We’re just going to get to the point: You could be reaping a lot of benefits from website sales funnels. After all, it’s 2019. Customers are smart and prefer to buy online from brands they trust. They have endless amounts of information at their fingertips. There are price aggregators and deal scanners everywhere. And products can be shipped from just about anywhere to just about everywhere. The image below is not meant to scare anyone, but instead, it’s meant to start an important conversation and force you to think about what you’re doing to build a relationship with your current and potential customers. A great way to start this relationship is by putting it into a digital sales funnel framework. 

What’s a Sales Funnel?

A sales funnel is a multi-stage sales process that companies use to convert potential customers into paying customers. At the top of the funnel are the new or “cold” leads. This part of the funnel is wider since it consists of all potential customers. These leads get warmer as they travel through the funnel framework toward the purchase step.

Most businesses use a sales funnel, it’s just a matter of identifying the steps within the funnel and thinking about how you can nurture leads and, over time, turn them into customers and ultimately returning customers. This means at each step in the funnel there’s an opportunity to convert skeptical users into trusting and loyal customers. 

An example of a sales funnel shows that as customers go down the funnel, their intent changes from information and knowledge seeking about your company to affinity and purchase actions.

The Customer Journey

According to QuickSprout’s Complete Guide to Landing Pages, sending cold leads to a single landing page with a product or opportunity doesn’t convert that well in 2019. Sales funnels help identify the user’s stage of interest, and the customer journey maps out every touchpoint the user experiences with your company and brand before converting. This isn’t typically a straight line. As customers learn more about your product or service, they may go back to earlier touchpoints and may use multiple devices to continue their journey.

For example, someone may land on your homepage and sign up for your newsletter. Then they may interact with your emails on a mobile device and then possibly do some research on reviews on a desktop. It’s up to you to make sure you’re engaging that customer with relevant content at every touchpoint in order to nudge them toward the conversion goal.

Not all customers follow the same journey, but mapping one out based on customer data provides a good idea of how your current customers interact with your brand before committing to a purchase. 

The Value Proposition

The key component of a successful sales funnel is ensuring your company’s unique value proposition is clear. Prospective customers may never have heard of your band before, so be certain that the message of who you are and what you are offering is very clear. If you’re not selling a physical product, it may be a statement about how your services are different from your competitors. For retailers, often this means catching their attention with a strong offer.

For example, a new company that’s looking to gain market share may offer a heavily discounted product bundle to allow users to try the product at a discounted price. They may want to showcase their knowledge by allowing a customer to signup for tips from a well-known industry expert who uses their products. 

The key for brands is to think about their offer from the customer’s perspective. In the example above, there are thousands of brands out there. What makes your brand different? 

The Upsell, Downsell, & Cross-Sell

Sales funnels allow you to automate upselling and downselling. Think about it: If just 2% of your 1,000 customers this year take a $250 upsell, that’s an additional $5,000 a year you didn’t have before.

Using an automated sales funnel process, these additional sales opportunities are set up one time and served at the right moment to the right audiences. Like everything else (campaigns, feeds, etc.) sales funnels are not a set-it-and-forget-it component of your strategy. They help identify customer patterns, allow those patterns to be exposed, and allow content, offers, etc. to be automatically sent to users who are primed. Customers change, new products emerge, buying habits shift, so keeping an eye on and redesigning your online sales funnels accordingly is very important. 

How to Get Started

There are several platforms that have sales funnel functionality built-in including most CRM and email marketing platforms. To help you choose the best one, and then have experts writing copy and using them most effectively, it’s best to work with a company like New Target that can help you design a comprehensive funnel strategy and then actually do it. We have the technical knowledge to set up integrations so that you are able to connect with the customer at every touchpoint. Our team can support your efforts by designing image assets, setting up automated drip campaigns, writing compelling copy, and anything else you may need to really optimize your sales funnel for your customers. You can get started by contacting us online.

A global team of digerati with offices in Washington, D.C. and Southern California, we provide digital strategy, digital marketing, web design, and creative for brands you know and nonprofits you love.

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