What proportion of people who know about your product eventually end up buying it? How many people are you reaching, and how many are you losing before they purchase? The concept of the sales funnel is a way to understand the customer’s journey, from awareness of your product, to interest in learning more, to a decision to buy it, and finally to the action stage of making a purchase. Like a funnel, you can visualize it as an upside-down triangle, with potential customers being eliminated at each stage.
For example, in the world of retail, most people who walk by a store are aware of it, but the products only catch the eye of a few people, and when those people enter the store to take a closer look at the items, only a few end up buying. In the digital world, it works much the same way: of the many people who see an ad, only a few will actually click on it, and only those who are interested in the product will make it all the way to the shopping cart or donate button. A good conversion rate is 3-5% of those who see the ad or post. A b2b digital marketing agency consisting of content creators, web designers and developers will help maintain the funnel and optimize the customer experience.
There are two ways to increase your “sales funnel” volume: increase the size of the mouth of the funnel (the number of people aware of your product), or to make the funnel shape more cylindrical, so that you lose fewer people along the way. The goal is always to move as many potential customers through the funnel, and as quickly as possible.
In this blog, we will be looking at each of these sections in more detail. The aim is to give you an idea of how a funnel works and how implementing this strategy can allow you to bring in new clients more efficiently, and a good b2b digital marketing agency can automate most of the workflows for each stage of the funnel.
Sales Funnel Stage 1: Awareness
Stage 1 is all about marketing and generating awareness. You may think you know your customers, but it is worthwhile to reassess your customer base before you start spending your marketing budget. You want to be deliberate in what you focus your efforts on, which is why the importance of knowing your customer cannot be overstated - this is definitely an area where marketing expertise can be helpful. Read our article that focuses solely on “Awareness”
Social media can be a great low-cost way to gain brand awareness, with each platform (Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Snapchat, etc.) reaching different audiences. There are also traditional non-digital ways such as signs, flyers, billboards and so on. At Think Design, we focus on the digital side of marketing, and in our next post we will take a deep dive into the forms of media that you can use to make people aware of your brand. As a digital strategy agency in NYC we have vast experience in making people aware of brands.
Performance marketing (a.k.a paid advertising) is a way to fill the funnel. You can advertise on search engines (using services like Google AdWords), streaming platforms, and on social media channels. Streaming platforms such as YouTube, Spotify and Soundcloud cover much of the market, but if your target demographic is paying for the ad-free premium service, you may not reach them. Facebook, TikTok, Instagram and Snapchat do not have premium levels, so all demographics who use those platforms can be reached.
Again, having a clear idea of who your audience is key. With paid marketing, it’s possible to figure out who the message appeals to, as you can see the performance of each message and detailed demographic information of who is clicking on it. From there on out, it’s up to the content creators and web developers to keep visitors engaged. It is recommended that you use a b2b digital marketing agency when running performance campaigns to ensure you see a positive return.
Sales Funnel Stage 2: Interest
Interest begins once the customer has noticed the brand and begins to engage with the company. They could passively engage by viewing the company’s offering on their website, social media channels or paid placement (advertisement) or they can actively engage by contacting a salesperson or walking into the retail location. You will want a creative strategy to generate interest passively and actively.
For example, a service business might use case studies displayed on their website as a way of passively generating interest, but they may also have a sales bot that asks you if you have any questions and if you would like to speak to someone in the office for more detail about the services. Partnering with reputable UX design firms will allow your website to be optimized for the customers’ experience through the sales funnel.
The aim at this stage is the move from awareness to engagement. Once you have engaged with the customer, they are in a position where they will decide on your offering.
Sales Funnel Stage 3: Decision
At this stage, the potential customer makes up their mind on whether or not to buy your product or offering (which determines whether they will move on to the final “action” stage). It is important not to dismiss people who did not make a purchase, because they have taken the time to educate themselves on your offering, however for one reason or another have decided not to commit to a purchase. Should you find that many leads are dropping out of the funnel at the decision stage, you may need to re-evaluate the how and where your products are displayed. Good marketers pay close attention to customer attrition at this stage, and scrutinize how and why they make up their final decision.
What tipped them in one direction or another? Was it the price, the packaging, offerings by competitors? This stage is crucial for understanding what matters most to customers. While it is more satisfying to focus on the customers that do not eventually buy your product are are completing the funnel, the customers that do not still have a lot of value. These people are prime targets for a remarketing campaign, which is a campaign targeted at leads that entered the funnel but didn’t make it to the end.
Sales Funnel Stage 4: Action
Success! The customers who reach this final stage of the funnel have bought your item - scanned their cards, pressed “submit order”, handed their spare change across the . For the select group that reaches this stage, your products or services have hit the sweet spot of quality and price. This is where you begin one of three workflows:
- Remarketing Campaigns
- Customer Relations
- Acquisition & Delivery
Some aspects of these efforts can be automated and optimized to be cost-effective. Even those who don’t buy the first time are great candidates for future purchases, so remarketing to them is a good idea.
Remarketing campaigns focus on customers who have left the funnel at the decision stage. Using pixels and cookies, you can select these visitors to be targeted again. It is best not to reuse graphics and text copies in a remarketing campaign due to the effects of banner fatigue, where visitors ignore advertisements they have seen before.
Customer relations may begin with visitors who decide that they will buy the product in the future. In this case they will often engage with you via the channel you have advertised on or your website. It can be as simple as following the page or subscribing to a newsletter, to reaching out confirm details such as location, hours of operation or availability.
Finally, the satisfying work of acquisition and delivery! Here is where you do what you do best; making another customer happy with your products or services.
With over 25 years of experience as a digital strategy agency in NYC, Think Design would love the opportunity to work with you through the content, technology and strategy needed to maximize the efficiency of your sales funnel.
Continue learning about the Sales Funnel model by reading our article that focuses solely on “Awareness”.