This is the BIG secret!
That's how we bring prospects to our marketing engine.
The marketing funnel is a consumer-focused marketing model. It is also referred to as the “customer funnel,” “marketing funnel,” “sales funnel,” "conversion funnel," or purchase or "purchasing funnel."
It illustrates the theoretical customer journey towards the purchase of a product or service.
The purchase funnel concept is often referred to as the AIDA-model, an acronym for Awareness, Interest, Desire, & Action.
This is how it works:
Many different business-to-consumer purchase models exist in marketing today, but it is generally accepted that the modern business-to-business purchase funnel has now more stages.
Funnels have all sorts of forms and shapes. We'll get to that in Step 3.
The number of stages really depends on how complex your sales process or how complex your product is.
For an e-commerce store, there might be only 2 or 3 stages (awareness, interest & action come at the same time) and action comes thereafter.
For lawyers, real estate agents, dentists, contractors, there might be 7 or 8 steps, from incoming lead, awareness, interest, qualification, budgeting, RFP, proposal, negotiation and closing...
Because every business is different, the number of steps might vary, but the intuitive concept is the same.
The purchase funnel concept is widely used in marketing across the internet to guide promotional campaigns targeting different stages of the customer journey, and also as a basis for customer relationship management (CRM) programmes and lead management campaigns.
The Marketing Funnel is the model we use to bring customers to a business.
You have sales goals.
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Step 1: Targeting
Step 1: Target the right demographics
Demographics refer to the clear attributes of your target market:
This information is extremely important if you plan to run ads on Facebook or Google.
Not everybody in the world is interested in your product, so you should only concentrate on two core markets and 1 to 3 secondary markets.
For example, if you a pest control company, your 2 core markets can be:
Your secondary markets can be:
The core markets define who your core market is. The secondary markets flesh out that core market
Focusing on this small core of people allows you to determine
Most companies use "buyer personas" or "avatars" to reach that goal. Buyer personas are extremely valuable in marketing because they give you a clear picture of who you’re trying to target.
Only after getting specific about your avatar, you can use the correct language in your marketing that’s tailored to one or two core markets.
Remember that we all believe that we’re special and unique, and therefore we believe we have unique problems. If your message seems like you talk to one person at a time, your conversions are likely to improve.
A tool like Google Analytics will give you the true identity of your customers. In this real chart, we can see that 91% of the web-site visitors are women equally spread between the ages of 35-64 years old.
Step 2: Lead generation
Step 2. Bring leads to your webpage
Create a working website
Of course, you need to create (or ask an agency) a website that can capture leads.
Your website needs to:
This is really the basics. Thanks to the form, you'll receive an email with the potential customer's contact information.
Sign for a professional auto-responder (or better, a CRM)
Thanks to the auto-responder, your prospects simply enter their email address. There are various types of auto-responder services that vary in complexity and pricing, and some are geared specifically toward generating leads. Types of answers include welcome emails, responses based on specific online activities, and product recommendations.
If your website is not optimized for search engines, nobody will find you...
Optimise Your Website for Search Engines
The easiest way to bring prospects to your site is to let them come to you without your input. This costs absolutely nothing and is the ultimate scalability. Getting your website optimized for search engines in will help you get some quick wins with traffic and ensure that you can capitalize on all the promotion that’s going on within other marketing channels to drive through traffic from the search engines.
Promote your business on social networking sites.
Social Networking sites are where millions of people are already gathering to connect with each other. So, establishing a meaningful presence there is a good idea. You can create a page on these sites to promote your business. When a customer "friends" you or "becomes a fan," the people in her network can learn about your company as well. Use different modes of social media. You might start with a general site like Facebook, a business networking site such as LinkedIn, or a microblogging and all-purpose site like Twitter. However, consider expanding to picture-based sites like Pinterest or Instagram. Also look for any types of social networking platforms specific to your industry, like Glozal for real estate, Lawyrs for law, or Architizer for architects and designers.
