Getting your customer from discovering your brand or business to making a purchase requires an effective sales funnel. It doesn't have to be complex or extravagant but it does have to work very well.
What is a sales funnel?
A sales funnel also known as a customer journey is the sales process where you take your potential customer through various stages. At each stage, you expose them to a specific marketing activity such as an email, article, webinar, podcast, social post, video or landing page. It can be anything whatever works for your business and will engage your audience. The idea is that each stage builds on what the last stage delivered, ensuring your potential customer continues consuming your content, taking actions and progressing along the funnel and doesn't disengage. At the end of the funnel, you will have a sale. Building an effective funnel will result in more sales whilst a poor performing leaky funnel will mean many potential customers fall out of the funnel and you've invested time and money into something that doesn't work.
Here are some of the biggest mistake businesses make when building out a sales funnel and how you can avoid making the same ones.
1. Clarity is key
People encountering your brand for the first time whether that be on social media, your website or via a webinar or podcast need to walk away with clarity on what you are about and how you can help them. People decide on a brand within seconds so it's is critical that you make a fantastic first impression. To do this well you need to prioritise perfecting your messaging. You will need a one-liner that addresses customer needs and communicates how your business meets that need. You should also collect feedback from third parties to assess the effectiveness of your messaging and how it is delivered across your various funnel entry points such as social and web.
2. Perfect your Call to action
Too many businesses work so hard to engage a customer to then find that they experience massive drop-offs because their call to action is a mess. A poor call to action can be due to a variety of reasons:
The CTA isn't clear, the action you want people to take isn't clarified
The link itself doesn't work or doesn't lead to where it should
The CTA is hard to follow, for example inviting someone to sign up and them then having to scroll to the bottom of a very long landing page to actually fill out the form. Make sure your landing page is built for purpose.
The CTA is hidden, it must be easy to find, think big red button. Or if you have a CTA in your text try ending or starting the text with the CTA statement that way it is prominent.
3. Your messaging doesn't connect
Your CTA messaging is not optimised to speak to your audience and so fails to engage them. Make sure you have a deep understanding of your customer so you can develop messaging and a CTA that speaks to them. Also, don't complicate your CTA by using statements that aren't immediately understandable. For example, don't use the CTA "Start your journey" when you simply want your customer to download something simply say "Download".
4. You don't analyse results and optimise
Many businesses create one funnel and stick with it forever, whether it works or not. It is important to adopt a mentality of constant evolution. You should always be analysing the results of your funnel and improving it to generate more sales. Implement analytics across the various stages to analyse how well everything performs from your landing page to social posts to emails. Everything should be measured and optimised as you go.
5. Your funnel is chaotic
A good funnel takes the customer on a journey that they can follow with ease. It should not introduce too many options, it should not have a scattered message that changes at every stage. It should build on one message adding deeper detail at each stage. It should work towards one end not several and it should be equally supported all the way through. Many businesses only care about getting customers into the funnel which is short-sighted. This looks like obsessing over building an email list or getting more Instagram followers. It is critical to think about how you support your audience once they are in your email list or once they're following you on Instagram.
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