Draw in New Customers With Ease Using a Sales Funnel
Many distributors and print shop owners struggle to figure out how they can grow their businesses to be more profitable. One way to do this is with inbound marketing, which attracts prospects from the internet based on your content and offerings.
Once you have some of your shop’s marketing on autopilot with a sales funnel, you can then focus on your business needs. As an owner, you need to stay in front of trends, source new styles and products, and create custom artwork to keep customers interested in coming back.
That’s where a sales funnel, set up to run for you, is going to make your life easier and save you time. Plus, if you do it right, you’ll have a steady flow of potential new customers checking you out regularly.
So, What’s a Sales Funnel?
A sales funnel is a marketing concept used to visually explain how someone moves through several stages in their journey from a potential purchaser—who may not even know your shop or your solutions exist—into a buying customer. This begins with very general knowledge of a problem that needs solving, and ends with the person making a purchase to alleviate that problem from your shop.
You may not know that this powerful concept, called AIDA, dates back to 1898. American advertising advocate Elias St. Elmo Lewis devised the AIDA model, which charts how a customer engages with a company, splitting it into four stages. They are:
- A—Awareness: A person becomes aware that they have a problem or need and the products that can solve this.
- I—Interest: The person shows an interest in a product that can solve their problem.
- D—Desire: The person finds a particular brand (like your shop) and starts to decide if it’ll meet their needs.
- A—Action: The person decides the brand (or your shop) meets their needs and buys the product, becoming a customer. (Or they continue evaluating products until they find one that does.)
Today’s more customer-focused funnels have evolved to include additional elements: know, like, trust, and buy. Let’s take a closer look at those steps.
- Know: Simply put, this is brand awareness. The person becomes aware that a brand exists, and they show an interest in their product or services, especially if it can solve a nagging business or personal problem. This is the first step, because if a person doesn’t know your brand exists, how will you turn them into a customer?
- Like: Once you reach a potential customer, the next step is to getting them to like you. This step is built on a variety of possible strategies that’ll help build your reputation. You can do this by getting positive testimonials from customers on providing them with good customer service, answering questions promptly, as well as creating websites, logos, and marketing materials that are modern and aesthetically pleasing.
- Trust: Trust is a tricky one, because it can fall apart so easily from one bad experience. You build trust by being upfront and honest with your potential customers. Here’s where reputation comes in as well. Social proof from satisfied customers is huge to build trust with new customers.
- Buy: This is the biggest step. How do you convert the person from a potential purchaser to a paying customer? In other words, how do you close the sale? This requires reviewing your sales process and creating an analysis of what you can do better to make that sale happen.
5 Steps to Creating a Sales Funnel
Now that you understand the stages a prospect goes through when you’re building a funnel, there’s a process you’ll follow to create it. Here, we break these steps down.
- Define your target market.
You must start by defining where your funnel starts, and where you want it to end. This means asking three questions:
- How does your average customer end up buying a product from you?
- What’s the end goal you want to achieve?
- How can you best improve the average customer’s experience so you can make it more likely others will want to buy from you too?
Once you have that end goal in mind, you can better visualize your funnel and use this visualization in your process. For example, if many of your customers find you on Instagram or Facebook, investing in paid ads might be a good strategy for that first step.
- Create a lead capture form for prospects to enter their contact information.
You’ll notice that most websites and landing pages have a form to capture a prospect’s first name and email address to provide additional information. Some companies even offer a lead magnet freebie (such as “Five Ways Household Brands Use Logoed Apparel to Increase Their Sales”) as a thank-you for joining the mailing list.
- Develop an online lead nurturing campaign that provides value and educates prospects about your business while they are on your site.
At this point, picture the three stages of your shop’s funnel this way:
- Top: Generate buzz and interest in your brand by getting your brand out there. Create videos, blogs, and other content that can drive traffic to your website. Also plan to stay active in social media so customers know who you and your team are.
- Middle: Once you’ve got your prospect’s attention, build their trust. You can do this by creating more useful content that shows you as an expert in your field. If they see you as knowledgeable and caring, they’ll begin to trust you as a person and a brand.
- Bottom: Let your prospective customers know why they should buy your decorated products. Offer them introductory special offers, or even free samples to show the quality of your product, and convince them they need to buy from you, rather than from a competitor shop
- Send automated email messages to nurture leads with personalized content that’s relevant to their interests.
Create an email marketing campaign that highlights what your shop has to offer, as well as new content on your site and special offers that can help bring leads in to close the sale. Using automated emails will ensure timely messages are sent to each person on your list, and keep a continuing flow of interested customers checking out your website and other interactive content like live or recorded videos and webinars.
- Encourage people to take action.
Now you need to finish your funnel with a strong call to action that helps you gain your prospect’s business, as well as their trust. To do this, you need to offer them something that other companies can’t—a unique product, service or sales experience coupled with your own unique skill and expertise.
Funnel Customers Right Into Your Profits
While the idea of the sales funnel has evolved over time, it’s still a must-have for anyone looking to market their product to a mass audience. By following these steps, you can convert people from being prospects into real paying, and repeat customers.