Most businesspeople are familiar with the concept of the sales funnel. For those who are not familiar, we include a sample sales funnel image below.
This sales funnel is a model which reflects the process by which customers make a purchase decision. These steps often include becoming aware of a business/product/service, becoming interested in that business/product/service, going through a decision-making process and ultimately becoming a customer by buying something. This last step, importantly, also includes keeping customers happy and getting them to make purchases repeatedly over time.
The sales funnel typically has four phases:
In the sales funnel image above, the funnel begins at the top and we lead people through the four-step process. That’s our job as marketers.
As marketers, we must understand our customers and their needs and how we can “push” new customers into and through our sales process or sales funnel. There are different strategies and tactics to “fill” our funnel with good potential customers, “educate” them by encouraging them to learn about our company, products/services and how we have helped people/organizations just like them.
How Do We Define These Four Stages of the Sales Funnel?
Awareness: The first stage is finding your “ideal” customer. These ideal customers are defined by marketers using some mix of demographic characteristics, geographic location, purchase behavior and many other different factors. Broad based advertising via advertising is often used to attract “ideal” customers in the Awareness phase.
Interest: Once a customer has shown some interest in a particular product or service, and likely knows who we are, our efforts should focus more on
Decision: The decision step includes the process of deciding that there is a need as well as learning more about your particular company and products. This step includes competitive research to find out what different offerings or solutions include and if your company is the best one to use.
Action/Sale: The action/sale phase of process is when the buyer actually makes the decision to purchase or hire a company to help them with their particular need. This includes the actual buying process, perhaps including signing a contract, paying for product/service or making a deposit along with the delivery of product/service. Finally, this phase includes the critical sales follow-up once the purchase is complete and any work is performed. How will you get this particular customer to make repeat purchases?
To help attract potential new (i.e. first time) customers, there is an element in this process often referred to as demand generation.
Demand generation includes the various activities, tactics and tools to attract new, first-time customers. See image below for several tactics to spur demand generation and help drive customers into your sales funnel and through the entire sales process.
When it comes to the tactics of digital marketing, there are different ways to push potential customers into the top of your sales funnel and to drive them through the sales funnel or process. You can learn a little more about how we think about digital marketing by reviewing our 5-Step process called the Endorphin E-Business Roadmap.
These tactics might include some combination of digital advertising, social media and email marketing combined with various content on your website. There are obviously many different “offline” tactics and tools you might use, too, including billboards, print/television advertising, tradeshows, sponsorships, direct mail and direct sales among many others.
If you would like to start or improve your digital marketing strategy and tactics, we would be happy to discuss possible ideas and answer any questions you may have.