Ever find yourself wondering whether your web presence is generating the kind of activity it should be? Do you wish your website was a tool for actively converting visitors into sales opportunities?
Most business owners have at least experimented with creating an online sales funnel. Nearly all have dreamed of using targeted search engine optimization, PPC advertising, and well-crafted offers to bring in leads from the Internet. And yet, very few are actually successful when it comes to using their campaigns and content to generate phone calls and appointments.
The culprit, in many cases, is an online sales funnel that is missing key pieces. Without a few essential details, it’s simply impossible to get leads from the web. Here are the four you can’t afford to ignore if you want to use Internet marketing to boost your bottom line…
#1 A Well-Defined Target Market
The whole idea of lead-generation sales funnels is built around the idea that you have a specific type of customer you want to attract and engage. Without that knowledge in focus, every other piece of the puzzle will fall apart.
Too many marketers overlook this fact and concentrate on activities they think will bring them “traffic” without actually considering whom those website visitors will be and what they’ll want when they arrive. It’s very hard to turn random searchers into buyers, even if they have a vague interest in what you offer. There are simply too many other products and competitors out there for them to take notice if your content and marketing messages aren’t dialed into their needs.
Choose a segment of the market that you are well-positioned to serve based on your pricing, service, location, or specialty. Then, gear all of your efforts towards bringing those customers to your website. Otherwise, you’ll have a hard time generating results no matter what kind of resources you put into your campaigns.
#2 A Way to Generate Traffic
Your website can’t convince visitors to become leads if there aren’t any visitors in the first place. That’s why generating traffic is the first actionable step in the process, right after identifying your market.
How you attract buyers to your website will depend a great deal on your situation and resources. Many business owners mistakenly think that creating an online sales funnel is the same thing as search engine optimization. In reality, the two are related, but SEO is only part of the mix. After all, it doesn’t matter how much traffic you get if your web visitors aren’t likely buyers (see above), or if you don’t have strong conversion mechanisms in place.
- In addition, you could create sales funnels that rely largely on social media and pay-per click advertising, or at least draw large amounts of traffic from these sources. Video messaging and email newsletters could figure into the mix, as well.
It doesn’t actually matter how you generate visits to your website, so long as you’re targeting the right people and can keep them coming in an affordable way. Most sales funnels get bigger over time, so feel free to start with the methods that work best for your business now and keep expanding as you go along.
#3 A Series of Planned Conversions
An online sales funnel doesn’t truly start to work until someone arrives at your website and takes action. That action could be very small. It might be as simple as convincing them to click on a link to download a report or add themselves to your email subscriber list. When they do, though, something special happens – they indicate to you that they are interested in your content and want to learn more.
When that happens, it’s important that you have the next few interactions planned out. There has to be a path that the customer can follow, and one that will ultimately lead to them requesting bigger and more detailed sources of information. With each new call to action, they are introduced to more of your ideas, and gain a better perspective on how you can help them meet the challenge they are facing.
Your sales funnel could have one or two steps, or as many as a dozen. Common sense will tell you that the bigger a sale is, the more complex a funnel needs to be. Trial and error will direct you towards a series of engagements that lead from the first visit to a fully-qualified lead in the shortest possible amount of time.
#4 Credibility and A Strong Reputation
It’s important to note that while most of the activity that occurs within your inbound sales funnel will take place on your website, or through email, there is another dimension to the relationship you grow with the prospect. That’s because they are likely to eventually look you up on Google, or their favorite social media platform, before they ever call your office or schedule an appointment. At the very least, they are probably going to require a few points of contact prior to meeting with your team.
For that reason, your credibility has to be enhanced at every step. The content you post has to be original, high-quality, and free from obvious mistakes. The reviews that buyers see about your company need to reinforce the notion that you are committed to service and charge fair prices. The tone of your marketing has to be consistent from one communication to the next.
If your credibility is in question, then customers are going to disappear mysteriously at various points in your sales funnel. Your reputation always catches up with you, especially in the digital age. To make it easier to gather leads online, you want yours to be as sterling as possible.
What’s Missing From Your Online Sales Funnel?
Each of these four factors is crucial to developing a sales funnel that actually produces website visits and real-life leads. If you’re missing out on any of them, now is the time to take action and see what you can really do online!