Like any industry, social media, and marketing in general, has it’s own language made up of exciting sounding acronyms and terminology. One you might hear in marketing, social media and sales circles is a ‘marketing funnel’. What does it mean? How does it work? Why is it important to your business? Good question (well three good questions), let’s take a look.
If it’s a term that’s new to you, then there a good chance that your business could be losing out on potentially large scale revenue. In this economic climate, that’s something that you might want to address (they say sarcastically).
Before we get into that, let’s go back to basics and answer those three excellent questions you asked earlier. Only two paragraphs ago they were only ‘good’ questions, now they’re ‘excellent’. It’s a fast moving market for sure.
MARKETING FUNNEL YOU SAY?
Basically, a ‘marketing funnel’ is just the process, or steps, your customer (or any customer) goes through before they reach that all important stage where they do what you want them to do. That usually means they buy your product or service, but not always.
You may well have a number of funnels, depending on your strategy. Obviously those specific steps are going to be unique to your business, but these are the basics.
A customer sees your business (whether they come through an internet search, social media, print advertising or just word-of-mouth) and like what they see!. Result!
They go to your website (haven’t got one? we can help with that) and browse around your pages. Most visitors go to the ‘About’ section first to get a feel of you, maybe look at some blog posts (if you have them) and take a look at the products or services you sell (that’s why they’re there after all).
Assuming they like what they see, they might subscribe to your newsletter or add an RSS feed. They might message you through with an web-based enquiry form but, in a perfect world, they just buy what they saw in the first place and we can all go home happy. Simple.
So that’s a very basic marketing funnel, a rather grandiose name for something so seemingly straight-forward and if it always worked like that, then problem solved….but! We know, as much as you do, it isn’t always that simple.
If you don’t have a funnel or the one you’ve got isn’t working, then let’s take a deeper dive into how you can create one (or tweak the one you have) to convert more of your social media followers / visitors into buyers and drive those sales upwards!
NB: Before we get cracking, we would recommend trying what you're going to read about on one of your social media platforms (rather than all of the them at once). This way you can measure and monitor it properly. If it works, then you can replicate it across your other accounts.
OK, we said this was a 3-Step guide, so let’s start with something we’ve cryptically called ‘Step 1’.
STEP 1: AWARENESS
For all those companies that are now household names, at one point, they were new and no-one knew about them. For business like yours (and us too) , it’s fair to say most people in the world still don’t know.
It’s those people we’re after. We need to make them aware of your business and what you do. We also need them to get to know you as a business; the story behind your business, what you stand for as a company, what your ethos is, etc. We believe that it all starts with great content. Simple as that.
For most of us, we go to websites for information, but we stay there because what they offer is great, the content is engaging and it’s interesting to read. It should inform and entertain in equal measure. Do you think about the kind of content that your business produces? Does it produce anything? Do you have a blog on your site? We do, and (SPOILER ALERT) you’re reading it now.
It’s really important to take the time to think about it and if you don’t, do it. You really need to look at what you want to be pushing out, because is so often over-looked, but good valuable content is vital to engage customers, especially those who are new to you. Side note - The visuals are just as important as the text, so get interesting photos if you can.
No matter how ‘dry’ your sector might appear, that doesn’t mean your content can’t be fun, entertaining, thought-provoking and even controversial (but that’s a fine line you might not want to draw just yet). The internet is full of vanilla, cut-n-paste banality on any topic you can imagine, so you need to stand out from the crowd. Content can do that perfectly.
A good place to start is to think about what the essence of your brand is, and how you get this across to your customers. Customers are spoiled for choice, so it’s important that you, at the VERY LEAST, provide them with some value. Why would they engage with you if you’re not giving them anything at all?
This can be as simple as an engaging article to read that makes them smile or think (or both). You could also give them something for free - we’re not talking about free products necessarily, but maybe an e-book, some FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) or how-to videos on your YouTube channel. What that ‘thing’ is will depend on your business, but it needs to be of value to your visitors (maybe solving a common pain point in your relevant sector). Whatever it is, it’s something they will value (even if only a little bit), something that also leaves them wanting more from you, so it’s something that gets them to come back again.
This value also creates trust, they begin to see that you're knowledgable and therefore know what you’re talking about and, guess what, that all important relationship you’re going to build has just been seeded.
Before we move onto step 2, let’s pause and remember these new visitors will have come from just one of your social media platforms (whichever one you chose to trial it on). Social media (regardless of the platform) is all about connections and relationships (however small, however tenuous) but that’s what we want. That’s what we’re going to build upon.
STEP 2: CONSIDERATION
So now those visitors are now aware of you. They know what you do, how you do it and understand what you can offer them. That seed will hopefully have started to sprout. They are now, at least, considering buying your product or sampling your service. You have them on the hook, but that doesn’t mean you can reel them in. Yeah that’s right, we’ve moved from gardening metaphors to fishing. Hold on to your hats (and now millinery).
It’s obviously not enough for them to just ‘consider’ you. It’s nice, but it’s not where we want them to be. That trust we’ve started to build, well it needs to grow and develop. These customers may be new to you, but we’re sure you have existing customers who have been through this process already. It’s time to break out the medium guns.
Reviews and testimonials from already happy, existing customers are what’s needed. We recommend targeting your happy customers - the ones you pissed off with that ill-conceived email flyer about cheese - aren’t much good to you here.
If they have photos of them using / wearing / celebrating your product, then ever better. If they have a video, then you’re flying.
At this step, it’s really about retargeting your content to those people we identified in Step 1. If they’re still waivering, a little bit on the fence., then recommendations from others are a great way to push them over the line.
It’s OK to be a little more ‘aggressive’ at this stage, by highlighting the benefits of your ‘thingamajig’ and showing them the difference it can make to them, however small. It’s also a good idea to put yourself in their place; what would you want to see if you were them? What would convince you to push that ‘Buy Now’ button?
STEP 3: DECISION
So by now, we should have a seedling growing and hopefully the customer will have taken some kind of action to move themselves along the process (with a little covert help from you); whether that’s signing up for your newsletter, downloading a free ebook; something!
If they’ve done ‘something’ then it’s fair to say they have a genuine interest and are at least open to making a purchase from you. If you’ve been waiting to pull out the big guns and sell. Get your trigger finger ready.
At this final step, retargeting is even more essential and your content should reflect this. You need a CTA (Call To Action) for them to do, whatever it is you want them to do. They need an offer they can’t refuse! They need a time-sensitive offer, free delivery on first order, x% off their first order, you know the drill. Give them what they want, then repeat.
So there you have it; a simple 3-step process to get your marketing funnel running like a well-oiled machine. If you already make well-oiled machines, then even better. We’re assuming you have at least 1 social media platform to try this out on. If not, get one!
We really can’t stress enough what a crucial tool it can be (if used correctly) to gain traction and attract new customers. Customers, like you, want value. That doesn’t necessarily mean monetary value, but something they can put their trust in. If this works for you, we’d love to know how you get on.
You can keep up-to-date with us across our social media platforms (linked below). We’d love to hear from you.