How to get more sales with a digital funnel

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So we’ve all heard of sales funnels before, a funnel where you have an abstract view of the sales process your customer goes through, we’ve all heard of the “Awareness, Interest, Decision & Action” phase and we’ve all read multiple iterations of articles about what those steps are.

But I’m more practical than that, I like to outline the actual steps so that you can take this home and use it yourself (or you know you can hire us if you want our expertise), in this article I will describe how a digital sales funnel works and why having it setup is important for your business to increase revenue.

1. Research

In any project, the first step is always research, for most of you this step will be easy but what you have to do is to figure out what your product does, what problems it solves, and what types of customers would want to have it.

The main questions to answer are, Who are your customers, how can you segment them and what are the problems you are solving for each different kind of customers?

Let’s discuss an example, I was recently consulting a startup that created a system for restaurants that allows customers to easily order their food without having to stand in queue, now this product would be quite new to the market and it’s trying to penetrate a market who’s still reliant on technology from the 90s.

Now, what segments should we target? Well we discussed and we found that segmentation in restaurants can be split up in two dimensions, one dimension is Type of restaurant (Pizzeria, Sushi place, Upscale restaurants, etc) and the other dimension would be Scale of business (Small independent shops, huge franchises, famous Michelin rated restaurants)

Why do we segment in by scale & type?

The problems are different for both businesses, you’ll want to create different types of digital funnels for small business than what you would want to create for large scale franchises, these segments all have different problems and are looking for different solutions, for example:

A large scale franchise like Sushi Panda might be more interested in getting a dashboard that would allow them to track the results of all their restaurants, while a small scale pizza place might be more interested in making it easier for them to receive & track multiple orders during the infamous lunch rush.

So once we managed to map out who the customers were and what problems they are facing we knew what value to offer these customers, we’d offer the large scale franchises more data for them to better evaluate their business, and we’d offer small scale restaurants less stress & faster customer service.

And since we knew the different segments on the types of restaurant we would be able to carefully craft messages that would resonate with those target audiences (For example if we target pizzeria’s we’d be able to make a pizza-themed landing page/marketing campaign that would better resonate with pizzeria owners)

2. Get their attention!

  • Drive traffic, through Marketing, Guest Blogging & SEO

Alright so now you’ve figured out who your segments are, what the offers are now all you need to do is to get their attention, you need to have well-crafted messages that focus on the different segments, you’ll want to figure out how to reach out to those segments, either directly (For example emailing or calling them) or indirectly (Marketing, Creating articles or being active in their communities)

You want to be really tricky about this because one thing you’ll notice quite quickly, it’s really hard to get people’s attention, everyone is constantly bombarded with ads and random offers and competing for attention is difficult, but there are some ways to do it with greater success, overall you want to remain focused on your core audience, you want to use proper marketing channels where your audience will reside in (for example small restaurant owners could be more active on Facebook while franchise decision makers might be more active on LinkedIn)

Our tactic to catch attention is to create explainer videos that accomplish three main things:

  1. Filter the viewers
  2. Explain the value proposition
  3. Drive them to the website

Here’s an example of what we did for a Finnish client Osaketori.

The first scene that was shown (before the video starts) was “Got stocks to sell?” (loosely translated) with a message like this a potential customer of Osaketori would instantly know if this video was or was not for them (Anyone who does not own stocks or has no interest in stocks won’t be a customer to Osaketori anyway so no interest for us to waste marketing budget by getting them to watch the video) which accomplishes the “Filtering part” of the marketing campaign.

After the initial view, it zooms into different people with the common issues that Osaketori solves (How to sell my unlisted shares? I want to invest in a startup, etc) Now this serves its purpose that we begin to explain what the problems Osaketori solves and why people should continue to watch the video.

After that the video starts to explain how Osaketori works, emphasises that it is a secure platform, that it’s free to use and that anyone can get started right now (with a even simplified tutorial in the video how to use it to get even more qualified users signing up to the service) now this is something we did as it would then lead people onto the platform who would then know how to get started right away and we drive their traffic to the website to get started.

