People nowadays have developed the habit of researching on the Internet about any product or service they are planning to buy before actually purchasing it.
They use Google the ” Guru of all things”. The Internet has become an unlimited fountain of information for companies, and inbound marketing has become a priority in digital marketing. The marketing funnel provides companies with a better understanding of the various stages a prospect goes through, which give them valuable information in planning their marketing efforts in multiple phases.
So what is a marketing funnel?
A marketing funnel is what we call the journey that a potential customer takes that starts with discovering your business and ends with purchasing your products or services regularly or at least the ending should be beneficial to your business. It is basically a sequence of linked events and processes which can generate interested prospects and convert them to buyers.
It is essential to create an automated system that can be measured at any point in the customer journey. This will greatly help you in finding out what your customers need and how you can successfully fulfil them. You should probably do a buyer persona audit before you attempt to do up your marketing funnel. Never put your cart before the horse!
The first stage in a marketing funnel is the prospecting system.
This is a way of getting a prospective customer to know your company and getting them in your marketing system or mailing list. An example of this is a new visitor to your website who subscribes to your e-mail list, or they’ve followed you in one of your social media accounts. It could very well be someone who downloaded a valuable content or liked one of your posts on social as well.
People instinctively build and commit a vast majority of their energy during this stage because the results are the most visible and easily measured. It is the beginning and it is also called the TOFU. I love TOFU. Not the ones we love to eat with our rice and noodles but what TOFU means is in fact – TOP OF THE FUNNEL. It is where the lead generations sequence begins.
When we take a look at what other ‘successful’ businesses in our field are doing, their prospecting system can be easily seen by us. All the stuff that they do on their blog, on social media, the PR work they are doing and everything else in between can be perceived online easily as compared to those days where you can’t monitor or track as easily as today. In a nutshell, lead generation and prospecting is to ensure you have valuable content that they love or you have an offer they can’t refuse or can’t take their eyes off and want more info on them.
The holy grail of this prospecting stage is to get your potential customers to sign up to your email list or network. As long as you have them in your contact list whatever it may be and you can nurture them, that is perfectly fine.
Why is this important?
Its importance can’t be overemphasised enough. When these potential customers become subscribers, you will have full control over this channel, and you can clearly measure the result of what happens with your e-mail or social subscribers.
When you successfully get people to this stage of the marketing funnel, you can:
– Reach them anytime and anywhere
– Track their response to your offers or content
– Tweak your marketing strategies accordingly
The second stage in a marketing funnel is the sales conversion part.
A sales conversion is, in a nutshell, everything that occurs once you have successfully convinced someone to subscribe to one of your programs, channels or list. What you want to do is to gradually and consistently build trust with these potential customers and then eventually to convert them to buy one of your products or services. This is called the nurturing process, and for that to work, you have to ensure the content you give is unique, useful and informative.
You have to constantly provide value through things like free weekly content like newsletters, podcasts, blog posts, videos and anything that you think your subscribers may find useful. After which it will be much easier to sell your services or products to them because you have built the rapport and trust. Your system must be able to automatically keep track of who bought and who didn’t buy and also of who is keen in which solution so you can push the right information to them so that conversion can occur much easily.
You should expect that not everyone would buy your offer. In the event that somebody doesn’t buy, you already have a system in place that allows you to send emails to those that didn’t buy and ask why they didn’t buy and if they have any objections to your offer. You can use their feedback as additional data on how you could better market your product or service in the future.
The important thing to remember during is stage is to find subtle ways of reminding your potential customers regularly that your offer is still available and that you are a trusted provider. They should go to you instead of anyone else.
They might not buy the first time you offer it to them. There are a lot of factors why they didn’t take your offer, and it can simply be that they are not yet ready to buy at the moment they got your first offer.
But they might buy it the fifth, sixth or even the 10th time you send them the offer. Customers are interesting creatures. There’s no one way to convince them that they should take your offer. Statistically, it takes 8 to 12 touch points to sell.
The third and last stage in a marketing funnel is the system to maximise Customer Lifetime Value.
The people who are more likely to buy from you again are those customers who purchased from you once and are happy with the experience. These people are potentially the most valuable to your business. They like you and trust you and they can become your advocates. An example is Apple. People queue for days to get the latest Mac products because they are advocates of the brand. You too can do it.
You should have a system that caters to people who have already purchased one or more products from you. The system can track data like who bought what products and then you can focus on what you can upsell them in the future. With the data you have, you can now adjust your offer to these people with the goal of converting them from one-time buyer to a lifetime customer. There are lots of things you can do with good data. You can generate tons of money if you understand the lifetime value of a customer. He or she will buy from you x number of times every year for x number of years. That is a lot of money! Now, go do the sum, and you know what I mean. It merely means that you should look at the long run and not one night stand when designing your marketing strategy.
As you can see, a marketing funnel is not only important in growing your business; it is crucial; it is the lifeblood of the company. Without it, your business won’t stand a chance in surviving today’s market.