You've likely come across the tern sales funnel, have you every wondered what it means? Don't worry you're not the only one. A sales funnel refers to the progression of steps that customers take from discovering your business and products to making the final purchase.
Here's an example
Let's say you have a brick and mortar store. many potential customers will pass the door, but a percentage of them will decide to walk in. Of those that walk in, a percentage of these will see products that they like and decided to have a look at them. A percentage of those who decided to view the products will pick those that they like and proceed to the checkout, where they will make a purchase. The steps customers take the buy will be similar, more or less, whether you run a brick and mortar store or an online store.
Why is understanding the Sales Funnel so Important?
Understanding the sales funnel helps you know what potential customers thin when they are at different stages of the sales funnel. Why is this so important? Because now you can develop marketing strategies geared towards pushing the customers towards the next stage until they finally make a purchase. This also means developing personalised messages tailored towards a client based on which stage they are in.
The Stages of the Sales Funnel
When prospects first hear of your business, products or services they will go through several stages of decision making until they can finally make a purchase. Granted, the process may not be the same for every customer. However, they will make their choice sooner or later based on their interest. There are 4 main stages of the sales funnel.
The Awareness Stage
Here customers are just learning about the products and services you offer. This can be through social media ads or various other marketing campaigns that your business runs. I'll be honest with you, the number of leads who move down the sales funnel will depend on how effective your marketing efforts are. Sometimes customers go straight to buying a product or service but most times you will need to woo the customer at the awareness stage to encourage them through the next stages.
The Interest Stage
Now that customers are aware of your products or services, they will then enter the interest stage. Here they will make competitive research comparisons and weigh the options available to them. This is where you offer your customers valuable content and information, you are established as an expert in the minds of the customers and establish brand trust. A customer can sit at this interest stage for some time.
The Decision Stage
At this stage in the buying process, the customer is ready to make a purchase. Keep in mind they could be interested in a competitors product or service al well. This is where you might offer deals, discount codes or promotions. The goal is to make your products and services so attractive that customers can't wait to purchase them.
The Action Stage
The customer finally buys your product. It may be the final step in the sales funnel, however it doesn't mean it's over. Make sure you have a customer retention strategy in place for them to keep coming back for more.
Understanding which stage of the sales funnel a customer is in allows you to know exactly what is going on in their minds. This in turn make it possible for you to send marketing messages that are more personalised and Tailored to the individual client. This results in more leads going through the sales funnel.
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