Digital Marketing

What Is a Sales Funnel and How It Works

Francesca Taylor

Published

on

what is a sales funnel

We all are aware of a funnel; anything put as an input narrows down through its whole length and gradually gives us the desired output is a funnel.

Sales funnel is one of the core and most essential digital marketing concepts.

A brief on what is a sales funnel in digital marketing

Before understanding what a sales funnel is in digital marketing, let’s quickly decipher a sales funnel first.

Sales funnel, also known as revenue funnel, refers to the multi-step process that potential customers go through, from the first contact with a business until they complete a purchase and become loyal customers. It is the journey a customer goes through from being completely unknown of the business to being its promoter. The length of the funnel depends on every individual business’s particular funnel strategy.

What is a sales funnel model?

Sales funnel works on the AIDA model, which consists of the following phases:

1. Awareness phase

This phase is where a business catches the consumer’s attention. It could be through various channels such as ads, social media posts, or Google searches. Consumers are now aware that the business exists.

2. Interest phase

The lead shows interest in the business by conducting product research, comparisons and thinking over various options. The business tries to develop consumers’ interest to further take them forward towards a decision.

3. Decision phase

This is when the consumer is ready to make a purchase. This is the best time for the business to make a luring offer – like a discount code, free shipping, or any other offer – that is so irresistible the consumer cannot help but purchase it.

4. Action phase

This is the final phase, where the consumer has finally decided to make a purchase and become a part of the business’s ecosystem. However, the digital marketing funnel doesn’t end here. Customer retention should be a priority of every marketer’s agenda. Customers should be made to feel valued by inviting them to give feedback and honoring their problems or issues if any. This approach is highly effective in building brand awareness and reinforces customer loyalty.

This phase is followed by advocacy in which the customer becomes loyal to us and starts to promote the business by referring to other potential customers in his social vicinities such as his family, friends and other knowns. In this process, the business becomes a brand with time.

Why is a sales funnel so crucial in digital marketing?

  • Landing upon a marketing strategy

The marketing sales funnel gives you a strategy for entering the market and presenting your business to the masses. You could portray your business to the customers in the online market and provide value strategically.

  • Acquiring customers

Acquiring customers is the most daunting task for any business, especially newbies. Sales funnel targets the right potential customers with detailed targeting and reach them at a very attractive cost.

  • Developing a list of future prospective customers

Once a prospect enters your funnel, it sends you all his details, journey stage, and interests. In this way, you could develop a list of these prospects and pitch them any time in the future. Also, you can upsell and cross-sell them in the future. This makes a colossal Lifetime customer value (LTCV).

  • Boost in sales

With the proper targeting, remarketing, and list of interested customers, the sales funnel can drastically boost sales.

  • Brand development

It helps in developing a business into a brand. This is very crucial for any business’s long term success.

How do you build a sales funnel for free?

Digital marketers must try to capture as many leads as possible and then nurture prospective clients through a purchasing decision journey while narrowing down these prospects in each stage of the funnel.

You shall offer your clients in the same way as you would do to your best friend.

Following are a few tools that play an essential role in all this process:

Blogs with good content

Social media

• Online reviews

• Search engine optimization (SEO)

• Display ads

• Paid ads

• Remarketing

The prospecting strategy varies from client to client depending upon the stage the client is standing on in the buying cycle.

Strategies for an effective sales funnel

Here are the tactics effective at each of the five stages of the buying cycle of the sales funnel:

1. Lead

In the lead stage, something caused the prospects to realize the need for the product. They became slightly interested at this point, which progressed to spending time researching more about it.

Here the most crucial requirement is that you should attract your ideal client. This is the very first step to being successful. For instance, on Instagram, businesses post pictures of their products. If you don’t have a following, your traffic will be lower, your exposure will be lower, and you will attract only a few people, and therefore, only a few people will know, like and trust you. The solution is to create awareness about your business through online campaigns.

In this stage, since the audience is cold, you could attract them through a lead magnet, such as an e-book, video series, audio series, e-mail course, free training, free consultation, free audit or any other free offer. These would attract them to your ecosystem and eventually collect their contact information.

