How to use marketing funnels to grow your business
Nowadays, digital entrepreneurs tend to build a super fancy looking website when starting their business online. Nothing wrong with that. We all love a super cool design; fast, clean, futuristic, etc. But the problem is that many of these websites are not design-optimized for the marketing part which is crucial for an online business. They just look so cool but not converting well. And most of them have a problem to grow organically that pushes entrepreneurs to put more and more money promoting the website and even not having a chance to reduce marketing costs without a traffic drop.
I believe there are so many new entrepreneurs got so frustrated about a very low conversion rate. Why is it so hard to make sales, getting users or leads when you think people want your product that solves their problem? Many startups failed we all know that. But why some are growing like no marketing needed and some struggling to convert traffic into leads, users, sales, or whatever the conversion is?
Let’s take a look at some of the most successful websites like PayPal or LinkedIn, Airbnb, etc. Do they have the coolest web design in the world? no. The best CTAs? I don’t think so. So, despite how their web design & the copy look, the websites are already optimized for marketing to convert better and grow itself. They’re having their best design now and they will keep evolving.
You maybe think that they were lucky enough to go viral in their early days. But whatever it is let’s not hope for some luck. Let’s do business the way real entrepreneurs do; all you need now is a plan.
Before creating a plan to sell your business online, there are some points that you really need to know and add to your plan. And I would assume that you’ve validated your business idea; make sure people want it. Because if people don’t want it, your chance to grow is small.
You’ve heard about sales funnel & click funnel. Those are marketing funnels.
Sales funnel is the journey of a prospect to buy your service. Start from they see your advert or an article you post somewhere, or a post on social media. And go to your website or your landing page, exploring your website. Register to your website or subscribe to your newsletter, etc, until eventually buying what you have to offer.
Most people ignore sales funnel and some even think it’s just a theory. But, it’s actually a very important step to map and build your marketing ecosystem from start to finish. Because using only a sales funnel will help you design a better website, decide what content to produce, what emails to send, etc, to guide your prospect in their journey to purchase your product.
At it’s very basic, a sales funnel usually have 5 stages:
- Awareness — It’s the very first time your prospect/market see or heard about you. Again, it can be an advert, an article or a social media post that drives traffic to your website or landing page. Your job here is to get quality traffic.
- Interest — It’s when your prospects exploring your website like reading your articles on your owned media, visiting a pricing page, searching for products if you are an eCommerce, check the “About” page, etc. But, if they bounce in 3–5 seconds, they’re not interested. So your job in this part of the funnel is to make them take an action such signup, subscribe, call, etc. This is very much my own opinion is the most important stage of all. Here’s the part where you need those called CRO & an onboarding strategy. Please keep reading to learn more about click funnel in this article.
- Consideration — This is the stage where your prospect is already signed up to your website or subscribe to your newsletter. Now your job is how to nurture them until they purchase your product or service. This is mostly done using inbound marketing or in some cases, telemarketing depends on your business model and your marketing strategy.
- Purchase — You know this. It’s when your prospect finally purchases your product.
- Loyalty — And here’s a key to growing organically from the inside. This is the stage where your prospect or buyer recommends you to their friends or colleagues. There are some ways to do it such using a referral program, invitation, tell a friend and many more. You can read more about this here in my other article about viral marketing.
Above is just the basic and each business has its own sales funnel. Build your own you think the most appropriate to your business. Read more articles about sales funnel to help you map your funnel. Once you have a sales funnel set, it will be easier for you to decide what content you should create on each stage of the funnel. Example: for the prospects who signed for a free plan on your platform, you may want to create articles that help them making a decision to upgrade to a paid plan and or creating a set of marketing emails for them.
Another important funnel is the click funnel and It usually only applies on your website. We can say a click funnel is the actual process of a sales funnel. But when a sales funnel can be described as a funnel, a click funnel actually is a map. Do you know a mind mapping software? Yes, just like that. I don’t know why it’s not called “Click Map” or “Click Path” like a mind map but that’s what people called it. To me personally, click mapping is easier to understand.
“Click mapping” or click funnel building is the process of creating a route for a web visitor to explore your website the way you want. Start from your homepage to a purchase page. A click funnel can help your web visitor find the information they need so they can make a decision faster. So, using a click funnel, you can implement a strategy to make your web visitor taking an action ex: subscribe to your newsletters or apply for a trial. It also helps you to decide what pages, CTAs, and web copy to create when building a website so you don’t end up creating too many web pages and put all of the URLs on the homepage that confuse your web visitors and reduce conversion rate. A click funnel building helps you to decide what information you want your web visitor reads next if they’re not converting on the homepage. If you look at the sales funnel this is the “interest” stage so you need to think about how to move them to the “consideration” stage.
Be a customer in your own business when building a click funnel. If needed, pretend as if you don’t know anything about the website. Try to see the way your web visitor sees. You know the benefits of your own product or service, but your web visitors don’t know anything about it.
“Click mapping” or click funnel building or what some people call it the onboarding process is a very tricky job and no 1 answer that fits all. Entrepreneurs use different tactics to generate leads, users, subscribers, etc. Use different types of forms, marketing language, etc. And that’s the beauty of it. It’s an art that not everybody can master but everybody can optimize their website for maximum result. Let say your business is a SaaS and of course you want your web visitors to sign up as soon as possible when they reach your homepage and that’s why you put as much information about your service on the homepage. But what’s your plan if they don’t convert through the homepage? What if they bounce? How do you convince them? How to interact with them? Here’s where you need a sales funnel. When your prospect or target audience is on your homepage, they are in the interest stage of your funnel. You know what you need to do is to convince them taking an action in order to move them into a consideration stage, so, create pages that help them make decisions. Let’s forget a purchase conversion for now. Let’s, for now, assume that a purchase from a new visitor is just a bit of luck and focus on the content & CTAs to generate sign-ups or trial sign-ups, contact submission, newsletter subscription, etc.
Here are some tips:
- Always talk about your USPs or benefits of your service — your target audience want a new thing that helps, cheap, effective, etc.
- Be creative with forms and other ways to engage with the visitors — try as many type forms like a contact form, subscribe form, live chat, etc.
- Don’t be afraid to play with CTA buttons — use buttons to drive them to the next page you want like a feature page, review page, contact page, etc.
Again, focus on moving prospects to the next stage of the funnel. After they signed up to your website, trial account, newsletter, etc, that means they’re in the consideration stage. So, the next stage is the purchase stage. Don’t wait for them making a purchase; help them; interact with them via emails, phone or social media. Provide content that helps them solve their problems using some inbound marketing techniques etc.
The last stage which is crucial for organic growth is “loyalty. An on-site viral marketing tactic to grow your business from the inside ex: WoM, UGC, referral program, invitation, etc. Here’s some example of successful viral marketing strategies:
- Dropbox — offers bigger storage if a user can bring more users.
- LinkedIn — Automatically upload email contacts to invite to LinkedIn
- PayPal — encourages a user-generated content
Create a click funnel for all of your campaigns from ads, social media post or content you have on blogs. Combine them with click funnel you have on your website & email campaign and other content you have like tutorial etc. Connect all of the funnels until it becomes one marketing ecosystem you can develop.
Remember that this is a very basic way to build your marketing funnels. Easier to say than done. Moving prospects from one stage to another on a website is hard. But conversion rate optimization techniques will help you with that. Learn a basic CRO formula like AIDA, try an A/B test, and be creative with forms & CTA. Use a mind mapping software to draw your funnels. Once you have an illustration or a blueprint of your marketing ecosystem, it will be a lot easier for you to write an effective marketing & growth plan. Good luck!