If you have a business and you are looking to get more customers as soon as possible you have been probably told to set up a sales funnel.
But you have no idea how it works!
Here is a short guide:
- What is a Sales Funnel
- Why is it called a Funnel?
- Stages and structure of a Sales Funnel: how does it work
What is a Sales Funnel?
In short, a sales funnel is a system that enables us to conduct the right customers where we want.
Whereas in a normal website, potential customers would be wandering off from page to page, in a funnel (a landing page in which you can just scroll up and down and only move to a different page with a call-to-action) they are invited to go through different stages where content is carefully selected and layed out.
From the perspective of an interested customer, they are just browsing, comparing products and prices, and possibly shopping. However, we are guiding users through a journey and visualising each step. Some we will lose on the way but it’s normal so don’t try to attract all types of customers when planning a funnel as this won’t be effective.
Why is it called a funnel?
Sometimes also described as an inverted pyramid, it’s called so because of its structure. The top, being wider, is where casual and curious visitors enter, and as potential customers, they become aware of the brand. As users scroll down, and the funnel becomes narrow, some will be persuaded to continue while others will drop-off and leave the page. In a well-designed funnel, users go through a series of stages where they will have to make decisions but as we said already, only ideal customers will get to the bottom.
Stages and structure of a Sales Funnel: how does it work?
This is where users discover your page, also thanks to your brilliant advertising! Ad campaigns need to be well-targeted so that actual potential customers visit the page and you will be able to achieve a high conversion rate.
However, remember that the visitor is still just browsing, they are “just-looking” and their knowledge of your product at this stage is still very general. Any pressure will scare them away.
If prospective customers have arrived into your funnel it’s because something about your product has called their attention so it’s very important to generate interest and connect with them.
Whether or not you have an identifying sentence (such as Tiffany´s “The right one is worth waiting for”) your unique-selling proposition (USP) should be clear and therefore your unique product qualities should stand out to differentiate you from the competition.
Your new leads have now developed a stronger interest and have started to compare it with other products on the market. Provided that you have studied your target audience through market research, and created user personas (fictional characters with the characteristics of your target customers), visitors that have arrived at this stage are marketing-qualified leads (MQL).
Some will inevitably exit your funnel, or drop-off as they realise your product doesn’t measure up, but those who will keep scrolling think they may have found a solution to their problem and could be your future customers or clients.
Remember: it is important to identify exit points and to analyse customer behavior on your landing page (there is software for this!) in order to improve the funnel and stop your new sales-qualified leads (SQL) from exiting in the next stage.
4. Decision Stage
In this stage, leads find your product or service a suitable solution to their needs and are very close to deciding whether to make the purchase. It is where call-to-actions take place and your final opportunity to acquire a new customer or drive them away forever!
This is also where you reassure them that they are about to take the right decision by offering social proof, like real customer testimonials in written, video format, or both.
Once they have taken action, we can consider this a conversion.
Congratulations! You have just acquired a new customer but the job isn’t finished. A thank you message to measure your conversions and a welcome email with tips or links to articles that could be of their interest are important steps to encourage them to come back and browse again.
Engaging with customers without causing stress is as important (if not more) as any other stage. If they are happy and satisfied it is likely they will come back and bring more customers.