What Is A Sales Funnel? (And Why your Website is Not Working for You)
Updated: Oct 5, 2019
Every business has a Sales Funnel, they just don't know it yet.
If every business has a sales funnel, why do they still have a website? What's the difference?
Your website is an online brochure, tells all the important details about your business, but it's like a store without a salesperson. You can walk all around it and look at whatever you want, but there are no gates and the calls to action for email subscribers and purchases are either spammy or require some specific event to initiate them. You are not guiding your customers through a process to the most important pages of your site.
But I've optimized my websites navigation? That's still not enough, you made pages and sections of your site easier to find. However that is still not driving sales through your website.
What is a Sales Funnel? (A brick and mortar example)
A sales funnel is your sales process. How you market, acquire and nurture leads and customers through your process to the point of purchase.
Take a retail clothing store example. You visit the store looking for some of the clothes you noticed while walking past the store window on the street or in the mall.
While searching around the store one of the sales associates asks if you need any help, you abruptly say "No, just looking around". At that moment the store sales person mentions a sale on coats and that they are 35% off this weekend.
Your interest piqued you decide to browse the coats, find one and choose to buy it.
You bring the coat to the register and the sales associate mentions with any purchase over $75 you get another 20% off any other item in the store.
Having already spent $55 on the coat, another $20 won't hurt.
You get a hat to go with the coat to keep your head warm and then the associate asks to sign you up to the rewards program, you decline, but they reassure you it will be quick and you get another 20% off coupon in your email! Sure, let's do it.
That is the sales funnel in action, and with the rewards program email coming to your inbox, they have a chance to entice you to make another visit.
Why is a sales funnel important?
Remember in the previous section I mentioned how your website is not taking the visitor through a process navigating them to the purchase?
Well your sales funnel does, and through this process you can track their behavior.
Are they clicking on calls to action?
Are they viewing the video on the page?
What page did they make it to?
Did they bounce out of the funnel at the optin where they provide an email address?
Based on these behaviours you can create specific messaging in your follow up emails and even ads that speak to that specific prospect.
Pretty powerful, huh?
The 4 Stages of Customer Behavior
Your prospect goes through 4 stages of behavior before becoming a customer.
You must identify these 4 stages through tracking them in your sales funnel and craft an experience based on what stage they at in the funnel.
This is where your advertising or organic content has captured the prospects attention.
This could be a Facebook post, a Youtube video, a Facebook ad or even a blog post they found from a Google search. In this stage you're providing value regardless of action in an attempt to attract the right prospect that will move through the 4 stages and take action.
The interest stage of the funnel could happen immediately or it could happen weeks or even months later. Your prospect has intent at this stage they are looking for something specific most likely doing searches online and consuming content with the intent of making a purchase. This can happen immediately after you've created awareness, but that all depends on whether your sales copy and the timing is right for that particular prospect.
At this stage you want to continue to provide value and some of your messaging could be focused around product benefits and results your prospect will experience or receive when they use your product or service.
Your prospect is ready to buy in the decision stage. They are looking for the best offer, what will have the right mix of quality and price. Pushing your prospect over the edge here is your best course of action.
What can you do to entice them?
The smallest amount of prospects make it to this stage. You need to treat them well and continue to provide value. They are now customers, they've made a purchase and could make more if you take the right actions to retain them. Follow up on email, offer more discounts and continue to provide value without asking for a sale.
How to Build a Sales Funnel Fast
At this point you're probably saying, "great , let's get a sales funnel built!"
There are many ways to build a sales funnel some people string together pages in wordpress, others use sales funnels software like clickfunnels. This really depends on your technical capability and budget. I personally use clickfunnels since it is one of the easiest to use drag and drop page builders that was built specifically for sales funnels.
A sales funnel can help you track your prospects behavior, creates a process for them to follow to taking action and purchasing your products or services.
There are 4 stages to the prospect journey to become a customer. Even though a funnel appears to be a linear process, it is not. Your prospect can move from each one of those stages and it's up to you to design a sales funnel that moves them in the right direction and keeps them there.
I've learned a lot about this process through education and took action to get better. You can learn more about my story here.
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