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A Beginner’s Guide To The Marketing Sales Funnel To Increase Lead Quality

Blindly reaching out to the consumer, without a plan or strategy, will end off with more problems than solutions. Let’s talk about why you need a sales funnel and how it gives you leverage over the market that you’re entering. To make it as simple as possible, a sales funnel turns unengaged leads into prospects who buy. It’s a repeatable strategy for online businesses to use. Successful businesses aren’t blindly putting products in front of their leads.

Messages do play a role in your sales but so does the time you spend creating the strategy behind the message. That strategy only works once you know the mindset of your leads. Though you can’t see them at this moment, your brand’s profile of them should be so clear that it gives you an idea of what they’re eating for dinner tonight. There’s a proven formula that helps marketers strategize for each stage of the consumer’s buying phases.

As far as the internet goes, the tools of a modern sales funnel are simple. They consist of a landing page, automation software and a buy button. It’s the decisions behind these tools that make the difference. If you’re using the internet, you’ll need a formulated strategy to make its tools effective. Learning about how the consumer engages with a brand will lead you into sound decisions as you craft your message. Start with finding a source of leads.

Then extract those who are suited for your product. Nurture them until each one becomes a buyer.

But What Really is a Sales Funnel?

The “funnel,” as it was called in 1898 by Elias Lewis, detailed the stages that consumers were in before, when and after buying something. There are thousands of ways to format the strategy, but the basic idea remains central. The further away a prospect is, the less they’ve been funneled through your sales strategy. The basic strategy creates an image of a funnel. Each stage takes your prospect into a smaller display of possible actions to take.

Why Do Businesses Need a Marketing Funnel?

Strategy is ultimately why you need a sales funnel. Marketing is a strategic process that leverages psychology and human behavior. If you’re not building your strategies based on an in depth look at your consumer, then you’ll fail to compete with the professional marketers of the world. Your brand needs a unique angle. It needs to account for the common steps that create a complete buying experience for the consumer.

Each stage of a strategy has to maximize on the prospect’s retention. You want to peak the lead’s interest and answer the concerns you knew they had. By working through a proven model, you can make adjustments where they’re needed. You’ll also see why something isn’t working. Having a model gives you better control over the final outcome.

The Types of Modern Sales Funnels

  • Membership Packages
  • Video Sales Letters and Webinars
  • Lead Magnets (freebies for email addresses)
  • The Homepage Sales Page
  • The Product Launch
  • The Storefront

Understanding the Sales Funnel Stages

The stages of a sales funnel are based on the buying process. Though the funnel looks at the situation from both the buyer and the business’s perspective, your primary focus is the consumer. You can only be strategic by anticipating how they’ll behave. Think a few steps ahead of them to gauge why they’ll make a certain decision. Let’s look at four basic stages to anticipate when you engage new leads.

1. Awareness

Yell at the top of your lungs if it will grab some attention. Building awareness is so competitive that some people have climbed Mt. Everest just to capture a few eyes. You have to be creative with online marketing. Measure up your resources and tally the tools you have. You have to get in front of your prospects. Inform them about the brand you have and the product it delivers. This stage is so important that many corporations pay for it solely.

You should approach your awareness stage as if the consumer knows nothing about you. You might have a few competitors that they’ve heard of, but you don’t want to formulate this into your message. If your leads have never heard about you or the solution of your product, what is the most important thing for them to know? This should guide you as you build your message.

You might come across people who don’t know about their needs. Do your prospects need to be told about their hardship or is it implied? Knowing the difference will help you to craft a message for the right people. Knowing their phases allow you to connect with them in an intimate way.

What to consider in this stage

Lead Generation: Once you’ve found enough traffic of people, turn that opportunity into a lead generation tool. When using the web, a lead generator puts you in front of your prospects, offers them a chance to engage with your brand and gives you a way of reaching them in the future.

Content Marketing: Content is what achieves each step of a sales funnel when you’re online. Unlike customer or sales reps, what you publish represents your brand. Peak their interest, offer them a promise and provide a way to do more.

Persuasion: Consider your skills of persuasion. You’ll need to tell your clients that what they’re doing now could be simpler if only done with what you have.

Pain and Challenges: When your leads live with a certain challenge, relating to their “pain” is your best, strategic option. Pain is defined as the difficulty, hardship or lack of fulfillment that a lead has when they’re without your solution.

Caution is a survival tool that online consumers have developed over the years. Reaching your leads through the internet requires you to reveal a few truths to them up front. How can your product be presented as trustworthy? Engagement, which is interacting with your leads, is a key ingredient to building trust. The web offers you email marketing, sales letters, webinars and landing pages that each keeps readers engaged.

2. Interest

Now that you have people paying attention, get them interested in what you’re doing. This is done through what’s called “twisting the knife.” The leads you have at this point know about the problems they face. They’re aware of the solutions you have. Twisting the knife occurs by bringing them back to what things were like without having your solution. It’s essentially rubbing salt into the wound in order to peak their interest and commitment.\

You want to isolate people who are fully aware of how your solution can benefit them. There’s a difference between telling those leads and trying to convince them. Isolate people who clearly “get” your product or who show that they’re aware of their own challenges. Often, leads that know what they need will surf the web to find it. Adjust your public message to capture these specific buyers. Remember, they already accept their need for a solution.

What to consider in this stage

Landing Pages: Landing pages, which is a webpage that focuses on a single sales goal, should be used to collect leads that are searching. Search engines and SEO will connect your brand to those seeking the solution it has. Peak interest by implying that you have what they’ve been looking for.

Website Views and Click Throughs: Closely monitor your analytics, for oftentimes, you’ll need small adjustments that get your presentation to stick. Seeing how people are behaving allows you to intervene when necessary.

3. Decision

Emotionally stir up your prospects now that they trust in what you’re about. Get them excited about being able to use your solution. This stage is about building the right environment for leads who need more time. Online nurturing is what builds rapport before you ask for money. In this stage, however, you want to finally give your complete sales pitch. The decision phase for the consumer is the point at which they’ve finally made it.

What to consider in this stage

Lead Targeting: Consider lead scoring, which organizes the quality of your leads. The more intent someone has in buying, the higher they’re ranked within your funnel.

Nurturing: Be sure to treat each person as an individual. Provide the service that a specific person needs. Be strategic. Just don’t be too aggressive; these people are already leading themselves into a final decision.

Effective Content: Strategize on how you’ll use content to manage this stage.

4. Action

Be conscious of the fact that you must lead people into their final purchase. Even when you’ve got them right where you need them, the final push must be made by you. Ultimately, every funnel directs the consumer into a final sale or call to action. These are the, “Buy Now, Deliver Yourself or Get Beautiful,” actions that your leads take.