If you’re not sure what the ‘sales funnel’ is, here’s a quick explanation:
In short, it’s the process that turns potential customers into loyal customers. That’s about it really, if you want the quick version.
But if you want a more detailed step-by-step guide (although short enough not to send you to sleep) – read on!
1) TRAFFIC SOURCES
For those thinking “hang on, I don’t use the internet much”, don’t be put off by the term ‘traffic’. In this case, it refers simply to the type of medium you use for your marketing message. So it could be leaflets and newspaper ads as much as websites, social media and email. You just have to pick the right ones.
Of course, the ‘picking’ is the difficulty. There’s such a multitude of options that it’s easy to select too many – or the wrong ones – and make life hard for yourself. If you only want to attract your closest neighbours, for example, what would be the point in a huge email campaign, blogs and social media galore? Leaflets would be much more up your street (excuse the awful, horrific pun).
There’s probably hundreds, but here’s just a few of the traffic sources to choose from:
SOCIAL MEDIA SOCIAL MEDIA ADS NEWSPAPER ADS LEAFLETS EMAILS BLOGS ADVERTORIALS POSTERS/FLYERS PROMO VIDEOS GOOGLE ADS
2) LEAD MAGNETS
Once you’ve made your presence felt (and perhaps aroused some interest) it’s time to get to the nitty-gritty of putting your money where your mouth is and providing some ‘free’ samples of your goods. Besides your stock itself, you can offer video tutorials, reports, blogs, workshops, eBooks and all the things I talked about in my 10 Examples of Value Added Content post.
The reason ‘free’ is in inverted commas is because these goods aren’t actually free at all. What you ask in return is not so obviously valuable to the customer, but priceless to you. I’m talking about contact details, and with these you build your list (see my last post for more on this), and with this list you can access statistics such as ages, occupations and lifestyle preferences for everyone willing to share this data. With this information, you have a clearer picture of who your customers are, what they want, and how to speak to them. Your future marketing can be shaped by this knowledge.
But best of all, these free products grow your KNOW-LIKE-TRUST factor. You’re not only displaying your expertise, but giving away this knowledge for free while you do so. You’re a helpful soul, and that can’t be a bad thing eh? People would much rather do business with – and trust – someone who shows they care. The fact you know your stuff is the icing on the cake!
3. CORE PRODUCTS & SERVICES
Many of us in business make the mistake of thinking this step to be the first. We have a particular thing we want to peddle (it’s the reason we went into business in the first place), and dive headlong into promoting it. We go straight for the main course.
But with steps 1 and 2, we build the KNOW-LIKE-TRUST factor and build up customer hunger – and therefore their readiness to accept your core products. Once at this stage, however, a certain degree of expectation is fostered. You’ve earned a good reputation, can you deliver? Of course you can! With your Step 3 customers, you really can be yourself and do what you’re best at: selling your signature dishes.
4. PROFIT MAXIMISERS/ADD-ONS
Here’s a phrase you might have heard: “Do you want fries with that?”
If you haven’t heard it, you probably come from Mars. And haven’t left yet. It’s become one of Earth’s most famous phrases, and do you know what? Without it, McDonald’s would probably be Wimpy (are they still going, by the way?). This tiny sentence is so easy to say, yet brings so much extra income it would be impossible to count. I think?
Upselling, when done at the right time, with the minimum fuss, makes the very most of a customer in the mood to spend. Having earned your trust through being satisfied with your lead magnets, and then core products, a ‘customer for life’ is someone who wants to settle down with you. Think about it: do you actually enjoy buying the things you need? Most of us don’t. When we shop around, we do it out of duty more than anything else – and want to end the whole process as soon as possible. As soon as we trust a particular brand, we’d be more than happy to go to that brand for anything else we might need. In retail, Tesco have everything we need (in the UK at least). Online, Google has gone way beyond being merely a search engine. The trust it has fostered has made it a go-to place for all manner of products.
Ok, so you might not be lucky enough to have a product like fries to add on, but you get the point! In short, all I’m saying is this: once customers trust you, and give their loyalty as a result, it doesn’t have to end there. There’s always room for more, and once you’ve laid solid foundations with steps 1-3, step 4 is relatively simple. So fill your boots, and don’t stop at fries!
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