The ultimate goal of any business is to expand its sales strategy and build profits for the organization. The marketing team of the organization focuses on all possible ways for this initiative. One such excellent marketing tool to expand conversions is to build sales Funnels.
Sales funnels are the foundation for the marketing protocol of organizations as its ultimate aim is to attract customers and convert them to consumers. Engaging customers to become brand loyal consumers is the success of a business and this lead nurturing process is the goal of building a sales funnel.
What are the sales funnel?
Having said that this is the tool for lead generation for a business, it has derived its name from its marketing strategy diagram which is in the shape of a funnel. The top layer of the funnel is the widest and represents the potential customers of business whereas the bottom category is narrow and represents the customers who are committed to the business.
Building sales funnel is very important for an online business compared to a physical business set up because attracting leads into perspective is a big challenge here. It also helps online businesses to identify the prospective buyer early and results in a happy buying experience. There are four stages in a well-designed sales funnel namely creating awareness about a business, impelling interest, taking prompt decision and action towards the decision.
Levels in a Sales Funnel:
There are four steps in a sales funnel; they are Awareness, Interest, Decision, and Action.
This is the stage when the entire target population of a business becomes aware of a particular brand and product that has been launched in the market recently. For eg, the launch of a new mobile phone with all the salient features of a smart device.
This is the stage when the business creates interest in the minds of the population by spreading the news through different channels about the salient features of the mobile phone.
This is the stage where the business has persuaded its client to make a buying decision.
This is the final stage of the sales funnel where the actual buying decision takes place.
Steps in Building an Effective Sales Funnel:
For a business to be on a success path, it has to attract customers who buy its products. To achieve such lead conversions, it has to either build competent sales funnels or optimize the existing ones. The following steps would help in building a sales funnel that converts.
1. Analyzing the target audience:
The first step in building a converting sales funnel is to conduct ground research on the audience that the business addresses. It is not possible to attract leads and convert them into customers if their buying psychology is not understood. Thorough understanding of the target market is possible by understanding certain points such as
- Who is the ground audience of a business?
- What are the interests of the target audience?
- Where do they look for product information online?
- How can the business address their interests?
Answering these questions would make the business understand the likes and needs of their customers and help them in positioning their brand promptly.
2. Attracting customers:
Most businesses fail because of their approach towards the sales funnel, they want to quickly fill the funnel with leads without concentrating much on their quality. It is important for a business to swipe out inactive and disinterested visitors while simultaneously building solutions to attract interested people towards the product. This can be performed by
- Analyzing the campaigns of competitors
- Analyzing the ways to outperform competitors
- Analyzing if the needs of the consumers are met or not
- Converging exactly on one area where a business can capitalize and outperform competitors.
Mere filling up of the sales funnel is not going to benefit a business in the long run, it has to approach every customer from a different perspective and show them how the business would benefit them at multiple dimensions.
3. Segmenting consumers:
After collecting adequate information about target audience the next step is to analyze deeper and segment them under different categories based on how they would be useful for the business. After segmenting the consumers, the business has to draft different approaches for different demographics. Customers could be categorized based on the following qualities
- Age of the target customers
- Gender of the interested website visitors
- The locality of the visitors – analyzing if people from a particular geographic domain are keen on a specific product.
- Average educational qualifications, work designations and income of the personnel
- Motivational level and buying concerns of the visitors when they visit the website.
4. Planning a prompt customer conversion strategy:
After researching the target market and segmenting customers, the next step is to leverage on a prompt lead generation strategy. The strategy has to divert only relevant traffic towards a website. The tools that could be used for lead generation are as follows:
Bloggers or Influencers are those people who would help the business website by including direct purchase links with their posts in social media. They will also create backlinks in their blogs on the product website. They also would carry discounts campaign and promotional campaigns in their pages so as to drive traffic towards a website.
Running Pay per click campaigns:
This is an old marketing tool that is been used by e-commerce websites so as to divert traffic towards a website. Businesses have to ensure that they have compelling ads and catchy titles so as to enhance the number of PPCs.
One best way to create backlinks to a website is to perform guest posting on high authority websites of a particular business domain with content stringed with backlinks. Guest posting at only relevant websites would help in diverting only quality traffic towards a business site.
