The marketing sales funnel describes how a prospective buyer will move from the awareness stage to the purchase stage and further to become a repeat loyal customer of a particular product/service. The sales funnel is also known as a revenue funnel or sales process. It is a buying process or consumer-focused marketing model that is typically divided into multiple steps, which can differ depending on the company sales model/ product/service.
Why do we need a sales funnel?
A goal without a proper plan is but only a wish. So, it is imperative that your online business has a plan outlined termed ‘sales funnel’ to be able to convert your website visitors, to your final customers. Th
The sales funnel is a step-by-step marketing plan that aims to take a prospective customer from one stage to another until the purchase is made and further for repeat business.
Wait, you don’t have a sales funnel? Then this is what may happen,
– No consistent, long-term success
– Even if a product sells itself, you cannot be assured the same quantum will continue.
– If you let potential customers at the top of the funnel slide away, you will miss opportunities that take a bit more nurturing.
– Without sales funnel how will you analyze the performance? How will you build a sales team? How will you ascertain the length of a sales cycle? How will you continue to successfully sell in adverse market conditions? Are you selling with integrity?
– 80% of sales are made on the follow-up, and not the first time someone sees your offer or visits your website. How will you track them?
YES, every business can benefit from a well-thought sales funnel that is structured and strategized. So, if you are serious about marketing in 2020, you will need on!
Identifying the stages in the Sales Funnel
Our outlined four basic steps provide an understanding of what happens in a sales funnel and serves as a framework for the customer’s journey. It is important that you analyze your business, identify the areas for improvement at every stage, and chalk out a sales funnel to best suit the product/service.
Step 1: Awareness
In the very first stage, marketing and branding are aimed at generating interest and building an audience through targeted marketing campaigns. This is done by creating content (video, blogging, podcasts) that addresses a customer’s pain point, or a need or a search. Facebook, YouTube, or Instagram ads are the fastest way to create awareness and reach your target audience to market your product/service. 78% of salespeople who use social media selling as a tool outsell their peers. Don’t just be seen, be visible, be heard on a mix of social media platforms!
Step 2: Lead Generation
Firstly, create a powerful landing page called the ‘squeeze page’ to solicit opt-in email addresses from prospective subscribers. Once the traffic (potential customer) begins to flow to your website, it is time to turn it into a lead magnet. A lead magnet is any type of incentive that a company offers to the potential buyer in exchange for his/her email address or any other contact information. At this stage, you want to be sure you have captured the details of the visitor who has come to your website in order to be able to communicate with him/her further. Lead magnets constitute digital, downloadable content, such as free reports, eBooks, whitepapers, how-to videos, and video courses. Giving away interesting valuable content free of cost attracts prospective customers and helps the company to build a larger customer base.
The lead magnet needs to be powerful since it is the first and lasting impression, that will influence and determine whether the lead will convert during the later stages of the funnel. Also, at this stage, the company can increase the generation of leads through blog posts, chatbots, and social media.
Generating organic SEO traffic is neither easy nor fast. If done correctly, in the long run, it will yield high quality and most targeted traffic. After all, people have come to your website for a reason. Target the reason, target the customer. Once you have tested this funnel, you can also use Google paid ads.
Step 3: Prospects
Once you are able to generate a significant number of leads, it’s time to work on converting them into customers. Studies suggest that only 2% of sales are actually closed after the first interaction, whether that is an advertisement, phone call, or webinar. Also, 20% who those who click the ‘Buy Now’ button do not complete the purchase. This means those leads are interested in your product but not totally convinced as yet to spend their money. It is the decision stage where customers may be ready to buy but considering two-three options. The key is to have active follow with such leads. Whether enticing them with a first-time offer or discount code or free shipping, special price incentive, there needs to be active and not obtrusive communication beginning with your customer at this stage. A follow-up email with a CTA (Call-To-Action) button is the most logical progression and an unobtrusive form of communication here. Testimonials, customer reviews, live demos, webinars, product comparisons, pricing pages, all add to convincing the customer who is already interested in what you are selling.