However not everyone has the budget for marketing, there are still great ways to get more traffic through free means, one thing that we at Aurora Digital do is that we’re always networking with more people and adding them on LinkedIn, our combined network has grown to be about 20 thousand people, most of those are within the IT industry or the Startup sphere, now this helps us as for most of our projects we create detailed case studies that explain what we’ve done and promote the case studies to our audience at no cost to us. And we recommend that you try to emulate this, connect with your audience, reach out to them and make friends, the closer you are to your customers the better you can serve them.

Another interesting opportunity a lot of people miss out on is to collaborate with others to promote your own work, several blogs who write posts about your area of business would be more than happy to get some free content by you writing a guest blog for them, this helps you tap into audiences who are interested in your product or service.

And finally, there’s no better approach than a direct approach, if you truly believe in your product or service, you should go out to your customers and win them over, email them, call them or visit them. But make sure that you are giving them the right offers, keep in mind the more focused on the customer you are, and the more focused on helping them solve their problems the more likely they are to actually become customers.

All of these methods help you better reach your customers, but what’s right for you depends entirely on your product or service.

3. Hyper-focused Landing Pages

So after you figure out your segments, you figured out how to get the traffic.  The next thing is to start to think about how to convert this traffic from Visitors to Customers, the more targeted and focused on the customers you are the more likely your message will resonate with them and the more customers you will end up getting (And don’t believe that the “360 try to sell to everyone frontpage” will actually convert, you will want to have a more focused landing page where you drive the traffic into)

So how does that work? Well in step 1 you figured out what the segments are, somewhere after that surely you figured out a few of those segments you want to focus on, so let’s use our restaurant order booking system example from step 1 and let’s consider we’re focusing on two segments “Small pizzeria owners” and “Franchise sushi restaurants”

So for Franchise sushi restaurants there are a few players in the game, for example Sushi Panda, when you try to get companies like Sushi panda you could make an “Sushi themed” landing page that has a strong message that will resonate with their needs for example “Improve your sushi franchise with better insight & better customer service”  This is focused on the level that it shows the value directly to the customer and they know exactly what you are offering.

The content, later on, has to be balanced in a way that the customer is either always getting more information as to why your offer is good for them and a quick way for them to get started (Either sign up, Request a demo or even better get them to start chatting with you directly)

And then the other segment for small pizzeria owners you’d have to create an digital funnel  for small businesses, where you are tackling the issues they have, the headline could for example be “Beat the sales rush and serve more customers!” And then throughout the landing page we’d make a pizzeria themed landing page that would resonate with that audience.

4. Scalable Sales process integration

Now the sales process is always different for each of our clients, for example Osaketori was focused on getting more users & trades happening on their platform, and for example the restaurant booking system had an entirely different approach to their digital sales funnel, they were focused on lead generation for their sales people to take over.

So the next step after you figured out which segments to target, how to reach these segments and get their attention, and how to get them excited with targeted landing pages now you need to figure out what do you want to do with them? You got them on your website on your landing page do you now want them to sign up? For most SaaS services, they mainly focus is to get customers to sign up as a Trial user, but for an agency (like ours) the most interesting thing is to get more leads, and with that you have to set it up in a way that you catch their email addresses or phone numbers and also to make sure that no matter the amount of traffic you get your team will always be able to follow up on all customers.

So that’s where CRM tools such as Hubspot comes into play, you want to set up Hubspot(or whichever CRM you want to use) to be able to receive leads from your website and automate the entire process so your sales team can focus on converting these leads, your sales people will need to know as much information as possible from the customer, so, for example, to know which landing page the visitor came from is a great start that way the sales rep will know what the visitor has gotten offered and can take it from there to convert them into a customer as frictionless as possible.

