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Getting clients can be hard, especially for independents who have to compete with larger businesses that have more resources at their disposal. Ads and social media strategies may do a great job boosting your brand, but they aren’t enough to close deals. Prospective clients may not actually need your services when they see the ad, or they may need to build a relationship with your brand before they’re comfortable making a purchase.
That’s why many businesses create a sales funnel that charts out how you will approach prospective clients as they become more aware of your brand. An effective funnel can maximize lead retention and help you close more sales. Keep reading to understand how you can create your own funnel to start generating leads and closing more sales.
What is a Sales Funnel?
A sales funnel models a systematic process to capture interest in a product or service, so you can build a sales pipeline. Your ads may reach a large number of prospective clients, but most aren’t ready to make a purchase at the time. If you don’t nurture these leads properly, they’ll never convert to a sale — which is why studies have found that the average conversion rate across industries is only 3.9%.
With a lead generation funnel, you can segment your leads according to their funnel stage (top, middle, or bottom). From there, it’s easier to target them accordingly. Instead of offering all your information at once, this nurtures their relationship to move them to become a client.
Top of Funnel (TOFU) Marketing
At the top of the funnel, you create brand awareness. Marketing efforts at this stage aim to grab people’s attention, with methods like search engine optimization, paid advertising, and content marketing. In TOFU marketing, it’s important to know your client personas. You should understand what they like and what they’re looking for, so you can customize your advertising to best capture their interest. For example, you might create social media posts with examples of your work and education for your target clients.
At this stage of your lead generation, you should be demonstrating your brand, yet encouraging your audience to explore further with lead magnets, offers, and more.
Middle of Funnel (MOFU) Marketing
In the MOFU stage, you can start nurturing leads, so your business stays at the front of their mind until they’re ready to make a purchase. This is when your leads will move into interest and consideration – they become more qualified potential customers.
To engage with them here, you should offer consistent, useful informational content like ebooks, white papers, and case studies through your email marketing. This audience has already shown interest in your business and services, but they might just need more information or education. You should also include your target client personas in your emails so you can speak directly to your leads and potentially move them further into the funnel.
The people at this point have become leads who have a strong relationship with you. They trust your company and need one last push to make a purchasing decision. BOFU marketing makes this final push, with content like case studies, testimonials, webinars, and product demonstrations.
From there, you can convert your leads into paying clients, deliver a successful project, and turn them into long-term brand advocates! Creating a lead generation funnel will help you attract and retain more interested clients, which leads to more sales.
Steps to Create a Sales Funnel
To build and optimize a funnel for your business, follow these five steps:
1. Understand Your Client Journey
Understanding the client journey helps you figure out the problems your clients face and what they like and dislike. This information helps you tailor your efforts to reach your target audience where they are and address their concerns. You can use tools like Google Analytics to get data on bounce rates, conversion rates, and traffic reports, which will help you identify what to improve. You should also send out surveys to clients and read through support tickets to get qualitative information on their specific pain points. This is also a good point to identify how you will qualify your leads. Qualified leads are the most likely to make a purchase, so you should prioritize targeting them.
2. Create Content for Each Funnel Stage
Once you know the client journey, you can start creating content that addresses their pain points. Try to tailor the content to your target audience. For instance, if you’re trying to reach creative audiences, a short video on your social media platforms will be more effective than a blog post with the same information. This step can be difficult because there is so much content online already. You can try these strategies to make your content more effective:
- Optimize your content for SEO
- Offer valuable and actionable information
- Use visuals to enhance your message
- Include case studies and testimonials for social proof
3. Drive Traffic to Your Content
Your next step is driving prospective clients to your content to make them enter your funnel. Here are some ways you can do this:
- Optimize your website for search engines
- Share your content on social media platforms
- Utilize email marketing to promote your content
- Run paid advertising campaigns
4. Collect Information and Nurture Leads
The next step is collecting information from the prospective clients who have come to your content. This gets them into the funnel, turning them into leads. To do this, many companies use a lead magnet — something you give away for free in exchange for an email address. You could even offer multiple lead magnets, each targeting a different segment of your audience. Once people give their information to download your lead magnet, you can use their contact information to send MOFU content, building a deeper relationship with your client.
5. Close the Sale
Your last step is selling your products to your leads. Here, you reach out to leads at the bottom of the funnel, who are close to making a purchase, with a call to action that urges them to try out your product or service. Remember that closing the sale may look different for everyone. For some, it could start by nurturing leads to sign up, while others may start by sending to a sales team member who can close the deal.
If you’re an independent business owner, you can start creating your funnel by mapping out your client flow and thinking through the research phase that your potential clients would use to find you. This can be overwhelming, but HoneyBook is here to help you connect with and assist your clients in every step along their journey. With HoneyBook, you can easily create contact forms and automated inquiry responses for TOFU content to engage with prospects. Our customizable files can save you time building sales brochures, pricing guides, service guides, and other forms of MOFU content. And, you can create and send out simple questionnaires to gather information from interested, qualified leads at the bottom of the funnel. If you use the HoneyBook contact form and mobile app, you’ll receive push notifications that let you know when you have a lead who’s more likely to book and/or has a higher budget. These insights are delivered based on the information captured via the contact form, using AI to automatically determine their value.
Creating a sales funnel is essential for businesses looking to generate more leads and close more sales. By understanding your client journey, creating targeted content, driving traffic to your content, collecting information from leads, and closing the sale, you can optimize your funnel and drive success. Remember to continuously analyze and optimize your funnel for the best results.