If you’re selling things online then you’ve probably heard of the ‘sales funnel’. But what does that mean and how can you create offers that help people click into your funnel rather than away from it?
The ‘sales funnel’ is essentially three layers of interaction with your website. It begins with ‘traffic’, which is essentially visits from unqualified prospects. It moves to ‘leads’, which is the moment at which a potential customer chooses to engage with you (and supply their email or other contact information). Then to ‘sales’, which is self-explanatory.
The best sales funnels allow you not just to sell to a prospect but also to move them into another sales funnel on sales completion and maximizes conversion levels. (Although, this will never be 100%.)
Entry to the funnel
We begin with potential customers who are just working out that your brand exists. Your goal with these people is to firm up that discovery and then to move them from ‘aware’ to ‘interested’.
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This is important, because you may only get one chance to engage that person. Let them leave and you might never see them again.
Middle of the funnel
Turning a prospect into a lead is nice but it doesn’t equal money. This is the phase of engagement where you give your prospect stuff (lead magnets, e-books, trials, et cetera) and they give you information in exchange.
The jackpot (or end of the funnel)
This is the moment that you finally use all your selling skills to turn that lead into a sale. You create reminders, you retarget and you close the business.
Calls to action
At each step of this process, you want to be calling your prospects to action. They are never going to move through the funnel without taking voluntary action, so you need to ask them to take action and to incentivise them to do so.
Check out HubSpot, for example, and you’ll see that its first call-to-action is subtle. “Get Started” is a small action, it doesn’t commit the prospect to something huge, but it does get them to consent to move forward.
Your initial landing page wants to ask the customer to do something small for you. You may (or may not) offer them an incentive to do so.
Driving traffic to your landing page
You need to ensure your offer is seen if you want people to take that action. That means you’re going to have to do some inbound marketing to get that offer seen. It might be the greatest pitch in history but if nobody sees it, then it doesn’t exist.
Typically, this will mean running pay-per-click campaigns, social media campaigns, search engine optimisation, et cetera.
The vital call to action
If you’re not collecting an e-mail address on your landing page, it must be the next step in the process. Your offer here is simple: you give the prospect something in exchange for their e-mail address.
You want a great guide on how to use your product or some other kind of resource (checklists, free trials, et cetera) to offer up here. The best lead magnets give something of great value to the customer. Smart internet marketers create multiple lead magnets; they know that their customers may have different needs and they cater to as many as they can.
You also want to draw visual attention to it. This may be your only chance to win the person’s e-mail address and the opportunity to sell to them — make your lead magnet noticeable and insistent.
Make it easy to get that information too. Don’t create complicated forms. Just a box for an e-mail address and a send button. That’s it.
Don’t get in the way of your customer formally entering your sales funnel.
In short, to get clients into your sales funnel, you need to create compelling lead magnets and use calls to action to guide the prospects to where you want them to be.