Start SEM campaign
SEM involves using paid ad words to drive clicks and increase traffic to your company’s website or its online promotional landing pages. Give potential web leads something to do. When someone lands on your page via your SEM efforts, they should have some clear options of what they need to do. Either via a CTA or a web-form. The web-form makes it easy for them to give you their contact information. Your web content management system might already have an e-commerce plugin or application, such as WordPress’ MarketPress, or you can add e-commerce capabilities through a third-party provider, such as PayPal.
Give Away a Relevant Free Tool/Course
Giving away information should be at the forefront of your mind. The more information you have to give away, the more ammunition you have when it comes to gaining campaign of launch momentum. Giving away a relevant free tool or online course (via an email series) is the perfect way to gather relevant customer information for upselling later. Of course, if the ebook or training is free for the customer, it will cost you something. Either because you will need to hire someone to do it for you or because you will spend several hours or days to produce it (how much is your hourly value?)
Track Visitors for Social Remarketing
Facebook’s ‘custom audiences’ and Twitter’s ‘tailored audiences’ are extremely powerful features that can be exploited to gain momentum upon your launch through remarketing. At the same time, you’re building an audience, you need to track & store your web visitors’ social accounts so that you can direct ads to them later on. They’re incredibly cost-effective and will generate a much needed traffic to your website.
Of course, there are hundreds of ways to bring people to your websites. Some are very inexpensive, and some others are very expensive. While the inexpensive ones are less efficient and won't bring thousands of leads per day, you should not ignore them because they are part of your marketing strategy.
Step 3: Qualifying Leads
Step 3: Qualified Leads
Often defined as "Marketing Qualified Leads." This is where Marketing and Sales really have to work together to define what is a qualified lead.
From the marketing point of view, we look at the following matrix:
The abscissa (x) shows the interest level of the prospect. The farther the prospect is from the coordinate, the more interested he is in your product.
This can be mathematically measured with:
A lot of CRM can do this for you by automatically give you a scoring. For example, Infusionsoft assigns different "flames" each time a prospect reaches a milestone (defined by the user). The more "flames" a prospect have, the more interested he is in your product.
If a prospect has no flame, he has a very low interest in your product; if the prospect has 5 flames, he is ripe for immediate sales & consumption.
On the ordinate of the matrix (y) you measure how relevant the customer is for your business.
You can measure the prospect relevance with different tools:
Again, this can be done with most professional CRMs.
Let's take a look again at our prospect matrix.
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Step 4: Nurturing Opportunity
OK, now you have leads in your system. If you have followed steps 1 to 3, those leads might even be prospects. But not customers. Not yet.
That's where your opportunity is: switch those people from prospects to buyers.
In that stage, anything can go wrong. Your prospects might find one of your competitor's website, or your follow-up is not strong enough, or they simply might not be convinced that
That's when you need Lead Nurturing.
Lead nurturing is the process of developing relationships with prospects at every stage of the sales funnel so they become convinced that your products are absolutely -without any doubt- the best solution to the problems they have, whatever the cost is.
Lead nurturing is NOT sales. It consists in focusing marketing and communication efforts on listening to the needs of your prospects to answer their questions and ease their fears.
If you don't know what your prospects need, you can't make a sale.
Imagine that you are a vendor in a clothing store and every time a man comes in, you propose a white shirt (because you have a lot of them)...
How do you know your customer wants a white shirt? The right way to go would be for you to greet the customers and explain that "the white shirts are on the right, the jeans on the left and the sweatshirts in the middle." That would be much better than only offering the white shirts.
Bust the best way to start the conversation, and the sale would be to ask: "are you looking for something in particular?" What if your customer answers" yes, I am looking for ladies' bathing suits."
The point here is never to assume what the customer wants.
On the web, as in a real store, before making a sales proposition you need to know what the customer is looking for.
And the technology is here to help.
In 2018, the key to a sound lead management is the integration of technologies of CRM and Marketing Automation to provide consistency across touchpoints.
But no worries, because most CRM have email capabilities,
This diagram shows a nurturing sequence made with a very well know CRM (Infusionsoft). The prospect enters the sequence through one of the square boxes at the left and is immediately tagged. Depending on the tag, he will be dispatched into one on the 10 subsequent email sequences.
