WHY HAVING A SOLID FUNNEL IS A MUST?
The classic sales and marketing funnel dates back to the late 1800s and provides a simple metaphor to think about the path a customer takes on the way to purchase so that you can improve and analyze your business efforts.
And logically, this model hasn’t survived almost two hundred years for nothing.
If you don’t have a proper sales/marketing funnel and your business somehow is doing great (on-demand products, recognized brand, etc.), this article is also for you.
Yes, you've read that right.
This is because we only see the true power of having a complete funnel strategy, mostly when something goes south, and believe me, when I say you don’t want to wait to get there.
Let’s say suddenly you’ve got fewer conversions, you wouldn’t know why nor how to overcome that challenge without wasting tons of time and probably money on testing strategies that will help you figure out what works.
The funnel gives you an in-depth close-up at every stage of your customer’s journey.
I am talking from when they first saw your brand until they’ve purchased your product.
When you follow their journey, you will know precisely where things got entangled.
This means that you will have the leverage to speed up the process of making the proper adjustments and changes accordingly without wasting time and money on “blind improvements”.
Now that you have the idea of the funnel strategy's true powers let's see how it works.
THE OG FUNNEL
The most effective funnel model we all love and use today is based on the AIDA principle.
AIDA Model identifies cognitive stages an individual goes through during the buying process for a product or service, basically the definition of sales/marketing funnel. This is why it works so well.
This is maybe the first time the concept of stages in a consumer journey is illustrated as a funnel, and the four stages of Attention, Interest, Desire and Action are used.
WHERE ARE WE NOW?
Well, let me say it became a bit crowded among the stages and thousands of variations came up.
Everybody was adding steps making it more organized to fit their business needs, and that's how we ended up with so many funnel strategies and templates that are one google search away.
But you don’t have to join that party, in fact, if you are new at building funnels, you will only get more confused.
If you ask me, the only thing you should do is understand the basic principles of the sales/marketing funnel.
Only then YOU will understand what works best for YOUR business.
It can be a simple funnel or bit crossed strategy with added steps.
However, in 2022, I do not recommend to miss on the 5-stages funnel.
WHAT IS CONSIDERED AS BASIC STEPS IN 2022?
I would say the five stages funnel, only because it fits most of the business models.
Awareness: The moment a user first discovers your brand, product, offer, etc.
Consideration: They’re interested but not ready to buy, compare you against the competition, or wait for a special offer.
Conversion: When a user finally makes a choice to buy (hopefully with you).
Loyalty: Users who regularly buy from you and find it difficult to risk and go elsewhere
Advocacy: Users who actively recommend you to potential buyers.
You can call these steps whatever you like, but every successful sale requires consumers to go through the first three stages.
As for the other two, well, let’s say you would want every customer to enter this buying cycle.
The key point here is that your marketing funnel doesn’t end with the purchase.
There is plenty more work to be done after stage 3.
You can add as many stages into this funnel as you deem necessary to your brand but, again, it’s up to you how complex your marketing funnel should be.
You can also expand it with time as your strategy becomes more efficient and new opportunities arise.
DON'T FORGET THAT YOU'RE SELLING!
Another crucial sales funnel principle is that we’re not talking about a linear process here.
You don’t want to limit your marketing strategy to generating leads at the top of the funnel and then guiding them all to the end.
There are thousands or even millions of people out there who are familiar with your brand but simply aren’t interested in it. Yet.
Even more, people are interested in what you’re selling but don’t even know that your brand exists. Again, yet.
Another important principle of this sales funnel is that we’re not talking about a linear process here. You don’t want to limit your marketing strategy to generate leads at the top of the funnel and then guiding them all to the end.
There are thousands or even millions of people out there already who may know your brand but simply aren’t interested in it yet.
There are even more people out there who are interested in what you’re selling but know your brand exists yet.
This means you can not afford to miss an opportunity to get leads in every funnel stage!
Map users according to their interactions and assign them to each stage of your marketing funnel. You can then target each user based on their previous actions and push them to the third stage.
EVERY STAGE SERVES ITS PURPOSE
At this stage, we are making sure the right people notice us, regardless of the outreach method.
The most important thing at this stage is making sure that you target relevant audiences to bring traffic to your website that actually have the potential to buy into your offer.
You’re wasting budget, time, and other valuable resources if your lead generation strategies implemented in the first stage aren’t bringing traffic with actual interest in your product or service.
There is no point in advertising your painting tools to people who don’t paint.
With awareness building in the first stage of your funnel, you are moving to the consideration stage.
This is the stage where you’ll want to target existing leads from stage one, and with suitable content and channels, make them consider your offer.
I might have forgotten to mention, but segment your audience through this funnel wisely!
There is no universal message after the awareness stage. We’ve mentioned above that some wait for the right offer while others want to be charmed, so give them exactly what they need.
I highly recommend giving additional value to your service or product. Let's say if you sell a catering service, you might do tutorials on how to decorate the cake table.
This is also what is called a lead magnet, and maybe it belongs in the first stage, but anyways once you have a segmented audience, you can use it among all stages accordingly if that action could push them to purchase.
We are doing everything to get to this stage right here.!
Everything you’ve done so far has been building up to the point where users complete some kind of conversion.
Purchases are usually the most valuable type of conversion, but there are dozens of others you might be targeting with different campaigns, again depending on your business needs.
Find the right strategy to turn customers into repeated buyers, and don’t forget to make them feel special.
A lot of brands make the mistake of thinking the marketing funnel ends once their primary conversion goal is accomplished, usually a purchase. However, in the long run, the return on investment from all the work you’ve done up until now is at this stage.
Tip: Make customer service a priority!
Happy customers are more likely to keep buying from you and recommend you to others. Let's not forget that also 83% of buyers say that friends/colleagues have the most significant influence on their purchase decisions.
So in this stage, you want to work on encouraging them to talk about your brand and sometimes reward them for it.
Go on, conquer your market!