Understanding Your Marketing Funnel
There are ways to be successful in your line of work and there are ways to fail. There are so many moving parts to being in ecommerce that it might seem like it's impossible to win in this field. Everything in ecommerce takes time, but it's worth it in the end. But what's the endgame for you? To be successful? Well, how do you measure success? For many, success is equivalent to how many sales are made. This is totally fine and normal, but do you understand the journey your customers take to make a sale with you? Do they even make a journey? Are they coming back for another ride? If you can't answer these questions, or if you can but aren't satisfied with the answer, you might want to take a reflective look at your marketing funnel. Don't be ashamed if you don't know what that is. Turns out many companies don't even know that they have a funnel.
What is a Marketing Funnel?
We all know what a funnel is. It's a cylindrical tool meant to shepherd liquids from one container to the next. It's wide at the top to allow for entry of all the liquids and narrow at the bottom to control the flow of the liquid into its final destination, the end of its journey. A marketing funnel is metaphorical and has the same basic concept. Think of the liquid as your potential consumers and the second container as your sales. Imagine pouring the liquid from one container to the next without the funnel. The liquid ends up everywhere, with very little of it in your new container. Being aware of the funnel and then deciding to use it will significantly increase the chances that the liquid, a potential customer, will find its way into the second container, thus making a sale.
What Does it Look Like?
Generally, there are four stages of the funnel. Depending on who you ask, there can be more, but the basis of the model has four stages. Other models with more stages have simply built upon the four basic stages. One thing that all versions of the mdoel can agree on is that the first stage of the funnel is "awareness."
This is, obviously, where consumers are made aware of your presence. It is where you make yourself known to them and there are many ways to accomplish this. I'm not going to start telling you to create billboards or magazine ads, although that would help, but what I am going to tell you is that it is imperative to have an online presence. Google has over a billion searches everyday, so if you haven't established an online presence, it's possible that consumers are not even aware of you.
If you want to have a successful marketing funnel, you'll want to make sure that people are aware of your business. Here are a few ways to accomplish that:
Create a Website
In order to increase awareness about your brand online, you need to have an online presence somewhere. Creating a website is a great, and virtually necessary, place to start. Once you have established a presence, you need to make sure that your presence is palpable. Increasing your search engine optimization, or SEO, will ensure that Google sees your website. Google has lots of tools to help you on your journey.
Using any of the tools that Google gives you, you're bound to be able to successfully create a noticeable online presence.
YouTube is the second most popular search engine in the world, believe it or not. I'm sure that being owned by Google has a huge hand in that, so you will want to utilize YouTube to your advantage. YouTube can help greatly in your quest for establishing an online presence.
Link building is an effective way to increase visibility and awareness as well. Essentially, what you're doing with link building is increasing the number of links to your webpage. These links stand outside of just your own social media. They can be found on the content of other, relevant sites. Wether it be that they mentioned you on their YouTube page or a blog, all of it helps your goal. It does take effort, but is doable.
Influencers are growing commodtiy in our society. These are people who have a killer social media presence and use that influence to their advantage and the advantage of others. It also helps to say that you'll want to ensure that you have a decent social media presence. This way an influencer can reference your handle while also referncing your weblinks.
Keep in mind that these are not all of the ways one can increase presence, these are just a few of the many ways to accomplish that. Once you have established awareness about your brand, you want to hash out the second stage of the funnel, which is interest.
Sometimes known as "Leads" stage, this is where you've successfully converted consumers from simply being aware of your brand to being interested in it. Up to this point the customer has known that they have a problem, they were aware that you might be able to assist and now they need you to lead them to more information. This is where you begin to lead them down the rabbit hole that is your brand.
Continue to ramp up your awareness and increase SEO becuase you're going to need it. You're also going to need to have more dedicated content that answers the questions of your potential consumers. Piquing the interest of potentials will help as well. Try to have them sign up for newsletters, or subscribe to your YouTube channel. All of this will help them go deeper down the rabbit hole until your potentials can't get enough.
This stage, also known as "prospects" or "consideration," is where you're really going to have to lay it on the customer. You don't want to be pushy, but you do want to nudge them in your direction. If they've subscribed to you, you can sing some of the praises of your brand in a non-sales way. If you have the best skincare around, tell them why. What are the ingredients? If you knit or crochet scarves, what sets your scarves apart from all the others? While you're most certainly able to answer these questions, it helps to have others answer them as well.
When a potential is looking at your brand, they know you're going to say all the nice things about it so enlist the testimonials of your current customers. Let them tell the potential customer why they should commit to becoming an actual customer. Display those Instagram stories and tout those reviews. Doing this and continuing to create relevent and noteworthy content is going to pay off.
Ladies and gentlemen, we have reached the end of our journey. This is where you want your potential customers to become existing customers. This stage is also known as "sales" for obvious reasons. It would do well to entice your potentials via the form of free trials, gifts with purchase, or some other welcome offer. The execution will depend on what you're marketing, but you'll be able to tweak as necessary. This is where you bring on the sales pitches. Let the customer know the urgency of the product. Play on that fear of missing out. This is where you let up all of the stops in order to reel in your big fish.
The Wrap Up
I hope you have enjoyed the journey, but it doesn't exactly end here. Now that you understand your marketing funnel, there is still plenty of work to do. For starters, you'll have to continue your efforts to increase visibilty and awareness. That is never ending process. You are also going to need to entice customers to return because what's the point of going through all of this if it was a one-off? Tell them you miss them and they're bound to come back.
By going through this cycle, hopefully you've understood what it takes to increase your sales. You're going to have to do some research on your end to determine at what point the liquid is sloshing over the edge of the funnel and escaping the final container or where the funnel has a leak. Not every potential is going to become a customer, so you're going to have to find out why and then redouble your efforts. Once you have figured it out, though, your sales will start overflowing. And doesn't that make you successful?