Then of course, if your business is centered around eCommerce and you’re selling products a CRM is less of interest to you, what you’ll be focused on should be improving the sales checkout process and setup services that increase your ability to get customers to buy, for example, if you got their email and they have set up a cart with a few items and you see that they don’t end up buying those items, perhaps a friendly email with a 10% discount code should be sent out to them? 🙂

5. Optimization

  • How learning from your data is important
  • If you have contacts in your target industry, ask them if your LP actually catches their interest & talks about the right things

Just like in nature, landing pages and digital sales funnels will perform the best by best adapting to their environment, and in this digital environment, we have a lot of metrics to optimize our digital funnel. So far the entire sales funnel can be summarized to these three steps.

  1. Some form of attention grab, Marketing, blog posts, posts on social media, etc
  2. Focused Landing page(s)
  3. Conversion (Sign up, buy product or leave email to CRM)

And for you as a business owner, you need to measure how the conversion from the top to the bottom is actually working out, for example, how many people see your marketing ads on? How many out of those went over to your website? How many of those went to further read more? How many of those visitors converted into a customer/lead to your business?

This entire funnel has several points where a larger amount of people gets reduced to  a smaller amount, and your goal as a business owner is to convert as many as possible, so setting up the metrics to know how many people get filtered out each step is important, but what’s even more important is to figure out how to learn from them. I recommend to people to ask themselves the following questions

  • Are they leaving because they did not need this service?
  • Then the problem is with the source of your traffic isn’t giving you the right audience (Find better blogs to guest post in, get more clear marketing material, try new sources, etc)
  • Are they leaving at the landing page?
  • Then the problem is with the source of your traffic isn’t giving you the right audience (Find better blogs to guest post in, get more clear marketing material, try new sources, etc)
  • Then your landing page is not giving the right information
  • Are they leaving after having clicked around?
  • Then the rest of your website is most likely not convincing them
  • Are they signing up but never showing up?
  • Then most likely they did not understand what they signed up for

6. The Dos and Don’ts

Since everyone loves some small hints and guidelines I made a list of Don’ts with the advice of what you should do instead.

Don’t neglect the entire customer journey

You can’t add a single part of the funnel and expect great success, a marketing campaign without a proper landing page will result in less conversion, a landing page without a qualified traffic source is almost useless and an entire funnel without a proper call to action to convert users (into leads/ customers or whatever) is just a waste of money.

Take a holistic approach to it, consider the context of “where was the visitor before” “what is the natural next step” “what would a customer want to know next”

Don’t ask for too much from your visitors too early

If your lead capture form is asking for too much, as in you’re already asking for their home address zip code and the whole shebang then you are most likely losing leads because they aren’t willing to give you that information (yet) keep it simple, if all you need is their email or phone number? Then ask for that and perhaps a name.

Try to get data included in the request, such as what time of the day they sent the request, what country the request came from, all of that data should be available on the website to get so no need for you to ask the customer to fill that in.

Don’t be slow!

The faster you can get to start talking with your customers the faster you’re able to convert them, leads are only interested in short term solutions, very rarely will you be able to contact a lead from a month ago and they’ll even remember signing up. You should aim to contact everyone within 24 hours, preferably even on the same day (But don’t call people up 3 am to discuss your SaaS offer! Try to call within reasonable hours)

Don’t forget the human factor

Yes yes, we all love the idea of a completely automated system that will get you sales as you sleep, and while in many cases you can accomplish that you’re missing out on a large crowd of potential customers just because they are the type of people who like to do business person to person, leave your phone number, let them call you or better yet install a live chat on your website that allows your team to instantly respond to visitors as they visit your website, sure it takes time and can be disruptive but chatting with people is an amazing way for you to convert your audience.

Don’t put all your eggs in one basket

You rarely know how to make the best out of a digital sales funnel from day one, the trick is to target more than one segment, create different customer stories and measure which one works and which one does not, then take those lessons to improve the weaker funnel and then see if it improves, and that’s why we at Aurora Digital always suggest creating two funnels, then iterate on them.

Book a free consultation with us now!

 

illustration by Ouch.pics

Emil Östlin

Emil Östlin

Emil Östlin is the CTO & Partner at Aurora Digital.

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