In the marketing industry, more specifically digital marketing, there is a common concept known as a sales funnel. But, what is a sales funnel? Well, imagine the journey of your customer as a path down one of those big plastic slides at the park. Each person that goes down it, has to climb the steps up to the top, then sit down, then push off to go down the slide. Gravity kicks in and pulls you through each twist in the slide before you shoot out the bottom like a human cannon! Your marketing and advertising plans are all influences that draw people to your business (or that slide people into your business if you will). Getting that gravity pull in motion starts with people becoming aware of your business and then going through the sales funnel AKA your slide to become paying customers. However, unlike an actual slide funnel, a sales funnel doesn’t capture everything that’s poured into it.
There are three main phases of a sales funnel:
The Top of the funnel – Discovery Phase: In the top stage of the sales funnel, this is when customers are made aware of your business (mainly though advertising) gathering your leads. Whether it’s an ad related to their Google Search or a billboard they see driving home from work one night, its what capture’s a prospect’s interest in your business and what you have to offer. At this phase, a potential customer wants to feel educated and that their needs are going to be met by choosing your business.
The Middle of the funnel - Research Phase: Your customer has an interest in your business, now they want to get to know you better. This is where you get your prospective leads. If you’re a restaurant for example, what type of food do you offer? Are there any special deals for your customers? How do they take the next step in choosing your business over your competitors? You should readily have your client’s potential questions answered by having helpful information available for them on your website. If a prospect is looking for different places to eat for dinner tonight, they will more than likely be checking out other restaurants in the area as well, so be clear as to what makes your restaurant unique and why they should choose yours over others.
The Bottom of the funnel - Decision Phase: Your prospect has now narrowed down their choices and has decided to choose your business – congratulations, you now have a customer! They’ve done their research and concluded that they prefer the quality of your product or the deals you offer beat out your competition. You have matched your customer’s needs and they are now ready to purchase something on your website or come to your location and purchase something there.
You may be wondering: why does all this matter and how will this help me convert more customers? Remember, your sales funnel doesn’t work like a normal, physical funnel. Not every lead is a paying customer, and not everything you pour into your sales funnel comes out the other side. With each phase of the sales funnel, there are holes. This is where you lose potential clients. However, by modifying your marketing plan or advertising tactics, you can fill in these holes and recognize areas where you lose the most business.
As an example, you may notice that there’s a big drop in interest between the research and decision phase. Why are more potential customers leaving during that phase? Is it a lack of product knowledge and information on your site? If so, consider having more description about the products you have available or a FAQ section that is readily available for potential customers to review could help turn more potential leads get the next phase in your sales process.
Maybe you’re losing prospects between the decision phase and when they pay for their products. Are they exploring other competitor websites and finding better deals for similar products? If you’re an online retailer, for example, you may have customers adding products to their basket and then leaving your website. This may be an opportune time to have coupons or sales on your website to draw more attention and influence more prospects into becoming paying customers – or there are even ways you can reach out to potential customers and remind them of the items in their shopping cart to draw them back into your website to finish making their purchase.
Are you not getting as many leads as you would like to? Think of your discovery phase as a net you cast over your audience. The bigger net you cast, the more prospective customers you will catch the attention of but, as we said before just because your net is bigger, it doesn’t mean you’ll catch more mermaids. There are many tools available in the digital marketing world that now allow you to reach the specific audience you want, which are those more likely to convert into paying customers. If your leads aren’t converting or you’re not reaching the right people, maybe it’s time to consider stronger approaches in your audience outreach.
Or, if you really want to see improvements in your marketing and advertising strategy and want to see your conversion rates increase, leave it to the pros. At 3SIXTY Marketing Solutions, it’s our job to review your plans and strategies as an outsider looking in. Because we’re not as close to your business or product as you are, we can help point out the gaps and clog the holes in your sales funnel so you can capture more of the right leads to increase your overall conversion rates. Whatever your marketing needs may be, we’ve got you covered. Call us today at 705-252-4180 and ask us to take a look at your current sales funnel or process and point out a few areas you might be able to improve.