Marketing and sales funnel for e commerce on a memory sticks.

For many new and aspiring online entrepreneurs, the phrase “sales funnel” is a bit of a foreign concept. Isn’t a funnel something you use in your kitchen? When most people first come to digital marketing, they just want to sell their products or services, and they simply don’t find much importance in the concept. However, the idea really should make your digital marketing efforts much easier. A sales funnel is simply a series of steps that will guide a consumer through the customer life-cycle: target, prospect, lead, active customer, repeat customer. Today’s article is an introduction to how online entrepreneurs can build powerful sales funnels.

What Is a Sales Funnel?

A website is a crucial element and the centerpiece of every successful business. Nevertheless, marketing your website is an increasingly complicated process. Search engine optimization is complex, difficult, and often times frustrating. Social media is noise filled as organizations compete for people’s attention. This is what makes mapping out your own sales funnel so very important. Essentially, a sales funnel is the ideal path you intend consumers will travel as they go from target to prospect, to lead, to an active customer, and then a repeat customer.

A funnel is used as a metaphor representing the consumers moving through the different stages. Above the funnel is the entire Internet. The initial stage of the sales funnel will capture the attention of your target or ideal customer. The sales funnel is intended to work just like a physical funnel, by controlling and directing the flow. Have you ever tried to pour oil into a car’s engine without a funnel? Typically, it is a big mess with a lot of loss. The stages of a sales funnel are as follows.

  • Awareness (Target) – When a consumer first becomes aware of your brand, product or service.
  • Interest (Prospect) – The moment that your target demonstrates an interest in your product or service.
  • Evaluation (Lead) – When the consumer evaluates competitors before making a final decision.
  • Decision (Customer) – A final decision is made and the product or service is purchased.
  • Repurchase (Repeat) – The satisfied customer returns to buy the product or service again.

Andrew Raso reporting for HubSpot, the leading developer, and marketer of software products for inbound marketing and sales, states, “sales funnel consists of the different stages a customer goes through leading up to their purchase.” So, there is a difference between a potential customer visiting a website for the first time and those who are subscribers to an email list or newsletter. So, it the job of marking to fuel a customer’s journey from one stage to another, eventually making a sale.

handsketched sales funnel

How to Drive Traffic

When you adopt a content marketing strategy to get found, your sales funnel is critical. It cannot be understated, don’t start your content marketing without a clear plan and a vision of how your sales funnel should work. Identify your target. Create a buyer persona for each subgroup. Determine keywords and phrases. Finally, pinpoint the questions that search users are asking. All of this information will impact your tactics and the content you will publish for consumers at every stage.

Once you have taken this initial step, it is time to connect your sales funnel with your content creation and your research. The methods you can employ can include writing blog articles, infographics, whitepapers, e-books, social media posts, videos and more. You can even add offline documents and publications to help establish your audience and convert leads. Nevertheless, the overarching objective of content marketing is to capture the attention of your target, develop a relationship, and guide the consumer through your sales funnel.

When it comes to all online marketing, everything comes down to “What have you done lately?” It does not matter if it is your blog, social media, video channel, or another platform, if you are not creating new and valuable content, your marketing will fail. Search engines place a high value on active websites that create fresh content. So, while it can take a few months for content marketing to produce returns, measurable results do develop quickly.

The Importance of Trust

The ultimate goal is always to increase sales, and content marketing achieves this goal by building trust. Today, consumers have more power than ever and will tend not to trust advertising and blatant marketing. In fact, many people just don’t pay attention or will use ad blockers, spam filters, and other online tools to block it out. Content marketing and a well-developed sales funnel is the solution for online entrepreneurs to break through all the online noise and chatter.

The effectiveness of your sales funnel will rely on positioning yourself as a trusted authority, expert, and thought leader. Moreover, your content must be aligned with the interests, motivations, and needs of your target and ideal customer. You will create trust when you freely share informative, useful, or actionable content that identifies your business as knowledgeable, approachable, and generous. When you freely feed the demands of your target, they will turn to you when they are ready to buy.

Sales Funnels for Online Entrepreneurs

Today’s article was an introduction to how online entrepreneurs can build powerful sales funnels. When a person visits your website, within the design, you want to map out a predictable path to buying your product or service. This is called a conversion. A sales funnel is the series of steps that a target must pass through before reaching that conversion. It is the ideal process that a target will experience during their journey to becoming an active customer. Therefore, it is critical to plan your sales funnel, because it will assist in determining where you need to focus your attention.

Stay tuned to this website for future articles about sales funnels, creating trust, and developing your brand. Entrepreneurship is often a bumpy ride, especially for those starting out on their own for the first time.

What haven’t we covered yet that is important to you? If you would like to talk about creating a sales funnel, or a related topic, please contact us.

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