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I hear so many people banging on about Sales Funnels, but no one seems to be talking about WHY your need one in your business. Simply put, if you tired of

  • Inconsistent revenue streams
  • Feast or Famine months
  • Unreliable income sources
  • Sending out proposals and hearing crickets in response

Then you NEED A SALES FUNNEL, let me explain.

Traditionally the typical marketing / sales funnel followed the AIDA process; Awareness, Interest, Desire, Action.

The online or digital sales funnel has moved far deeper than that as we have a greater understanding of buyer behaviour online.

We’ve already talked about Know, Like and Trust and this forms the fundamental basis for an online sales funnel and everything you need is built around this.

If we take that original sales funnel concept of AIDA and work Know, Like and Trust into it we begin to unravel the process.

Sales FunnelsAwareness (Know)
Unsurprisingly this is ensuring that your brand is visible to your target market so that they become aware of your existence. In the early days, being active on Social Media is a good way to introduce your brand to potential customers, but also consider PR, advertising (Google Adwords / Facebook Ads) if you have the budget.

Don’t hide behind your keyboard, let people get to know you – warts and all!

Engagement (Like)
If someone responds to a comment, photo, video, blog post engage with them, It could be as simple as saying thank you but starting that conversation is the first step in building engagement and the like factor will follow.

Interest (Like)
As the prospect moves further along your sales funnel and shows more of an interest make sure your marketing ALWAYS has a call to action. It doesn’t have to be in your face BUY NOW (in fact, that’s the last thing you should do!) but tell them where you want them to go and what you want them to do when they get there. People are simple, they like to be told what to do next.

Desire (Trust)
So you established know and like, and trust is the next step – and it’s a biggie.

Building trust with your potential new customer is vital. Start slowly, at first you want to establish that they can trust you with their email address i.e you’re not going to spam the life out of them or fill their inbox with junk that’s not relevant. This could be where your free download, free sample or whatever giveaway you decide on can come into play. If you make it enticing enough (you’re going to take away their pain point) then they’ll willingly share their email address with you.

You should give away just enough for them to want something more – more information, more proof that you’re the best value, more understanding of how you work, more confidence that you know what you’re talking about and their desire to work with you or buy from is the right choice.

Buying decisionsDecision (Trust)
Whooaaa, there should almost a step prior to this called ‘people are indecisive’, let me explain – you’ve spent what seems like ages building the know, like and trust and now it’s down to the prospect to make their decision. Rarely, unless you’re a big brand or have thousands to spend on advertising campaigns, are business purchases made on impulse. If your target market hang out on social media then the likelihood of them making a snap decision to buy from you after the first interaction is unusual. I’m not saying it doesn’t happen – maybe if you have a flash sale of one of your courses, or services it could happen but it’s unlikely. Before they make a decision they will search for validation that they are in the right place, with the right person. They will compare reviews, search out testimonials and look for social proof. Once they’ve satisfied their curiosity only then will they buy.

Think about your own decision making or buying process. How do you decide what to buy and from whom?

As an example, I had an occasion recently to visit the vets with one of my cats. He recommended that she was put on a special diet and gave me the choice of trying a free sample along with a discount if I purchased from them. Now, I knew I could potentially get a better deal online so I took the free sample and said I would get back to him. Of course, the first thing I did was search for this special diet food online and I had a myriad of choices, all at different price points – some much cheaper than the vets price. I considered what factors would influence my decision.

I knew the vets, we’d been going there for years.

My cat liked the free sample, and it was a brand I was aware of.

Even with the discount voucher the prices online were much cheaper.

The following day, having still not made my decision I received an email from the vets (I’d given it to them so I could get the discount voucher), that explained why my cat needed the diet, what the benefits of the diet were but also what the benefits of buying direct from my vets were which included a donation to a local cat charity if I used the voucher within the next 10 days.

Guess what I did? Yes, I bought from the vet even though the price was higher. None of the other websites had offered a donation, and my vet clearly knew my love of cats so this was the extra bonus that tipped my decision.

But can you see how it followed the principles of know, like and trust?

Not all buying decisions are made on price so what can you do to make that decision easier for your prospect? Keep it simple but make it non negotiable for them to buy anywhere else! More on this in xxx

Nurture (Know, Like, Trust)
Once sales have started to happen, the journey doesn’t end there. You have them in your sales funnel and you can now nurture them through to the final stages. Create a connection

If you’re offering a 1:1 service, this is also known as on boarding. So what happens once a prospect agrees to work with you? What can they expect to happen next?

Remember, people like to be told what to do, and this part of the process is just as important as all the rest. You can create an automated email sequence that directs them to book a call with you, a area on your website that they need to access to set up an account or perhaps it’s a booking link so that you can have a 1:1 chat with them.

If it’s a product or a course they’ve bought then what happens next? Do they need an access code, username and password or confirmation for when the course starts?

It can be something as simple as saying ‘thank you’, share with them how much you appreciate their support but ALWAYS tell them what happens next.

We’ll cover the Email nurturing sequence in much further detail in another post but for now, give some thought as to what you can do to reassure your new customer that they’ve made the right decision.

Repeat Sales (Trust)
I like to refer to this section as the ‘flag waving’. Once your new customer has made their initial purchase you want them to rave about you, to tell everyone about how great you are, how easy it was to work with you and give you testimonials or even better agree to be part of a case study. Again, this may not happen organically and they may need a little prompting so make sure you have a place where they can leave a review either on your website (preferably) or on Google or even your Facebook page.

You can even create a Customer Satisfaction survey (yep, still survey mad!) for them to complete. This is possibly the most effective way to gather testimonials as you can reuse their words across social media and also on your website and wherever else you want to wave flags. It’s even better if you can encourage them to use their own platforms to flag wave, social proof and a wider audience reach is always a huge bonus.

If you use the survey method there are 2 important things that you need to include. Firstly, ask for their permission to use it in your marketing but most importantly ask them if they would buy from you again. You can use this statistic in future marketing material, and even create blog posts around the information.

After the initial furore of your success, consider how long it might be before they need your product or service again. Consider setting up an automated email sequence to keep in touch, or make a diary note to contact them again in say 3 months. Gently remind them that you are still there, that they said they would use you again and perhaps offer a loyalty bonus if they buy from you again within a certain timeframe.

It’s also the perfect opportunity to offer an upsell, but more about that in the next section.

(This is an extract from my new book ‘Digital Marketing Made Easy’ due out Spring 2019)

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