Much has changed in business and marketing trends over the past year, but lead generation continues to remain important.
Many business owners actually prioritize leads over sales, as they believe that lifetime value is a more important key performance indicator (KPI) than one or two short-term sales. Revenue is important, but building a relationship based on trust with a consumer is more beneficial, in terms of long-term growth. Getting these users to fall in love with your brand over your competitors can spur them to refer your business to others. Not only that, it can obviously drive them to buy more from you in both the short and long-term, rather than simply a one-off.
But it takes a lot of work to warm up a cold lead. Nurturing with valuable information and opening a direct line of communication can help facilitate the process. It’s believed that the more a company provides value to and educates a consumer, the more likely they are to buy a product or service offered (as this graphic from Due shows).
Tips for building a sales funnel with a simple user journey
It all starts with simplicity, because a confused mind never buys. The user journey in your sales funnel should only include a few steps, and should be as simple as possible, to prevent against potentially dropping out of the funnel, or fracturing the relationship.
- Create a strong value proposition, as this will provide a framework for your sales funnel. It will usually be in the form of “We help [target] with [problem] by [solution],” and, if needed, you can learn some tips to create a value proposition. Identifying your value proposition will help you focus on your target audience, and also how you can move them down the funnel, to your desired outcome (sales, shares, etc.).
- Utilize the hook-story offer formula. Begin with a hook to capture the user’s attention. This can come in the form of a creative headline, image or video, and it simply needs to grab their attention long enough for you to tell your story.
It’s at that point when you empathize with the consumer in telling your story. Explain where you started, and the journey to where you are now. It should include pain points the user is experiencing.
End by presenting an offer in a way where the user has to say yes. Make it irresistible. The offer obviously depends on what you’re selling (ie., physical product, information product, service, etc.). But a good starting point is to restructure what you’re selling, and then turn it into an offer. An offer should increase the perceived value of what you’re selling, by showing the client that they’re going to make money from it. It should also be unique to your business, with terms or deliverables they can’t get elsewhere.
- Identify goals and strategies for each step of the funnel. It should begin with lead generation at the top of the funnel, where you’ll use various traction channels (ie., website, social media, paid ads, etc.) to get cold leads into your ecosystem.
You’ll then try to move them down the funnel with steps to nurture them, which can be done with direct communication, email campaigns (often automated), social media interactions and more. This will allow you to provide value and establish a relationship with your lead, helping to warm them up. The more they trust and believe in your brand, the longer they’ll stick around, which makes them more likely to buy, essentially moving them down the funnel.
- Introduce upsells at the bottom of the funnel for more active buyers. Not all conversions are created equal. If you find some users are more active buyers than others, then it’s beneficial to contact them directly to suggest various upsells they can purchase to complement the action they’ve already taken. Explain to them why these features will benefit them.
Summary: The value in creating a sales funnel for your business
Any business owner knows how difficult it can be to generate leads consistently.
Referrals are important, but businesses in their early stage often focus on improving their skills and services, or pricing, rather than leveraging important marketing channels. Choosing the right channel to invest resources — both time and money — into is extremely beneficial to help generate leads. It isn’t very fun, and can be quite time consuming, but the long-term success of your business may depend on it.
A sales funnel can help create a defined user journey, converting a cold lead into a warm one. This nurturing process can educate the consumer, and also have them develop an interest in your brand. This helps provide an alternative to sitting and hoping that leads find your website or social media profile, and are then interested enough to contact you about the products or services your company offers.
Invest time in planning how your sales funnel will look, and then create it. The success of your business may depend on it.