Guest post by Katrina Manning.
What is a Sales Funnel?
Sales funnels are everywhere. Created properly, they help guide buyers naturally through their decision phases from awareness to interest to desire to action. Prospective purchasers don’t see the funnel, but rather an interactive brand, an awesome product, or the long awaited solution they need. This is the power of a sales funnel that’s ultimately designed to get sales.
Sales funnels today are processes that mostly occur online, with the ultimate objective of driving sales. They use multiple online marketing technologies and often incorporate automation at some point. Sales funnel are frequently intricate, however. They’re not easily created and can be very confusing to design.
The good news is that once set up and tested, an effective sales funnel can last a considerable time. It does much of the work for the marketer. It can even qualify leads, so that businesses aren’t wasting time with people who are unlikely to buy. These funnels can also be tailored to a business and the specific tools they prefer to use.
What Tools are Needed to Create The Funnel for Your Brand?
Getting a funnel started isn’t the hard part in boosting your brand online. There are numerous inbound and outbound approaches available. Some funnels use a content blog to market to and nurture an audience. Others use ads with effective landing pages that generate leads and jumpstart sales.
Others offer leads an opportunity to get very specialized training they’re unlikely to find elsewhere on the Web. This is can be done with webinars and video sales letters, for example. Other funnels strictly use email to give leads info and to nurture them to eventually buy.
Any option you can chose will still need special ingredients usually found in effective sales funnels.
The Three Parts
There are three basic parts to creating a sale funnel that converts sales online. It’s rare to find a sales funnel online without these needed parts.
The Lead Generator
There are few hard and fast rules in online marketing. Being creative and staying ahead of the competition is the strategy that wins out in the end. As noted above, there are several approaches for getting potential customers into and involved with your funnel for the first time.
Getting people involved is lead generation. It occurs as people sign up or exchange their contact information for any asset of value: an informative newsletter subscription, webinar registration, contest entry, white paper or eBook download—the possibilities are almost endless.
Organizing and segmenting those leads is also necessary. You do that by gathering contact details plus enough information to enable you to reach leads in a relevant manner at a later date. Qualifying and scoring your leads is also absolutely necessary. It makes no sense to generate thousands of leads at the top of a sales funnel if those people can’t be at least classified as ready to buy, in need of nurturing, or unlikely to buy ever.
Qualifying starts with targeting, and that means defining your most likely buyers and reaching them with offers to bring them into your funnel. Knowing more about your prospective customers enables you to tailor a message that resonates with them. Having this data also allows marketers to acknowledge people who don’t fit into the objective of a sales funnel.
Generating leads and qualifying them is always a step needed in creating a sales funnel that converts.
The Landing Page
An effective funnel requires offering visitors a solid call to action. That call to action needs to be supported by a compelling landing page. A careful composition of text and images provide visitors with the right information to persuade them to take the next step.
Emotions are ultimately what lead people to buy, and your landing page can be written in a way to move people powerfully. That’s done with great copy writing, whether by internal or external (agency or freelance) expert writers.
The best landing pages have a unique design, yet support your company and product branding. No sales funnel can be effective without a solid landing page.
Automation is the secret ingredient that puts all the pieces together. It’s done through effective software that no one really sees. Automation is like digital glue that enables your funnel to move leads from one step to the next.
The construction of your funnel should optimize the experience of different stages in the sales process. Most leads will have to be nurtured. Automation helps you segment leads then guide each group down a relevant, logical path.
Automation acts like an army of workers taking every lead through your entire process for closing them. It’s an integral component you must have in place in order to operate a sales funnel, and simplifies your work once it is set up.
Put these pieces together in a strategic way, and you’ll close more sales through your marketing efforts.
Katrina Manning is a content marketing specialist who has penned thousands of articles on business, tech, lifestyle and digital marketing for a wide variety of global B2B clients. She mostly writes for Leadpath.com and she is also the author of three books and is currently working on her fourth. In her free time, she enjoys fundraising for charitable causes, playing with her cat and baking.