A sales funnel is a common marketing technique. It’s basically used to convert website visitors into paying customers.
Building meaningful customer relationships takes patience, hard work and some generous nurturing. Luckily for you, though, marketing automation was made to improve the buyer’s journey, so you don’t have to do all the hard work!
What is a sales funnel?
Simply put, a sales funnel illustrates the ideal journey that your prospects go through on their way to becoming customers. You have to funnel your prospects down in order to get that new client.
There are several different variations of the sales funnel, but the traditional version outlines four stages that a customer goes through:
- Awareness stage – the prospect learns about your business. This refers to the top of the sales funnel.
- Consideration stage – the prospect is interested in your product, they’re aware of its value. This refers to the middle of the sales funnel.
- Decision stage – the prospect decides that they trust your company to solve their problem, they act on that trust by purchasing from you. This refers to the bottom of the sales funnel.
- Retention stage – the prospect has become a customer and you want to make them stick around and make repeat purchases.
How to create content for every stage of the sales funnel
Once you have an idea of your buyer personas, you can start creating content for each stage of the buyer's journey:
The top of your sales funnel – generate leads
Leads at the top of your sales funnel have only just become aware of your business. They might have stumbled upon your site when they’ve been searching for a solution to their problem, or they might have seen one of your ads.
Offering valuable content is a great way to capture leads and increase brand awareness. You want to educate prospects and help them to make their buying decisions.
Your content shouldn’t mention your product exclusively. Instead, it should deal with what pain points your prospects might have.
The purpose of offering valuable content is to push more prospects down to the middle of the sales funnel. Top of the funnel content can include:
- Blog posts
The middle of your sales funnel – nurture your leads
Your prospect has reached the middle of the funnel. They’re ready to hear more about your product.
Once you have captured a lead, it’s time to bring their engagement to the next level. You may have made the vendor shortlist, but you need to show that you deliver on your promises.
At this stage, it’s a good idea to focus on the benefits of your product, as well as why your lead should choose to buy from you and not your competitors. Surround your competitors with social proof from people they trust.
Offers at this stage urge customers to take action by signing up to receive more information.
The bottom of your sales funnel – give your leads an offer they can’t refuse
The bottom of the sales funnel is where the magic happens. It’s the last place where you can convince your leads to take action.
You’ve successfully engaged the customer, so it’s time to close the sale!
The bottom of the funnel is the hook that finally pulls your customers in. They’ve travelled down through all of the funnel, so reward them. Customer loyalty starts now.
The retention stage – don’t ignore your customers
Congrats! You’ve done it. Your lead converted into a customer, and all your hard work has paid off. But now what?
Retention is the most ignored stage of the sales funnel. This is usually the moment where sales and marketing disappear. This is a shame, because treating your existing customers right is the key to building your business.
The longer you can keep a customer, the greater their customer lifetime value becomes. Don’t forget about your advocates. Make sure you’re regularly interacting with them – a healthy customer satisfaction and loyalty effort will grow your business, as satisfied customers will make repeat purchases.
Reward your loyal customers with exclusive discounts and offers, and regularly run upsell campaigns to encourage them to try different products of yours.
Use marketing automation to optimise all stages of the sales funnel
In marketing automation, a sales funnel is a multi-step process that moves browsers into buyers and eventually loyal customers. The ultimate goal of marketing automation is to send the right message, to the right people, at the right time.
Marketing automation software makes it much easier for you to capture leads and convert them by using your sales funnel. Set up triggered responses to build relationships with your customers from the onset.
Are you using marketing automation to optimise your sales funnel? Book a demo with us to find out how marketing automation can help.