CRM have "tags" that can be applied to your prospects everytime they visit and take some kind of action your website.
For example, let's say you are a dentist. Not only it would not make sense to promote braces to a 60-year old person but it would sound out-of-touch and salesy.
Conversely, promoting dentures to a 19-year old person would also trigger an out-of-touch reaction from your prospects and shy them away.
The idea behind the tags is that when people visit your site with a particular reason in mind (for example planning for a birthday party) you should not send them information about weddings, but ONLY about birthday parties.
Every time your prospect visit a new part of your website, you add another tag to their profile.
For example, a prospect can look for catering on your website and after that, look for wedding. In that case, the system will tag them with "catering" and later on with "wedding." Only after that you can send them information about both catering and wedding.
One hundred years ago, people would make a fortune selling snake oil. That era has been over for a very long time... Don't sell snake oil, offer solutions and your customers will love you...
In combination with data analytics, tagging and scoring can be used to determine the “Next Best Offer” your team can make and that's what nurturing is all about.
Improve Conversion Rates
Conversion Rates are the percentage of prospects who take a pre-determined action on your website.
An action that can be as simple as:
In this stage, we are not trying to sell anything to the customer. We are still trying to understand what they are interested in so we can offer them the best product that they can't refuse.
And of course, you can't improve the conversion rate if you send people information they are not interested about.
Step 5. How Many Steps Should My Funnel Have?
Step 5 How Many Steps Should My Funnel Have?
Al businesses are different. If you run a regular e-commerce, the number of step in your marketing funnel can be reduced to 3. Let's say you are selling survival gear. A new customer comes with the intention to buy a simple survival kit. What you need to do is offering several kits with different features and different pricing.
The 3 steps leading to the purchase are:
Now let's say that you are selling a weight loss solution. Because people have gone through a lot of weight-loss solution they might be reluctant to even listen to what you have to say, let alone buying your "Weight Loss Solution".
In this case, you have to use a technique that's called "Customer Awareness."
Let's review 6 stages of customer awareness
In the "Customer Awareness" Marketing Funnel, the 6 steps leading to the purchase are:
Your Marketing Funnel can include more steps. If you are a builder, you may go through a lot of back-and-forths with your customer. For example, blueprint acceptation, budget, negotiations, etc...
Of course, all those steps have to be included in your Sales Funnel.
Step 7 closing customers
There are 2 types of sales close:
Thanks to internet marketing, you are the one in control all phases of the lead-gen process:
The Internet has great tools to understand your funnels. Google Analytics, in particular, can show you exactly what part of your sales funnel is broken.
So, when you bring in leads by the hundreds and those leads don't convert, just take a look at your analytics, The problem comes when you need to have a human intervention to close the sale. It's especially true for big tickets products (above $500) or for non-physical products.
Even if you secretly understand your leads, your sales people might not know:
They came to your website for a reason. They came because they went through a funnel with specific steps that you crafted for a specific reason.
But if your sales team doesn’t know what their leads came through before landing on their calling-list, it's going to be difficult for them to close them.
If you want to successfully close online marketing leads, your sales team needs to understand the following concepts about their leads:
You’re Not the Only Company They Are Looking To
Nowadays, you can’t expect your leads not to browse the internet.
If a prospect is interested enough in your products, most probably, they already double-checked your competition, and they are comparing everything, including, website design, quality, pricing, customer service, shipping cost (if any)...
However, first to call is first to close.
In fact, 50% of leads end up doing business with the person who contacts them first.
In this day an age of the internet, your customers expect you to immediately confirm any question, comment, request, order they have placed. If you reach out in 4mn instead of 20, you are more likely to close the deal than if you’re contacting them a couple of days later.
The odds of calling to contact a lead decrease by over 10 times in the first hour (source)
Lucky for you, a lot of your competition postpone hours or even days before starting to address new leads. That's where you need automation. You need to know immediately if you have a request from a customer.
The Internet Such A Distraction
This one also has to do with your response time. Don't be mislead by your online leads: assume that by the time you contact them, your prospects already moved on to another agenda.
