The sales funnel is one of the fundamental ideas in the field of digital marketing that may transform your startup into a multi-million dollar marketing powerhouse. You must understand what a sales funnel is and how it functions if you want to quickly transform your company from zero to hero.
Did you know that some marketers have centered their entire careers on applying this one marketing principle? Many business owners, trainers, influencers, and even marketers struggle to understand this idea at the same time.
Therefore, we made the decision to create an in-depth blog post that explains the sales funnel, its significance, and how it functions. We also included strategies for building and optimizing your marketing funnel to have the biggest impact on your company.
The visual representation of the customer path from awareness to action is a sales funnel, also known as a buy funnel. The funnel, often known as a marketing funnel or a revenue funnel, shows the idea that every sale starts with a huge number of potential consumers and concludes with a significantly smaller number of people who actually make a purchase.
There are several reasons why implementing a sales funnel is important, including the following:
- Creates customers. The point of the sales funnel is to take a business’s target audience and move the members through a series of steps that may eventually result in them becoming customers.
- Generates referrals. In addition to acquiring a base target audience and group of customers, a sales funnel also spurs satisfied customers to refer other prospects that previously may not have fallen into the original target audience.
- Monitors and tracks. A sales funnel enables organizations to see how well each step of the sales process is working and to make adjustments as needed. This helps ensure efficient use of time and sales resources. Pushing customers through the sales funnel creates useful feedback.
- Focuses efforts. A sales funnel narrows the business’s focus to a specific group of prospects. This makes it easier to reach target audience members and convert them into customers when they reach the bottom of the funnel. A sales funnel can also help businesses weed out unqualified prospects by requiring potential customers to go through a series of steps eventually leading to a purchase.
Today, a successful company relies on both sales and marketing to guide the customer through the sales funnel and to build customer loyalty, taking advantage of content marketing, customer data analytics and the two-way communication that social media marketing provides.
How the sales funnel works
Sales funnel stages will vary by company, but they are generally divided into the following four sections:
- Awareness. This stage includes the largest number of customer prospects. They have determined a problem, begun searching for a solution, and become aware of an organization via Content marketing, an email campaign, social media marketing, or other avenue.
- Interaction. At this stage, the number of customer prospects begins to decrease, but the possibility of a sales conversion increases. This is generally when the customer will engage with the organization and request more information. The prospect will also conduct competitive research to determine if the organization’s product can best meet its needs.
- Interest. The prospect demonstrates increased interest in the organization by reaching out for answers to their questions. This stage of the process may include sales offers and further research into the different options the organization presents as well as pricing. If the customer declines to buy something, they cease to progress through the funnel.
- Action. All of the previous stages of the sales funnel culminate in the final step — action. At this point, the customer has decided whether or not to purchase the product. If the prospect declines to make a purchase, the organization can use other marketing tactics to ensure its product stays top of mind.
Just imagine a real-world funnel. We pour in some substance at the top of the funnel, which filters down towards one point.
In marketing, something similar happens. At the top of your sales funnel, for example, there are people who come across your business. Unlike real funnel, not all of them who enter the funnel filter down to the other end — most of them will leave the funnel without buying your products or services.
When you optimize your sales funnel correctly, more people will complete your sales funnel from start to finish because your funnel serves your target audience in the way they need to be served.
Let me try to define the term as simply as possible.
A sales funnel represents the customer journey your potential clients or customers go through, starting from “what the heck is this business” to “I am ready to buy/sign up”. It’s obvious that there are going to be certain steps along the way from initial discovery to final purchase.
These steps are commonly known as the top, middle, and bottom of the funnel. But these steps can be different depending on your sales model. But we can say a sales funnel represents the steps someone has to take to become a customer. The goal is to create a successful sales funnel that will generate the best results for your business.
Here is a very simple example of a sales funnel.
Let’s say you run a brick-and-mortar business. The people at the top of your sales funnel are those who walk by your store. Now, some of them would walk in. That’s the next step in your funnel. A certain percentage of people who entered your store see some products on clearance.
Now, they’ve moved to the next step in the funnel. One of them selects a product and decides to buy it. Now they’re at the bottom of the funnel.
What Are The Components of Digital Marketing Sales Funnels?
Obviously, this is easier said than done so let’s break down the three main components of a digital marketing funnel:
1. Foundation – Defining Your Digital Marketing Sales Funnel
Before you can begin to build out your digital marketing sales funnel, you first must conduct research and build a strategy to ensure maximum efficiency is achieved with your sales funnel.
Read Also: How to Get More Leads in Digital Marketing?
Conducting a complete competitor analysis, developing SMART goals, and identifying your buyer personas are extremely important to the success of your funnel. There are some great links and resources to help you conduct your research and build out your digital marketing sales funnel strategy.
Next in the digital marketing funnel strategy is creating your value ladder and mapping your funnel. For the sake of brevity, we’ve provided the following links to get you started on your value ladder and mapping your sales funnel.
2. Floodgates – Filling Your Digital Marketing Funnel With Traffic
Traffic into your funnel can come from many different places whether it be search engines, social media, advertisements, email campaigns, offline events, etc. The best performing sales funnels are those that utilize all sources as a means to generate traffic into the digital marketing sales funnel.
