Gathering leads is important in marketing, and what you do with those leads is even more important. Companies that followed up within one hour were 60 times more likely to make a deal than those that waited 24 hours. But how do you know which of the leads are ready for a call? The sales funnel is one tried-and-true process.
The Sales Funnel is a method that marketers use at different points in their careers to determine where the buyer is on the purchasing path. There are several variations of the funnel, but at the end of the day it contains the following points:
These points represent the times when a customer discovers, explores, decides which product they want, and buys your brand. At any point of the funnel, there are leads, and each can be nurtured in a specific way.
You will learn more about the sales funnel and what consumers need at every point of this article.
Think of this portion of the funnel as a sort of “Hi, nice to meet you.” It’s the first phase of a consumer’s sales journey when they have come across your brand and want to know more. The best way to engage leads at this point is to develop your brand and show customers who you are. You can do this in the following ways:
Social Media Marketing
Social media has become a force to be reckoned with in the marketing business. According to the Social Selling 2017 Trends Survey, the ROI for social media firms is 56 percent compared to 26 percent for those using alternative marketing methods. In the same study, the conversion rate for companies using social media was 46%, compared with 31% for those not using social media.
If you are not already on social media, it’s time to sign up for Facebook or Twitter and reap the rewards. Social media has been built to share, and sharing your brand is what consumers need at this level.
Search Engine Optimization
When your website appears in the search engine results, it reveals how visible it is to potential customers. HubSpot notes that most users of the Internet don’t even look beyond the first page. If it’s not in the budget to interview the SEO management firm, there are ways to get started on your own.
Creating a content publishing schedule so that Google recognizes your website operation is a good place to start. To really excel, make a post that’s 1,000 words or more, engage your audience, and be important to your brand.
Paid advertising is helpful at the awareness stage of the funnel because not all consumers will find your site on their own. Sponsored advertising on Google and YouTube will get the attention of internet users and introduce them to your brand.
Some advertisers lump YouTube into all social media, but it’s proven to be a strong force on its own. YouTube is known to be the most popular video streaming platform with self-proclaimed 1 billion-plus subscribers. Developing a YouTube presence improves SEO, brand recognition, and best of all, it’s free to use.
When curiosity is picked up, it contributes to the analysis section of the funnel. Here, people are looking for more knowledge about your brand, products and services. They are going to do stuff like visit your website, watch YouTube reviews, and read your blog.
Businesses should take advantage of consumer curiosity and customers want to learn more about you. Not all they find online is going to guide them in the direction of lead conversion. You can use these methods to cultivate leads at this stage:
Content is essential at any level, but the audience is aware of focused content. For instance, if your company sells acne facewash, your target audience would be teenagers. Your content should represent common themes for teens and should be published in locations frequented by this age group. In this scenario, an Instagram contest will be perfect.
Mobile devices are used for anything from cardio monitoring to supermarket ordering. The mobile marketing world has expanded so much, in reality, that many businesses have their own mobile applications available for download. Creating an iOS and Android app is not rocket science, but if you need support, several SEO and marketing firms provide app design services.
An online seminar offers information about your brand in a non-committal manner. It shines a light on you as an expert in your niche, too. Companies running webinars tend to be popular in the industry.
Consumers love putting a face to a brand, and live videos are perfect for this. They also open the door to contact at a time when consumers have the most questions. Live videos allow potential customers to connect through comments, likes, and sharing.
According to Google, 60% of consumers want to speak to a sales rep most during the consideration or research stage of the sales funnel. A frequently-asked-questions page will provide offline support when live help isn’t available.
Leads at the decision-making stage of the funnel have a willingness to buy, but they are not 100% persuaded. This is when you put in a “closer;” some kind of reward or extra knowledge that drives the consumer to buy. Examples include:
Smart phone applications, video streaming sites, and even cosmetics firms provide free trial services to new customers. It tells customers that you have confidence in your product. It’s also a non-threatening way for customers to try your goods on their own.
One solution to free trials is a subscription cycle followed by self-renewal until customers cancel. This feature is useful because not all customers use their trial until it expires, and the Approved Renewal Notice reminds them of this.
Some leads stick around even after the first two phases of the sales funnel, but they never seem eager to buy. That’s when you are offering an exclusive promotion. Coupons, competitions, and other limited offerings make the leads feel unique. A voucher that only your Facebook followers get is a prime example of an exclusive bid.
A free consultation is another non-committal bid. Both online or in person, this is a great way to communicate with your leads and pitch in person. Consultations are particularly helpful for physical facilities, such as hairdressing, plastic surgery, or cosmetic dentistry. Often all the customer wants are the thoughts of those in the know before they buy.
Depending on your career choice, the offer of a free eBook can give you an interest in a product or service. Customers love to get something when they buy it, particularly if it’s easy to get downloadable content.
At the end of the day, you maneuvered your lead into the sales funnel, and he or she is on the finish line. But if they buy, what do you do to get them back? Nurturing at this point is all about telling the customer why they first purchased it. Try these strategies to regenerate the trust of the customer:
Ratings and reviews are a significant source of content during the testing process. At the buying point, they also lend a sense of intent. Sending a customer a virtual comment card is a nice way to remind them of their experience. It refreshes your brand in their minds, gives them a chance to connect and makes them feel like their thoughts are relevant.
As with the exclusive deals listed above, existing customers need an opportunity to come back. If a customer receives a coupon after purchase, he or she has a reason to visit your site again. Common methods for distributing coupons include email and mobile apps.
A weekly or monthly newsletter will keep your brand fresh in the minds of past customers without appearing dominant. Adobe collected data from 400 employees in high-profile jobs to assess the value of e-mail marketing. They found that 58 percent of businesses preferred to contact them via email over alternative communications. The same study indicated that customers prefer less frequent emails from their favorite brands.
Reward systems make customers feel like they’re getting something back with every purchase. Building brand loyalty becomes easier when customers feel appreciated. In fact, 69% of consumers are more likely to choose one business over another if they offer a reward system.
Bringing Home Those Leads
Nurturing leads is more critical than you can realize. Just 4 percent of customers who visit your website are ready to purchase. That leaves 96 percent of your leads waiting to be persuaded your brand is superior. The best way to transform them is to build a strategic plan focused on where and the lead is on the sales journey.
You don’t need to know where every customer is in the enclosure to be successful. All you need to do is have the right content available at each point. If your brand is ready for new customers, informed customers and existing customers, you will see the conversions start to happen naturally.