Did you know that 95% of buyers choose a seller who provides them with the right content to help them navigate each stage of the buying process?
Efficiently guiding (future) customers towards an online sale is an incredibly important part of sales and marketing. It helps capture the right leads, builds a relationship with potential- and existing customers and simply increases the number of sales significantly.
But how to organize these different stages of the buying process? How to make sure the right content reaches the right people at the right time? This is where the sales- and marketing funnel comes in.
In this blog, we look at the advantage of a good online funnel. We give a brief explanation of the funnel itself, followed by six advantages of using a good funnel for your business.
A funnel is a sales- and marketing term, used for the journey customers go through, from the first time they hear about a brand, product or service, until the moment they decide to make a purchase.
Most experts divide the funnel into several stages. Which stages these are, depends on the preference of the seller and the strategy he or she follows. In our blog about different types of funnels, we look into the possible shapes of the funnel and the way these have changed and developed over time.
Based on our experience at Social Media Gids, we have divided the funnel into three stages: Connect, Commit and Close. Each stage consists of carefully chosen techniques, generating new leads, building a connection with them and leading them towards a sale as well as a long-lasting connection with a brand.
During the Connect stage, we generate leads through a perfectly set up website or landing page, content marketing and SEO. After that, during the Commit stage, we strengthen the connection through social media strategies, advertising and Search Engine Advertising (SEA). Finally, in the Close stage, the leads with the greatest potential will be given the final push to become a customer. We do this through strategies like email marketing and in-depth content.
While the different stages of the funnel are the theoretical part, the practical part usually takes place in funnel automation software. This software allows you to link the right actions and content to each step of the funnel and automates most of these actions completely.
In the rest of this blog, we will zoom into a few amazing features of funnel automation software, to illustrate the advantages more clearly.
Why is an online sales- and marketing funnel so important?
There are many reasons why businesses in 2022 strongly rely on an efficient and preferably automated funnel. In our opinion, these reasons are summarized well by the following six points:
First of all, a sales funnel adds structure to a sales- and marketing strategy. There are currently over 8.000 digital marketing tools available and the internet is full of suggested strategies. How do you choose the right ones? How do you make sure you keep track of all the tools and techniques you decide to use? How do you generate leads? How do you make sure you utilize all opportunities and don’t let your leads hanging?
The current online sales- and marketing field is overwhelming and it’s safe to say that without a funnel in place, it’s close to impossible to benefit from the incredible opportunities the modern digital marketing field has to offer.
With the right funnel, you are able to automate lead generation and keep optimizing your lead generation process in a way that helps you attract more leads every day.
What does this mean? A sales funnel forces you to carefully plan each stage of the funnel, including the part where you generate leads: the Connect stage. You simply can’t leave that stage empty and will have to implement strategies to lead new people or businesses into your funnel.
There are many highly efficient ways to guarantee an ongoing flow of new leads. Think of social media advertising, content marketing (blog posts), search engine optimization (SEO), online events and webinars. However, where it all comes together is your website. A funnel forces you to implement the right lead generation features on your site, like lead magnets, forms and clever call’s to action (CTA’s). By having all these elements work together seamlessly, your funnel will never be empty.
When leads enter the funnel, it’s important to create a connection with them. They need to get to know your brand, gain trust in your product or service and get convinced that you are the right seller for them.
Building this connection and guiding leads through the Connect stage, is called lead nurturing. Lead nurturing comes down to offering the right content to the right leads at the right time.
Has a completely new lead (in the Connect stage) just signed up for a webinar? Then it’s a great idea to send him or her a friendly email to show your appreciation and send him or her some extra information about the webinar. Would this lead be interested in a direct request to buy from you? Or in a meeting invite by the sales team? Probably not. All the lead wants at this stage is to join the webinar and get to know you better.
Once a lead, however, has joined a webinar, signed up for your newsletter and asked you a few questions on social media, it’s a different story. The lead has now shown clear interest in your brand, and might be ready for an offer or sales meeting.
Knowing which lead would benefit from which type of content, can be complicated. Luckily, with the right funnel software in place, it is possible to completely automate your content delivery. The software keeps track of your leads and automatically sends the right emails, ads, offers and contact requests to the right leads at the right time.
Being able to send the right content to the right lead at the right time is crucial. However, to be even more efficient, most funnel software offers a great functionality that is called ‘lead scoring’.
Lead scoring means adding scores to your leads, based on certain characteristics and/or their interaction with your funnel. For instance:
By doing this, you are able to prioritize. Leads with the most points are clearly the ones with the most potential to be a customer. With the right rules and parameters, funnel software is able to automatically send those leads special offers, which will give them the last push to become a customer. This is an incredibly efficient way of working, because it means no time gets wasted on leads that are not a great match for your business.
Would you like to see what lead scoring in the right automation software looks like? In the video below, Kartra gives a short and clear description of their lead scoring process.
Customers appreciate clear and valuable communication. By offering them the structured content that a funnel helps you offer them, they will see you as a competent and professional business.
Did you know that 30-50% of sales are made by the first vendor to respond? Not only providing the right content, but also being fast enough with your marketing outings is essential. While sending out messages manually can take a significant amount of time, automated messages are incredibly fast. This is another great advantage of using an automated sales funnel.
Last but not least, a good funnel makes it easy to measure your sales- and marketing progress and optimize where necessary. Your funnel software keeps track of all interactions with your leads, including the way the lead reacted to them. This offers great insight into what works, what doesn’t and what needs some adjustment.
As mentioned earlier, there are many tools available that help you build a funnel that specifically applies to your business and strategy. At Social Media Gids, we like to use the funnel automation software of Kartra.
Kartra allows us to build a funnel with a simple sequence builder. A sequence simply means the order and design of the stages, which are automatically performed by the tool. This includes marketing actions, content and smart lead nurturing strategies like lead scoring. Using Kartra helps us set up a funnel that is perfectly shaped for any type of business.
We have many years of experience designing sales funnels in many shapes and forms. Do you need help designing yours or do you prefer our ready made sales funnels that are exclusively built in Kartra and are designed to rapidly generate leads and increase your sales. Feel free to contact us for a FREE strategy call, or join the conversation in our Social Media Gids community.
For those interested in giving Kartra a try, you can sign up for a Free Trial of the tool here. This gives you the opportunity to experiment and work on your funnel for free, before deciding if it’s right for you.