- Social Media Marketing
Social media marketing is a great route to take to bring customers you’ve engaged with into your funnel and also keep your loyal customers up-to-date on new specials and offers.
Tips for Social Media Marketing Traffic:
- Follow the three E’s rule of posting
- Educate – inform your followers with content to educate them on topics relevant to your industry
- Entertain – show your business’ culture with content they’ll enjoy and also be able to relate/learn about your business
- Engage – always respond to messages, comments, and questions, but don’t stop there. Create polls, surveys, and questions for your followers to engage with frequently.
- Throw multiple jabs before you ever try to land a hook
- Post regularly following the 3-E rule without asking for anything in your posts. Deliver superb content and information to your followers > engage with them > and then deliver the right hook for a striking blow to get those followers to sign up for your offer and enter your funnel.
- Brand every post with your company
- Include your logo in all image – subtle but well defined
Search Engine Optimization
Search engine optimization is one of the best long-term sustainable approaches to getting digital marketing traffic into your funnel. The objective is to rank your website at the top of Google for designated keywords so that when visitors are searching for the information you’re offering, they click your website and are now in your funnel.
- Paid Advertising
Advertising comes in many shapes and forms from Facebook ads to Google Adwords. No matter the medium in which your advertising on, the objective remains the same – filling your funnel with relevant traffic.
- Marketing Events
Marketing events are a great source of traffic into your funnel. Events can come in many different formats from online webinars to in-person charity events. Use these events as a means to connect with your prospective customers, generate awareness for your brand, and encourage people to check out your website (preferably a page designated for the event or similar). This will drive visitors into your funnel and provide retargeting opportunities through ads via Facebook or Google.
- Email marketing
Tactics used to nurture digital marketing funnel traffic can vary significantly from chatbot integrations, SMS/Voicemail campaigns, etc. However, one of the best strategies is through the utilization of email marketing automation.
Essentially, when a customer subscribes, downloads, or signs up for something on your website, you can capture at minimum their name and email address (we recommend phone number as well if applicable). Once they’ve subscribed, tools like ActiveCampaign provides and decision-tree styled automation system to send email campaigns that you designate to those customers.
When implementing a digital marketing sales funnel, be sure to incorporate email automation campaigns to entice your prospects to move to the next stage in your funnel.
3. Sales Funnel – Move Your Digital Marketing Traffic From Top to Bottom
At last, we get to the actual funnel itself. The physical funnel comprises 3 components: a lead magnet, an amplified, and a conversion event. Depending on your objectives for your funnel, you can have upsells, downsells, gated content, etc.
No matter the case, the function remains the same: enticing a visitor to give up their contact information (and/or other pertinent information with respect to your objectives) in exchange for something of value to them.
With respect to the visitors’ stage in the funnel, content exchanged can include a free e-book or webinar, discounts on a service or product, a contest/promotional offer, etc. The opportunities are truly endless.
The Lead Magnet for Your Sales Funnel
To set up the lead magnet for your digital marketing sales funnel, there are several tools you can utilize. Below is a list and links to our favorite tools for building lead magnets and web pages.
- Divi Builder
Pro tips for the best lead magnet designs:
- Eliminate all distractions on the lead magnet that aren’t correlated with the objective you are trying to achieve
- Reduce/minimize the number of links away from your lead magnet – you want to keep them on the page and convert them into a lead/purchase, etc.
- Make sure your offer is clear, competitive, and relevant to your target audience
- Your headline should GRAB THEIR ATTENTION and encourage them to continue reading the remainder of the page
Amplify Your Digital Marketing Funnel
The lead magnet is meant to draw the visitor into your funnel and attract them to stay more. The amplifier serves the purpose of hooking the visitor to become compelled into taking action with you.
Great tools to use as an amplifier are videos, testimonials/reviews, webinars, demos, social proof, etc. Incorporating an amplifier into your landing pages will reaffirm the visitor’s interest in the offer and assist them in removing any doubt/anxiety about the conversion. Obviously, depending on the stage of the funnel, you may or may not need a more impactful amplifier.
Getting Your Digital Marketing Sales Funnel to Convert
You have done a lot up to this point, you should be proud of yourself. Now, the moment of truth sets in; do you have everything set for the visitor to convert by giving you their information?
Generally speaking, the more difficult it is for someone to get access to what they want, the more likely they’ll leave and go somewhere else. With that said, you goal should be to make information college as smooth as possible.
Here are some tips when setting up your forms to get the visitor to convert:
- Make it easily found. Usually, it is best to place the form or a button for a form at the top of the screen and then again at the bottom of the screen.
- Only collect the information you truly need
- Don’t ask for too much information at the top of the funnel. A good rule of thumb is at the top of the funnel, only collect name and email and as they progress through the funnel, you can collect more personal information (ex: phone, budget, marital status, address, etc.)
The sales funnel process for a lead magnet, amplifier, and conversion event is the same for each stage of the funnel and the funnel as a whole.