Every few years, a new term enters the standard language of business and sales. Those who know what it means will use it as much as possible so they can demonstrate that they’re up-to-date with the latest concepts. Those who haven’t encountered it before tend to smile and nod, pretending to know what everyone else is talking about and hoping they’ll eventually figure it out. For the past couple of years, that phrase has been ‘sales funnel’.
Sales professionals like yourself use this term in their sales strategies. If you have not learned the specifics of what a sales funnel is, you need to learn about them. Many successful sales professionals use social media sales funnel designs and other types of digital sales funnel strategies to boost their ROI. You can probably guess the basics of what it refers to so long as you know what the word ‘funnel’ means. If you do, you’ll know that a sales funnel must be something that you put customers in the top of, and get sales out of the other end. On a surface level that’s all the phrase means, but in practical terms when someone mentions a sales funnel to you, they’re probably talking about your website.
Sales Funnels and AIDA
Professionals who have worked business and sales before should have heard about the ‘AIDA theory’. This theory represents the steps that a customer takes before buying anything from you. To begin, find customers within your target audience. AIDA is an acronym, starting with ‘A’ for ‘awareness’. A customer needs to be aware of you and the products or services you offer before they buy anything from you. After ‘A’ comes ‘I,’ and that’s for ‘interest’. Once your customer knows who you are and what you do, your next step is to make them interested in purchasing from you.
‘D’ in this acronym stands for ‘Decision’; the crucial point in the process where you have presented your customer with an offer. It’s now time for them to make a decision based on that offer. They will decide to buy, or they will decide not to. When that decision has been made in your favor, you move onto the final ‘A’. This letter stands for ‘action.’ It’s not enough for a customer to simply decide to buy from you; they have to go ahead by parting with money, providing you with details, or taking whatever course of action you want them to take.
These are the four stages of almost any sale that’s ever happened, and they’re the four parts of a sales funnel. The point of a good digital sales funnel is to automate every stage of that process so that it happens without any direct involvement from you.
Websites And Sales Funnels
Using sales funnel theory, your website shouldn’t just contain a good sales funnel; it should become one. Every page on your site should be serving the purpose of one of the four funnel stages. By transforming you site in this way, you will get traffic to your website. If you have pages which don’t appear to be serving those purposes, question whether they should be there at all. When a new visitor (by which we mean ‘new potential customer’) arrives on your web page, they should begin their journey down your sales funnel, in sequence. The layout of your website, including everything the customer can see and every button they can click, should guide them down that funnel.
The good news here is that by finding your website, your customer has already achieved awareness. You only have three stages to go, and you haven’t done anything yet. Your website’s first job is, therefore, to create interest. That means that your landing page has to contain triggers that grab a customer’s attention and prompt them into investigating further as quickly as possible. From there, the customer needs to be seduced and encouraged into proceeding further. By the time they’ve developed an interest, they should already be facing a decision.
It would be helpful to use a real world-example now, and so we’re going to look at a website from an industry which persuades people to part with money more efficiently than perhaps any other; the world of online gambling. AmigoSlots.com is a brand new website which has been designed with these principles in mind and follows them to the letter. Anyone arriving at the website has an interest – they wouldn’t be there if they didn’t. They make things as easy as possible for their potential customers to see which products they offer by putting them on the homepage. Before the customer sees the content, though, they’re presented with an offer.
At this point, within seconds of arriving on the site, the customer has found the products they’re interested in, been offered a free bonus and has been presented with a decision. They’re now at the point where they’re required to take action. If they want to claim a bonus, they have to register with the site. If they register with the site, the customer has been acquired. The ‘AIDA’ process has been condensed into less than a minute.
Focus On Your Customers
The success of your website will depend a little on what you do. The basic lessons are ones anyone can use. Don’t waste your time with irrelevant images or animations on your homepage when your visitors are only there to see what you’re selling. Ask for something in return for giving away something. What could you give away? A free quote? A product sample? Information? Think about what your customers want, and give them a taste of it. Use influencer marketing strategies to increase the effectiveness of giveaways. Ask them for their contact details in return. When they’ve given their contact details, they’ve subconsciously entered into a ‘buying’ mentality and will be more agreeable to offers. The next page they see after they’ve given their details should, therefore, make them an offer.
If this sounds simple, it’s because it is. Too many people try too hard on social media and on websites, and make the process too complicated. They include too many pages and too many gaps between the AIDA steps. Everything should be fluent and easy to follow. Moreover, every customer journey through your website should lead to the same place.
There are software programs and services out there which sell sales funnels at a premium. However, most people can do it themselves with a little creative thinking. Start looking at your website today, and decide whether it’s just a page or a funnel. If it’s the former, start making changes.