One of the biggest mistakes marketers make is that they don’t align their content marketing efforts with their sales funnel stages so they can close more deals. More often than not, they don’t go deep enough or look into lucrative avenues like repurposing their existing content to increase reach. Hence, their prospects don’t progress through the funnel. What they need is a sales strategy for every stage to engage effectively.
That’s why I have decided to explain how you can use different content for each stage of your sales funnel.
Blogging (Awareness and Interest)
By blogging, you will generate awareness and interest in your business. It can be your main source of traffic for your website, and it’s also a good way to engage your list by sharing valuable content.
The way you bring awareness by blogging is to optimize your content with the right keywords so you can attract your target customers from an organic search. Acquiring customers is essential to a flawless marketing funnel strategy that grips viewers and turns them into consumers.
Another way is to promote your posts on social media by influencing other people to share them or by using promoted posts. It’s important to state that blogging is not a “bottom of the funnel” activity.
In other words, it won’t lead to people making a decision to buy from you. For that, you will need to create other types of content or push people to go on a sales call with you.
Lead Magnets (Interest)
Any type of lead magnet is used as a tool to generate interest in your product. You grow your email list by offering something of value to your audience that they’re already interested in, such as a guide or course.
Anything that can educate your prospects on how they can solve their problems and achieve their goals is helpful for this stage. Within the lead magnets themselves, you can place call-to-actions to check out your products/services, call your sales department, etc.
Webinars (Decision and Action)
Even though webinars can be used as lead magnets, they’re more focused on the decision stage and convincing people to take action and buy your products.
When people sign up for webinars, they’re already pretty interested in achieving a certain goal or solving a specific problem. This could be growing their traffic, losing weight, or finding the perfect soul mate.
Your goal with the webinar is not only to educate them but to entice them in order for them to make a decision and buy your solution.
In the end, you should always have a call to action to buy your product, start a free trial, or request a consultation.
Videos (Awareness, Interest)
Videos are more impactful for the awareness and interest stage, although they can be a very useful medium for the decision and action stage as well.
YouTube is well-known as the second largest search engine, so by optimizing the videos for certain keywords, you can generate tons of awareness and traffic to your website.
Additionally, you can use services like Wistia to embed educational videos within your blog posts and your website to educate your audience on topics that interest them.
By creating explainer videos, you can build demand for your product or service.
Last but not least, with sales videos, you can entice people to make the final step and take action. You can also create tutorial videos for customer retention by giving customers a detailed tutorial on how to use your products.
Measuring the Success of a Sales Funnel
Your sales funnel might need tweaks and adjustments as your business grows. With more data about your target audience, you learn more about your customers, and you diversify your products and services.
A great way to measure the success of your sales funnel is to track your conversion rates.
For example, how many people sign up for your email list after clicking on a social media ad?
Pay careful attention to each stage of the sales funnel:
- Are you getting the attention of enough consumers with your educational content?
- Do your prospects trust you enough to enter their contact information?
- Have you secured purchases from your email drip campaign and other marketing efforts?
- Do existing customers come back and buy from you again?
By answering these questions, you will know where you need to change your sales funnel accordingly.
Optimizing Your Sales Funnel
How do you market your products and services to your prospects without shoving them into their faces? Well, you have to market efficiently. You can’t force them to make a purchase, and neither can you stop them from going to your competitors.
Without a properly optimized sales funnel, you are just guessing about your prospects’ journey and what they want. If your guess is wrong, you lose the sale. And that’s a risk you really shouldn’t take.
Take a note of how people engage with your site during a session. Where do they click? Does anything seem to confuse them? Are they focusing their attention where you want?
This is particularly important for those landing pages you are diverting them to. If the landing pages are not optimized for conversions, most people will just click away.
How to Optimize Your Sales Funnel
You can optimize your sales funnel in different ways. The most important places to put your focus on are the areas when consumers move to the next point in the funnel.
We have discussed social media advertising. Don’t just run one ad; run ten or twenty. Direct them to different buyer personas and different target audiences. Use the targeting features to make sure those ads appear in front of a diverse group of your target audience.
