. The questions evolve from ‘why’ into ‘how’ and people start looking for products and services that can satisfy their answers.
The biggest consideration in this stage is how to make customers think about you. How will you position yourself so you become a presence in their mind when they think about solving their problems?
The following tactics address this question of gaining interest:
1. About us page
An important aspect of attracting interest in your brand is establishing trust and credibility.
A lot of people when they’ll come across your brand through social media or search results may like your content but won’t be bothered to consider you as a solution for their problems if they don’t perceive you as credible or trustworthy.
One way to establish these traits is by designing a comprehensive about us page on your website.
People want to know who they’re interacting with, and you can use this page to tell your story, establish your value, and propose your unique position in your industry. The way you design this page is upto you, as long as its something that visitors and customers can read and relate to.
2. FAQ section
According to Google, 60% of consumers want to speak to a sales rep most during the interest or decision stage of the sales funnel.
An FAQ page will act as support for your sales reps to not only support them during calls, but visitors can also refer to FAQ sections when reps are offline or no immediate assistance is available.
3. Targeted content
People in this stage are looking for more specific answers to their problems and your content should also reflect this.
The content most suitable for this stage includes how-to articles in-depth guides, comparison-style checklists, best tips pieces, pros versus cons lists, and other articles that provide insight for your target customer.
An online seminar (webinar) lets you express your brand and your capabilities without directly being solely in your tone, and it becomes a great way to establish a connection with your audience. Hosting webinars also makes you look authoritative in your domain.
And it helps to know that on average webinars have a conversion rate of 67.05%.
These conversions will help you guide leads into the decision stage of the sales funnel. The next section will cover how to get people there, and what works for such leads.
How to move prospects to the decision stage
In the decision stage, the customer is ready to commit, probably has two or three options in contention, and is paying greater attention to your offers, pricing, and product mix. This is when sales offers are made by using sales pages, calls, etc, and the nature of communication becomes direct and suggestive.
Some methods you can use to pull the customer in your favor, and ultimately take them to the action stage include:
1. Free Trials
Let your leads take your product for a spin.
Offering a free trial shows new customers that you’re confident about your product and people will derive enough value to actually purchase from you. Apps, streaming services, and even subscription-based eCommerce stores, all do this.
A free trial also allows a customer to evaluate your product hands-on, thus giving them greater clarity when they make a purchase decision.
2. Free Consultations
Free consultations serve as an effective way to connect with leads and pitch them in person, its non-committal for the lead and allows you do drive home your offer.
Consultations also show that your company is invested in helping customers because by consulting you are providing guidance and support. This instills confidence and makes them more likely to buy from you.
Good consultations take away a consumer’s anxieties and tackles their problems directly.
3. Exclusive Promotions
Promotions are a great way to improve the flow of your sales funnel as a lot of leads tend to hand around the first two stages of the sales funnel, seeming never ready to buy. Promotions can change that.
Send them discounts, coupons, limited offers, and the like to make them feel special and to incentivize them to take action with your brand.
These tactics are meant to help customers lockdown on a decision (i.e. choosing you as their go-to solution for a problem.) But their journey doesn’t end here. The final step involves inviting action, and then retaining and growing customers. The last section tackles how to take people from the decision stage to action.
How to convert visitors in the action stage
Now your lead is finally ready to buy. You’ve done all the hard work. You built awareness, you attracted interest and desire and now your prospect is going to become a customer. Now your goal is to make the buying experience smooth for them and to set them up for success with your product. You also want to build a relationship with them so they keep interacting with your brand and give them an experience where they share your product with their peers.
1. Request Feedback
By asking for feedback you are not only empowering your customers and giving them a voice, but you can use their ratings and reviews to display on your website to entice people who are still researching your product.
Do note that it’s not just enough to ask for feedback. Listen to what your customers say and improve your product to make them even more satisfied.
2. Welcome emails
Welcome emails have extremely high open rates and allow you to make a valuable post-purchase impression.
You can use welcome emails to introduce your mission statement, your brand promise, what customers can expect from you, and you can also show related products in your emails to invite customers to shop more from you.
The welcome email can also include links to handy resources that customers can use to get better acquainted with your brand.
Newsletters provide your customers with valuable insights and keep your brand fresh in their mind, without being pesky. Couple this with the fact that 58% of workers prefer email as their preferred method of communication, newsletters become a great way to satisfy your customers.
Offering rewards to customers is a great way to engage them and build loyalty. You can incentivize people to use your products by rewarding them according to:
- Time since purchase
- Active time with product/service
- Their birthdays
- Holiday seasons
- Company milestones
Such rewards (in the form of discounts, upgrades and coupons) will keep the customer happy and more willing to shop with you in the future.
5. Last-ditch offers
These come in handy in a situation where a customer is having cold feet right at the moment of purchase. You can ease their worries and have them reconsider by offering them deep discounts or free upgrades which shouldn’t be available otherwise. Reiterate your value and have a sales rep talk and help them close the deal.
When a customer takes action either through a purchase or a sign-up, also make sure to provide relevant knowledge base documentation, implementation tips, guidelines for success, how-to’s for product use, and contact information.
It’s important to state that there might be additional stages to your sales funnel. Your interaction with a customer doesn’t end with a successful stage.
Now with the knowledge of how to keep people moving through the sales funnel, you can create relevant content and employ tactics to attract more leads and convert more customers. It’s important to remember that the sales funnel is a model and real-life interactions can be quite different.
The sales funnel serves well as an aggregate model but individual behavior will always vary. Some people will buy from you the day they hear about you and others might remain leads for years. It’s important to test your own version of the sales funnel model to optimize it for your unique business.
Photo by Tim van der Kuip on Unsplash