What Is A Sales Funnel?
(And 3 ways it will change your business!)
A sales funnel is a marketing system designed to overcome the minimum number of touch points (6 to 9) required before new users will begin to trust a brand. These, like all other forms of marketing, have changed over time to incorporate new technology, increasing exposure efficiency, and decreasing overall cost. Sales funnels have traditionally incorporated elements of print, signage, radio, tv, word of mouth, and more, but recently, digital marketing has taken over.
The ability to track users engagement, gather data, and split test allows brands to create a system of refined touch points that track targeted users with repeated engagements. This targeting, as opposed to blanket coverage, maximizes the efficiency of ad spending and the likelihood that your target market reaches the magic 6-9 touch point range. So what does a sales funnel do?
The goal of a sales funnel is to move users through an engagement cycle that bridges the gap between them knowing nothing about you, and them to wanting to buy something from you. This cycle can be broken down into 6 steps:
1) Awareness: Touches 1-2
At this stage the goal is to plant seeds, making the initial brand touch points that will grow into a client or customer relationships. Getting a base layer of familiarity and gathering data are the main keys here, it’s not about sales just yet.
2) Interest: Touches 3-4
This stage is about going a step further in order to convert an awareness of your brand, into an interest in your brand. Knowing you’re there won’t be enough, you have to show them what they stand to gain, or what they stand to lose if they go with someone else.
3) Evaluation: Touches 5-6
At this point in the funnel users are starting to seriously look at what you bring to the table. They have ventured far enough to be interested, and are comparing their options. What can you offer that presents you as a greater value or a lower risk than your competitors?
4) Decision: Touches 7-9
These users are still on the fence, but they have recognized you as the preferred option, opening the door to a conversion. They are familiar with who you are and what you do, but they need a push or confidence builder before committing.
5) Conversion: Touch Points Reached!
The decision has been made at this point and the user opts-in by providing an email, purchasing a product, or downloading an app. Confidence building, product support, and follow through are key to a good experience that will generate referrals and additional purchases. Customers assess the the value of the goods or services provided, as well as the experience surrounding the exchange, and determine if they are going to recommend you, review you, or buy again.
Now you know the overview, but what do YOU have to gain?
3 Ways a sales funnel will change your business:
1) Lead Gathering / Sales Traffic
By creating a system of constant exposure, following the data, and focusing on targeted users, the efficiency of your lead or sales generation can go up significantly. The less time you spend tracking down customers, the more time you have to focus on the value you are providing to them.
2) Long-Term Stability
Any marketing effort, print-based or digital, takes time to kick in, but it’s what that marketing system provides for you in the long term that determines that system’s true value. Digital sales funnels build brand touches faster and more accurately than physical efforts, which, when coupled with quality content to keep users engaged, leads to a more active, in touch, stable customer base, and a reliable path to expanding it.
3) Free Time
A stable customer base is a profitable customer base. The more weight your marketing moves, the less you have to, and the more time out of your day is spent living, rather than working.
Isn’t that why we start businesses anyway?
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