Most importantly, A/B test your landing pages. It takes time, but you’ll reach more people and convert prospects more reliably.
You should also A/B test your drip campaigns. Change your subject lines, imagery, offers, CTAs, and layouts to figure out what your audience responds to.
The best way to optimize your sales funnel, though, is to pay attention to the results.
Top of the funnel
At this stage, all your content is about letting your prospects know your brand exists and encouraging them to click on your CTA. If your content isn’t working, try something else. Keep experimenting.
Make sure the offer and CTA are relevant to the content in your blog post or social media ad, or whatever other asset you used to drive traffic on the landing page. Test your headline, body copy, images, and CTA to find out what works best to optimize your landing page.
When you ask people to buy from you, A/B test your offer. Does free shipping work better, or are people more interested in a 5% discount? These little things on an offer can make a huge difference in your revenue.
Customer Retention Rate
Track your customer retention rate. Do people come back and buy from you a second, fourth, and fifteenth time? Do they refer their friends? Are they talking about their brand in a positive manner?
The goal of your entire sales funnel is to keep your brand on top of the mind of your customers. If you don’t disappoint your customers at any stage of the funnel, they won’t find any reason to look elsewhere for their problems.
Principles of Persuasion for Effective Sales Funnel
Dr. Robert Cialdini, a marketing and psychology professor, introduced 6 principles of persuasion in his 1984 book Influence. These are:
- Social Proof
Here is how they work, according to psychologist Dr. Kendrick:
In brief, we are inclined to go along with someone’s suggestion if we think that person is a credible expert (authority), if we regard him or her as a trusted friend (liking), if we feel we owe them one (reciprocity), or if doing so will be consistent with our beliefs or prior commitments (consistency). We are also inclined to make choices that we think are popular (consensus [social proof]), and that will net us a scarce commodity (scarcity).
You can use the tools and strategies mentioned in this article to further push prospects along each stage of your sales funnel. For example:
- You can create awareness by giving out freebies (guides, checklists, pdfs) using the principle of reciprocity and consistency. Regularly blogging or posting on social media shows consistency and also establishes your presence (awareness).
- You can capture interest using principles of liking and scarcity. People will be more interested in what you have to say if they either like you or if they believe you are offering a limited commodity.
- You can guide prospects in the decision stage if they believe you have authority in your domain and so will be more likely to listen to you. You can build authority using case studies, webinars, and tutorials.
- You have a higher chance of closing a sale in the action stage if you use the principle of social proof. You can give social proof by showcasing reviews, recommendations, testimonials, and favorable PR.
Benefits of Creating a Sales Funnel
A properly built sales funnel provides huge benefits to your business by leading your prospects through the funnel effectively. Let us have a look at some of the benefits of a sales funnel.
The right message at the right time
With a proper sales funnel in place, including a map of prospect’s questions and the details they need, you can deliver the right information and an aligned message to your prospects every single time — and save your future customer from any frustrations.
Alignment between marketing and sales
Your prospect can get in touch with you at any moment of their customer journey, whether it’s early research or late decision stage. So it’s important to align your marketing and sales efforts so that they receive the information they need even when you don’t have the ability to deliver it directly as a sales person. With a proper sales funnel in place, you can deliver the proper offer to your prospects outside of your sales conversations.
Saves time and efforts
Having a solid funnel in place will allow you to dismiss bad leads early and increase your efforts with highly qualified ones — ultimately resulting in more sales and better customers.
Your work is not done when you create your sales funnel. In fact, this is where it all begins.
It’s important to measure your results once everything is set up. Choose your KPIs first, then set up a measurement program. Take time to build out a sales funnel that represents what you want and what your audience wants.
Optimize it over time, adjust your approach to various sales funnel stages, and find out why your efforts aren’t working.
Gather data around, analyze, and improve your funnel if you want to get better results. Figure out where your strengths and weaknesses lie. Such questions will help you figure out where you need to work on your sales funnel. And then focus your resources there.
A good flow of people right from the top all the way to the action stage will ensure you have a healthy business.