Step 4: Sales
Once you have qualified your lead, now it is time to take action and seal the deal. At this stage in the sales funnel, the customer acts. He/she purchases your product/service and becomes your final consumer and an esteemed client. The few kinds of content to include at the action stage of the sales funnel include – Insider or customer success tips, training webinars, and follow-up email campaigns. Retargeting can also be used at this stage.
Once we have the above stages completed and a sale done, it is not the end. Loyal customer building is a continuous process. The art of upselling with a subscription service that provides clients with an improved product or service, follow up email campaigns, customer success tips, will help you to generate continual income. Additionally, after the customer has had a positive experience with your brand, they become a brand advocate by sharing those experiences through word-of-mouth marketing. Customer advocacy is your company’s customer service at its best.
Creating and optimizing a sales funnel is the work of digital marketing experts. Every little detail at every step in the funnel can impact conversions. So, start building on a sales funnel today. In a competitive marketplace, if you are serious about marketing, you need to start building on a Sales Funnel now!
The year 2020 is full of technological advancements – Artificial Intelligence, data-driven marketing, and much more. With new tools and technologies emerging every year, marketers can choose from a plethora of options across digital marketing to connect to a new audience and promote their products.
According to Emarketer’s survey, by 2020 digital ad spending will be 50% of total advertising. The statistics prove that there is a shift from the traditional medium of marketing to digital platforms.
In this digital era, it is easier to share information and connect than before with new tools and technologies every year. The digital transformation is affecting every business and marketers and to keep up with the competition, you have to keep up with the trends.
In this article, we have compiled the 12 most important digital marketing trends in 2020. Most companies are capitalizing on the trends and reaping the benefits with the right strategy and planning.
- Chatbots: Hiring an individual to communicate with your visitors can be expensive but chatbots save costs by answering questions quickly in real-time day or night. Here are some key findings:
Many renowned brands like Whole Foods Market, Staples, Mastercard, Pizza Hut and more are using chatbot technology successfully.
For example, you will get many makeup tutorials, product reviews on Kik if you chat with Sephora.
- Use of Private Messaging Apps: Companies are now shifting their focus on the integration of private messaging apps to improve overall customer experience. In 2018, we saw the launch of Apple Business Chat and WhatsApp Business API which provided businesses with tools to deliver customer support. Many companies are planning to monetize messaging apps. For example, Facebook will soon monetize WhatsApp with ads in the ‘Status’ tab followed by Messenger Ads.
- Content Marketing rules SEO: Google rolled out some major updates to its search algorithm. Google’s BERT update is designed to understand the natural language people use in their queries. What does BERT mean for you? If your website is poorly written or is unclear, your rankings may decrease. Therefore your content should be well-researched, clear and organized in a logical manner. In fact, statistics prove Content Marketing rakes in conversion rates 6x higher than other methods – Content Marketing Institute. This proves ‘Content is King’.
- Personalization: Say Good-Bye to generic ads. If you want to stand out amidst the competition, you need to personalize your marketing – personalized email, content, products and more. It is the future of digital marketing. Here are a few facts:
It is an ultimate tool for increasing conversions and so marketers are leveraging it to improve their marketing efforts. The primary reason for personalized marketing is to reach out to your target audience by collecting their user data from surveys or studies and create more relevant campaigns based on their buying habits and behavior. Let us study the example of Cadbury who created a personalized video campaign based that matches Dairy Milk flavor based on their Facebook profile data. The campaign generated 65% click-through rates and a 33.6% conversion rate.
- Voice Search: ‘Hey Alexa, where is the Thai restaurant around me?” Siri and Alexa are now household names and positively responded by consumers. Over time, you will see more people using smartphones with voice assistants. Here’s why:
- The goal of Voice engine optimization (VEO) is to optimize your content to be on the top results in the user’s query. Therefore, use longer keywords and complete sentences, set a conversational tone and provide structured content. VEO is quickly advancing, so now the choice is up to you whether to join early adopters or be left behind.
