Often called the tip of the marketing spear, direct response marketing is hailed as the pinnacle of marketing brilliance – that aims to engage an audience that hasn’t heard of your business before. This means businesses can make more money and generate more leads if they use compelling offers to entice people and then upsell them once they’ve taken action.
This type of direct response marketing is done online and automatically with a sales funnel.
The existence of your business depends on a constant stream of customers purchasing your products or services. Therefore, you need to have a strategy for ensuring that customers keep coming back. And that is why a sales funnel is so essential.
What is A Sales Funnel?
Did you ever wonder what your customers go through before making a purchase?
The sales funnel describes all the points at which your customers will interact with your brand before they decide to make a purchase. And, to build a successful sales strategy, your sales funnel has to be top-notch.
Your sales funnel is the key to turning more website visitors into loyal customers, no matter how big or small your business is. If you want to increase sales and gain more profits, you need to examine your sales funnel.
- The top of the funnel is your marketing techniques that attract prospects to your business. This includes the advertisements, the landing page of your website, etc.
- Pre-sale activities are included in the middle of the funnel, namely, people trying products or website visitors reading about the benefits of your products, among others.
- At the bottom of the funnel is the final purchase, that is, when customers pay for products or enter their card info to complete a purchase.
The Sales Funnel Anatomy
The sales funnel is a four-stage process that prospects will pass through from when they first hear about your product or service until they purchase (or don’t purchase) it. The four stages represent a prospect’s mindset, and typically, a sales funnel moves a lead from initial awareness to making a purchase.
To help you get started, here is a basic breakdown of a four-stage sales funnel:
This is the uppermost part of the sales funnel where the visitors come across your brand, service, or products for the first time through Google search, social media posts, friendly recommendations, or digital advertisements.
In this first phase, your brand should focus on three things:
- Making buyers aware of your products and their benefits
- Developing a good marketing and outreach strategy
- Creating email/messaging templates that resonate with the target audience
At this stage, non-promotional lead-generation content can be beneficial. This can include, youtube videos, podcasts, blog posts, an effective “about us” section, and social media posts, among others.
During this stage, prospects may spend some time exploring your company’s website, learning as much as possible about your company, its products, and its services. You can expect them to dive into the details of all your products and services, read your blog, and look into the reviews from past customers.
Now, you will need to form a relationship with them, learn about the problems they are facing, and understand their expectations. So, aim at the following areas:
- Earning the interest of the prospects
- Creating an excellent content strategy
- Showing social proof and client testimonials to build trust
- Offering ample information and making it easy to find
You can provide customer case studies, comparison pages, downloadable ebooks, live streaming events, interactive content, and more on your website.
During this phase, the prospect is almost ready to become a customer. This is when they will compare pricing, rating, reviews, packages, and other factors to find the best option. And you have to make the offer irresistible for them.
This stage requires great planning. So, ask yourself:
- Why should customers buy your product?
- What are your strategies for following up with qualified leads?
- How will you build an emotional connection with the nurtured leads?
Here’s what you can do:
- Provide free shipping
- Give them amazing discount codes and offers
- Attach freebies over their purchase
This is the final and one of the most important stages where a lead becomes a full-fledged customer. Consider placing call-to-action buttons smartly on your website, especially on the product pages. Moreover, try making it easier for potential customers to get in touch with you if they have any questions or face any problems.
Even if the sale is complete, the selling process never ends. Your goal becomes to emphasize customer retention so the customer makes purchases from your store in the future. For instance, thank the customer for every purchase, ask them to provide their valuable feedback, email them great deals and discounts, offer after-purchase support, or invite them to subscribe to the newsletter.
Tips For Creating A Profitable Sales Funnel
A well-crafted sales funnel offers valuable insights into the buyer’s journey, helps you identify shortcomings, and boosts conversion rates. It is imperative for moving prospects from the initial lead to the final sale. You can easily track the level of engagement and user behavior at each stage to determine how well the sales funnel is working.
The following tips can help you attract new customers, increase engagement with your existing customers, and increase conversion rates, depending on your niche and business model:
1. Increase Website Traffic
A high volume of website traffic is the most essential step in optimizing a marketing strategy or sales funnel. This not only helps you in making data-backed decisions but also caters to the first stage of the sales funnel, i.e., awareness. You can increase your eCommerce website’s traffic via search engine optimization (by optimizing your website and content pieces), posting high-quality content, sharing often on social media, and also through guest blogging.
“95% of buyers choose businesses that offer sufficient content, which helps them navigate each step of the buying process.”
2. Create an Effective Email Strategy
After generating a substantial amount of leads, you can start an effective email campaign to provide users with valuable information. This will help you in nurturing leads and will also inform them about the industry, educate them about your products, and their benefits, and share other useful information.
Pre-planning the content and timing of the emails is the best way to keep your audience engaged. You can decide the content based on festivals, current deals, trending products, etc., and plan the frequency of the emails, after testing, and optimizing different methods as you move along.
3. Showcase Good Content
You can segment users into two groups: those who didn’t buy from your store and those who made a purchase.
Nurture the former group with informative emails, product comparisons, client testimonials, and exciting offers running at your store. While, for the latter, you can focus more on delivering positive content such as good user reviews, why are people choosing your products, how are your services helping others, and more. You can also offer them exciting deals, festive discounts, and offers to keep them coming.
4. Upsell & Cross Sell
Upselling and cross-selling are complementary techniques that provide maximum effectiveness when applied together. It helps raise the average value of purchases being made, increases overall sales value, ensures greater customer satisfaction, boosts marketing effectiveness, and more.
Upselling and cross-selling different products to customers is an integral aspect of any successful marketing strategy.
5. Regularly Follow Up!
Direct response marketing is eminent. However, some leads convert to potential customers during the follow-up process. So, it is important to stay in contact with your leads as well as nurture users to keep them aware of your products and services. And who knows, they might get attracted to your awesome products.
Build The Best Sales Funnel For Your Business
“Companies that create an easy buying process are 62% more likely to win a high-quality sale.”
As an eCommerce store owner, you would always want to generate more leads and get more sales. And a sales funnel is just the right process to get your plans into execution. Providing high-quality content, making your website more user-friendly, offering irresistible discounts, and regularly following up with users are just a few ways of maintaining your sales funnel.