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What Is A Sales Funnel And Why Do You Need One?

You may have heard marketeers speak of sales funnels and how these are really important for any online business, but you will probably find yourself asking –  what exactly is a sales funnel and why are they so important for growth in the digital marketplace?

In this article we are going to explore exactly that, looking at the 4 key stages of a sales funnel and what you can implement at each of these stages to guide your customer through to take action.

So what is a sales funnel?

A sales funnel is a process or journey that you guide your customer through to reach the end goal of selling your product or service. 

Every sales funnel will look different from business to business, as target audiences and product offering will call for individual requirements to reach the end goal. BUT everysales funnel will rely on the same 4 key stages:

At each of these stages, the customer is in a different frame of mind and therefore the messaging needs to be different. 

Let’s take a look at these stages in a little more detail.

Awareness

This is where the potential customer first comes into contact with your brand. This could be from reaching them directly within their social media through an advertising campaign, a referral from a friend, or even just stumbling across some of your content. 

At this stage you need a great hook – something to spark their interest and move them into the next stage. What this hook is will depend entirely on your target audience and you may need different touchpoints here for different audiences. 

A great hook will speak directly to the potential customer and provide the promise of a solution to a problem they are facing, giving them just enough to see that they want to click through to find out more. 

Interest

At this point, the customer is interested in what you have to say. They are keen to know more. This the point at which you want to capture this potential customer into your audience. A great way to do this is to take them through to a landing page known as squeeze page. 

A squeeze page is a widely used and very successful form of landing page that looks to capture a potential customer’s email address so that you can add them to your mailing list. 

Another tactic here is inviting them to join a Facebook group or something similar.

Again at this stage, you will need to provide a hook to persuade the potential customer to part with their details. Often this will come in the form of a freebie, perhaps an informational download or a link to a free webinar – something tangible that will take them a step closer to solving their problem.   

Decision

So you have your new lead in your system – and this lead is in their decision-making stage.  Now, you have to provide a plethora of relevant information to help them make the decision to buy from you.

This could come in the format of a follow up landing page, or alternatively a well-designed email campaign, but either way, your lead will need to be provided with information that will assure them that you are without a doubt the best person to work with or buy from.

Content is key here and this content can come in multiple formats, including webinars, videos, blogs and articles. But the most important thing is that you need to make sure that this content keeps speaking directly to your audience, keeping them engaged.

Provide social proof. Make sure you share testimonials from people who have bought from you before.  It is human instinct to want to know that something has worked for someone else before you. 

And finally, when you think that your lead has enough evidence to make their decision, you make them your best offer! If they have heard enough, they will move onto the next stage, otherwise, keep providing further content until they are ready. 

Action

At this stage your lead is looking to turn into a paying customer! The most important element here, is to make this transition as easy as possible. Make sure your checkout process is simple, easy to action and doesn’t have any hurdles. 

The less steps the better, as people can easily drop out of the checkout process at the last minute if they can’t checkout easily. 

It is also important make sure you have a system in place to retarget people who don’t make it all the way through the process, as this happens more often than you would expect!

Bonus Stage: Retention

Congratulations! Your Lead is now officially a paying customer! What next?

Obviously the hard work doesn’t stop here. Now you not only need to deliver on all of the promises you have made, but if you can keep this new customer happy and engaged, you can continue to guide this new customer along another journey that can lead to additional sales in the future, either for themselves or through referrals! 

Keep the contact going. Ask them for feedback and make them feel like a part of something. The opportunities are endless!  

So do i need a sales funnel?

Everybody can use a sales funnel and they are highly successful at generating leads and ultimately paying customers. So in short – yes!

As mentioned above, no two funnels will be the same. Your funnels will be tailored towards your ideal clients and their needs. But there one thing is the same for every business out there. We all need customers! And sales funnels are a great way to help these customers to find you. 

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