- Artificial Intelligence in Marketing: By 2020, many are going to adapt to AI. It is the future of the digital industry. As the name suggests, it refers to robots or machines who can work like humans. Chatbots and Voice assistants are examples of AI. For example, Microsoft and Uber use Knightscope K5 robots to ‘patrol parking’, and prevent crime. The robots can read license plates, report activities and collect data to report to their owners.
- Social eCommerce: Social media is not only to chat, browse, and share but a complete marketplace with native shoppable features. Instagram takes lead-charge. 80% of young shoppers make impulsive buying decisions online which is why social eCommerce has vast potential. 70% of enthusiasts explore Instagram for trendy items. Brands have experienced success with Instagram’s shopping features and an increase in revenue. Instagram stories are equally popular with consumers with a high level of engagement. Even Pinterest allows a variety of shopping features and Snapchat enables select accounts to open a store within the app. Tik-Tok has added a new feature where it permits its users to add links to e-commerce sites to their profile biography. If you haven’t started then now it is a good time to start and make a mark for yourself.
- Video Content: A high resolution and quality video can catch eyeballs quickly. Here the numbers are speaking:
- 87% use video as their marketing tool.
- 83% of corporations claim that video content has increased their conversions.
- 65% of users visit the site and 39% call the seller after viewing.
Video content is the most effective tool to engage directly with the customers and attracts attention, increase web traffic, convert into leads and improve customer experience.
Some video marketing trends are:
- Live Video: Popular with a large number of businesses who use it for interviews, personalized stories, product demo or behind the scene glimpses.
- 1:1 Videos: Marketers create more personalized video messages rather than phone calls or emails.
- Video SEO: Youtube videos and other videos appear in the SERPS and so video optimization is becoming important.
- 360-degree video: This interactive marketing trend is on the rise. Take a look at the HongKong Airlines video
- Transparency: Research indicates that consumers demand easy to understand and transparent information from brands. 94% of consumers are likely to be loyal to the brand if they offer transparency. The enforcement of GDPR policy in 2018 ensured companies handle data privacy and transparency and if not complied can have a negative impact on the business.
- Augmented Reality v/s Virtual Reality: By 2022, 70% will be experimenting with immersive technologies – Gartner. VR gets everyone excited with its sci-fi ideas and noises, AR is much applicable from a marketing point of view. AR outperforms VR in market share. More companies are adopting technology to increase sales and customer experience.
Let’s understand the example of IKEA. It has its AR app ‘IKEA Place’ which allows you to test IKEA’s furniture virtually by taking a picture of your room on the phone.
- Headless Commerce: A new term coined in 2019 and Heads-on Shopping is the face of Headless Commerce. This empowers differently-abled people to make their purchases by simply nodding their heads. Using the latest iPhone X’s neural engine and AR kit, it converts the signals received from the front camera into 3D facing. Select, Add to the cart and Pay. Simple! Technically it involves the separation of front-end and backend of your site for uninterrupted content delivery, personalization, and modifications.
- Influencer Marketing: The most popular word of mouth marketing that focuses on influencers like celebrities, Instagram or YouTube personalities. Influencer Marketing is more relatable than corporate advertising.
- 63 % of consumers trust influencers’ opinions more than the brand than what the brand says about themselves.
- 58 % of consumers have bought a product in the past six months on influencer’s recommendations.
AI is affecting Influencer marketing as it is in the process to identify with the right influencer who has better engagement, few fake followers and can give good ROI. it is influencing influencers marketing in the following ways:
2020, year of technological advancements -AI-powered devices, content revolution, audio, and visual forms. If you are operating a business, you should know the digital marketing trends and embrace the new tools and technologies to get an edge over competitors. Start personalizing your products, use social media to answer questions, implement voice and video search and maintain transparency. Change is an integral part of digital marketing and the only constant.