What We’ll Cover: The Sales Funnel Stages
- What is a Sales Funnel?
- How to Create a Sales Funnel Properly
- Re-engage Your Leads
- Important Marketing Metrics for Each Stage of the Sales Funnel
- FAQs: Sales Funnel Stages
What is A Sales Funnel?
A sales funnel is a structured series of steps in marketing and sales that encompasses various strategies such as advertising, blogging, social media outreach, email campaigns, conversion rate optimization, search engine optimization, and more.
These strategies are designed to carry potential customers through the buying process.
Complicated? You bet.
Luckily, we have the tools that are designed for specific points in each funnel stage.
Why You Need a Sales Funnel
Sales funnels, when properly executed, act as automated sales machines. They offer consistency and allow for hands-off management, enabling you to measure and optimize results.
By analyzing the effectiveness of each funnel stage, you can refine your strategies. The best sales funnels also build trust with consumers and establish your business as an authority in your industry, which are key factors in creating a successful enterprise.
How to Create a Sales Funnel
- Understand Your Audience—Start by understanding your target audience’s pain points, expectations, and needs. This knowledge will help you position your business, identify your ideal customers, and cater to their requirements.
- Build Buyer Personas—Develop detailed profiles of your target customers. Determine why they want your product, how they plan to use it, and what motivates them to make a purchase.
- Generate Traffic and Leads—Create brand awareness by driving traffic to your website or landing pages. Utilize strategies such as guest posting, conversion rate optimization, landing page optimization, PPC campaigns, and more to attract potential customers.
- Engage Your Audience—Once you have visitors, focus on keeping their attention. Provide value through engaging and relevant content, promote your products on social media, email prospective customers, and collaborate with influencers to expand your product’s reach.
- Convert Leads into Sales—Streamline the final steps of the funnel to make the purchasing process simple and efficient. Remove obstacles that may deter customers from completing a transaction.
Sales Funnel Stage 1: Awareness
After determining goals and building personas, it’s time to start marketing.
Social Media Posts and Promotions
Regularly share insightful content, engage in meaningful conversations, and strategically use paid promotions to reach a wider audience. Authenticity and consistency are key to building trust.
Guest Posting or Blogging
Position yourself as an authority in your industry by guest posting on reputable websites or maintaining a well-crafted blog on your own site. Share valuable insights, showcase your expertise, and connect with your target audience through informative and engaging content.
Whitepapers & Webinars
Offering in-depth whitepapers and webinars not only demonstrates your industry knowledge but also provides valuable information to your audience. These resources can become authoritative references, fostering trust and loyalty among your followers.
In today’s fast-paced digital world, visually appealing infographics can be a powerful tool. They distill complex information into easily digestible visuals, making it easier for your audience to absorb and share your brand’s expertise.
Effective public relations can garner media coverage, shape public perception, and solidify your brand’s reputation. Trustworthy PR efforts can help your brand navigate challenges and setbacks gracefully.
Stage 1 Awareness: Tools
Before you can sell anything, you need to make people aware of your product or service. The good news is that there are plenty of sales funnel tools to help you get the word out about your brand.
No digital marketing effort is complete without SEO. That’s why SEMRush is so valuable. It offers competitive intelligence, keyword research, backlink analysis, anchor text reports, and traffic analytics.
Another great tool for SEO is Ahrefs. In addition to keyword and domain analytics, Ahrefs also includes a content explorer that lets you quickly discover the most popular content online. Then, you can incorporate this new knowledge into your sales funnel steps and produce similar content that will attract customers to your site.
Social media marketing is an important way to help people discover your brand. Buffer saves you some time by enabling you to post updates to multiple social media channels all at once. Also, you can submit a number of updates at the same time and schedule them to post throughout the day so that you don’t annoy your followers with multiple updates that appear in rapid succession.
Hootsuite is an alternative to Buffer. It offers a few more bells and whistles but doesn’t let you play for free (permanently, anyway). If you’re planning on using social media marketing as an integral part of your online efforts and you need the absolute best service possible, you should probably fork over the cash for Hootsuite. It helps to simplify the marketing stages and frees up your valuable time.
