Sales funnel management is an essential part of all successful sales programs — offline and online. Managers have been perfecting sales funnel management since we began trading goods thousands of years ago.
Today we trade goods and services online and your website acts as your customer facing sales representative. Why not apply sales funnel management to your virtual sales experience?
Here are the steps to take to create a success online sales funnel.
Determine Your Desired Transaction
What do you want your prospects to do? Purchase your online software service? Book an appointment for pet grooming? Buy your book on Amazon?
You should design your sales funnel so that you eventually get your prospect to arrive at that desired transaction.
I am always surprised when I ask people what they want their visitor to do when they visit their site and many of them stumble over their words or freeze. You need to clearly state what you want your website to deliver.
Get Comfortable, This May Take Awhile
Keep in mind that the web is a very transient place and commitment can be hard to find (sounds lie a singles bar). Conversion rates on a web page are substantially lower than in-store conversion rates because it is easy for some to click the back button on a browser and leave your site.
There may be several steps before the prospect makes the commitment to purchase. Think about what they might be.
While you are thinking this through, consider how well known your brand is with the general consumer. If there is strong brand equity and high awareness, the prospect is probably already comfortable with you, some trust has been established, and the sales cycle can be shortened. If you are less well known, the prospect will probably need some time to get familiar with you and your goods and services.
At MelioGuide (our online healthcare webservice), we offer a free five-day video course — one for clients and the other for healthcare professionals. We offer a lot of value in this course but we believe it gives our prospective clients an opportunity to learn about the services we offer.
The course drip process is managed through an auto-responder from MailChimp — our email service. We get to see how many people stick with the all five days of lessons and we also get to see the overall conversion rate to purchase.
I am ways surprised to see how quickly people convert to a purchase. Some purchase on day one of the free course (even though we are not actually pitching the product in the first lesson) and I have seen some people sit in our funnel for a year.
Which leads to another important part of your sales funnel strategy: you need to keep communicating with people until they unsubscribe from your list. Keep up a regular blog publishing schedule and send out email newsletters on a predictable basis.
Create Compelling Content To Engage Your Reader
To get people to come to your website, you will need to create and publish (on your blog) compelling and interesting content to lure and engage your prospect.
Give Them a Clear Call-to-Action
When people arrive on your blog or website, there should be a clear call to action that gets them to sign up for your email list.
A banner that says: “Sign up for my email list” is not very compelling, in my opinion.
I think people are not looking to sign up for more newsletters. They are looking for good information. If you offer a substantive free course or a whitepaper, then you have a better chance of starting an engagement with your prospect.
I suggest that you limit your call to action buttons to one. Too many options create dissonance and uncertainty. And uncertainty means that they do not take any action (other than leave your web site).
Set Up Goals in Google Analytics
The easiest way to track your success rate at each milestone of your sales funnel is to set up goals in Google Analytics and track progress though the Funnel Visualization tool inside Google Analytics.
Sell Up Your Services
The people who have purchased a service or product from you have not only invested their money, they have invested their time in you. Further, they have made a commitment to you.
These are the people who now know you and are more willing to purchase something else from you (the uncertainty of learning who you are is now gone away) and they are inclined to share their experience with you both offline and online with their friends and colleagues.
You should look to these people as the likely prospects to purchase your more expensive, custom products or services.
We find that many of the people who purchase our online program, Exercise for Better Bones, are likely to purchase private consultation services to customize their program.
Your website is customer facing. Learn to manage it like a sale funnel and master the tools to measure and track your sales funnel.
This article is part of my Digital Marketing guide.