5 PLANNING STEPS TO MAKE THE MOST OF YOUR SALES FUNNEL

At the top of your funnel sits every potential client, in line with your target market and business goals. As these prospects move down the funnel, the numbers drop off, your audience narrows, until you have some sort of conversion to an actual customer. But how do you steer people down to the pointy end, and ‘seal the deal’? Start to plan your activities in line with your sales funnel (and set yourself up for measurement success) with 5 easy steps.

1. BUILD YOUR AUDIENCE AND BRAND AWARENESS

The first step is really to get your name out there, with the right people. Start by understanding your customer and defining who the right person is. List out the demographics, their likes and dislikes, who they hang out with and even find a picture to represent your different customer groups. Then keep these people in mind with every step you take to build awareness.

ACTION: Audit your website and social channels to make sure they suit your customer personas. Create a content calendar (including paid content) that will build your following with your personas.

2. EDUCATE YOUR AUDIENCE AND ATTRACT LEADS

Education is a great way to pull your wider audience, for example, your social media followers, into more structured communication with you. By that I mean, you’ve seen each other around for a while, you’re both interested in each other, it’s time to exchange contact details – most likely an email address. Offer prospective customers value in exchange for an email address. If you sell a service, you might choose to prepare a toolkit for download. If you sell a product – let’s say you’re a hardware store – you might offer a DIY project each month in your newsletter to encourage people to sign up.

ACTION: Add more educational content – to capture contact details – to your content calendar

3. QUALIFY

This is a two-way process as you both get to know more about each other. You’re courting, but you’re not ready to commit. What do you want to do with all these contacts now that they’ve show real interest in what you have to say (and sell)? Prepare a series of welcome emails, and consider whether clicking on a certain link or viewing a certain piece of content might trigger another email, or if you might retarget these more engaged customers after they visit a certain landing page. If you’re selling a service, how else can you get a better gauge of their interest (think about hosting a webinar, or offering a free consultation or workshop to get in front of the decision makers)?

ACTION: Create a welcome series of emails. Use certain behaviours as triggers to segment your leads.

4. DELIVER THE PITCH

A direct sell isn’t always a bad thing, especially if you know exactly what your customers are looking for. Whether you’re connecting face-to-face, or via a website, social media or an email, selling a product or service, the sales principles are the same. What to know more? ACTION: Read 6 Ways to Pitch Anything.

5. KEEP THEM HAPPY

The sales funnel is incredibly cyclical; you want customers to continue to be engaged with, and loyal to, your brand. Focus on staying front of mind (retention marketing campaigns) with regular communication, or create enhanced loyalty through personalising the customer experience more and more, as you learn more about how they interact with you (loyalty campaigns are typically focussed on increasing the overall lifetime value of your customers). Be sure to keep up the good work.

Got your planning sorted? Read What You Should be Measuring for Success Online.

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