One of the main goals of every business is to get customers to buy what they are selling.
Many of these customers start out as strangers who get interested and finally purchase whatever you are selling.
Every business has a funnel – even if not all are aware of what it is and how to properly maximize it properly to increase sales.
That is what we will be discussing in this article: what a funnel is, the basic stages and what is expected of you at each step, if you want to make a sale at the bottom of the funnel.
What is a sales funnel?
A sales funnel captures the customer journey, the steps a stranger takes till he/she becomes a customer.
It is called a sales funnel because it takes the shape of a funnel when you describe the process.
A lot of people become aware of your brand every day but, naturally, the number decreases with every step they take further in dealing with your business.
You will agree that not everyone who hears about your brand will eventually buy from you.
So, much like the literal funnel, at the top, there is a wide opening which is where people come in contact with your brand. But it gets narrower because with each step, the number of people decreases.
This is what a sales funnel looks like:
Image Credit: DigitalMarketer
The basic steps of a sales funnel
There are three basic steps in a sales funnel.
Don’t be confused, however, if you see a sales funnel that has up to five, six or more steps.
No matter the length of the funnel or how many stages there are, it all boils down to three things: Awareness, Evaluation, and Conversion.
The first step in every funnel is Awareness.
This is where your prospect notices that your brand exists. This is the first contact he/she has with the brand, your product or service.
And therefore, whatever you do at this point should be to make people aware of the products you sell or the services you offer.
This first contact should make them aware that a problem exists and that you have the solution for it.
Not everyone who sees this will see the need to move to the next step with you.
Some might not be interested, some might not even have the problems you are trying to solve, some might not see the need for your solution at that moment, and so on.
Whatever the reason is, just remember that this is totally normal. The most important thing is that they got to know that your brand exists, and you can help them with that particular problem if ever they need help.
There are tons of ways to get people aware of your business. You can make use of social media, blog posts, ads, search traffic, etc.
The ones who are interested will move to the next step.
This is the second step in a funnel.
The people who got interested in your brand will try to learn more about your business.
They might try to make contact with you to get to know who you are, what you do, how you do what you do, and most importantly, how what you do can benefit them.
This point is very important; screw it up here, and there will not be a conversion (aka, a moving to the next step).
It’s either of two things, they get impressed and decide to move further to the next step or they leave.
Take nothing personally!
This is like the point in an interview where your interviewer asks: Can I know you? You have to sell yourself as much as you can.
Position yourself as an expert in the right position to help.
Put your best foot forward; your best of best. First impressions are everything here!
Potential customers may evaluate you through your blog posts, your social media posts, your website, your online profile(s), whatever can make them learn more about you — and judge you.
This is the last step and where all your efforts finally yield some tangible results.
At this point, your prospect now thinks that your product or service might be worth it, and they can probably trust you.
They are convinced enough to give up something for what you are offering, either in cash or in kind.
Depending on your goal, you can choose to either direct prospective buyers straight to a sales page, or offer a lead magnet. A sale and an opt-in both count as a conversion.
If you offer a lead magnet, you get their emails or contact in return (which is necessary for when you want to engage them).
If it’s a sales page, then direct sales will occur where they pay in cash to get your offer. (After the main offer, you can also make an upsell offer.)
In some cases, the bottom of your funnel might be a one-on-one sales call, or even a physical meeting, where you close the deal.
For example, if you are selling a high-end product like real estate, even after selling yourself and your product online, you still have to schedule a meeting where the buyer can see the house before they finally decides to buy — or not buy.
What happens after a purchase?
Getting a prospect to become your customer is great, but it doesn’t stop there.
You need to retain your customers, and probably make them repeat buyers. How do you do this?
You post engaging content across all platforms — web, social, email, etc. Get them to comment, like and share your posts. Give them the feel that they are a part of your brand and have a say in its decisions.
You also have to follow up.
You can send them emails or makes calls just to ask them how their experience with your product has been. Listen, alleviate their fears, attend to their complaints and make sure there is nothing to make them dissatisfied with your product or service.
This means your customer service game has to be on point.
If you got their mails, you can share valuable information and also send emails about promos, updates, etc.
These are the three basic steps in a funnel.
If you can give out the best of your brand at each step of the funnel, and also offer your prospect exactly what they want, then you should have little issues converting strangers to customers.
Use all the digital platforms available to you to get people to see your brand. Make sure that when they finally come in contact with your brand, it piques their interest. And finally, give them a reason to stay and buy what you are selling.
If you can do this, you can reasonably expect your business to bloom.