What is a sales funnel exactly?

What is a sales funnel anyway and why do I need it. Well, a sales funnel is nothing more than creative marketer-speak for a series of emails, social media posts, landing pages, opt-ins, freebies, and blog posts wrapped up together with some marketing voodoo all with the goal to lead new customers to purchase your product or service. Is the picture any clearer yet? Well don’t worry in today’s post we are going to tackle the issue of what exactly is a sales funnel and how do I use one.

On the one hand sales funnels can really be anything. They can be your great Aunt Louise telling all her friends about your business and how proud she is of you. Thanks Great Aunt Louise! But before we start taking them apart maybe we should talk about why it is called a sales funnel instead of let’s say a sales horseshoe, you know for luck… sorry that one was lame. It is called a sales funnel because of how people move through it.  

Sales funnels usually start with something designed to get people to stop and take notice of your business. This could be a storefront, an ad, a blog post, an email – pretty much anything. This attention grabbing piece is designed for broad appeal of your core customer base. It captures most of the attention and usually asks people to follow you or even submit their email. This is the top of the funnel, the widest point where the most people enter. As you move down the funnel through successive opt-ins, discounts, assurances of purchase, etc. Your funnel starts getting smaller and smaller as fewer people move on to the next stage. That is ok! Because by the time people make it to the bottom of your funnel they are so ready to buy they wonder why they had not done so weeks ago when they first saw your attention grabber. So a sales funnel is a series of elements that lead people to purchase your product. It is a funnel because fewer and fewer people make it to the next stage, but that just means they are more and more likely to purchase your product.

So how do you use a sales funnel? Any way you want, because a sales funnel can be made up of so many different unique parts. Each sales funnel has a few things in common though. At the top is the attention grabber. This is the thing/s that says look at me! I am special! Here is my brand! With this part of the funnel, the goal is to get people to pause and say wow, that looks cool I want to find out more. Those people who pause in their busy lives and start to find out more are the ones who enter your funnel, they are also the group that contains those individuals who are likely to buy your product or service.

Now that you have their attention, what do you do? This is the central portion of the funnel and where you can insert the most variety. The goal in this section of the funnel is to lead people from attention to purchase, sounds easy right. Well, the hard thing is, very rarely can you say hey look at me, now buy and have that work. More often than not you need to foster and grow that relationship between you and the client. This is the center of the funnel. One of the methods I use is AIDA – Attention, Interest, Desire, Action. You grab their attention, you develop their interest, you feed their desire for your product, you prompt them to take action on that desire and to purchase. How you go about doing this is up to you. White sheets, monthly newsletters, emails, blog posts are all great ways to increase the interest people have in your product or service. You are freely sharing how your product meets a need they have, how your service will save them time, how their lives will be better for having known your business. Videos, opt-ins, discounts, small freebies, all increase the desire of your potential customers to really go ahead and purchase your product. They allow them to see the product in action, to experience your service this assures them that any action they take will be beneficial to them.

This leads us to the bottom of the funnel the all important purchase decision.It is here where the magic happens, the customer decides to take that leap and trust your business with their money. This is the endgame and the end goal.  In this part of the funnel, you are making the straight up pitch. You are asking them to buy. You have already grabbed their attention, you have developed their interest and desire, they are ready to act. So you pitch. When you pitch this is a critical key, you have to re-assure them. In this moment of action, the customer has to overcome their sense of buyer’s remorse. Everyone goes through it to varying degrees. But it is up to you to assure the client that your business has their best interest at heart and that you are the only ones who can solve their need. When you win this battle you have a new client for your business.

Sales funnels are complex beasts. They have many different interlocking parts. But they do not have to be scary. They are an easy beast to tame and to use to your advantage in your business. A good website is the first step to any online sales funnel. I would argue to any sales funnel but I know there are some who will argue back with me, to which I say it is ok have your opinion. On top of a good website, having engaging social media is key to the upper sections of that sales funnel. Video can help with the middle and lower sections. Having a marketing manager who understands sales funnels and is willing to sit down with you and come up with a strategy that fits your business is invaluable. You need to find someone who understands each business is unique and takes the time to learn about your business and develop solutions. AR Media Productions works hard to listen to our clients. We then develop social media, video, and digital media-based solutions. If you need help with setting up your sales funnel please contact us. We are ready to listen and offer advice.