As your business grows, you will want to grow in your ability to market to customers. This means using some tools that will help you efficiently organize your marketing messages and ads. It’s important that you get the right messages to the right customers at the right time. If real estate is all about location, location, location, than digital marketing is all about timing, timing, timing. The rate of overturn for content on the internet is staggering. In the time it took you to read those sentences, there were probably 20 million hours of new videos uploaded to YouTube. Just kidding. There were 500. (Not kidding.)
A sales funnel is one tool a marketer can use to effectively and efficiently distribute marketing messages and assess customer engagement. Essentially, a sales funnel is a way of automating some of your online selling or online marketing. Let’s break it down and get as simple as possible.
Sales Funnel Definition
Picture a funnel. Like the one you pour liquid or sand through. A sales funnel definition is simply this: customers start at the widest point (top of funnel) and travel through the funnel (middle of funnel) to get to the bottom (bottom of funnel), where they buy something from you. The value of this model is that you can articulate messaging and goals for people at each point in the process.
For instance, people in the top of the funnel may have accidentally clicked on your website. They have minimal engagement and are only casually interested in your product or service. They require a different kind of message than someone who is familiar with your brand and actively looking for your product or service. You can use a variety of messaging approaches to appeal to people at different levels in your sales funnel. The idea is to cultivate each customer correctly so that you achieve your goals.
There are a few different ways that experts define sales funnels. They can speak for yourselves and you can find a sales funnel definition that resonates with you:
If you’re wondering what a sales funnel is, simply imagine a real-world funnel. At the top of that funnel, some substance is poured in, which filters down towards one finite destination. In sales, something similar occurs. At the top, lots of visitors arrive who may enter your funnel. However, unlike the real-world funnel, not all who enter the sales funnel will reemerge out from the other end.
A sales funnel is the marketing term for the journey potential customers go through on the way to purchase. There are several steps to a sales funnel, usually known as the top, middle, and bottom of the funnel, although these steps may vary depending on a company’s sales model.
The sales funnel (also known as a revenue funnel or sales process) refers to the buying process that companies lead customers through when purchasing products. The definition also refers to the process through which a company finds, qualifies, and sells its products to buyers.
Sales funnel refers to the process that brings a customer from discovering your product or service to completing a purchase. This framework is useful because, by dissecting and better understanding the model, marketers and salespeople can more effectively map their strategies and influence outcomes.
Sales funnels are simply a visual representation of the process of getting a wide variety and number of leads to a point of conversion. Leads come into the top of your funnel and, if you do it right, proceed down the funnel until they spend money or buy into your product or service.
Here are some examples of what sales funnels look like. Sales funnel images (or a sales funnel graphic) like these are used to illustrate the process:
Marketing funnel graphic by Single Grain
Rebecca Lee White at Trackmaven
Kevin Bloom, Business 2 Community
ECommerce Conversion Sales Funnel from Neil Patel
Sales Funnel Strategy
The psychology of buyer behavior is the backbone of sales funnel strategies. Sales funnels rely on an understanding of what kind of customers you want or are most likely to get and then creates a process that leads them into buying from you. In order for a sales funnel strategy to work, you need to do a significant amount of data analysis and customer profiling. This isn’t difficult, but it is essential.
To build a sales funnel that actually works for your business, you have to understand your customer. You need to build a persona, or do some demographic research. Understand who is currently buying your product and who you want to target to buy your product in the future. It can be easy, in the drive to create copious amounts of content and build followers on social media, to think that people who are interested in what you have to say are the same people who are going to buy what you are selling. This is sometimes true, but it isn’t always true. For example, Daniel Hochuli wrote a piece for Content Marketing Institute that I thought brilliantly covered this dilemma. You can read it here and here is the graphic he used to illustrate this point:
Not everyone who follows you on facebook is going to buy from you. Not everyone who opens your emails is going to buy from you. Having an effective sales funnel strategy means getting very clear about who your actual customer is. When you do that, you’re ready to press go on a comprehensive and thoughtful sales funnel. Shane Barker at Mention wrote a great piece that gives you a step-by-step guide of how to build a marketing sales funnel. You can read it by clicking here.
Sales Funnel Examples
There are some really good sales funnel examples here, so you can see illustrations of how big brands use sales funnels to convert leads. Basically, an effective sales funnel will employ every platform you have to speak to your customers there. You will know who your audience is and what to say to them to get them to move further down the funnel. This will mean that you understand their pain points and offer the right incentives to get them to increase loyalty and eventually buy from you.
Here are some brand or industry-specific sales funnel examples that can give you ideas as you think about making or refining your own sales funnel:
Sales Funnel for Schools and Education
Facebook Sales Funnel Example
Sales Funnel for Personal Training or Weight Loss
Expert Program Management
Sales Funnel With Numbers
Sales Funnel Image With Inbound Tactics
Sales Funnel With Statistics
Social Media Sales Funnel Example
Content Marketing Sales Funnel
Internet Entrepreneur Sales Funnel
B2B Versus B2C Sales Funnel Examples
Hire a Marketer for Sales Funnels
None of this is beyond your reach. You can learn all about sales funnels. It’s worth putting the time into researching your customer and communicating with them effectively. Sales funnels also ensure that you are measuring results, as you keep track of where customers are in the funnel.
While you do have the ability to do this yourself, you may not have time. In that case, hire a writer.