Another way to think about the time dimension is to consider if you’re connecting prospects with the right information at the right time, for example, if you are using case studies, are they just sitting there on your website, or would it perhaps be better to send a couple of case studies that can be digested in under 5 minutes out to new prospects automatically three weeks or so after they first expressed interest in you?
The same guys would also recommend that you always negotiate on deliverables, rather than the investment or the price. So make it clear what you are offering, break it down in to component parts of your offer. When someone says they do not have that budget, ask them which of these parts they want to remove from your offering. If we get a potential website client, we offer to plan the website, to design it, to develop it, market it, train the client and provide support services. So then the client can see the offering in parts and decide what they can do themselves. They may do some of the work in-house themselves or outsource elsewhere. But our rates remain the same. If we have a particular funnel worth €25k we need to work out what we offer in that funnel. Any reduction in the spend reduces some of the parts of that funnel. All we can do is determine what we can offer for that investment and let the client decide how much they want of it. If you could invest €25k and get back €50k, what would you do?
The marketing funnel is a great tool that helps visualizing the customer journey or the path that prospects take as they become more familiar with your company and products, from awareness to purchase to (hopefully) the advocacy stage. It allows marketeers to map out the marketing campaigns that need to be considered in a more structural approach. Keep in mind that this is a general version of the marketing funnel and that you might need to adapt it somewhat to fit the business you are in. Let the marketing begin!
At such a point, work on making the potential customer feel confident in their decision to buy your product. Let’s take the previous example of a fitness center. Here, develop a case study showing a customer’s success story including before-and-after pictures along with testimonials. This can be related to either weight-loss or gaining substantial muscle-mass—whatever’s appropriate based on the client.
Typically in your content marketing, to generate traffic, you will use a website, blogging, SEO, landing or squeeze pages, Google Adwords or PPC, Social Media Marketing, perhaps influencer marketing(see more below) and the old fashioned mediums of TV, Radio and Newspapers or Magazines. It involves creating engaging and useful or interesting content to promote through the various mediums, videos, guest posts etc. Likewise you want to get the technical aspects right, any transaction pages need to be as simple as possible, contact forms, shopping carts and search filters. If you lose people during the process, you can remarket through Facebook and Google, to draw them back.
Targeting these leads is the easy part; guiding them along the buying process is more challenging. For this, you’ll need an effective content strategy that provides them with the information they need and keeps them coming back for more. You’ll want to get these people signing up to your newsletter – or some other kind of email interaction – as soon as possible. This gives you a channel to segregate audiences and target them with more relevant messages that move them along the sales funnel.
Alright, at this point in the funnel you’re going to be working with fewer leads than you started with. But that’s ok! Because those that are still with you are a higher quality lead, and are more interested in what you have to offer. They’ve also taken some form of action or micro-commitment and are a lot more open to what you have to offer next. It’s at this stage that you want to begin the follow-up process and really bring the value. Continue to nurture your leads by providing more valuable and helpful information but at the same time, don’t be afraid to ask for the sale. If you’ve done a good job at guiding them along their journey up until this point the next logical step should be your core offer, product, or service. When your “warm” lead buys and exchanges their money for your product or service they become “hot”.
Your prospect’s goal: To determine which class of products or services can solve their problem, then to begin evaluating businesses within that class. If we’re using the tax example, this would be when the prospect decided to use a DIY tax software solution over a hiring a CPA. Afterward, they’d start evaluating specific software, like TurboTax or QuickBooks, for example.
To do this, go back to your list of interactions, which are all assigned to the most relevant stage of the buying process. What you need now is a system capable of detecting these interactions and then assigning them to segmentation lists. This will allow you to target users on each list with campaigns relevant to their place along the buying journey.
It is important to identify your potential or target market, what their pain points are and where do they hang out online. Why would they want to buy your product or service. And why from you? What difference will it make to them? You can create buyer ‘Personas’ to help you focus better on the who and the why. Nowadays, it is easier to measure the results of any investment, especially in digital marketing activities. The idea of marketing funnels or sales funnels is to try and create the perfect business generator, which relates to transaction density, increasing sales and margins and increasing the lifetime value of a client. A funnel might be used as a way to generate leads, a Lead Conversion Generator or to generate actual sales, a Sales Conversion Generator. Nowadays, funnels are also used to upsell products, during the transaction checkout – no doubt you have seen this when you have been shopping online.
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Now that your brand has made it to the Consideration set, customers are likely to evaluate the options based on some personal criteria they might have. Even though selection criteria may vary from person to person, you might be able to find some general patterns by looking at the most often used criteria. Continious customer feedback, surveys and focus groups will help you figuring out what customers in general find most important about a certain product. Once you are aware of these attributes, you could guide your marketing efforts in such a way that you highlight these features when showing off your product. Often used attributes that customers use to evaluate products are: price, quality, appearance, durability and after-sales service.
No one has to tell you, of all people, that customers go through stages as they move through the buying process. As a small-business owner, you've been selling your product or service long before your sales and marketing team started casting decisions in terms of “the marketing funnel.” The marketing funnel? If this term is new to your vernacular, don't worry, you're not far behind the curve – or the tactics to help you navigate it.