When it comes to marketing jargon, it can be difficult to figure out what you need to focus on and what you can put off. Let me help you cut through that and help you put blinders on to something that’s critical for the growth of your business: The good old marketing science of sales funnels. A sales funnel is one of those things that sound a lot more complicated than it is and it can have a huge impact on your sales and your profits.
As an entrepreneur, you’ve probably already put a lot of thought into your sales funnel — even if you don’t quite realize it yet. Your sales funnel involves all of the touch points that your potential customer reaches before they become an actual customer and it can be built simply with your marketing collateral. Here’s what you need to know.
First Off, What Even Is a Sales Funnel?
To understand a sales funnel, I want you to first think of a literal funnel (7th grade science lab flashbacks, anyone?), with the wide part at the top and the narrow part at the bottom. Your potential customers will start at the top of a funnel and go through a series of steps to reach the bottom of the funnel, where they’ll make a purchase and you’ll get a sale.
Your customer base narrows down as the funnel does, and as you send them down the funnel they’ll touch on 4 stages along the way — awareness leads into interest, which leads into decision, which leads into action.
The 4 Stages of a Sales Funnel
Awareness lies at the top of the funnel, with action all the way at the bottom. Your job as an entrepreneur is to guide as many potential customers as you can to the bottom of that funnel of yours.
Your first step? To decide what action you specifically want your customers to take (whether it’s buying a course, booking a call, or downloading a product), and then creating a method to help them get there. To get your audience and customers down the funnel, it’s important to understand exactly what 4 stages they’ll go through so that you can craft that method in a way that keeps as many people in the funnel for as long as possible.
Let’s dive in.
Stage 1: Awareness
In the awareness stage, your customer finds out who you are and what you do. Whether it’s a Google search that led to you (hey SEO!), a referral from a client or a targeted ad that caught them the right way, the awareness stage is what helps you build recognition with your potential customer.
Your Stage 1 step: Create a targeted Facebook or Instagram ad, optimize your SEO, and promote an easy to use opt-in like a checklist to collect emails and grow your community (the top of that funnel).
Stage 2: Interest
The interest stage is where that potential customer of yours decides that they’re intrigued by your promise and your offer. They’re probably still exploring other options here, but they’re keeping you as one of those options — which is why you have to show up the right way.
Your stage 2 step: Build out a killer welcome sequence, offer a value-packed freebie and send content that reminds them how incredible you are… no sales needed.
Stage 3: Decision
When your potential customer reaches the decision stage, they’re ready to click purchase. At this point, they might have one or two other vendors or businesses that they’re trying to decide from too, so it’s your job to influence them into picking you for their final decision.
Your stage 3 step: Offer an exclusive discount code, re-target them on Facebook or Instagram and push out valuable customer testimonials.
Stage 4: Action
In the action stage, you’ve done it! Your potential customer has become a customer and they’ve purchased your course or product or download — so, congrats! Now, you’ll want to keep them happy and encourage them to keep purchasing from you. Here is where it’s important to have solid systems in place to nurture the clients you do get onto your roster.
Your stage 4 step: Nurture your email list consistently, ask for feedback and consider an affiliate platform.
So… What’s Next?
I’m going to show you how to integrate a sales funnel into your site next week, so hold tight! But, for now, start digging into some of your favorite creative entrepreneur’s sites… and see if you can spot the sales funnel! We’ll call it a sales funnel scavenger hunt, ok? From Jenna Kutcher to Melyssa Griffin to me (hi!) to one of your go-to online stores, get to looking. It’ll change the way you look at digital marketing forever.
One of the biggest pieces of your sales funnel lies in making sure you have an impeccable, clear website. Download my checklist for making sure your website connects, and let’s go!