The New Digital Sales Funnel
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4 Steps to Success The new digital sales funnel is a four-step process that nurtures your leads from unknown to known. If you want more customers (Who doesn’t?) then this is the funnel you need.
Your sales funnel won’t work without first grabbing a prospect’s attention. We’re taking a prospective customer from complete anonymity to loyal customer, after all. This requires not just great content and a compelling call to action, but also your chosen distribution method. This can be paid, unpaid, or a combination of both. (We recommend both.) Top ways to grab attention:
- Digital advertising
- Social media
Digital Advertising Digital advertising utilizes the highly-specific targeting capabilities of certain websites to ensure your top of the funnel message reaches the right users at the right time. The biggest players in digital advertising are Google Ads and Facebook. Google Ads includes their text ads in Google results and display ads on websites across the internet. Facebook Ads are primarily shown on Facebook and Instagram, though your ads are also shown on websites in their Audience Network, similar to Google’s display ads. Both offer the potential for a high ROI when utilized correctly.
SEO SEO is another beneficial way to grab users’ attention. This process is a long-term solution, as you need to build up high-quality content for lead offers, a treasure trove of free content on your website, and some well-placed backlinks on relevant websites. Once you begin to implement this, you’ll begin seeing the results as people are driven to your website by searching for your chosen keywords. Social Media Social media is the third piece that works best in tandem with digital advertising and SEO. Aside from the organic discovery through hashtags and algorithms, searching for a company on social media is one of the first things potential customers do. They’re looking for engaging content that provides relevant information and creative content. If your content is engaging, then you’ll get their attention and begin to move them into the next stage of the digital sales funnel.
Once you’ve gotten a lead’s attention, it’s time to pique their interest. This comes primarily through content, because you want to offer more information about your product, industry, and the problem you’re solving. This is an excellent time to use storytelling. Set up the scenario your product solves, and use these types of content to hook your leads:
- Free content
- Gated content
- Varied content
Free Content Think of free content as what you share on social media. It can be videos highlighting product details and new launches, blog posts sharing customer success stories, and photos showcasing your product in action. This may seem counterintuitive, but providing free content is extremely beneficial in the sales funnel. (Even if you don’t get their email address.) This content helps you build rapport with a lead and gives them the information they need to determine whether it’s worth discovering more. Gated Content Gated content is typically unlocked with an email address. These are white papers, a free trial, or even sample design assets. This requires more commitment from the lead, but if the content is compelling enough you won’t have trouble getting people to engage with it. Remember to only request the information you truly need to reduce the friction between starting the form and pressing “Submit”. People are more likely to offer up a first name and email than they are a full name, phone number, email, and zip code. This may be needed, though, in some instances because it can act as a necessary qualifier. You may even want to run an A/B test to see what information leads are willing to provide in exchange for your content. Varied Content People consume content differently. Some prefer videos or podcasts and some prefer blogs or slide decks. In order to reach everyone within your target audience, create varied content. If, after four to six months you begin to see one type drastically outperforming another in engagement and lead generation, begin to shift towards that content. Every company is different, making testing an important piece of a content marketing strategy. This is also an investment, which is why we recommend focusing on fewer types of content in order to do them well. This is definitely an instance of quality over quantity. If videos are outside of your budget, focus on written content and use Instagram Stories and IGTV to share quick, basic videos about your brand. You may be surprised at your engagement when choosing the “quick and dirty” method! Your content will help engage your followers to reach the third step in the sales funnel.
Now that you’ve piqued their interest through engaging content shared their preferred way, it’s time to create the desire to purchase. This is where competitor research comes in handy. Offer pricing comparisons, emphasize your selling points, and engage with leads. It’s tempting to turn this stage into a sales pitch, but we need to remain in “provider” mode. Offer more information focused on those that have an intent to sell. When people are browsing, they’re less likely to consider the price. When they’re actively shopping, however, it’s time to offer sales-related information that still offers them value. If your competitor is focusing on Selling Point A, consider focusing on Selling Point B to create a distinction between your products. Smart phones are an excellent example of this. Many phones are water resistant, but not all companies use that in advertising. Therefore, consumers believe only Phone A is water resistant, but Phone B and C are, too. Creating desire for a product relies on well-crafted information to help your leads move through the funnel to the last step: making a purchase.
Now we’ve reached the crux of the funnel: action. This is most commonly a purchase, which could be for a product or a service. In an ideal world, you can convert a lead into a customer without an offer. This works best with low-ticket items because leads are less likely to research thoroughly before making a purchase. For larger ticket items or products that are new to the market, offers are the necessary final piece of the digital sales funnel. It could be a discount, free gift with purchase, or perks like a free phone consultation. Make them alluring enough so people purchase, but safe enough for you that a profit is still possible. This final step of the sales funnel is an important one, but if you’ve laid the foundation in the first three steps, then you will have created an environment conducive to conversions. This environment isn’t created overnight, and leads don’t convert overnight, either. But through careful consideration of the variables and how your target customer operates, you can create a fail-proof funnel that provides value while increasing your revenue. It’s the true marketing success! If you want this success but need some help making a funnel of your own, let’s talk. Our team of experts can help you produce results and grow your company.]]>
By Marc Apple
Marc Apple is recognized as a leader in the marketing industry and has 20+ years of experience helping businesses of all sizes improve their digital marketing. He specializes in website design, SEO, social media, and paid search programs. He is a frequent contributor to other marketing websites and speaks regularly about marketing to small business owners and startups. To learn about Marc and to contact him, visit his author bio page.
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