2. Prospect

This is the time for the business to build trust, recognition and branding. This is the time to use relevant content to push your audience further into the funnel. It aims at creating content around the topics that differentiate your offering from your competitors.

You will further keep on contacting them through different online channels and continuously understanding your prospects’ needs.

3. Qualify Prospect

At this stage, you verify whether or not the prospects need your product, whether they are interested in making a purchase, they see value in your offer, and they have a sufficient budget for a purchase. This process can be lengthy and complex.

This stage involves a lot of nurturing. Nurturing is being in touch with them, providing them content regularly and being present at every possible digital place in the market. The point is to gain their trust by creating authority for your business in the marketplace. They should get habitual of your valuable content or quality products so that they get assured that they would get enough value by becoming your paid clients.

Now you should reinforce the benefits of the services you offer by promoting your content. Use paid ads and free platforms to announce events, opportunities and tours, and obtain newsletter subscribers. Address any objections and barriers. Keep your content relevant.

In this stage, a tripwire could be offered. Tripwire is a no-brainer offer that is priced irresistibly low for the sole purpose of converting prospects to clients.

4. Commit

Now the prospects have built trust in your business and your content. They have started engaging with your business, have been habitual of your content, consider your content valuable and are ready to spend on any offer that you make.

In this stage, the core product is offered to the prospects to explain the product with complete details.

5. Transact

Finally, a few prospects purchase your product and become loyal clients. It is your responsibility to fulfill all the promises done with the clients. Value their feedback, improve accordingly and keep giving value for long-lasting relationships.

As soon as you succeed in closing a sale with a client, it is time to upsell and cross-sell. Upselling means offering a comparable higher-end product compared to the product the client purchased. Cross-selling means offering products complementary or related to the purchased product.

Those prospects who do not purchase your product you can down-sell to them. Downsell means to offer a lower-priced product than that of the previous offer.

In this way, you have created a relationship with your clients. The development of a relationship removes the price barrier.

Your clients will promote your business to their knowns due to complete satisfaction from your work.

Now it is time to collect testimonials and use them as proofs of your good service. This shall convert into a sales multiplier for your business as you could easily attract more clients into your funnel with them.

Here, it is essential to understand that non-buyers are equally vital for the business as the buyers as there is always a very high chance that you can sell to them in the future. In this way, you could build a list of prospective clients that can be used for future promotions.

Conclusion

After reading this article, it should be pretty clear to you what a marketing funnel is. This system pretty much works like Google maps: This is where you are, this is where you want to go, and you learn the route that you need to take to skip all the traffic, avoid all competitors and get there the fastest.

Digital Marketing

Three Landing Page Optimization Hacks for Successful Conversions

Mary Jones

Published

on

Landing page optimization

Three Landing Page Optimization Hacks for Successful Conversions

Although limited in scope, landing page optimization is still a sure and proven way to increase website sales and overall profits. Most website owners assume that landing page optimization includes loads of split testing on various sales tools like the header, offer, and perhaps the price point. Others might even believe that any type of website optimization is somehow related to SEO or perhaps even the same thing and thus will help boost online sales by generating more traffic to the page. As strange as it may sound, both of these assumptions are right—AND wrong! You see, landing page optimization boils down to generating more online conversions. But to effectively increase website sales, you need to dothe following to see results:

  • Revise Direct Response Copywriting
  • Refine Landing Page Design, Layout, and UI Features
  • Modify Business Model/Pricing Structure
  • Adjust Back End Programming
  • Implement or Refine Social Media Marketing
  • Adjust On-Page SEO
  • Website Split Testing to Verify Results

Depending on the website’s complexity and specific conversion issues, a landing page optimization can get quite involved and may require multiple experts with particular skill sets to complete. This is why EVERY optimization project should first begin with a detailed website evaluation that includes comprehensive web traffic analysis. These “vital stats” are what landing page optimization experts use to isolate conversion rate issues and make the “needle-moving” gains that increase website sales.

