The only way you’ll stay afloat as a business owner or an independent contractor is if you have a steady stream of clients or customers.
But unless your conversion rate is 100%, you’ll need to generate a massive number of leads to see your efforts reflected in your ROI.
Building a sales funnel will help you turn your web visitors into paying customers.
To build a sales funnel for lead generation, you need to identify your ideal customer, edit and promote your content to draw traffic, develop persuasive landing pages, and market your content. Then, utilize lead capture forms, start email marketing campaigns, offer incentives, and make the sale.
Pushing out content on your website or running Facebook Ads are both great ways to get leads.
But unless you’re holding onto these leads and nurturing them, you’ll never see results.
To learn how to build a unique sales funnel for lead generation and more income, read on!
Related Post: These Are The Reasons You Need A Sales Funnel Today
What Is a Sales Funnel?
A sales funnel thrives on the premise that not everyone who clicks through your website or steps foot in your store will buy something. This funnel-shaped business strategy typically has four horizontal sections:
- Awareness – The most comprehensive portion of the funnel representing potential clients and customers is aware of your products, services, or company.
- Interest – A somewhat more narrow section, consisting of people who see your company’s value and how it might pertain to their lifestyle (warm leads).
- Desire – An even smaller section of the funnel made of people who are on the brink of making a purchase or booking an appointment (hot leads).
- Action – The narrowest section of the funnel involving effort on the consumer’s part, either accepting your free trial or buying your product (sales).
It’s unrealistic to assume that all who end up in the funnel awareness section will continue to the bottom of the funnel and generate a sale.
So don’t be disappointed if your conversion rate is 5% or lower, especially if you’re new to sales and still nurturing leads.
Check out the short video below.
It’ll walk you through the AIDA model we talked about above to see what happens at each step.
Related Post: What Are The Stages Of A Sales Funnel?
Why You Need a Sales Funnel
Not all businesses have sales funnel, but all successful companies do. So if you’re still on the fence about whether or not a sales funnel is worth the time and money, consider the following:
- A sales funnel will help you target your ideal customer, like those most likely to make a purchase or book an appointment.
- You nurture your warm and hot leads, work to stay top of mind, and improve your chances of making a sale.
- Many customers won’t buy something until they learn to trust your brand or repeatedly see your company’s name or ads.
- Generating more leads and filling the top of your funnel while keeping a consistent conversion rate can boost your ROI long-term.
- You can target potential customers on nearly every platform, offer incentives, and convince them to give your business a try.
- Building an email list and giving customers a good experience improves your chances of repeat business or referrals.
Build a Sales Funnel
Once you get your sales funnel up and running and make minor modifications to keep it thriving, you’ll be able to shift your focus from generating leads to making conversions.
Below, we’ll review how to build a sales funnel to turn your prospects into paying and even repeat customers in eight steps.
Identify Your Ideal Client or Customer
The biggest misconception in lead generation is that more is always better.
But casting a wider net in your advertisements and content comes with a few apparent issues. These include nobody relating strongly to your content due to how generic it is, your conversion rate taking, and the spending of money on SEO and ads that don’t generate significant revenue.
You don’t want more people at the top of your funnel. Instead, you want the right people.
To do that, you’ll want to identify your ideal customer or client to market your content toward them better, including:
- Their demographic information (age, gender, income, education, employment, etc.)
- Who benefits most from your products or services
- Their geographical location (to avoid marketing in-person services nationwide)
- What would trigger the sale (a specific life event, holiday, season, etc.)
- Problems they may have had with products from other companies in the past.
You could even go as far as making a buyer persona to put yourself in your ideal customer’s shoes.
A well-crafted buyer persona can help you better tailor content to your current customer base’s pain points, interests, and demographic information.
Use SEO, Content, and Copywriting to Draw Traffic
Once you know who you’re marketing to and who’s most likely to bring revenue, you need to make an effort to design content that interests them and allows them to find you online.
The first step is adapting your website and social media profiles to drive more traffic.
So it’s essential to consider what your ideal customer might be searching for on Instagram or Google that’s related to your business or products. For example, a shoe company should prioritize more specific keywords like running shoes for CrossFit instead of generic keywords like running shoes.
Yet, you also have to think about what’s on your website that’ll keep potential customers on it and clicking through, reducing your bounce rate in the process.
All websites should have copywriting. This is essentially well-written sales pitches that convince visitors to sign-up for a free trial, hand over their email address, and make a sale, like a call-to-action for 20% off or a BOGO deal.
It’s also important to note that customers want to see more than just your inventory and might not be ready to buy something right now. So consider adding informational blog posts related to your industry, such as 7 Signs It’s Time to Change Your Dog’s Food for a dog food company. Content can also come in the form of infographics, photos, how-to articles, and white papers.
Show potential customers that your business is more than just products and an excellent source of useful information.
Create Persuasive Landing Pages
As much as you want your future leads to find your website in a more general sense, you never want them to end up on your homepage. Instead, your goal is to have their searches lead them to a custom-made landing page on your website, precisely one that encourages them to act.
So your landing pages should either focus on a local area or a specific call-to-action (CTA).
The page will boast something specific, like a 15% off sale for all first-time customers or a place your ideal client can input their email to have a copy of your new eBook sent to their inbox. Or if you run a local business, it can be a page built for a specific local town. This will help you with local SEO and capture people searching keywords like plumbers in Nashville.
But just building the landing page isn’t enough to turn a prospect into a lead. You’ll need to be persuasive or convincing enough to get what you want, either contact information or a sale.
So your call-to-action should be as direct as possible. Theses pages should:
- Be simple and get rid of the links and buttons that send your leads elsewhere.
