Sales Funnel – Your Automated Selling Machine

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Sales funnel is one of the core concepts in the digital marketing space. This single core concept can take a business from virtually non-existent and unknown to a multi-million-dollar marketing machine with mass saturation, seemingly overnight. You’ll be amazed to know that persons have built a career from just building and implementing sales funnels for themselves or brands, businesses, organizations, you name it.

Wondering what a sales funnel is? See it like this.

You have a clothing store. People walk by your store. A certain percentage of them decide to walk in and look through. A customer sees a rack of T-shirts on clearance. He or she thumbs through the rack. Then the customer selects four t-shirts and walks to the check-out. If all goes well, they finish the purchase. They leave your store with their purchase.

The sales funnel is a series of steps that a person has to take in order to become your customer. These persons move from visitor to prospect to lead to customer, and it is achieved with the art of storytelling, copywriting and building the habit of link-clicking till purchase is made.

Netflix is a master of the sales funnel technique. What can we learn from their strategies?

Netflix uses sales funnel to garner people to subscribe to their platform. They consistently innovated their sales strategy so that now, they are pretty much without any real competition. Let’s see how they do it.

First, they invite potential leads to enter the sales funnel via a 1-month free trial offer. Once the user clicks on the CALL TO ACTION button (CTA) for the free month trial, they’re ‘funneled down’ the funnel to the pricing page where different package information is provided. Not only that, they are also encouraged to sign up.

After selecting a paid plan, Netflix collects EMAIL ADDRESSES for the one-month trial offer participants so they can FOLLOW UP with those who decide to opt-out of the paid plans.

On the next screen, credit card information is collected. This means that everyone who enters the sales funnel and reaches this point technically becomes a PAYING CUSTOMER.
And guess what?
The only way to ‘escape payment’ is to cancel the monthly subscription before the 30 day free trial period ends.
Even then, with the email addresses they’ve collected, they can FOLLOW UP with those who exit the funnel, strategically bringing them back in through re-targeting ads as well as an optimized email sequence.

Are you a Netflix subscriber? If you are, you have been ‘funneled’ ;).

Some other organizations that use the sales funnel technique are:

  • Mailchimp
  • Coursera
  • Udacity
  • Spotify
  • Uber
  • Airbnb
  • Basecamp
  • Hubspot

Why is a Sales Funnel Important?

  • Your sales funnel illustrates the path prospects take.
  • With sales funnel, you understand that you can influence how visitors move through the funnel and whether they eventually convert.
  • Understanding your funnel can helps you find the holes in the funnel — the places where prospects drop out and never convert.

 

So how does Sales Funnel work?

First, for you to have a sales funnel that is successfully cashing out on a steady basis, there’s an important part of it where the magic lies. I call it the HEADLINE or MAGNET. This is what stops people in their tracks and make them come into your “store”. The attraction can happen in a number of ways; from blogging to social media to paid ads and everything in between. How the visitors arrive to your website has some impact on the success of your funnel and this is done using a captivating headline. This magnet then leads from the first to the last stage of the funnel.

Now let’s move to the different stages of the sales funnel.

  1. Awareness

The goal of your entire sale funnel is to solve your customer’s problem and you achieve this through an enticing offer. When you know the problem, and you build content to draw them in, then offer them a product or service to solve their problem. However, getting to that stage takes work and you have to garner their awareness first. Once a prospect is in your funnel, that means you have piqued their interest and they are aware of you. Your next goal is to move them through the multiple stages that will take them from prospect to buyer. To do this, you need to establish a relationship with the customer. You might have enticed them with a great offer (lead magnet) to grab their attention and keep them in the funnel but you have to create a strong bond with your prospect, and that happens by being relatable, honest and transparent in your funnel sequence. People are smart, they are not going to just buy from you unless there is immense value they are getting.

  1. Interest

Now you have prospects, they have interest in what you are offering. Next stage is keeping their interest. When consumers reach the interest stage, what’s happening here is they’re doing research, comparison shopping, and thinking over the options before them, and it includes other sales funnels besides yours. This is the time to swoop in with incredible content that helps them but doesn’t sell to them. Again, this is not the selling stage.

If you’re pushing your product or service from the beginning, you’ll turn off your prospects and chase them away. Their potential to become buyers has not been fully built yet. So the goal here is to establish your expertise, help the consumer make an informed decision, and offer to help them in any way you can.

How you position yourself is entirely up to you, but your message must be consistent throughout your entire “pitch” and it needs to be steeped in the truth. Your backstory, and just how you convey that through parables, character flaws and polarity, has much to do with just how well you can “hook” in your prospects to create a mass movement.

  1. Decision

Next up is decision. This is where your prospect is ready to buy. They are no longer prospects, they have become leads. Getting your lead to make a decision can be very tough if not done properly. You need to present your lead a great opportunity that they know they don’t want to miss out on. It can be free shipping, a discount code or bonus product. Whatever it is, make sure it is so irresistible that they can’t wait to take advantage of it. Something that can also help at this stage is customer review. If you can, get customers who have used the product or service to give testimonials on their experience with the product or service – this is an amazing booster and works magic in the mind of your present lead to make a quicker, faster and solid decision to get your product or service.

  1. Action

This stage is the action that you are intending your lead to perform, which in most cases is purchase. Here they move from lead to customers. Beyond purchase alone, your aim could also be to build your business ecosystem as well. Why?

Just because a consumer reaches the bottom of the funnel, doesn’t mean your work is done and they are now in your system. Action is for the consumer and the marketer. You want to do your best to turn 1 purchase into 10, 10 into 100, and so on. In other words, customer retention.

After they make purchase, be sure you express gratitude for the purchase, invite your customer to reach out with feedback, and make yourself available for tech support, if applicable.

 

Conclusion

Creating and optimizing a sales funnel takes time. It’s hard work. But it’s the only way to survive in a competitive marketplace.

Believe it or not, a detail as small as font choice can impact conversions. And if you ask people to buy from you too quickly, you’ll chase them away.

Take time to build out a sales funnel that represents what you want and what your audience wants. Cultivate it over time, adjust your approach to various sales funnel stages, and find out why your efforts aren’t working.

If you are just going to build your first sales funnel, or you want to build the next one, this complex and intricate concept in business can literally take you from a complete unknown to a global powerhouse quickly through the art of scaling out a highly-converting offer. Don’t try to take shortcuts or implement hacks, put in the time if you’re looking to eventually reap the benefits and results.

Now let the money rain!

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