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The remote nature of online businesses makes customer tracking and engagement a big challenge. Unless you have access to reliable data on customer needs, your ecommerce venture can seem like a leap into the dark. Whether you’ve been in the for some time or just venturing out, you need full control of your company’s sales process. And the sales funnel offers you just that.
What is a Sales Funnel?
The sales funnel visually represents the journey a prospect takes from the very first interaction with your brand until they become a paying customer. At each stage, an effective sales funnel moves the buyer closer to making a purchase. A precise sales funnel includes stage-specific actions required to nudge prospects to take the next step.
Think of a literal funnel. A well-structured sales funnel, free from leaks and obstacles, will convey whatever content it gathers without loss. On the other hand, a broken marketing funnel will cause prospect leakage at different stages, resulting in minimal (or zero) conversions.
How to Use a Sales Funnel for Lead Generation, Nurturing, and Customer Retention
It doesn’t have to be this way, though. It’s possible to optimize your sales funnel and increase your chances of converting leads into customers. Start by understanding your potential customers’ needs and taking strategic actions at each stage. A sales funnel is a vital tool in your efforts to optimize a company’s sales process. Marketing teams create awareness and nurture prospects into the consideration stage. Then sales teams convert them into buying customers. Here are some specific marketing funnel benefits:
- This is where prospects become aware of your product or service — usually through social media, google search, radio/TV, billboards, and word of mouth.
- Whether prospects move past the awareness stage depends on the effectiveness of your marketing strategy at the top of the funnel.
- Prospects evaluate your offer based on their needs in this stage.
- They will conduct competitive research to determine whether your offer is the best fit.
- Now, the prospect is interested in the finer product and buying process details, such as price, quality variations available, and shipping options.
- Your salesperson can engage them with calls, follow-up emails, and webinars to push them to the action stage.
- The action stage is the climax of the sales pipeline.
- If prospects didn’t buy, that’s not the end of the sales process.
- Targeted remarketing efforts can bring them back to the consideration stage.
Implementing a Sales Funnel
Let’s assume you own a skincare product business. After conducting a buyer persona profiling, you aim at a target audience of men and women aged 25–50 who are mostly on Facebook. You create a landing page with a form on which prospects can sign up for a lead magnet in exchange for their email addresses. The lead magnet may be a free 30-day step-by-step downloadable pdf skincare guide. You drive traffic to your website by running a Facebook ad campaign on your Facebook page. Prospects fill out the form with their emails and download the lead magnet. They’ve moved from the awareness to the interest stage.
The next stage involves nurturing the prospects on your email list. You share specific types of content related to skincare to them about your product. Your email messaging (drip) campaign bears fruit when subscribers move past the decision stage and become paying customers. Your repeat customers are so excited that they voluntarily become brand advocates. Their testimonials and referrals are attracting new leads. And the sales process goes on and on.
Tips for Optimizing Your Sales Funnel
Landing pages are more effective conversion tools than product pages. Therefore, make this destination your website visitors’ first port of call. Make your landing page more effective by:
- Ensuring a clean and visually appealing design that highlights your offer.
- Using compelling and persuasive copy to clearly communicate the benefits of your product or service.
- Including strong calls to action (CTAs) that encourage visitors to take the desired action.
- As discussed earlier, place an irresistible lead magnet on your landing page, such as:
- White papers
- Training videos
- Product samples
Leveraging Email Marketing in Your Sales Funnel
The prospects who submitted their contact information have moved from the awareness to the interest stage. Share product-related educational content through a sustained email nurture series to move them to the decision stage. Entice the prospects at the decision stage with meaningful offers and promotions to persuade them to make a purchasing decision. Implement a two-pronged approach — focus on converting existing leads into customers and acquire new leads at the same time. Also, learn why prospects didn’t purchase and focus your efforts on addressing their concerns. Turn buyers into repeat customers by continually providing value and upselling related products.
A sales funnel will help you analyze customer behavior at each stage of the funnel. It’ll inform you on what, where, and how to intervene to nurture your prospects into paying customers.
Choosing the Right Platform for Your Sales Funnel
But first things first. You need a reliable and optimized platform on which to build and support your sales funnel. Nexcess’s fully managed WooCommerce hosting plan comes readily optimized for quick load times, secure operation, and ease of use. Get started today with our intuitive online StoreBuilder.
A well-optimized sales funnel is crucial to the success of your online business. It allows you to guide potential customers through each stage of the buying process and maximize your chances of conversions. By understanding your target audience, implementing strategic marketing techniques, and leveraging email marketing, you can create a highly effective sales funnel that drives growth and increases revenue. Remember to choose the right platform to support your sales funnel and provide a seamless user experience for your customers.