Have you ever wondered how a sales funnel works? If you’ve never done that before, I’m here to explain the customer journey to you and to share all the little tricks you should know to convert leads to buyers.
You’d rather watch a video or listen a podcast? Scroll down to the end of the post or jump to BiteSize Marketing for Ep 2 and Ep 3.
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A marketing lead is a contact with someone interested in your product or service, so a person who might be your next customer IF they go through the complete sales funnel.
To understand the concept of a sales funnel you can imagine a real-life funnel. What goes in at the top are the visitors that are aware of your business and what come out at the bottom are those, who are ready to hit the purchase button.
However in your kitchen, if you pour something to a funnel it will come out at the other end for sure, while in case of a sales funnel you’ll lose some of the leads in the process. That’s why you constantly optimise it – to minimise this number.
Note: This is a simplified version of a sales funnel, where I only use the 3 main stages. It is to make the concept easy to understand. If you dive deeper into the topic you’ll find that most funnels have more stages. The most common is Awareness – Interest – Decision -Action, but some have more stages. None of it is right or wrong. I’d say it mostly depends on your business what describe the customer’s journey the best.
Before someone enters your funnel, they need to find you. It can happen through online search, thanks to your Google ads or social media campaigns, or via the recommendation of an existing customer. Top of the funnel leads has just started their customer journey with you. The more you know about how your visitors find you, the more efficiently you can adjust your strategy.
The most common top of the funnel strategies are SEO (search engine optimisation), social or display ads, retargeting and PR.
Photo by Reka Veszeli, using Canva
The middle of the funnel leads are already interested in your company, but they still need to learn more about what you can offer them and how it can solve their problems. They are looking for content relevant to their problems and are open for more in-depth conversations.
Because they are gathering information, they’ll appreciate your informative free resources. Offer them a relevant eBook, product datasheets and informative blog posts. Don’t be shy to make the most valuable pieces gated*. You can also shine your interactive assets, like product videos or webinars.
*Gated content is content, that’s only available after a visitor provides certain data; usually name, email address, company name and country.
Middle of the funnel leads will appreciate your informative free resources. Offer them a relevant eBook, product datasheets and informative blog posts.
And finally, the bottom of the funnel leads are almost ready to purchase. They are aware of your offer and are only evaluating if your solution is the best fit for them. Here, your main goal is to convince these leads to choose your solution.
Your best friends here are customer testimonials, free demos and case studies.
It’s important to see, that not all leads are equal. Some of them are better quality, and more likely to turn into a customer. Most companies label these stages to make the progress and reporting easier. The two most important are MQL and SQL. Although these definitions can vary, the following works well in general.
An MQL or Marketing Qualified Lead is one, who engaged with one or more of your marketing campaigns (downloaded a freebie, subscribed to your newsletter or attended a webinar) and could become a customer if they are nurtured properly. If they are mature enough they can turn into an SQL or Sales Qualified Lead, a person who is ready to have a conversation with the sales team. Most companies use a scoring system based on their behaviour and their interactions with your brand to help determine this point.
The customer journey doesn’t stop at purchase. Don’t make the mistake of forgetting someone you’ve spent valuable time and money on to acquire. Caring for your existing customers build trust with your brand, or increases the chance of up-selling or getting recommended to others.
Offer loyalty programs, special promotions and curate a customer-only newsletter. It’ll pay off in the longer term.
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