So, you have registered your company, all the paperwork has been done, you have your website up and running. It’s been at least 6 months, but your sales are not what you thought it would be.
About to give up already?
Before you do, ask yourself the following questions:
- Have I really thought about WHY I am not getting the desired sales?
- Have I set myself realistic goals?
- Do my potential customers even know that I exist?
- Am I sending out the right content through the right channels at the right time?
It is important to understand that not all leads will turn into conversions (aka buying customers). It is also important to know what needs to be done during each stage of the marketing process in order to increase the number of customers from your sales leads. Being in business requires dedication, commitment, consistency, patience and a whole lot of hard work.
Do not give up yet! Here is some free insight into the customer journey (aka the sales funnel):
The Purchase/Sales Funnel
First and foremost: for your company to have a customer, that customer needs to know that you exist and must be able to find you.
At the very top of the funnel this represents anyone who is nowhere close to buying your product or services.75% of potential customers are looking for information to fulfil a need they have, so at this stage it is important to provide educational content:
- The customer needs to know what your company does and if it will solve any of their problems or needs.
- It is crucial that your website is found through organic search with the right and relevant key search terms for your product or services.
- During the initial stages of building your brand you need to create awareness through content from your website shared on your social media channels.
- Your strategy at this stage mainly consists of organic SEO marketing, which includes content marketing (among others).
- Your goal is to create content that will raise awareness of your brand and attract a large number of leads.
This process does not happen overnight and needs some thought and planning!
Remember: Creating awareness is NOT selling your product or service!
After successfully creating awareness and making your potential customers aware that you exist, you will need to continue building interest in your product/offering. These are the customers that have made it to the middle of the funnel. They have possibly visited your website (or sent you a query via one of your platforms) and have some kind of information about your company.
Research has shown that a potential customer will take one of two actions within 40 seconds of visiting your website: 1. stay; or 2. leave.
Is your website relevant, engaging, and easy to navigate and does it have the right content?
- Once interested, the customer should be able to find all the information they need; be presented with the opportunity to sign up for newsletters; opt in to competitions; read your blog; or go to your social media pages, etc.
- At this stage you are aiming at building trust. This can be achieved by providing “social proof”, such as testimonials on your website and on social media platforms.
- Remember that at this stage the potential customer is also comparing you to what your competitors have to offer – so, do you stand out?
This is the perfect time to use email marketing to send them more free relational content (that will add value to their lives) or invite them to further engage with you, to increase the likelihood of choosing your product or service.
Your potential customer has now made it to the bottom of the funnel: they have all the info they need; they have compared you with competitors (if any); visited your social media platforms; read your blogs, etc.
- They are now at the stage of considering “your offer”.
- They are very close to making a purchasing decision but have not really made up their mind.
- At this stage you need to send out automated emails, reminders, calls to action, free trials anything to encourage and sway the potential buyer to make a buying decision.
- They now have an intention to buy, trust you somehow and are now evaluating everything; they might have already put some things onto a wish list.
They’re at the tipping point, and you need to determine what type of messages, content, and promotions will give them the last little push that motivates them to buy. You cannot afford to let them get away. They need to be nurtured to the purchasing stage.
After going through all the stages of the sales funnel, your customer has finally decided to buy your product or service. Well done!
Your lead has now finally converted into a customer. If you have online purchasing functionality (aka a shopping cart), do not make it too complicated, time consuming or annoying for the customer to make the purchase. You can still easily lose a customer and their sale at this stage. The buying process should include no more than 3 steps, from choosing the desired product, to making payment.
Retention/relationship, repeat business and referral
It is vitally important to try and retain that customer for repeat business: If possible, get their feedback/review, as well as referrals and testimonials, which will aid in boosting your brand identity, and provide you with information to improve your business.
It is not only important to retain your existing customers, but also to keep those that you have within any of the other stages of the sales funnel engaged and retained. The challenge here is to build a customer base, continuing to pour more people into the funnel, monitoring which ones are at what stage and determining what they need.
Your next step
We know what you’re thinking:
‘’Heck, all I want to do is sell my awesome product or help people with my amazing service offering.’’