Anthony Mcloughlin

Today I’d like to clear up a misconception about the humble sales funnel. Contrary to popular belief, they aren’t big or scary and, thankfully, by carefully planning one you’ve already planned your lead generation and lead nurturing strategy.

For those in need of a quick refresher, sales funnels are metaphorical structures through which leads are generated and nurtured with a cocktail of data capturing techniques, engaging and informative content, follow up emails and the offer of something useful in return for their browsing efforts. When combined, this wealth of information works together to help nurture prospective leads to the bottom of your funnel and, hopefully, towards a buying decision.

Sound too good to be true? Trust me, it’s not. We practice what we preach every day and have reaped numerous rewards from simply planning out a sales funnel. And the even better news? We can help you plan your own right now.

It’s best to go a bit old school here and have something tangible to refer back to, so first, take a piece of paper. Now take a pen and draw yourself a big, bog-standard funnel before splitting it into three sections.

The first section represents a consumer’s research phase. Here they’ll need to know what benefits you can bring to the table, skills that can be demonstrated by providing enticing content (think blog posts, free ebooks and other titbits of information that highlight which of your services is right for them), tweaking your website to ensure a good level of conversion rate optimisation (CRO) and capturing site visitors’ data for the later stages of your funnel. Something as simple and low-friction as requesting an email address when they sign up for an ebook should suffice.

Now, onto stage two.

People will now be researching the competition, so start nurturing the interest they’ve shown in your business to make sure they don’t forget that you were once in the running. Although trust-building videos and case studies are essential, one of the best techniques to employ here is follow-up email.

Sent intermittently, they remind leads that your business is there and that you care about their custom. After all, these people have busy lives to lead and may just have forgotten to act on something you offered. Don’t be pushy though, a short message reminding them of your benefits, your USP or even the offer of more ebooks is enough to pique more curiosity.

Et voila! You’re at stage three, the bottom of the funnel; crunch time.

Here consumers will be looking to make a buying decision and is the perfect opportunity to get a little more direct. But don’t get overexcited; reign in your sales pitch and give them something back for expending all of that valuable browsing time. Offer a free report, consultation or trial that takes into account their business’s needs and demonstrates not only your expertise, but great customer service too.

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Anthony Mcloughlin

Posted By Anthony Mcloughlin

Anthony is a key member of the digital team at Tone, helping dig deep into stats to further understand user behaviours. Follow him on Twitter @anthony_mac85 and on Google+