LinkedIn Sales Navigator
If you’re in the B2B space, then hopefully you’re actively marketing your brand on LinkedIn. With the LinkedIn Sales Navigator, you can take marketing on that social media site to the next level by finding lead recommendations that are tailor-fit to your business. It makes navigating through your sales funnel much easier.
Pitchbox is a go-to platform for full-stack prospecting for advanced targeting. Marketers should use it for influencer marketing, leveraging data, link building, and more.
Sales Funnel Stage 2 Interest
Once people have learned about your brand, they’re likely to take an interest in it.
At this point, you’ve hooked the fish, but you haven’t yet reeled it in – which makes it one of the most important stages in the sales funnel.
During this stage, you’ll want to focus on the following types of content:
Craft compelling messages that resonate with your audience’s interests and concerns. It’s about nurturing the spark of curiosity, gradually moving them towards conversion.
Informative, engaging, and value-packed blog posts play a key role in sustaining interest. Share insights, offer solutions, and showcase your industry expertise. These posts should serve as beacons of knowledge, building your brand’s authority while keeping your audience engaged.
Offer valuable resources such as ebooks, guides, or exclusive content. These enticements not only captivate your audience but also serve as golden opportunities to collect crucial customer data for future interactions.
Introduce chatbots into the equation for real-time engagement. These AI-powered companions can answer questions, provide recommendations, and guide visitors down the interest-driven path. Their instant responsiveness fosters a sense of connection and assurance.
Never let your engaged prospects slip through the cracks. Retargeting campaigns are the safety net. Remind your audience of their interest with targeted ads, gently urging them to take the next step. It’s a strategic move to keep your brand at the forefront of their minds.
Stage 2 Interest Tools
Here are some sales funnel tools that you can use to prevent the big fish from getting away.
Once you get prospects to your website, the last thing you want is for them to bounce away from it, hence the name Unbounce. The company helps you produce landing pages that will keep visitors on your site and, eventually, transform them into paying customers.
Ever wonder how people use your site? If so, then you should visit CrazyEgg to view heatmaps that show where people are clicking on your various pages. Armed with that information, you can optimize your site for maximum conversions.
How would you like to use the same tool to optimize your site that was used by Disney and The New York Times? You can do that with Optimizely. The tool allows you to “experiment broadly across the entire customer experience, on any channel, any device, and any application.” Test out experiments and generate insights to continuously gauge your audience’s interests.
HotJar tracks how visitors use and interact with your website or product. This CRO tool allows you to get into your customer’s shoes and see firsthand what their experiences are when using your site.
Sumo is an excellent tool to connect your email marketing to your website and design custom calls to action. As a popular tool for lead generation, this tool also doubles as great software for email capture, CRO and visitor analysis.
Instapage allows you to create landing pages at lightning-fast speeds with its large library of customizable templates. This tool also allows you to create fast-loading AMP landing pages which reduces bounce rates and increases conversions. The platform also provides post-click optimization for campaigns that send out a personalized thank you page and email. This is a useful sales funnel step for later on in the process.
Sales Funnel Stage 3: Evaluation
At this funnel stage, people are taking a very keen interest in your product or service. You’ve almost closed the sale, but you’re not quite there yet. Aim for some of these content types to really reel in your customers:
Transparency is key. Lay out your pricing plans clearly and concisely. Highlight the value of each tier and emphasize the benefits customers will gain. Make sure there are no hidden fees or surprises.
Dive deep into success stories. Provide detailed accounts of how your product or service solved a problem for a client. These real-world examples showcase your expertise and demonstrate your ability to deliver results.
Discount & Promo Codes
Everyone loves a good deal. Offer exclusive discounts or promo codes to incentivize a purchase. Make sure these offers are time-limited to create a sense of urgency.
Live Demos or Tutorials
Take a hands-on approach. Offer live demos or tutorials that walk potential customers through your product or service. Address their pain points and show how your solution can make their lives easier.