However, conventional website traffic analysis has its limits. Here are just a few of the conversion rate problems that even a detailed web evaluation can miss:

Wrong Price Point: Sure, web traffic analysis can reveal that a landing page isn’t converting well, but it can’t determine whether the price point is the issue unless the site is specifically configured for testing pricing.

Too Many or Poorly Placed UI Features: While all website owners want to keep their visitors engaged via compelling user interface features, how can typical website analysis tell you when there are too many UI features, or they are ineffective? Again, unless the landing page was specifically configured for testing UI features, it can’t.

Wrong Business Model: Is it best to sell a product or service directly through the website or use the site instead as a lead generation tool that only sends prospects to a dedicated sales rep? The answer to this question could well determine website optimization’s success or failure. Unfortunately, traditional website traffic analysis alone cannot answer this question for you.

Quite the mess, isn’t it? So if website analysis is critical to successful landing page optimization but fails to help isolate conversion rate problems in some cases, how will you increase website sales if you can’t find all issues suppressing your results? Well, for the price point, UI, and business model issues, here are three of the most closely guarded website optimization secret strategies for resolving these:

1. To Increase Website Sales, Separate Price Point from Other Web Sales Tools

Most typical website landing pages serve two primary purposes:

Generate Interest: Look, you can have the absolute best-priced widget on the planet, but if your website copywriting and site design fail to generate interest or make the widget relevant to the visitor, they won’t care what the price is. Worse, you won’t make the sale or convert them into a qualified lead.

Prompt Purchase at Given Price Point: This challenge is essentially solved (or not) by the “Offer Details,” where the direct response copywriting helps build value and justify the pricing so the prospect will make a purchase or become a qualified lead.

As you can see, these are very different functions, and Internet marketing experts use various tools to overcome these challenges. However, while website analysis can tell you whether a landing page is converting or not, it cannot tell you whether people aren’t buying due to a lack of interest or the price point.

To solve this problem and ultimately increase website sales, you need to create a “Stratified Sales Funnel” and thus separate off the “Offer details” onto a separate page in the funnel. Some people refer to this separate page as a Pre-Order page since it’s not the landing page nor the shopping cart. But regardless of what you call it, this separate page helps you not only isolate pricing from interest, but it can also help you quickly dial in the price point for maximum profit.

The point here is that by separating “interest-generating sales tools” from “offer details,” you can see precisely what effect pricing has on your website conversions. If you leave all of these components on the same page, you’ll never be able to tell if you’re losing conversions due to a lack of interest or pricing. That’s why the stratified sales funnel is vital to successful website optimization. It helps you increase website sales when used correctly.

Warning:

Please note that you will want to have the “interest-generating sales tools” and “offer details” on the same landing page for maximum conversions in most business models. This is because creating additional steps or hoops in your website sales funnel typically lowers conversions as people bail or leave the funnel with each extra step you ask them to walk through.

However, for dialing in a price point and making sure you are charging the best price for maximum profitability. This stratified sales funnel should be included in any comprehensive landing page optimization and WILL help increase website sales.

What this means is that once the ideal price point has been isolated (and you have verified strong interest by seeing a solid click-through rate from the landing page to the new pre-order page), you will want to move those “offer details” back to the main landing page, so all of the sales tools are on one page again.

Now, this sounds like a lot of work—so is it worth it? Absolutely. This little-known landing page optimization strategy can literally boost online conversions by up to 100% or more. Even more, it can help you avoid hours upon hours of website split-testing trying to figure out whether “visitor interest” or pricing/offer details are the main conversion rate problem. So yes, it’s a bit extra work, but this is one landing page optimization strategy that can make your year when executed properly.

2. Increase Website Sales Using Heat Mapping Analysis

So what is heat mapping analysis, and how can it help you increase website sales? Well, a heat map is a computer-generated map based upon the mouse-scrolling habits of your visitors, so it shows not only where they go on your landing page—but also any links or UI features they engage with.

Please be aware: While heat mapping analysis is by no means a replacement for traditional website traffic analysis. It provides several distinct advantages when performing any landing page or website optimization, including:

  • Indicates What % of Visitors Are Engaging with UI Features
  • Records Visitor Scan Times to Isolate Weak Sections of Content
  • Aggregates Heat Maps to Highlight Broad Trends in Your Market
  • Excellent for Testing Different Traffic Streams

Again, you can gain most of this information using traditional web traffic analysis and a specially-designed landing page. Still, heat mapping analysis can dramatically reduce the necessary time to complete a landing page optimization for faster lead conversion at less expense.

