The sales funnel is an analogy used to describe a customer’s journey; from the initial awareness phase, all the way through to purchase, and finally, brand loyalty. The precise way in which a sales funnel is depicted, as well as how many stages it contains, can vary. It’s all down to personal preference and individual marketing strategy.
The overall goal, however, remains the same; to analyze, track and guide each customer through the funnel to maximize conversions and sales.
In this post, we are going to take a look at the start of the funnel, and the steps you need to attract customers to your business. Whether you sell insurance or design wedding dresses, this is vital to consider.
The first step in the sales funnel is about building brand awareness. Your colors, logo, and overall style of your content should be recognizable and distinguishable. If you see a can of Coca-Cola on a supermarket shelf, it’s probably not the words “Coca Cola” that make you instantly recognize it. It would be the overall look and style of the can that tells you what it is, more than the actual words. Big brands spend considerable amounts of money making sure that they stand out from the crowd.
Once you’ve developed a unique brand image for your own brand, you need to put it out there for the world to see. Search engine and social media ads are two of the most effective ways to build brand awareness, especially if you’re just starting out on your business journey. Building brand awareness acts like the snowball effect; the initial phase may be slow but as you build brand awareness and gain more traction, the process gets quicker and you gain more of a following.
Concentrate on Ads
Ads are necessary when you’re starting off. When you’re well-established you can rely more heavily on returning customers, your SEO efforts, and marketing to those who have signed up to your newsletter or followed you on social media. But, while very important for your long-term goals, these things take time. It’s therefore worth setting aside some money in your budget for ads.
Make your ads intriguing to entice your audience to click on them and learn more. This is the phase that will lead your audience through to the next stage. Don’t attempt to sell yet, however tempting it may be. You need to be broad, highlighting the overall benefits of your company, product, or services. Showcase your logo, colors, slogan, and USP (Unique Selling Point) every chance you get. Make yourself stand out from your competitors.
Link your ads to your blog posts, articles, or social media pages where your audience can move on to the next phase: “Discover”. It’s important that you are very clear as to what your audience can expect from clicking on your ad. Don’t try and mislead them with false claims. You want as many clicks as possible to be genuine.
Consider Video Ads
Video ads can be highly effective at building brand awareness. Make videos broad in terms of what you can offer. You are creating an overall image of your brand and/or products. Introduce your brand as if it were a person with its own unique personality.
Your audience is on a journey of discovery. They have clicked on your ad and have landed on your website, blog, or social media page. Now you can show them what you have to offer.
Be specific about the benefits of your product or service. If for example, you are offering marketing services, here is where you can hone in on what you can do for a company in great detail.
Formatting Your Posts
According to HubSpot, 43% of people asked admitted to skimming posts, and listicles are the most popular type of post when it comes to B2B marketing. These stats show us that just because you write it, they won’t necessarily read it! Therefore, you need to make sure you’re formatting your content optimally and highlighting the most important things you have to say.
Use bullet points to break up text, imagery to make it more appealing, and statistics to back up any claims. A Forbes study found that using statistics in blog posts improves trust among consumers. Trust is a key component to winning conversions.
This is also a great stage to introduce a video like a product demo or a “How To”. Videos are fantastic for keeping your audience’s attention and for explaining subjects in more depth.
The Foot in the Door Technique
The Foot in the Door Technique was introduced in 1966 by Friedman and Fraser. The study they conducted concentrated on the psychology behind purchasing decisions. It concluded that requesting something small from someone makes them more likely to agree to something bigger down the line.
“Discovery” is the perfect stage to request something small, like an email address. Do this by offering a newsletter sign-up option, a free e-book, or a free trial. Use call-to-actions like “Get Your Free E-Book”, or “Stay in Touch”. These will give you permission to make further contact with interested parties through emails, affording you the opportunity to go through with that “bigger” request (purchase) in the future.
Keep These Things in Mind Throughout the Discovery Stage
Be consistent – posting on social media and on your blog should be a consistent process so that your audience knows when to expect more content from you. Set a day every week/fortnight to post on your blog and schedule social media posts at the beginning of the week to keep organized.
Be present – take the time to respond to all messages, comments, and queries, both positive and negative. This shows your audience that you are actively listening to them and will help develop trust.
Keep it simple – if you’re requesting contact information in exchange for an e-book, newsletter, etc. keep the form as simple as possible. Your audience is far more likely to fill in a form with 2 sections than 7. For most purposes, all you really need at the moment is a first name and an email address. You haven’t built up enough trust yet to request anything further, and long-winded forms will be off-putting.