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Understand and Optimize the 5 Stages of a Sales Funnel

Updated on November 12, 2017
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Passionate abt marketing. Love decrypting the news of brands. In on mode, I develop 360° digital strategies. In off mode I document them ;-)

The sales funnel, does it speak to you?

The marketing concept of a Sales Funnel refers to the life cycle of your buyers, which includes 5 steps. Before becoming a customer of the company, the user has several identities, each corresponding to a specific stage of the conversion process. Your role is to accompany the user during these steps, so as to ensure a top conversion rate! I will tell you more. Let’s see what plans you can put in place and when. Here we go.

Step 1: The Stranger

By Activedia via Pixabay
By Activedia via Pixabay | Source

Before mastering the art of conversion, one must follow this first lesson. At this stage, the user is a stranger: he does not know your site and is doing very well. The challenge is to get him to want to discover you. You guessed it: Good Visibility!

To generate more traffic on your site, you can:

  • Work on your content marketing strategy
  • Optimize your SEO
  • Opt for multichannel communication

Let’s take a closer look at each of these areas for improvement.

Work on your content marketing strategy

By regularly publishing content on the web, you gain visibility because it boosts your SEO, but not only that! If people like your articles, they will consider you a reliable source of information. Or better, they will keep your mark in memory and will appeal more to you when in need. But there is no point in publishing content if your strategy does not hold water. So what to do to optimize it?

For that, no secret. You have to produce useful, qualitative and attractive content, all at regular intervals. First and foremost, your topics and tone should match the target you are targeting. It is also crucial to also create an emotional connection with your readers so that they recognize you in the future. Finally, think about alternating formats of your content: images, computer graphics or even videos are more viral and more appreciated by Internet users.

Optimize your SEO

Reference your site completely. Do not just limit yourself to keyword optimization (even if it is your top priority). When you try to rank your site, Google will also look at the number of backlinks you have, as well as the overall performance of your site (loading speed, clarity of the menu, etc.)

To estimate the value of your SEO, you can use the Moz Bar. This plugin estimates the free “Domain Authority” (DA) of your site between 1 and 100 (that is to say, your power in terms of SEO). You will be able to discover your rating, based on the strict rating scale of the US company. This tool will also be useful for estimating the ranking of your competitors and gauge the amount of effort you need to get on their level.

Multiply your communication channels

  • Yes, to be visible it’s simple, promote your brand via as many channels as you can! That will help you interact more with your audience and will prove your commitment to your brand. And the more you are followed, the more you are visible!
  • Google, via targeted advertising. It’s perfect if you want to be referenced on most if not every competitive keyword. In addition, you can easily analyze the results of your past campaigns in order to optimize the visibility of the future ones.
  • The press. Indeed, press relations are effective in spreading your messages to influencers, who will talk about your brand to their community. So why not broadcast press releases to talk about news related to your business?

Summary:

  • The first step is to convert as many anonymous surfers as we can into recurring visitors.
  • Your tools? Website, Content strategy, SEO, and Communication channels!

Step 2: The Visitor

Arthur Hopkins [Public domain] via Wikimedia Commons
Arthur Hopkins [Public domain] via Wikimedia Commons | Source

Once on your website, the foreign surfer becomes a visitor at your door. He will read your content and spend time on your site. At this stage, however, he is not yet ready to engage. Avoid untimely publicity, which could irritate him.

The challenge is simply that he finds the content interesting enough to make him want to:

  • Stay informed about your news (by subscribing to your newsletter, for example). Here, think about optimizing your forms or embedding links in your leading articles to your other content (aka Inline Related Posts). If the visitor discovers new ones, you will be more likely to convince them to stay informed about the next ones.
  • Download specialized documents (white papers, presentations, etc.) Do highlight such documents. Do not hesitate to make them visible in your menu or the sidebar. Finally, put the package on your value propositions. How can downloading your document be beneficial to him?
  • Communicate with you (comment on an article, subscribe to your Facebook page, etc.) For example, to achieve this, include some questions at the end of your articles. This is a good way to invite your visitor to the dialogue. Otherwise, show that you have a large community of social networks. For example, Heinz encourages his visitors to check his Facebook account right from his home page, emphasizing on the breadth of his community (1.2 million).

For each of these actions, the visitor must provide personal information (at least his email address) that will allow you to get in touch with him. He will then no longer be a stranger, but a prospect, or “lead” in English.

Step 3: The Prospect

By Internet Archive Book Images [No restrictions], via Wikimedia Commons
By Internet Archive Book Images [No restrictions], via Wikimedia Commons | Source

Good news: the prospect has shown interest in the content you published, so he is likely to be interested in your products/services too! However, a prospect is rarely ready to go directly to the act of purchase. So it’s up to you to bring it through personalized marketing techniques. The principle is simple: it is to feed the prospect with new informative content right when he needs it.

Personalized email, an invitation to a show, etc. Here, the contents are directly related to your products and allow Mr. Prospect to evaluate your offer. These progressive actions will help the prospect earn your trust and encourage him to become a customer!

To consolidate your strategy, also think about working on the call-to-action and landing pages on your site. Your value proposition must be clearly stated! Finally, smartly integrating a notion of urgency may also urge the prospect to buy and thus become a customer. The big names in e-commerce use a lot of the notion of urgency to convert leads into sales.

Step 4: The Customer

By Mediamodifier via Pixabay
By Mediamodifier via Pixabay | Source

That’s it, your prospect has placed an order and is officially a customer. Congratulations! However, be careful: the customer of a day is not necessarily the customer of always. To keep him loyal, it is necessary to maintain the relationship. This is essential because it will be much cheaper than buying a new customer! And the rule is to always take into account the behavior of your client:

He ordered a product / accepted your quote for a benefit, right? Then suggest him additional products or services that might interest him (by e-mail, or directly on the purchase page). Amazon for example always comes up with “Recommended Items” soon after the customer makes a purchase.

If your customer has gone quiet for long, send him a reminder email, with a coupon (more for B2C companies) or an invitation to a conference or webinar (well suited for B2B companies).

The whole point is not to lose contact after the act of purchase. The goal is to optimize customer satisfaction so that he goes from buyer to promoter of your brand.

Step 5: The Promoter

Photo by Photo Mix from Pexels
Photo by Photo Mix from Pexels | Source

Let’s summarize our strategy: you do not let your customer disappear, but also make sure that you do not harass him! Faced with so much passion and delight at your end, no doubt that your customers will not fail to become the promoters! The goal is for them to be delighted with their exchanges with you.

Indeed, the promoter is part of a contagious enthusiasm. He will tell the memorable experience he has lived with you, relay your communications on social networks or recommend you to his loved ones. Also, the positive reviews of consumers improve the conversion rate of other Internet users by 40%! The cycle starts again, but this time, in an accelerated version.

The sales funnel should not be a mystery to you anymore! However, converting your visitors into promoters is not easy, and it will take time (but you understand it). Success is all about making new mistakes.

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