- Have a clear call-to-action, such as a specific deal, promotion, or perk that interests them.
- Boast a description of why this deal is great and benefits your customer.
- Have a button to click or input fields to provide information to convert.
Using the right keywords and language makes landing pages the most successful method of improving your conversion rate.
Related Post: A Complete Guide To Indexing Landing Pages
Market Your Content in a Variety of Ways
Organic traffic, people finding your website because they Googled a specific keyword, makes marketing easy and improves your chances of making a sale. But your ideal customer isn’t always Googling your type of product, so you’ll have to find a way to go to them.
To get the right people in your funnel, you need to promote your content to your ideal client and put your business front and center. Other ways to get leads to your landing page include using pay-per-click (PPC) ads on Google, running targeted Facebook and Instagram ads, and even hanging fliers locally with QR codes that direct leads toward a landing page.
Marketing campaigns can be as short or as long as you want them to be, but keep in mind that your ideal client isn’t always in the market to buy your products or might not know much about your brand yet.
It might take a person seeing your ads seven times before going ahead and clicking your ad, so adding leads to the top of your funnel is playing the long-game.
Encourage Clients to Complete Lead Capture Forms
Let’s face it: Once a client goes to your website, clicks through, and leaves without buying anything, there’s a chance that you’ll never hear from them again.
Not only does this lower your conversion rate, but it also keeps you from turning this lead into a sale later on.
Lead capture forms are essential for nurturing leads for future sales and bookings.
A lead capture form can be tucked away on your website, on your landing page, in your social media ads, or on your online profiles.
This form will gather contact information from your web visitors and warm leads, such as their name, email address, and phone number.
But just asking your online visitors for their email address never goes well, as nobody wants even more emails in their inboxes filled to the brim with spam marketing emails already.
So you want to attach an incentive to your lead capture form, like a free download for a guide, a 10% discount, or the perk of being the first to know about new promotions.
Anyone willing to give their contact information moves on to be a warm or a hot lead, as they’re showing interest. These are the people you want to center your marketing efforts on and nurture most.
Note: Don’t overdo it with the number of fields in your lead capture forms and make some fields optional, like phone number or address.
Add All Contacts to Email Marketing Campaigns
So we’re slowly making progress down the funnel and working toward conversions.
Now that you have email addresses of warm or hot leads, you need to emphasize lead nurturing. Keep a consistent relationship with your leads and encourage future sales.
All contacts should be on an email marketing campaign.
Now, if your landing page is linked to a CRM, you might be able to automate this process and cut out a few steps on your end.
Some CRMs will automatically place your new email leads on a marketing campaign relevant to the information they gave on the lead capture form, such as which services they’re most interested in or their current budget.
An email marketing campaign can be whatever you want it to be, so long as customers find it useful enough to not unsubscribe to your emails.
Keeping your business top of mind via email marketing campaigns can come in the form of:
- Digital birthday wishes or holiday cards
- Deals, promotions, or upcoming sales
- New product announcements
- Press releases, how-to guides, webinars, or eBook downloads
Many customers will find it annoying if all of your emails are promotional or not relevant to their interests.
So your angle should be more how a specific deal or promotion can benefit the customer rather than always being in marketing mode.
Make sure your email campaigns are on a schedule, like every week or every month, have an engaging subject line that encourages subscribers to open the email and have a call-to-action.
Related Post: Is Email Marketing Still Important?
Reach Out to Hot Leads & Offer Incentives
Your leads are now on a marketing campaign, seeing your emails on a regular schedule, and maybe even visiting your website from time to time. But you’re still working to encourage them to take the plunge and open their wallets to your business.
One of the crucial things that leads to conversions is a valuable incentive.
Your incentives shouldn’t be run-of-the-mill incentives that your ideal client can either find with one of your competitors or normally get if they followed a link on your marketing emails.
For example, a paid video streaming service might offer potential customers a free trial to test the features before they subscribe.
If you own a candle shop, you might want to offer first-time customers a free and small sample of one of your candles to show them your products.
A marketing company can offer one free webinar, seminar, or conference for building web traffic to those unsure of its benefits.
If your products and services are as good as you make them seem, those who try out your products or services will soon become paying customers.
Seek Repeat Business & Build a Referral Network
Now that the leads are trickling through the funnel and turning into sales, things are getting easier.
Customers or clients who are satisfied with your business will either continue to be paying customers or refer their friends and family to your business.
At this point, your goal is to keep these customers around and your relationships positive.
Here are some tips for how you can build your referral network and continuous earning repeat business for years to come:
- Continue to offer deals, incentives, and promotions.
- Offer a rewards or loyalty program, like buy ten, get one free.
- Donate a certain percentage of sales to a charity.
- Give discounts to customers who bring referrals.
- Provide an incentive for past customers on their sign-up anniversary.
- Enter those who share your posts into a contest with a prize.
Remember that you should not be rewarding all referrals you get, as not all are serious customers.
So it wouldn’t be logical or moral to pay customers for the email addresses for their friends, as this would give your business a bad reputation and not even yield referrals that you can work with.
That’s on top of the fact that it might not even be legal.
The most important thing to consider is that referrals take time to generate.
And as you continue to build your brand and reputation, you’ll start to see them more and more.
The clear benefit of a sales funnel is expanding your business and increasing sales. But even more important is that it allows you to build your business around your customer base.
A customer-centered business provides benefits like a more substantial relationship between your business and customers and marketing materials that potential customers relate to better.
A sales funnel and solid business practices will ensure those at the bottom of the funnel remain in your network.
You won’t have to focus on generating leads as much, as most of your business will come from repeat customers or referrals.
Check Out My Favorite Tools For Creating Sales Funnels & Landing Pages