Many businesses get their initial growth through referrals or word-of-mouth—a proven powerhouse for winning new business. In fact, some businesses run successfully on an organic flow of new customers for many years. At some point though, they decide they need to make a change. It happens for a variety of reasons. Perhaps you want more control over your cash flow, your network has temporarily dried up, or you want to reach a new market. There comes a point when you may need to widen the net and build a digital marketing sales funnel of potential customers who haven’t yet heard of you or your business.
A digital marketing sales funnel is like a roadmap that guides potential customers from hearing about your business to making a purchase. Imagine it as a wide-mouthed funnel, where lots of people enter at the top, but only a fraction come out at the bottom having made a purchase. Of course, you’d love everyone to buy, but not everyone you reach is your target customer.
At the open side of the funnel, you have what we call “unqualified prospects”. These are individuals who might have a need for your product or service, but you haven’t directly engaged with them yet. It’s like a crowded room where you suspect some might be interested in what you offer, but you haven’t had a chance to speak to them.
As these prospects move down the funnel, they go through various stages. Some may drop off because they’re happy with their current suppliers, while others might find a better fit elsewhere. Some might really like what you offer but can’t commit due to budget constraints.
The goal of the sales funnel is to guide these prospects through a series of steps, gradually weaning out leads that aren’t a fit until you have paying customers at the bottom of the funnel.
Let’s say you’re a software company, for example. At the top of the funnel, you have businesses that have never heard of your software. Through marketing efforts like content, ads, or social media, you start engaging with them. As they move through the funnel, you provide them with more specific information—maybe a series of emails inviting them to schedule a demo or free trial. Some might drop off because they realize it’s not exactly what they need, while others will continue because they see the value.
Eventually, a portion of these businesses will become paying customers. The essence of a successful sales funnel is taking a potential lead and guiding them through the process until they become a paying client. Remember, the more efficiently you guide prospects through this funnel, the higher your conversion rate.
Although you can implement referral strategies, you don’t want to leave untapped prospects on the table by waiting for them to come to you. There’s a wide world of prospective customers out there, many of whom aren’t ready to buy just yet.
Without a digital marketing sales funnel, you might not be proactively building enough brand awareness in the market (which is a top-of-the-funnel, or TOFU, activity). You may be losing prospects lower down the funnel who could have turned into paying customers, but, for one reason or another, didn’t end up buying. If, however, you learn how to improve each of the stages of your sales funnel, you will be able to influence your prospects’ purchase decisions and improve your overall conversion rate. You can also use your sales funnel to analyze and identify opportunities to improve your marketing and sales activities.
Another benefit: you can troubleshoot lost opportunities by tracking where each lead dropped out of the funnel.
An optimized sales funnel is a powerful tool that increases your chances of converting leads into customers and empowers you to make informed marketing decisions and gain a competitive edge in your industry. Here are the benefits:
- A higher percentage of prospects make their way through the full funnel from leads to more sales.
- Analyzing your funnel can help you refine your marketing strategy by ensuring you are targeting the right audience at a particular stage in the buyer journey.
- Gain valuable insights into customer behavior as you track how they move through each stage, what content or touchpoints are most effective, and where they may encounter hurdles or hindrances.
- Pull ahead of your competitors who are relying on referrals and factors beyond their control to build their customer bases.
- A clear, guided path through the sales process makes it easier for customers to make decisions, reducing confusion and friction, and resulting in a more satisfying experience.
- A structured funnel gives you data that helps you make accurate sales forecasts and set realistic targets.
Digital marketing sales funnel example
Your sales funnel doesn’t have to be complicated. We use a simple version to reach our target customers, which are small, service-based businesses and solopreneurs. Many of them are owner-managed and lack internal marketing resources, which is where we come in.
The eBook is branded, but not advertorial. Anyone who downloads it is added to the next step in the funnel (our email list), and we send regular emails with more helpful marketing information. They can click through to more information on our website.
Over time, a prospect who hadn’t considered hiring a marketing agency may start to see the benefits. When they’re ready to make the next move down the funnel (schedule a free consultation), Brighter Messaging will hopefully be top of mind.
It’s time to take control of your digital marketing sales funnel. Get in touch with the Brighter Messaging team so we can help you define your audience and create a strategy that takes them down the funnel to eventually becoming a customer.