As the great salesperson you are, you likely know there are always untapped opportunities to improve your brand reach, secure more sales, and retain your customers.
Now you may or may not be taking advantage of some digital marketing strategies for your brand, but we’re going to bet there are still opportunities out there for you to improve your sales funnel—or maybe even completely revamp it.
Before we jump into it, here are a couple questions you may need to ask yourself:
- How is your current sales funnel set up?
- Are you currently taking advantage of digital marketing to find, maintain, and retain customers?
- Do you even know what digital marketing is?
Before we jump into the answers to all of those questions, let’s take a look at the sales funnel of the past, how it has changed to include modern marketing practices, and what that means for you, the all-star salesperson or business owner.
The Sales Funnel of the Past
Let’s jump back to a simpler time, when the sales funnel had generally three different stages: finding a product, liking a product, and buying a product. And that was it.
This was the model brick-and-mortar stores used for decades…until 1898, when a man named Elias St. Elmo Lewis helped to map out the first, true customer experience journey.
Lewis, an American advertiser, was the first to put into writing that the customer’s journey doesn’t start when they walk in the store, but instead when they become aware of a brand or product.
This theory lead to the exponential development of the advertising sector and the sales funnel model that would be used for the next 100+ years.
The Lewis Sales Funnel, sometimes referred to as the AIDA Model, is summarized below:
- Awareness – The customer becomes aware of the brand or product.
- Interest – The customer expresses interest in the brand or product.
- Desire – The customer begins to desire acquiring the brand or product.
- Action – The customer has taken the final steps to acquire that brand or product.
Although this model still holds some truth to it, it’s missing a few extra steps that make sense in the modern world.
So if this is the model your sales team is still clinging to, don’t worry, we’re here to bring you up to speed.
Sales Funnel of the Future
Now fast forward to the rise of the digital age: the internet boom, social media, and funny cat videos. It’s become easier than ever for people to connect and easier than ever for our favorite brands to connect with us. And the way they do that is through…you guessed it: digital marketing.
So what exactly is digital marketing?
“Digital marketing is the marketing of products or services using digital technologies, mainly on the Internet, but also including mobile phones, display advertising, and any other digital medium.” Thanks, Wikipedia, but what does that mean for us?
Long story short, digital marketing is any way a brand connects with users with the use of the web.
This connection can happen through a variety of ways, including organic search, paid search, social media (such as Facebook ads), digital press, blog articles, email campaigns, display ads, referring back links, and many more. You may hear people call digital marketing “online marketing” – and the two terms are generally interchangeable.
Your brand’s strategy can be as simple as a Wendy’s troll tweet (here’s a list from their Roast Day 2019—thank us later) or as complex as a full-court-press SEO strategy that includes organic keyword ranking, backlink targeting, paid search, Google page speed optimization, and content creation.
What you’re left with is a sales funnel that starts steps ahead of the point-of-purchase. These extra steps allow for two things:
- Prospective customers can find, research, and compare brands or products prior to making an actionable decision.
- Brands can continue to interact with consumers post-purchase, and track it all!
These are things marketers of the past couldn’t begin to imagine.
Your new sales funnel begins to look something like this:
Thanks to the internet, consumers are able to find new brands, educate themselves on the brands, make purchases, and publish reviews in the blink of an eye.
It is essential for modern brands to take advantage of each step of the new funnel and to stay up to date with their digital strategy.
Putting It Into Practice
You’ve got a grasp on the old sales funnel and its problems and the new sales funnel with its complex steps, but now we have to put it into practice.
There are many different digital marketing campaigns and types to explore. Let’s dive a little deeper into what makes a successful digital marketing funnel.
We know your goal as a salesperson is always to make sales. Seems simple, but as we all know, not all leads are created equal.
You want to find consumers who don’t just want you as a brand and a product, but who need you.
That’s where digital marketing comes in. There are tools available and steps you can take that will help move more consumers along the sales funnel, increase lead generation, and ultimately help drive more sales. We need to find ways to get your brand seen and engage with those viewers.
Increase Brand Reach
One way to improve your new sales funnel is to make it bigger! Sure, leads are great, but what’s better than leads?
When you increase your brand reach, you can increase the number of conversations you’re having. And that, friends, results in increased number of leads. You can increase your brand reach with a few different digital tactics, all with the same goal in mind – maximum brand awareness.
One way to increase brand reach is focusing on content creation, otherwise known as content marketing. Producing quality content, like engaging social posts and long-form articles, will help build brand credibility and encourage readers to share your content.
Google also puts value on high-quality, readable content ahead of pages without quality content. Major plus.
When brainstorming what content to create, think outside of the box – some companies utilize webinars as one of their marketing tactics, or they create case studies, white papers, and infographics showcasing their skills and the impact it has on their clients’ businesses.
Other companies use email marketing to show off their creativity and stay connected with their potential customers with an email newsletter that contains relevant or entertaining information or discount coupons.
Another content technique is to create highly targeted, specific landing pages that are focused on increasing conversion rates for potential customers, by making sure your user experience is enjoyable, your offer is attractive, your business is reputable, and your contact information is readily available.
Another way is to improve your search engine optimization. This is a blanket term that can mean tons of things, but by improving your site’s quality, usability, and relevancy, Google and other search engines will rank your site higher on relevant searches. And that makes it easier for people who are looking for solutions to find you!
These strategies are part of inbound marketing, which encourages consumers to find you as opposed to you searching for them.
By adopting inbound marketing techniques, 92.7% of companies saw an increase in leads in 2018.
SEO is important for both small businesses and large businesses, as some companies may want to rank locally for their keywords, while other companies may want to be as visible as possible on a national scale.
Improve Quality of Leads
Not only is the number of leads important, so is the quality of those leads.
You can get tons of traffic coming to your website, but if no one is buying or following up, what’s the point?
Because you can target specific types of buyers who may be interested in your brand and improve your search rankings for targeted keywords, you can make sure the right people are finding your brand and products. No shotgun method here.
You can also correct your target audience and fix mistakes. You may believe one type of consumer is interested in your brand, only to find out the exact opposite is true. With access to tools like Google Analytics, SEMRush, and Ahrefs, you can know exactly what people are searching for when they find you and where they fit in the sales cycle.
No matter which tactic you choose to pursue always remember what stage of the funnel your new customers may be in. Perhaps they are at they are at the top of the funnel, still searching for potential products, or they may already be towards the bottom of the funnel, and ready to make a purchase.
Don’t forget to communicate with your customers even after they complete the sales process – try to cultivate brand advocates that will tell all their friends and family about your wonderful product or service. Those glowing testimonials from real customers can be invaluable!
Try your best to map out your ideal customer journey, and then communicate in a way that would speak to that person while considering where they are in the journey.
You can also employ business analytic tactics like call tracking and lead tracking, to really see how these customers are interacting with your brand, and use empirical data to back up any anecdotal assumptions about your buyer’s journey.
Hopefully you’ve learned a lot more about your digital marketing sales funnel, the different stages of the funnel and some different marketing tactics to take your business to the next level.
Think you’re ready to step into the world of digital marketing to improve your sales funnel? Need some of the workload taken off your hands? Just want someone to talk to about your marketing strategy? We got you covered. Give us a call at (314) 665-1655 or drop us a line.