Help your audience make an informed decision by providing clear comparisons between your product and competitors. Highlight what sets you apart and why your offering is the superior choice.
Stage 3 Evaluation Tools
Let’s look at some sales funnel tools to help you reach that goal when customers are in this stage.
A great way to convince reluctant prospects that you’ve got a great product or service is with the magic of video. Animoto enables you to make high-quality videos in a snap. Then, you can use the video as a marketing tool to help you lead people further down the funnel.
Another tool that helps you put a tutorial in video format is Wyzowl. Whether you’d like to create animated explainer videos, mobile app demo videos, or web videos, Wyzowl has a solution that you can use.
It’s often the case that during the free trial phase of the sales cycle, people will have questions about your product or service. That’s why you need a help desk solution like Freshdesk. It’s a great service that helps you deliver outstanding customer service to people who are on the brink of making a purchase.
Sales Funnel Stage 4: Engagement
At this point, you’ve made contact with your prospect. You’re ever so close to making the sale, but still not quite there.
Since this is the “action” stage, be sure to utilize the following:
Insider or Customer Success Stories
Sharing real-life success stories from satisfied customers is like presenting a trophy to your prospects. These anecdotes reveal the genuine value your product or service has delivered to others, building trust and credibility.
Everyone loves a good deal. At this stage, consider crafting exclusive offers or promotions that compel your prospects to take action. Limited-time discounts or bundles can be powerful incentives that tip the scales in your favor.
Offering bundled packages not only simplifies the decision-making process for your customers but also enhances the perceived value of your offering. It’s a win-win strategy that showcases your understanding of their needs.
Follow-Up Email Campaigns
Persistence pays off. Construct well-tailored email campaigns that keep your prospects engaged and informed. Timely follow-ups nurture the relationship, provide additional information, and gently push them toward the final purchase decision.
In today’s digital landscape, knowledge is a valuable currency. Create educational and engaging training videos that highlight the unique features and benefits of your product or service. These videos empower your prospects and position you as an industry authority.
Stage 4 Engagement Tools
Here are some sales funnel tools to help you build a positive relationship with prospective customers.
MailChimp is a marketing automation and email marketing platform that helps marketers manage and talk to clients and customers. The platform focuses on beautifully designed campaigns to drive engagement.
You’ve got a list of prospects, but how do you prove to them that you’re knowledgeable in your field? One way to do that is with a webinar. GoToWebinar is a valuable tool to help you cultivate an improved relationship with people who were once on the receiving end of a cold call. The tool makes it a snap to set up and host your own webinar that will ultimately boost your brand and help you reach the final funnel stages with success.
It’s arguably the case that the “go-to” tool for managing people who are stuck somewhere in the middle of the sales funnel is Salesforce. Of course, once you’ve said “Salesforce,” you haven’t said everything because the company offers a suite of marketing tools. At this stage, though, you’re mainly interested in the Salesforce CRM tool so that you can keep track of your prospects and gently push them forward into the final funnel stage.
One of the best ways to engage with your prospects is by running a contest. Heyo lets you do that without much effort. The good news about running a contest is that it not only keeps you engaged with existing prospects but also helps cultivate new leads. So this tool could work at multiple points in the sales funnel.
Sales Funnel Stage 5: Commitment and Purchase
And now we’re at the point where money changes hands. That’s what it’s all about, isn’t it?
Keep your customers motivated to come back with:
Encourage your existing customers to become your best advocates. Implement referral programs that reward them for spreading the word about your products or services. Happy customers can be your most effective salespeople.
Maximize each transaction by offering complementary or upgraded products or services to your customers. Upsell campaigns are a powerful way to increase the value of each purchase and enhance the overall customer experience.
Re-Engagement Email Campaigns
Stay connected with your customers even after they’ve made a purchase. Re-engagement email campaigns can keep your brand top of mind, ensuring they return for more.
Bring your products to life through engaging and informative product-specific videos. Visual content can provide a deeper understanding of your offerings and help build trust with your audience. Showcase features, benefits, and real-life applications.
