Your sales funnel is a critical component of any of your marketing campaigns. Whether you're devising and implementing an email marketing campaign or sending your website's visitors more resources to explore, you need to appreciate where the customer is coming from. It's often said that the customer is always right. That's debatable. What's not debatable is the fact that meeting your customers halfway will pay dividends to your company. Why? Because you're piquing their interest at just the right time.
Creating buyer personas and filtering all of your marketing material through a sales funnel is one of the quickest ways to convert leads into new customers that keep coming back to your business. It's no wonder that a sales funnel is sometimes shorthanded as a revenue funnel or sales process. Both of those alternative names get at the fact that a sales funnel is going to augment your monthly revenue by creating a process designed to ensure that your marketing collateral is more engaging with prospects and customers.
Understanding Phases of the Sales Funnel
Seemingly everyone has a different way of explaining the mechanics of a sales funnel, but what you need to know is that a sales funnel is a way of graphically representing the kinds of content that you're going to be delivering to your leads and customers as they move along the buyer's journey.
The buyer's journey is a description of the phases that people go through as they become more familiar with your company, its goods and services, and how you can help. Accordingly, the buyer goes from becoming aware of your company (awareness stage) to considering making a purchase from your company (consideration stage) to finally deciding to pull the trigger and make the sale (the decision stage). The sales funnel, similarly, is designed to deliver customized content to these different buyers, or the same buyer slightly further along the buyer's journey.
Awareness, interest, and evaluation are the first three phases in the sales funnel. At this point you're going to want to be delivering pretty generic content. Casting a wide net, if you will, and ensuring that the maximum number of people are getting exposed to the ways in which your company can improve their lives. At the awareness stage people are just getting turned on to your products and services, but at the evaluation stage they're actually comparing the merits of those products and services to your competitor's. Delivering content that puts your company and its lineup of products in a favorable light.
Marketing Considerations for the Decision Phase
After the evaluation phase in the sales funnel comes the decision phase. In many ways this is the make-or-break inflection point: Whether you ultimately make the sale hinges on delivering the right kind of content right now. Positive customer reviews and video testimonials on your website and social media pages can help tip the scale from your competitor's companies to your own lineup of goods and services.
When you're sending around emails in your email marketing campaign and devising blogging material for customers at or near the decision phase make sure to come off as both likable and as an authority. With your marketing collateral, try working in endorsements from well-known people that might have vouched for your product or the scientific backing for some of your claims. For more likability, make your website read more like a narrative and include a few video testimonials.
The Purchase and Repurchase Phases
Really focus on the final stages of the sales funnel - i.e., the stages past the evaluation and decision phases - since you'll have a much higher ROI here. More marketing money spent later in the sales funnel will lead to more conversions and higher revenue. An e-commerce solution or checkweigher for logistics can make everything more seamless at these later phases.