What Marketers Get Wrong About Sales Funnels

sales funnel Infographic

Virtually every business owner wants their website to include a strong sales funnel that attracts prospects and turns them into leads. At the same time, very few actually have a functioning system in place. In fact, most small business websites feature a little bit of content, some haphazard search, social, and PPC campaigns, and the vague hope that somehow new business will appear.

That’s simply not good enough in this day and age. You have too many competitors, and they’re too close, for you to simply hope your Internet marketing campaigns will work. You need a proven plan to attract the right kinds of traffic, build your credibility, and turn visits into sales opportunities.

That’s almost impossible to do, however, when you’re holding onto popular misconceptions. To help clear a few of those up, today were going to share five things marketers commonly get wrong when trying to set up online sales funnels…

#1 Lead Generation Isn’t Just SEO

Far too many marketers think that “lead generation” and “search engine optimization” are the same thing. They aren’t. SEO is certainly important, but it doesn’t mean anything to earn a top position on Google if the visitors who come to your website aren’t taking action. That’s the online equivalent of window shopping, and it doesn’t help your bottom line.

Creating a sales funnel does involve attracting visitors from search engines, social media, and online advertising platforms. But it also means having set offers and strong calls to action in place so that buyers who come to your website almost can’t stop themselves from sharing an email, downloading a report, or taking some other action that brings them closer to your company. That’s the point where they actually enter into your sales funnel.

SEO is important to most sales funnels, but your search traffic isn’t going to convert itself. Don’t overlook the value of a proven plan and strategy.

#2 Quality Content and Thought Leadership Aren’t Optional

Having original, relevant, and high-quality content is a prerequisite for building a sales funnel that’s going to deliver results over time. That’s partly because Google and the other search engines reward content publishers. But it’s also because thoughtful articles, videos, infographics, and other pieces of content turn you into a thought leader within your industry.

When your prospects go online, they aren’t looking for ads – they want answers. If you stand out for your depth of knowledge, or because you present what they need to know in an easy-to-understand way, then those prospects are going to stick around. On the other hand, if what they find doesn’t seem all that useful, they are going to take their time, attention, and money elsewhere.

If you want to get good at creating leads, focus on creating strong content first.

#3 Offers are About Buyers, Not Marketers

At some point, you have to engage the people who like your content and bring them into your sales funnel. That’s where a lot of marketers make the classic mistake and deliver an offer that’s all about them. They push an “informational guide” that’s really just a brochure for a product, or offer a “training video” that seems like an infomercial.

These kinds of hard-sell tactics might seem like a good way to nudge buyers forward, but usually just has the effect of pushing them away. A better idea is to give them low-key resources that help them understand the choices they are facing. Then, they can develop trust with your company and decide to keep looking at what you have to offer.

You catch more flies with honey than vinegar, and you attract more prospects with targeted information then you do hard sales pitches. Remember that as you construct your offers and keep the needs of buyers front and center in your mind.

#4 You Can’t Rush Prospects Through the Funnel

The beauty of a well-design sales funnel is that it guides someone who is looking for answers from one step to another. They can begin with a PPC ad or a blog post, for example, and then end up at a buyers guide, an online video, or even an in-person presentation.

What makes each of these steps possible is a natural flow from one to the other. As much as you might like the idea of having customers rush through the process and contact you right away, that’s not the way most people make decisions. Instead, they check out various pieces of information, look at reviews, gain some perspective, and maybe even involve others who have input.

If you try to rush them or push too hard at any stage, they’ll feel as if you’ve stopped being helpful and won’t respond to future offers. Let them take their time and get to the answers they need. It will be worth it in the end.

#5 A Good Sales Funnel Turns Some Buyers Away

As you build and refine your sales funnel over time, it should bring you more and more leads. However, that doesn’t mean you should ever try to optimize your content and offers to the point that every customer reaches out to you.

Some buyers just aren’t going to be a good fit for what you have. Maybe you’re priced out of their range, or don’t have the type of product they really need. Letting them discover that at some point in your sales funnel stops them from wasting your time later (or worse, buying from you and then leaving poor reviews for your business or products).

Your sales funnel should be constructed for a  certain type of customer, and you shouldn’t be worried about it if the prospects slip away because they don’t fit that mold. In the end, that’s a feature of the inbound lead generation system, not a bug.

Is it Time to Improve Your Online Sales Funnel?

If your sales funnel has holes, or was created based on a few faulty ideas and assumptions, now is the time to set things right. Talk to the expert team at WebFullCircle today and let us evaluate your site and see where improvements can be made. In one short consultation, you could be able to change the direction of your company forever!