3. Increase Website Sales by Switching to Qualified Lead CTA

In some cases, the most effective and beneficial use of a website isn’t to directly sell a product or service. While this may be a more effortless and less time-consuming use of the website, it can often backfire and alienate visitors who otherwise might have become customers. In some web optimization projects, the fastest way to increase website sales is to use the site as a funnel to send qualified leads to a sales rep who can close the deal in person. This will certainly increase the customer acquisition costs in terms of labor required to complete a sale. However, the added expense of a sales rep might be lower than the customer acquisition costs of attempting to sell directly online in many situations, such as:

  • When Selling High Price Products or Services
  • When Selling Complex Services or Products
  • If Product or Service is Truly Novel or Revolutionary

It’s simple: If you are struggling net consistent and profitable conversions and selling an expensive, complex, or novel product or service, then your best bet to increase website sales would be split-testing against a lead generating version of the landing page. In fact, it’s often best to avoid talking about price points altogether and simply create a compelling CTA providing a valuable lead-generating product or service in return for contact information. So in many cases, your landing page optimization would include creating a simple squeeze page with the new CTA to split-test against the original landing page.

Now clearly, a free lead generating product or service will convert much higher than trying to sell something directly. But the point here is to document how many leads you need to capture to make a sale and then compare that (with sales person time included) to the direct sale page. Then, with facts in hand, determine if switching to a lead-generating CTA is the best landing page optimization strategy to increase website sales ultimately.

Concluding Thoughts

Landing page optimization is one of the surest and fastest ways to boost online conversions. Although a website evaluation with comprehensive traffic analysis is vital to any website optimization project’s success, it can isolate all potential conversion rate problems. The three landing page optimization strategies outlined above will help you overcome any issues with pricing, business model, and UI features to boost online sales and reduce customer acquisition costs for maximum profitability.

 

Continue Reading

SEO

How to Get the Most out of Your Web Site

Tom

Published

on

By

Discussing website project

The old adage “if you build it, they will come” at one time applied to web sites right up until the internet bubble shattered into a million soapy shards.

Nowadays if the web site is used as a marketing tool (electronic brochure) and the objective of your web site is to produce sales, the site has to be different and stand out from other web sites – something that no one else has thought of and has brought to the web.

That’s a very tough thing to do and will usually take a lot of hard work and maybe a venture capitalist or two to help with the development costs of your latest and greatest widget.

In today’s economy, the homeless are richer than most banks so to find a venture capitalist that will sink money into the web you better have more than just a what-if, if you build it, they will come (IYBI-TWC) rhetoric.

A service is tougher to sell to a customer because it isn’t a thing.

A customer can’t touch it or control it.

Service is not objective but subjective.

A customer can’t have a free trial download of service to test it out.

So how should the executive protection/security industry sell a service on the web and do it at a reasonable cost?

As an example, let’s take a look at two industry web sites.

The first Company, Company A, has a web site that contains high-end graphics; fancy action shots, and in there is a list of services that they provide and contact information.

Company A web site cost to build was $10,000.

The second Company, Company B, has low-end graphics – simple design, no fancy action shots, list of services with prices, and contact information.

Company B web site cost to build was $2,000.

Now which industry web site is getting more out of their web site?

One would naturally think the fancy, high-end brochure on the web, right?

But that is not necessarily the case.

The Company A web site is three years old and has the exact same content as day one.

Same services, same content information, same old, same old.

The Company has applied the IYBI-TWC principle.

Yes, it does get potential clients to use their services; but most of their clients have always used this industry service company for x amount of years, so why change.

Don’t get me wrong, this Company is making money, but the same money, from the same clients.

Same eyes are looking at the site, same eyes buying the services.

I call this approach the even keel – just hums along thinking everything is going great – but watch out for those icebergs.

