An engaging landing page and a strong social media presence represent fantastic tools in your marketing arsenal. What more could you need to boost sales? The truth is most traffic whizzes by your website without a second glance. Without a sales page funnel to channel that traffic, you are missing a vital component in your marketing campaign. What exactly is this funnel (if not a kitchen tool) and how does it work? Learn how to create sales funnel pages to help boost company sales.
In the simplest terms, a sales funnel represents potential customers at the top or wide end. Loyal, committed customers are at the small, narrow end. The middle of the funnel contains a series of steps which lead consumers from the top to the bottom.
Down the Funnel
A sales page funnel lays out the exact steps you expect customers to take one after the other. Moving consumers along a path prove difficult if you are unclear as to the direction in which you want to guide them. While the sale of your product or service is the endgame of the funnel, the methods for getting consumers to this point vary by company. For instance, some may use ads to lead to a social media connection and web-based incentive. Others may lead directly to a company website through a free e-book download offer.
No matter the methods you use to move customers down the sales path, the ultimate goal of an effective funnel is to attract consumers and convert them to customers. After that, you turn these new customers into loyal, repeat customers. Modern technology and online marketing tools make this age-old process easier and more manageable.
Why Do You Need a Sales Funnel?
Let’s consider a general example of a marketing campaign with and without a sales funnel. Suppose you run a stellar ad campaign to draw consumers to your website or social media platform. Dollars and effort spent on this process gain you a larger audience.
However, this is where your planning stopped. What next? Where do these potential customers go now? Without clear direction as to what to do (and, they will not know if you do not know), your audience quickly becomes a competitor’s potential customers. If your pre-determined sales funnel now moves this audience to sign up for an email or click for a free download, you move them one step closer to becoming a customer. With the download complete, the next step is initiating an email campaign to follow-up with these people. And the process continues onward. Does this make sense?
How Do Sales Page Funnels Work?
While some sales funnels are long and complex while others may be simple, the point is to make marketing easier for you either way. Taking the time and extending the effort to lay out the necessary steps of a sales page funnel give you a means of directing and analyzing potential customers.
The shape of the funnel illustrates sheer numbers. At the wide or top end of the funnel, expect heavier volumes of people. All of these leads (or those aware of your business) will not make it to the end of the funnel. Identify leads through visits to your website from your social media presence, guest posts, blogs and email marketing campaigns. Any source which drives traffic to your site begins to narrow the field of interest.
Lead to Prospect
Some of the leads who demonstrate an interest in your business or products become prospects. A step or call to action along your sales funnel draws out these leads from the general consumers, thereby narrowing the numbers further. For example, a great landing page or strong social media presence encourages visitors to sign up for email, subscribe to your site or even download an e-book. This represents the first step into the funnel. You now have the necessary information to continue the relationship thanks to a person’s contact information.
Prospect to Customer
Draw customers from the pool of prospects. The effectiveness of the sales funnel determines the number of consumers converted to customers at this point. Keep in mind that the count of customers is likely to be smaller than prospects. Converting all prospects is as impossible as converting all consumers to leads. Email auto-responders (preset emails) enable you to continue contact with each prospect. CTA buttons, including incentives, upgrades, and discounts, encourage someone to make a purchase. Once a prospect becomes a buyer, you can celebrate this victory. There is one more step in the sales funnel process.
Customer to Loyal Fan
Creating a returning customer creates an even greater return on investment than landing new customers. Part of an effective sales funnel plan includes keeping and developing your current customer base. While you might easily forget this step, your funnel is not complete without it. Auto emails and other follow-up methods ensure consumers are pleased with their purchase. Preferred customer discounts, one-time savings for first-time buyers, member reward programs and more incentives draw customers back for another purchase.
The sales funnel identifies leads. Through each step, weak leads filter out of the process to leave you with qualified leads. In theory, the likelihood of converting consumers to customers increases with each step down the funnel. In other words, focusing on the leads further down the funnel improves the chance of a sale.
Focus with a Funnel
Think of it this way: The time and energy required to focus on each of the potential customers at the top of the funnel far outweighs the resources you need as the count begins to narrow. Once consumers journey further through the funnel, their interest increases. Otherwise, they would be off to a competitor or other product. Sales funnels allow you to identify strong leads and focus your energy in this direction. As a result, you witness greater sales success. The quality of the sales funnel along each step plays a vital role in the number of qualified leads, prospects, and customers you produce.
A vital part of the sales funnel is the call to actions (CTAs) along the path. Since each step of the funnel requires a subsequent step, giving the consumer clear direction on how to act is key to influencing behavior. For example, a CTA encouraging a Facebook friend to click for an offer leads to a landing page. Here, consumers enter an email to take advantage of the offer. Email auto-responders pick up the pace with well-timed emails to encourage further action. Each of these steps requires a clear, compelling, well-placed CTA to get a consumer’s attention. This drives him or her further down the sales funnel. Without this direction, visitors are most likely to click away rather than through to your next step.
Consider the following tips for CTAs to increase consumer action and boost sales:
— Keep it short and dynamic.
— Use power words.
— Include a CTA in content as well as buttons.
— Offer something of value to the consumer.
— Inspire excitement and enthusiasm.
— Create a sense of urgency.
— Make CTA buttons stand out.
— Consider the location of CTAs.
— Optimize CTA formats across devices.
— Test the effectiveness of all CTAs.
Just as a team is only as strong as its weakest player, so it happens with sales funnels. The ability of the weakest point to convert equals the ability to convert in the end. Therefore, optimizing each step of the funnel ensures increased leads and conversions. In other words, landing pages must engage visitors. Auto-responders must perform with speed and accuracy. Ad campaigns need to target the intended audiences and focus on strong keywords.
The Character of the Business
The unique character of each business influences the methods chosen for the funnel. Mimicking another company’s sales strategy does not guarantee the same results. When the steps leading down your funnel fit your audience and business objectives, potential conversions rise and boost your revenue.
A key to ensuring this your sales funnel success comes in the form of testing. The results of each step of the sales funnel weighed against your objectives determines its effectiveness. Pre-determining the consumer process along the funnel and the results you expect to lay the groundwork for this testing.
More Than One Test
Be mindful that one test is insufficient. Several tests give you the answers you seek because those develop patterns in people’s behavior. For instance, try several CTA button colors, shapes, location and text choices. To which combinations does your audience best respond? The insights gained through testing allow you to make needed changes to reach a broader audience or increase engagement with your current one. As you continue to fine-tune your campaign, the results you desire increase.
To recap, check out the ways in which sales funnels boost revenues. They:
— Hold the interest of consumers deeper into the sales process.
— Increase the pull of qualified leads and prospects.
— Improve the chance of converting leads to customers.
— Draw customers into being loyal fans (repeat buyers).
— Save time on efforts by identifying those most interested in your product or service.
Let the Marketing Professionals Help
Do you feel overwhelmed by the complexities of making your marketing campaign easier with sales page funnels?
A Pro Knows
Fortunately, marketing professionals offer the expertise and breadth of skill to help. Hiring the experts to ensure success in this vital part of your campaign promises a good return on investment.
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