Using compelling ad titles and slides in social media advertisements would help in attracting a large number of potential customers within a short span of time.
Landing page: Using quality lead magnets on the landing page would help in generating quality leads for sales conversion.
5. Building an optimal referral system:
An optimal referral system would not only build in attracting more traffic towards a website but in building a strong and loyal consumer base for it. The existing customers for a business are the best portals to attract potential and new clients. A good referral system would also help in removing prospects that are not the right fit for a business.
For the referral system to be rewarding it has to be made organized. They need to be motivated with rewards for bringing in referrals either through monetary or non-monetary ways.
The entire referral system runs on trust, the prospective lead referred by the existing lead would become the consumer of a business based on the trust they have on the referrer. A successful sales funnel depends on how wise it handles and safeguards this trust factor.
6. Engaging leads and Nurturing them:
Once traffic has been diverted to a website, the next step is to nurture them and engage them with the business completely. They need to be educated about the various features of the services or products, describing the mutual benefits of being in the business. The best ways to keep the leads engaged is to
- Send them valuable and relevant blog posts pertaining to the business from time to time
- Sending them business-related information in the form of engaging and informative videos
- Keeping them updated on the recent advancements of the business through posts in social media
- Sending them newsletters every fortnight or quarterly in their email addresses.
7. Lead Conversion:
This is the most important step in building a successful sales funnel for a business. No business would prosper if it is not able to convert its leads into customers who pay for its product or services. Sometimes people would be very much interested in buying a product and would be close to making a buying decision, but owing to the complexities in making a purchase would leave the website discontented. It is important that businesses build a user-friendly interface for the shopping carts through the following ways.
- Having a high-quality website that operates at a good site speed.
- Enhancing the design of the website for easy navigation. Customers should be able to quickly browse through all the existing products for purchase in the websites
- Enabling easy login process through a one-click sign in or one-click sign up strategies
- Decreasing the number of fields in the registration forms for signing up
- Simplifying the process of checkout by including an array or payment options
- Offering a secure payment portal so that customers would not have to concern about the security of their personal information.
- Preventing customers from leaving a website without making a purchase by offering incentives to stay. This can be achieved with the help of exit intent pop-ups.
By following such simple and effective steps businesses would be able to attract more customers and also retain them in the long run. These consumers would serve as referral system building in a more secure and loyal consumer base for the business.
One important flaw with marketing experts is that they leverage the majority of their effort on top of the sales funnel, which is the point where new consumers are acquired for the business and focus very less on the bottom of the funnel where the actual sales happen and the sales conversion rate enhances. This approach has to be altered for a business to be successful.
Testing Sales Funnel:
After building a successful sales funnel, one important aspect is to test it and improve it in all means. It is important to test each page of the e-commerce website both good performing and worst performing ones. The marketing team has to focus on the worst performing ones and improving it by focusing on the quality of the referral traffic, easing technical issues if any and importing more backlinks for the page.
Testing the ease of implementation:
The ease of implementing the newly formed sales funnel into the existing webpages has to be tested as well. It has to go along with the existing landing pages easily without taking much time and being technically competent.
Testing the rate of conversion:
The newly formed sales funnel would indicate its overall success rates. It is important to analyze how targeted are the end consumers, what is the awareness of the brand among the public, what is the actual target conversion rates etc.
After analyzing the results of the sales funnel, the next step is to carry out prompt follow up with the newly formed customers, getting their valuable feedback about the product or the service. Promotions pertaining to membership, offering waivers with their next purchases and other rewards programs would help the business to stay in touch with its customers. It is also the best channel to inform them about the new services and deals of the business.
For a business, be it a physical business or an online e-commerce portal; to be productive and rewarding, it has to pay keen attention to the needs and desires of the end consumers. Its products and services should exactly target their needs and desires, attracting them to make a purchase. This is exactly the motto of building a sales funnel that is capable of converting its leads into customers.
The population which lies on top of the sales funnel is those who are interested in the prospects of the business. The population that lies on the bottom of the funnel is the actual customers who have made a purchase with the business. These two tiers are indeed easy to handle.
But the population in the middle of the sales funnel is actually cats on the wall that could jump on either of the tiers. The ultimate aim of any business would focus on the interests of these middle-tier population, understand their desires and convert them into customers.