Company B’s web site is also three years old; however, the Company is always updating the site with new services, new schedules maybe a couple of articles related to client feedback or the services they provide.

In other words, the Company is being proactive by managing their web site – keeping it fresh with new content.

This does bring to the web site fresh eyes, and maybe new clients.

But there is something else this Company is doing – looking over the web site statistics.

Web statistics sound like a college math course, but in reality, most Web Hosting Companies make it really easy for you.

Company B is getting the following information from visitors to their web site:

• What pages visitors look at and how often
• How often visitors stay on a page
• What time a day most visitors come to the site
• What web site referred their web site
• What search keywords led visitors to their site
• What country or state visitors are from
• Visitor ISP’s – military, government, education, commercial

Most of the information is standard, and the hosting provider puts the data into a nice bar and circle graphs.

So how does Company B make stats work for them? Let me give you a few practical examples.

Search Keywords

Search keywords are keywords that visitors have typed into Google, MSN, Yahoo, etc. and clicked a search result that led to the Company B web site.

For example, Joe the Plumber is looking for a defensive driving course for his teenage son, so he typed in Defensive Driving; Company B comes up in the search results. Joe, the Plumber, clicks the Company Blink and visits the site.

The upside for using this data is that Company B uses these keyword results to introduce new services and new content so that these visitors will purchase these services rather than continuing their search elsewhere.

Now you wouldn’t want to do too many new services as that wouldn’t be financially prudent, but even posting new information such as links to articles or writing your own is doing two things – keeping visitors on your site and potentially getting new clients.

Visitor ISP’s

This bit of data tells the Company what ISP’s people are using while visiting the site. Some are the usual suspects – Cox, Time Warner, Verizon, but a few might stand out like an ISP that ends with ‘.mil.’ or ‘.gov.’

Let’s put this to work for Company B.

In checking the web statistics for December, Company B notices several visits from an ISP named bragg.army.mil.

At the weekly Company B meeting, the web statistics are reviewed with staff.

A staff member knows someone over in Fort Bragg who does some training.

She places the call and gets Company B and Fort Bragg talking about some of their services.

Fort Bragg says they have gone with Company A for several years and are satisfied with their services, but are interested in what Company B can do for them.

Now in this hypothetical situation Company, A’s even-keel approach could be steering right into an iceberg, and Company B could be starting a long term partnership with Fort Bragg.

Some visitor ISP could be commercial like Raytheon, Fidelity or Starbucks.

Large companies like these run their own ISP’s and could also provide potential leads for clients.

One word on Starbucks though, they rent out their ISP at local coffee shops, so if you see Starbucks in your Visitor ISP data, it most likely means someone logged into the Starbucks ISP and visited your site.

Referrals

Web referrals work like this: Company B posted an article related to their services but also gave good practical advice; another company, abc.com, put a link to Company B’s article on their web site.

The web statistics will show a referral from abc.com.

These statistics are also a good aide in garnering new eyes and potential new clients.

It also does something else – networking and potentially supplemental income.

Now that Company B knows that abc.com posts articles a dialogue has begun.

Company B and abc.com now post articles and shared services on each other’s web sites.

Things are going well between them; they are talking about putting referral finder’s fees for the referral traffic.

A Thing about Hits

All Company B activities are going on while Company A sits and waits for the phone to ring or the email to ping.

Company A has web statistics available, but they don’t think the data is important – except for hits.

They have a counter on their home page for all to see. One hundred twenty-nine thousand five hundred eighty-two hits – looks and sounds quite impressive.

But hits can be deceiving.

Technically speaking, a hit is a call to the server where the file is hosted and presents that file on the browser.

So what does that mean?

Let’s say there are 15 images on Company A’s web site home page if one visitor clicks on the home page, that produces 16 hits – 15 for the image files, and 1 for the page itself.

Now the counter will go up only one notch, but the web stats hit data for Company A will add sixteen.

Let’s say that one visitor clicked on the home page ten times; the counter goes up to ten – the hit data goes up to 160.

Company A thinks several different visitors went to their site when it actually was only one person.

So when you look at hits as a gauge on how your web site is doing – bigger isn’t always better.

