A sales funnel is a visual representation of the journey your customers are going through, from knowledge to research and decision-making. It is the process that potential customers go through to become customers. The sales funnel is divided into several steps, which vary by industry and other factors. The most common sales funnel has four key steps that you can easily remember with the acronym AIDA.
The top of the funnel is wide, indicating the large number of people exposed to the company. As they express interest and interact with your company's marketing actions, the funnel shrinks. This means deeper interest and a shift to potential customers. At the awareness stage, anyone can be a potential customer.
To generate awareness for your brand, you can use a variety of platforms such as social media marketing, traditional advertisements, and even word of mouth. Potential customers in the middle and lower stages of the sales funnel are those you should pay the most attention to, since they have gone from awareness to interest. At this stage, your goal is to generate enough interest in the first exposure for the potential customer to sign up for a valuable free offer in exchange for their contact information, such as an email address or phone number. This will also help you clarify your target audience and buyer profile by collecting data and deepening your knowledge of your customers.
Once a person knows your brand, the next step is to develop their interest in your business and learn about your offers. Increasing your interest can start with online content that describes topics relevant to your company's offering. The action phase of the sales funnel is when a potential customer decides to make a purchase. Your company's priority now is to successfully meet the needs and expectations of the new customer.
To do this, you can offer additional support or educational materials about your product. Helping them learn to use your product correctly or effectively will give more value to your offer and increase their satisfaction with their purchase. Customer loyalty, also known as loyalty or retention, focuses on turning a customer into a repeat buyer. Retention is a key component of an effective sales strategy because it reduces the cost of finding new leads.
As long as customers are satisfied with your services and continue to need your offer, they can continue to buy. Implementing retention strategies will also keep customers more satisfied and can turn them into brand advocates. To understand how a sales funnel works and its stages, you must understand how your target audience thinks about the buying process. Once you know the stages of your sales funnel, it's time to figure out where you're losing potential customers.
Many small business sales funnels look more like sieves, with gaps that leave patched up spreadsheets, sticky notes, missed appointments and forgotten follow-ups. Improving funnel efficiency at every stage is a marketing priority to make the entire sales process more profitable.