Sales Funnel Optimization

When it comes to turning prospects into buyers, optimizing your sales funnel is key. There are distinct stages that signal and drive buying decisions, and understanding how to move your customers through these stages is vital to closing more sales and earning more profits for your business.

Stage One: Lead Generation

At this stage of the funnel, you are generating leads and developing a list of customers that you will attempt to sell your product or service. At this stage of the funnel, any prospects whose attention you grab will be in the information gathering phase. They will be interested in learning more about your products and services, but not necessarily ready to buy immediately. The quality of your lead generation activities will ultimately determine how quickly you get your prospects to the bottom of the funnel—as buyers and clients. The most effective lead generation strategies target only the ideal customers and maximize every dollar of your marketing and advertising budget. Events, on-page SEO, high-quality content and tailored display ads are excellent ways to generate leads.

Don’t expect to make a sale at this point. Customers at this stage are simply gathering data and information and comparing your products and services to others in the marketplace. If they are happy with what they see, they will likely buy from your later if you can keep their attention. An information search on the Web may lead them to your site, which will place them squarely at the top of your funnel. From there, it is vital that you whittle them down to the bottom where you will capture the sale.

Stage Two: Lead Nurturing

You have the customer in your funnel and you have developed high quality leads. Good. Now, you have to nurture those leads. It takes, on average, five to seven “touches” before a prospect becomes a client or customer. This means that you have to keep your brand in front of their eyes so that when they are ready to buy, your brand will stick out in their minds. Consider display ads that follow them around the Web and remind them of your product. E-newsletters are highly effective in sharing information with your list and keeping your brand front and center in their minds.

Making a sale at this point is more likely than in stage one, but at this stage, your customer may not be ready to make a purchase yet. The key at this stage is to remind them that you exist and that you have a solution to meet their needs. To keep your customers loyal at this stage, you must provide high-quality content that will keep them coming back for more. In-depth articles on their topic of choice, webinars, podcasts, stunning images and video are all necessary to drive their purchasing behavior.

Some site owners find that users are viewing their content and still not buying. This may be for several reasons. First, it could be that they simply do not need the service right now. If you are running a locksmith business, your customer is only going to call you when they need a new lock or key, no matter how compelling your content. Secondly, they may not have the money in the budget at this point. If your content is compelling, your product fills a need and they trust you, they will buy when the funds become available.

Stage Three: Customer Acquisition

Congratulations. If you have reached this stage, you have successfully turned a prospect into a buyer. It is what you do at this stage that counts if you want to retain them as a customer. Your company needs to reinforce the idea that they made a good decision in going with your product or service. This is where you follow up with more great content, more touches and personalization. Use the data that you have gathered from your site to make recommendations, solve their problems or simply wish them a Happy Birthday. Your customer will not only return to your product again and again, they will tell other people about it as well.

When it comes to optimizing your sales funnel, it pays to understand buyer behavior and motivation at each stage.

Mastering the data and gathering intelligence is the best way to move a prospect to a buyer quickly. It’s what we specialize in and what we do best.

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