Show your commitment to customer satisfaction by actively seeking feedback. Construct well-designed feedback polls to gather insights into their experiences and preferences. This data can be invaluable for refining your products and services.
Stage 5 Commitment and Purchase Tools
Here are some sales funnel tools that will make it easier to put cash in your bank account.
You want to make it as easy as possible for people to pay you, right? That’s why you should enlist the aid of PayPal. Set up a business account and enable your customers to pay with money out of their own PayPal accounts. It’s one of the easiest ways to generate income online and finalize the last sales funnel step.
How would you like to integrate a robust shopping cart solution with a platform that makes content marketing really easy? With WooCommerce, you get the best of both worlds: an e-commerce solution that sits right on top of WordPress, the world’s most popular content management system.
Stripe is a complete payment platform for online businesses. In addition to making sure payments are completed quickly and securely, Stripe’s platform is geared towards building and scaling your business.
Re-Engage Your Leads
Re-engaging lost leads is a pivotal stage within the sales funnel, one that demands a strategic approach to maximize results. Here are a few essential strategies and tactics to effectively revive those leads and move them closer to conversion:
- Personalized Follow-Up—It’s here that your in-depth understanding of your leads’ needs and preferences becomes paramount. By crafting tailored messages, addressing their specific pain points, and providing valuable insights, you’ll rekindle their curiosity and demonstrate your commitment to meeting their unique requirements.
- Relevant Content Distribution—Leveraging your authority and knowledge, you’ll strategically distribute content that aligns with your leads’ interests and concerns. Whether it’s insightful blog posts, informative videos, or engaging webinars, your content should serve as a beacon of expertise, drawing your leads back into the fold and positioning you as a trusted industry resource.
- Exclusive Offers and Incentives—Employing exclusive offers and incentives will showcase your ability to provide real value. These tailored deals, discounts, or bonuses will not only reignite interest but also create a sense of urgency, compelling your leads to take action.
Important Marketing Funnel Metrics
When building your marketing funnel, establish stage-specific goals to identify weaknesses and track growth. The choice of metrics depends on your strategy. Key marketing funnel metrics include:
Top of the Funnel
- Page Views—The number of views your web pages receive.
- Impressions—Focus on how often your SERP listings or social media posts are displayed to users.
- Click-Through Rate—The percentage of impressions that lead to clicks.
- Engagement—The number of interactions with your content.
Middle of the Funnel
- Time on Page—How long visitors engage with your content.
- Bounce Rate—The percentage of visitors who leave a page without taking a specified action.
- Google Star Rating—Your average rating on your Google Business Profile.
Bottom of the Funnel
- Conversion Rate—The percentage of landing page visits that result in a sale.
- Return on Ad Spend (ROAS)—Calculated by subtracting ad campaign costs from ad campaign revenue, yielding your ROAS.
1. What is a sales funnel and why is it important for digital marketing?
A sales funnel is a structured series of marketing and sales steps designed to guide potential customers through the buying process. It encompasses various strategies such as advertising, blogging, social media outreach, and more. It’s crucial because it helps businesses identify and convert leads into loyal customers.
2. What are the key stages of the sales funnel, and what content types are effective for each stage?
The key stages of a sales funnel are:
Effective content types for each stage include blog posts, lead magnets, pricing pages, live demos, and referral programs, among others.
3. What are some essential tools for managing and optimizing a sales funnel?
Essential tools for managing and optimizing a sales funnel include MailChimp for email marketing, Unbounce for creating landing pages, SEMRush and Ahrefs for SEO, and Stripe for handling online payments. These tools play a crucial role in streamlining the sales process and maximizing conversions.
Ready to Build a Powerful Sales Funnel?
Sales funnels, when properly executed, act as automated sales machines. With all this information, you can craft the perfect sales strategy with the right tools to make it as seamless as possible.
Every business uses a sales funnel, but only the best are able to build trust with their customers and establish authority within their industry.
Ignite Visibility’s expert digital marketers are ready to help you craft a sales funnel that drives real results. Through an integrated digital marketing approach, our team uses search engine optimization strategies and PPC campaigns to turn your prospects into customers.