You may not be interested in marketing. Not everyone is and it is not everyone’s job. It is a different hat than the owner or product creator. But having an understanding of it will open doors to you that may have been closed in the past and allow you to ensure your business is promoting effectively (and not wastefully).
There are a lot of really boring terms that are related to business marketing. But I believe that once you get familiar with this one, you will find that it is not too boring at all. The term is Sales Funnel. Dun dun dunnnnnn!
It is the sales funnel that can make or break your company. It is the proper use of this funnel that will determine whether you and your product gets the audience it needs or fades quietly into the night.
It has pieces and parts and there are tons of descriptions you can find on it. But my goal here is to summarize things so that you can be in the driver’s seat when it comes to your marketing.
Below is a brief description of the different parts of the sales funnel.
Now, there are a lot of takes on sales funnels, what they are and how they can be used. But there are a few key points that have proven successful time and time again.
First off, let’s try at a definition:
Sales Funnel: A step by step path that takes a potential customer all the way through the sales process and turns them into a loyal customer that will refer their friends.
The idea of a funnel (or path) for sales has been around for a very long time. Some attribute it to the late 1800s but I personally believe it is much older. This pattern has been revised and modified over the years with refinements and adjustments to different markets.
Since the dawn of the website, internet advertising and social media marketing, the term has taken on a whole new meaning. Let’s take a look at how it works and how it can help you.
Each step of the funnel shows us another stage in a customer’s progression in awareness for your product and participation in your business. It will be easier if we pick a sample product and take an imaginary customer through the funnel.
An important part of the funnel is the scale of investment. The top of the funnel should receive the largest portion of your marketing budget. The bottom will receive the smallest. But each part must be taken care of and no part left unattended, so to speak.
Step 1 – Broad Promotion
Let’s say we are building a coffee shop. When it comes to marketing, the first step is going to be getting your product in front of the general public.
This phase we could call the Leads Phase. We could also call it Broad Interest. No matter what we call it, the focus of this phase is reaching out to potential customers that have not interested with you or your product before. The key here is to find people who could be interested in your product and make the first contact. The largest amount of your sales budget should be spent here. As the funnel tightens, so does your budget allocation decrees. The largest expense should always be on locating and interesting those people who have not yet heard of your product or purchased it.
In this phase you have such things as broad advertising (targeted to people who may be interested in your product or something similar).
With our coffee shop, this would include things such as getting flyers out across the area, putting up a billboard, having large and attractive signage outside the location. In terms of online marketing, this would be using Facebook and Instagram advertising to target people interested in similar products and getting your company in front of them. You can even specify zip codes to advertise to.
You’ll want to have a well-established Facebook and/or Instagram account that encourages customer interaction.
Step 2. Retargeting, Interviewing
Some people call this the Prospecting Step. It has had different names over the years. But the main idea of this phase is to continue marketing and interacting with people who have previously expressed some level of interest in your product. It is in this phase that you weed out the people who are not right for your product and continue to enlighten those who may fit the bill.
You want to focus on the customers who want the product or can be brought to want the product. There will be people who have no interest whatsoever in your type of product or it may not apply to them. These people would be sorted out in this step and you would focus on those that are more likely to reach for your service or product.
This is done by what is called “re-targeting” ads. These are ads that are shown to someone who has previously clicked on or viewed your promotion in the past.
Also, in this phase you might make calls out to “warm leads” or people that have expressed some degree of interest in the past. This stage has things like the free consultation, the in person interview, the follow up call.
In the world of coffee shops, this occurs when the same person has seen your billboard or received a flyer multiple times. A rule of thumb here is to advertise to the same person a minimum of three times in a row. And if they show interest at some point, you would continue that advertising.
When it comes to social media marketing, this phase occurs when potential customers follow your account and see the regular updates in their feed. This increases interest and encourages the prospect into the next step of the sales funnel, the First Purchase.
Step 3 – A. The First Purchase.
This is the phase of the customer’s first purchase. It is important to realize that at this point, you do not yet have a strong relationship with the customer. You have just begun to build their faith in you and they are willing make the easy buy.
Often the first part of Step 3 is to offer the customer a product that is accessible to them and easy to purchase without them having to make many decisions. You are not going to try and sell them your most expensive product here. You may show it to them or offer it, but have handy the smaller and easier purchase.
Continuing with our coffee shop, this would be when someone walks in for the first time and decides to get a good ol’ fashioned cup of joe. It is the least expensive product that you have and they don’t need to think much before purchasing it.
Note: It is vital that you have a large range of product or variations of the same product. If you only have one, you might find that you can figure out a few smaller products that the customer could buy if they are not ready for the big one.
Step 3 – B. The Big Sale or The Upsell.
They have purchased the easily attainable product. Now, you encourage them to buy big. This phase is known as the “upsell”. It is a sales truism that once a person has purchased a product or service from you, they are extremely more likely to purchase from you again (as long as your product or service is not a rip-off or disservice).
Once the customer has bought a cup of coffee for $1.50, they are many times more likely to purchase your $5.50 caramel latte and $3.25 donut.
You would be surprised at how effective this step is and how many sales you lose when it is not granted the importance it deserves. If someone has purchased anything from you, it makes it much easier for them to purchase the bigger products from you. This works because of a fundamental truth at play. The hardest and most valuable thing to achieve with a customer is TRUST. Once you have it, cherish it. Grow it. And you will sell your most expensive services or products with relative ease.
Step 4. The Return Customer
In this phase we focus on marketing to people who have purchased any products from us in the past with regular interaction. This is another place that social media marketing really shines. You need to maintain relations with the customer and keep your product at the forefront of their mind.
This is the phase of Branding, which loosely translates into building a lasting relationship with your customer and establishing a firm place in their mind. For a coffee shop, this phase ensures that when your customer thinks of coffee, they think of your shop.
It is here that you focus on promoting the feeling or culture of your product. You have begun to truly establish trust and they will go to you before anyone else.
Step 5. The Referral.
This phase is where our funnel ends and also where it starts anew. This phase is could be called The Referral. Your now loyal customer is given incentives to promote your company and brand. They are given discounts and “customer appreciation” offers
“Bring a friend for a cup of joe and yours is on the house!” The customer then adds to the Step 1 of your funnel and the entire cycle repeats again.
It is important to understand each phase of the sales funnel as each one leads to your business growing and your client base expanding. A crack in the funnel means less traffic and less income.
For more information about sales funnels and the exact science behind each step, contact us and set up a consultation. Free phone consultations are available and we offers an in depth analysis of your companies sales funnel and how to break through to your next level of success.