It might be anything like:
Whatever the reason, they usually aren’t sitting around waiting for your call.
That means your leads are probably distracted and might miss (or ignore) your first few contact attempts. So, if you really want to make that sale, sending one follow-up email is not enough, you need to do more than that.
It is well documented that you need a minimum of 7-10 contact attempts to get a 90% contact rate. Even if you’re only after a 50% contact rate, your sales team will still need to make at least 5 contact attempts.
The only problem is, most sales-reps only make a couple of contact attempts per lead. As a result, internet leads are only contacted about a quarter of the time.
You fight like crazy to get those leads in the door and sales only contacts 25% of them? It doesn't make sense.
Having Marketing & Sales on the same Page
Even if your sales team is not part of your marketing strategy, you need to inform them of the different steps you took before and within your sales funnel in order for your leads to give you their contact number and ask you to contact them.
Talk to Sales!
You are making conversion online because your leads believe that your company is the best at offering the best solution to their awful problems. The job of your sales team is not to convince people that you have the best product, but to confirm their belief.
However, if your sales team isn’t making good on the promises of your marketing, your customers will feel betrayed, and they won’t want to buy.
That is why your sales team’s message needs to match your marketing message.
That means your marketing team needs to inform your sales team about the intent, pain points and goals of your leads. And guess what? The better your sales team understands where the leads are coming from, the more effective they will be at closing sales.
Too Many Leads can be Overwhelming
Actually, if you know how to craft a good marketing message (think about hiring a REAL copywriter), if you know who your target is (via an avatar), if you know where your customers browse on the internet (Google, YouTube, Facebook, LinkedIn...) you should get tons of traffic to your website.
Just build your ads on Google, Facebook, and Instagram, and they will come.
We all know that there’s a ton of work behind that funnel, but if you’re feeding too many coins into the marketing machine, the resulting surplus of leads can make your sales team a little dizzy.
As a result, ambitious sales reps might be tempted to sift through your leads to pick the ones that will be easiest to close.
They’ll look like superstar salesmen, but on closer inspection, you’ll notice that their lead-to-close rate is actually terrible.
Even though these “rockstar” reps look like they are closing a lot of deals, they waste a ton of expensive leads. In many cases, companies will end up paying more for those wasted leads than they’ll earn off of that “all-star” rep’s closed sales.
So, how can you avoid this?
Easy, just keep your sales team hungry.
If you’re putting less money into the marketing machine, your sales reps will pay more attention to the individual leads they’re getting.
However, you want to be careful with this tactic. Give your sales team too few leads, and you’ll hurt productivity and morale.
So, if your sales team is begging for more leads, up your marketing budget. On the other hand, if you’re not getting any requests for more leads and your close-to-sale rate isn’t doing so hot…you might want to dial back your marketing spend.
It’s hard to convert an online marketing store if your sales team doesn’t have a clue about how to close your hard-won leads.
That is why even if marketing is upstream and sales downstream, they have to work like a team, delivering the same message.
Conclusion: Now it's your turn
There’s no shortage of online gurus offering marketing tactics to small business owners. Unfortunately, some of them don’t work so well. Maybe because you really need to have your hands on real customer acquisition strategies before you can start advising others.
Given how slim most small business marketing budgets are, most owners can’t afford to replicate other's mistakes.
Now, the outlook is not so grim... Internet marketing is working. Scores of new entrepreneurs worldwide prove it.
It's just a matter of finding the strategy that's working for you!! So, don’t give up! Because, if at 1st you don't succeed... try and try again...
If you’ve tried advertising or networking and come up short, maybe you need to be a little more sophisticated in your approach and funnels.
The concepts above are golden. Not only because some of them have been vetted again and again for the past 40 years but because they still work today. Some other tactics for acquiring new customers look new. When you use Freebies, Search Engine, Funnels, Social Media, eBooks, you just use new medium on old concepts.
At MyAdGency, not only we have people with the right certificates to show their knowledge, we also have an awesome track when it comes to Marketing Online.
This article above is directly coming from our best execution plans. But we understand that sometimes, you need help from a third party.
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