What is a Sales Funnel and How Does It Work?
If you’ve ever added coolant to your car, chances are you used a funnel to do it.
The funnel strategically helps the process while minimizing mess, allowing your coolant to move from point A to B.
In marketing, the funnel works in similar ways. It is a pipeline of steps your prospective customer takes during the sales process before fully converting.
Each step in the sales funnel has an impact on consumer behavior and will require a different approach from you, the marketer.
Why is a Sales Funnel Important?
Understanding the paths people can take before they convert into customers is critical. Each stage of the funnel uses, tools, strategies, and tactics to help users move along the path of conversion.
These four stages can be easily remembered by the acronym AIDA: Awareness, Interest, Decision, and Action.
Top of Funnel: Awareness
The beginning of the sales funnel is all about lead generation.
This is the first moment your prospect becomes aware of the service, product, or solution you offer. So be sure to woo and build confidence in your brand. Build trust and leadership to engage them into moving further down the funnel.
Supporting Tactics for the Awareness Stage:
- Tradeshows, Events, Webinars, Direct Mail, Social Media, Blogs
Top of Funnel: Interest
At this stage in the funnel, lead nurturing is everything.
As prospects do research, compare products, and weigh their options, it’s important to have targeted content surrounding their interest.
This is your opportunity to really highlight to the consumer the value of your service or product, establish your experience, and provide them with any information or guidance to help them make an informed decision.
Supporting Tactics for the Interest Stage:
- Email, Retargeting Ads, Newsletter Sign Up
Middle of Funnel: Decision
The decision stage is when the customer is ready to buy.
At this point they will have narrowed down their choices to two or three options. This is your opportunity to create a competitive offer to set yourself apart from the customer’s other alternative solutions.
Supporting Tactics for the Decision Stage:
- Case Studies, Demos, Free Trials
Bottom of Funnel: Action
The last step in the sales funnel is the action stage. This is when the customer buys your product or service. However, that doesn’t mean the work is over.
After the prospect converts into a sale, they become an essential part of your business’s ecosystem.
In this stage, focus on customer retention by expressing gratitude for the purchase, invite feedback, and make yourself approachable for any support your customer may need after the transaction.
Invite them to keep in touch by encouraging them to like your social pages or subscribe to emails to receive additional coupons.
Supporting Tactics for the Action Stage:
- Reviews, Referrals, and Retargeting
How Do I Utilize the Sales Funnel?
The more information you know about your target audience, the more effective your sales funnel will be. You want to target and market to the people who are a good fit for the product or service you provide.
Start by analyzing your audience’s behavior. Identify where your audience will click, scroll, or how much time they will spend on a page. Discover how people engage with your site and monitor your site’s activity.
Once you can identify how you engage with your audience, your next step will be to capture their attention and put your content in front of your target audience. This might include researching and posting relevant content across your social platforms or running ads in places your ideal audience visits.
Remember to diversify your message with multiple variations of content, including graphics, info graphs, videos, or other types of content.
Optimize your sales funnel with A/B testing on your landing pages from ads or email campaigns. Change your language, imagery, offers, and layouts to determine what your audience responds to.
The best way to optimize your funnel is to pay attention to the results and adjust your campaign where necessary.
Where Do I Start?
Remember; creating and optimizing a successful sales funnel takes time and hard work, but it can ensure your survival in a competitive marketplace.
The smallest adjustments to language, imagery, even type font or size can contribute to your audience’s response to your content.
Have questions about your sales funnel? Are your leads a dead end? Connect with our marketing specialists at Strategy to learn how to revamp your marketing strategy.
Published in Marketing