The goal of any business is to generate sales for revenues. But generating revenues is a multi-step process which requires that you first nurture people before they buy a product.
When you go to a shoe store, for example, it isn’t appropriate for a sales person to immediately ask how a potential customer is going to pay after he or she has looked at several pairs of shoes. The proper thing to do instead is to ask that potential customer’s size and to show them alternatives.
In short, setting up a marketing funnel is a must.
In this article, I will explain to you everything that you need to know about marketing funnels and how to build them. Let’s get started.
What Is a Marketing Funnel
A marketing funnel is basically a framework that allows a business to turn strangers into buyers. In an online business, a marketing funnel is based on the idea of maximizing the number of become leads, and eventually customers.
There are many types of funnels but this is the simplest:
Source: Lyfe Marketing
Based on this model, the customer’s journey is composed of three stages:
• Top of the funnel: People at the top of the funnel are just getting to know you. This means that this stage of the marketing funnel is all about increasing the awareness about your product or the problem you address.
• Middle of the funnel: At this stage of the marketing funnel, you teach people how to choose a solution to the problem by building interest in yourself. In short, you give value to what you have to offer so that your website visitors are willing to give you some information about themselves. This information is what you use to nurture relationships.
• Bottom of the funnel: Once you build enough trust, you can now present your product and explain why it is the best solution. Once in the bottom of the funnel, you present your product in such a way it inspires your leads, who see your product as a solution, to take action. This you can do now because you have already built a sufficient level of trust with them.
When you build a funnel you essentially just aim to move people down in a consistent manner.
Now that’s discussed, let’s talk about what you need to do to build your own marketing funnel that generates massive sales.
How to Generate Leads to the Top Of Your Funnel
For the most part, the starting point for a successful funnel involves generating more of the right type of leads. Here are some of the most common methods of doing this. I’ll be linking to useful resources with practical insights for each strategy.
Undertake a Content Marketing Campaign
Blog entries help establish your voice as a company. If done properly, blogging can give potential customers the assurance you can be trusted with the services you offer. You can find a comprehensive article on how to develop a content marketing strategy here.
Whole Foods, which sells organic food products, for example, maintains a very successful blog that attracts leads with its entries that give people useful information:
Source: Whole Foods blog
Take advantage of social media
Many companies become successful because they were able to build a fan base using social media. Social media does not only refer to Facebook. Instagram and Twitter are also great platforms for promoting your company.
But don’t bombard potential customers with links to your sales pages. Share content that is relevant to your company and the products and services you offer, yes, but intersperse these with other content. Mango, an apparel company, for example, takes the time to send season’s greetings to customers on its Facebook account:
Source: Mango Facebook
Once you have a social media following, you may establish a line of communication between you and your leads. This is, however, time-consuming and can lead to marketing scope creep.
Improve Your Online Rankings
Nobody really knows exactly how Google’s algorithm works. However, we can take an educated guess. Things like backlink quality, content quality, and user experience issues like page speed are all important.
Rather than explain how to run an SEO campaign, I recommend you check out some other resources that cover the topic comprehensively. An example of a good resources online, is this
Guide to getting on the first page of Google.
One of the main ways to improve the overall rankings of your site, and generate backlinks, is through guest posting. The fundamentals of guest posting are pretty simple. You have to get more of the right kind of links to the content you want to rank.
Once you’ve identified suitable sites, you’ll need to undertake an outreach campaign.
Getting leads’ details
Once you have attracted your leads, the next step is to get their details. This is usually their email so you can send them more information about you through an email drip campaign (more on this later). One way to get that piece of information is by offering a free service or a product in exchange for it.
Some of the things you can offer are audio recordings, consultations, newsletters, e-books, teleseminars, graphics, resource lists, courses, among other things.
So let’s say you already have those email addresses. I recommend the next thing you do is to offer a low-cost tripwire product or service that showcases your company. This will incentivize them to make a more expensive purchase, assuming of course that you are offering them a high quality product.
If you have a lead that is very engaged on Facebook, has opened many emails and has signed up to your email list, he or she can be viewed as a Marketing Qualified Lead. This means he or she can be a customer.
MQLs can be classified into four groups. Let’s take a look at each of them:
• Low interest, low fit: These are the MQLs that are the least engaged, which means they are the least interested. MQLs in this category are the least likely to buy your product or your service. This does not mean, however, that you no longer reach out to them. You can still convert them by offering more information about you, or by giving out more free services or products.
• High interest, low fit- These are the MQLs that are looking for that product or service you are offering but are unlikely to purchase from you. To try to convert them, you can keep them engaged with bonus content. You can also use indirect sales tactics to push them to make that purchase.
• Low interest, high fit- These are the MQLs that are your target customers. They will, however, be slow to make a sale. Focus on them and give them a step by step explanation of what you are really offering so you can convert them.
• High interest, high fit-These are the ideal MQLs. These should be your priority because if converted, they will yield the highest ROI.
Understanding your leads is key to moving them through the sales funnel from start to close. Once you find out the group they belong to, you can introduce them to your ultimate product, the final step of the sales funnel.
But don’t stop once your leads have been converted. You need to find a way to make them return again. One way to do this is to offer one-click up-sells at the checkout page or in an email subscription.
Building Your Own Marketing Funnel
Now that you’re equipped with all that information, it’s time to build your own marketing funnel.
First, you would need to determine the stage of the funnel you are in. This will actually depend on where your business is at the moment. So for example, if you have a steady number of customers, work your way up the funnel from the bottom to increase your revenue.
If, however, your business has no sales yet, then start from the top and then work your way to the bottom so you can build an audience who can be sold your products.
Next, pick only one or two tactics from the list of tactics I provided you and implement them. You will get better results if you implement a limited number of tactics to achieve your goals rather than implement ten tactics at the same time.
Step three is to create the content for each tactic. Be specific, don’t create one year’s worth of content. The last step is to establish continuity so that you can help move people from one funnel stage to the next. So for example, include a pop-up in your blog post that aims to attract traffic to your site so that people can sign up for your webinar to capture leads.
In this article, I explained the importance of setting up a marketing funnel to generate sales. I discussed the different stages to a simple marketing funnel, and provided you with a blueprint. You learnt you need to attract leads through blog entries, guest posts, social media and PR campaigns. You would then need to get their contact details to convert them.
You also learnt that building your own marketing funnel requires several steps: determining the stage of the funnel of marketing funnel, picking the tactics to be implemented, creating the content and establishing continuity.
Now it’s over to you. Just follow these steps and you’ll never go wrong.
Owen Baker works for Voila Norbert, an email finder. When he’s not sharing marketing tips you’ll find him in the kitchen.