Any smart digital strategy begins with a sales funnel. Whether you’re an eCommerce store or a B2B company, a sales funnel sits at the very core of a solid marketing foundation.
Creating an automated funnel allows your business to continuously attract your ideal customers with a compelling offer which, ideally, leads to the purchase of a great product.
…But that’s not all it does.
Though there are many reasons to add a digital sales funnel to your marketing strategy, sales & marketing alignment is definitely at the top of the list. A successful sales funnel makes it easier to connect two vital aspects of your business & creates a smooth transition for your prospective customers.
But in order to do that, you need to lay the groundwork. Here are 5 tips for laying your funnel foundation.
Laying Your Funnel Foundation
Outline Your Offer
The first step in building any smart sales funnel is to create a compelling offer. Figure out which of your products or services you want to sell, then, create an appealing way to package it.
The offer needs to be appealing enough to attract potential customers & give enough value to keep them wanting more. Here are a few ways to get started:
Begin with the end in mind: Any offers you think up need to be relevant to a product or service you either already have or are in the process of creating so start there FIRST. Don’t forget to think about opportunities for upselling, either. What other relevant products or services can you showcase?
Level up with a lead magnet: If you want to attract customers to your funnel, you need to give them a reason to opt-in. Enter…the lead magnet. A lead magnet is anything of value you give to prospects in exchange for their email address. Some common lead magnets are:
- Email Courses
- And Checklists
Perfect your product pricing: Figuring out the cost of your offer is an often neglected (but super important) part of the sales funnel process. The important thing to remember here is that this is supposed to be a deal, and the price needs to reflect that.
Prep Your Platform
When you have the “what” outlined, it’s time to move on the “how”. To be specific, how will you capture qualified leads for your business?
The marketing technology (MarTech) landscape is rapidly growing with over 8,000 solutions for your marketing plans. But…don’t get overwhelmed. When it comes to capturing qualified leads in your sales funnel, there are several ways to do this including:
- Email Marketing Platforms like MailChimp
- Pro: Great for beginners, easy to set up, full email analytics.
- Con: Less in-depth than automated platforms so you may need to spend more for campaign services.
- WordPress Form Plugins like Gravity Forms
- Pro: Typically free or low-cost and easy to install on any page on your website.
- Con: Not much guidance beyond capturing emails, limited options for follow-up.
- Funnel Creation Platforms like ClickFunnels
- Pro: Designed specifically with funnels in mind so campaigns are easy to create.
- Con: Limited support for individual email follow-up, can be overcomplicated.
- Marketing Automation Platforms like Smart MAP Portal
- Pro: Creates comprehensive, multi-step, automated campaigns.
- Con: Can be difficult to manage without a digital partner to help.
Ultimately, you have to make the best decision for your business within your budget however, we wholeheartedly recommend investing in a marketing automation platform. It’s email marketing, funnel creation, and marketing automation all in one place!
Don’t Forget the Follow Up!
Now that you have subscribers, how will you lead them to the next step in your sales funnel? The answer is in your email follow-up series. Even a short welcome sequence can push prospects further down your funnel. Here’s an example:
Day 0: The “Thank You” – Immediately after opting in subscribers should receive a “thank you” email with access to their ebook, or checklist, or whatever freebie you’re using to capture leads – the quicker the better. Making potential customers wait, or worse yet, contact you about something they didn’t receive, sets a bad precedent.
Day 1: The “Bonus” – The next day, take the opportunity to send out some additional resources that are relevant to the offer. The key here to make your brand as useful as possible for potential customers. These resources don’t need to be paid resources either – feel free to send links to relevant blog posts and/or social links as well.
Day 3: The “Check-In” – After a few days, be sure to check-in with subscribers. For those who have engaged with your freebie, this is a good opportunity to make yourself available for any questions, comments, or concerns they may have. For those who haven’t, this email is a nice reminder of the freebie likely sitting untouched in their inbox.
Day 5: The “Quick Tip” – Quick tip emails are as effective as they are necessary. It’s a tee-up in the form of a helping hand. The wind up to the pitch, if you will. Use this email to explain what your product or service can do (in detail) with tangible results. Don’t be afraid to use a personal antidote or testimonial here. The goal is to show off what exactly your business can do before asking for the “buy”.
Day 7: The “Close” – The last email in the series is where the action happens. It should highlight your paid product or service and seal the deal from prospect to customer. The CTA needs to be big & bold here so don’t be afraid to lay the sales on thick.
Attract the Right Traffic
It doesn’t matter how great you think your offer is, if it isn’t relevant to your audience, your sales funnel will miss the mark every single time. There are endless ways to drive traffic but you’ll find some of our favs below…
- Create Compelling Content – Either for your business blog OR as a guest for another brand, take any moment you can to integrate a sales page into any relevant copy.
- Don’t Skip SEO – Speaking of your sales page, it’s crucial to optimize that for SEO as you can gain organic traffic by utilizing the right keywords.
- Sell via Social – Where is your audience? Share links frequently on whichever social platforms your audience is likely to hang out on. This shouldn’t be haphazard though. Create a social campaign that works with your existing social calendar.
- Engage with Influencers – Influencers aren’t just for Instagram. Reach out to the thought-leaders (but not competitors) in your industry to promote if it’s within your budget.
- Master the Art of Advertising – PPC ads can be a great tool if used properly. If not, they can be a money pit. If you’re unsure here, consulting with a knowledgeable digital partner can help lift the fog.
The key to attracting the right traffic to your funnel is understanding your audience and knowing where they hangout online, then show up with the solutions to their problems.
Measuring Your Performance
We’ve talked a bit about email marketing performance metrics in The Dos & Don’ts of Email Automation, and, for the most part, they are still relevant. However, there are a few extra marketing funnel metrics to consider such as:
- Traffic (both the volume of traffic & traffic by source)
- Leads generated
- Funnel conversion rate
- Cost per lead
- Cost per sale
- Lifetime value of a customer
Increasing the lifetime value of a customer is one of the biggest advantages of building a sales funnel. A well-structured funnel can help you create more upsell opportunities beyond the original reason your customer purchased from you.
Next Steps for Sales Success
Your foundation is the solid step on which you can build your marketing strategies. Don’t neglect this process and risk building your digital funnel on shaky ground.
If you’re unsure where to start, contact us today.
Smart Girl Digital offers free digital discovery calls to assess your current systems & offer solutions for marketing automation solutions for your business. Click below to schedule your FREE consultation.