How Do Sales Funnels Work?
If you have already gotten yourself involved with the basics of Internet marketing, chances are, you’ve already came across the term “sales funnels”. If you wish to learn more about it, this article is just for you.
What Are Sales Funnels?
To better grasp the idea of a sales funnel, let’s take a moment and figure out what you want from your buyers. For sure, you want people to check your website and take further action after that. Maybe you want them to join your email newsletters, watch your webinar or even make a purchase. When a simple visitor, turns into a lead, then into a prospect and finally a client, you have a conversion. The visitor starts from one stage and them jumps onto the next one, however, as in the case of a real funnel, not everything will make it through the final stage–which is in most cases, making a purchase.
Here is a good, basic example of Ebay’s sales funnel stages:
-The customer goes to Ebay.com
-They browse through the listings of products
-Something catches their attention, and they decide to add it to their cart
-They checkout the item/s in the cart or in other words make a purchase
The are some extra steps involved in every of these stages but they don’t count that much in the sales funnel process because they are only secondary steps. The entire process of conversion, is called a “funnel” because at the top of the process, a lot of people come in. However, as people go through the funnel, some simply quit and in the end, there is only a small percentage of “substance” or should we say buyers that make through and finally take an action.
In the case of online marketing, the top of the funnel is the people who actually come to visit your website. However, only the ones that are interested or should we say convinced the most will finally move to the last phase.
When marketers refer to “widening” your fuel, they mean just that–reaching to a wider audience through advertising or other means. The purpose is to create more widespread awareness, develop inbound marketing leads, etc so that more people get in. The more people that you get in, the wider the funnel gets.
However, you aren’t restricted in only using your funnel for sign-ups and purchases. You can use sales funnels through your entire website to check how visitors react to each or should we say, move down the funnel. You may, for instance place a newsletter sign-up form or a simple page conversion. If you set out a list of specific goals and what action do you want to your website’s visitors to take, you can create a funnel for it.
So Why Funnels Are Good For Your Business?
A funnel reports/stats can give you insight on what works and what doesn’t and at which point, you may be losing clients or your prospects are simply stuck and unable to more further or take some action.
Here is what a process would look like for the average medium online business:
- The visitor comes to your website
- They sign-up for a trial via email
- They use your trial product
- They proceed by making a purchase
The above steps aren’t mandatory or apply in all cases. A customer sometimes doesn’t need to sign-up for a trial and use the product before actually purchasing it.
A Funnel In The Real Offline World
In the real world, a consumer walks into the shop, he/she checks out the products, he grabs an item that caught their attention (or the item they were exactly looking for), they put it to their cart, and finally the hit the checkout section to pay for the item. In an online shop, the sales funnel procedure would be like this:
- The client goes to the e-commerce site
- They view the product listings available
- They see something and add it to their cart
- The go to a digital checkout process.
- The enter their payment and contact or shipping details and complete their purchase.
For instance, let’s assume that 1000 visitors enter your website, 70% of which take some time to browse your product/service listings, 35% start to add items to their carts, and finally 5% finalize their purchase.
In the online world, there are several funneling platforms–Google Analytics being one of them. However, in the case of Google Analytics, the funnel is only basic and you can’t easily switch back to a previous step. Still, it may be useful for giving you a rough idea on the impact of your sales funnels at a minimal cost, before you actually invest in something bigger. Of course each program has its pros and cons but you have to find something that at leasts offers you multiple options and the flexibility to go up or down the funneling process to increase your business.