Search Engine Optimization

Do a Google search for what your company is selling.

Chances are there will be millions of results.

You find company A’s web site ranked 20th and on the second page and Company B’s website ranked 2nd on the first page of results.

How can Company A improve its ranking?

SEO is the use of various techniques to improve a web site’s ranking in the search engines and thus attract more visitors.

Some of these techniques are free and help a great deal and some techniques you can pay for.

The free techniques are usually slower to move up your web site in rank but in my opinion, are longer-term results.

Here are a few free optimizations that you can do:

Go to Google.Com and do a search for Google site submission.

Enter your site and a one-sentence description of the site.

Do the same to other search engines like Yahoo, Bing, etc.
Whether you have designed a website for yourself or hired someone to develop it, there must be Meta tags for a description and keywords for each page.

I would also recommend that each title on a page represent what is on that page.

Sign up for Google’s Webmasters Tools.

Google has fantastic tools at you or your developer’s disposal such as what keywords searchers are using to get to your site, who is visiting what pages, setting up a site map, a robots.txt file to name a few, all of which will bring your website up and rank.

Sign up for Google analytics.

In addition to the webmaster tools, Google has specific tools to analyze your web site. Keywords, visitors, referrals, bounce rate, how long visitors are staying on your site, how many from what country, etc.

Continue Reading

Search engine marketing

How to become a Youtube Entrepreneur

Tom

Published

on

By

Couple blogger vlogger and online influencer

YouTube is a video-sharing website, but in modern day – we might as well consider it a social networking site.

YouTube is more than sharing videos – it’s a community of people to freelance, discuss politics and such, laugh, and do an assembly of things.

The evolution of social networking has gone beyond matching you with people of similar interests, backgrounds, and establishing social relations.

It has launched the best entrepreneurs and businesses out there, and YouTube happens to be right on the list for this kind of success.

So, what’s the product? How does “PewDiePie” (one of YouTube’s top money-making entrepreneurs) get 4 million dollars a year?

It’s simple.

Their product is their personality and their passion, because they’re simply down-to-earth, relatable for most people, and provide a source of entertainment or knowledge for their audience.

Furthermore, many of those making big bucks off of YouTube have established something unique.

How many people are filming cat and dog videos, or now – cute babies?

It’s true that the top subscribed channels on YouTube include a surge of ordinary gamers, yet each of those gamers happens to publicize a unique personality.

PewDiePie, yes – he’s’ a gamer, but he doesn’t just film himself doing video games, of course; the 4 million dollars is a courtesy to his rich personality and hilarious side-comments and videos.

So, what’s your niche? Is it baking? Doing makeup? Doing pranks?

Each of these types of entertainment and sources of knowledge I’ve mentioned has tons of videos on YouTube already.

So, beyond finding out your talent – establish your audience.

Is it the stay at home mom or a teenager?

A combination of things also proves to be helpful – like showing off your baking skills while in the kitchen with your hilarious partner.

People want something they haven’t quite seen before or something that distinguishes from the crowd.

Perhaps this is a bit cliché, but it’s absolutely true. It’s about finding out what makes YOU special or different.

How am I different from all the other people playing video games or giving a tutorial on how to do makeup?

It’s about showing the world the specialty in you as a person.

That being said – anybody can be the next top entrepreneur on YouTube or another million-dollar maker.

Social networking sites, such as YouTube allow you to take advantage of resources and do so.

So, it’s basically your uniqueness, talent, and establishing your audience. Maybe you won’t be the next “PewDiePie” or so, but have fun in the process.

After all, that’s what social media sites like these are about.

They’re about growing, enriching, and encouraging relationships, businesses and people like yourself.

Continue Reading

Join the mailing list

Subscribe

* indicates required

Please select all the ways you would like to hear from Omology.info:

You can unsubscribe at any time by clicking the link in the footer of our emails. For information about our privacy practices, please visit our website.

We use Mailchimp as our marketing platform. By clicking below to subscribe, you acknowledge that your information will be transferred to Mailchimp for processing. Learn more about Mailchimp's privacy practices here.

Advertisement

Trending