Sales are the end goal, but what results in a sale?
Sales are the end goal, but what results in a sale? The understanding of the modern marketing funnel will help you increase sales but knowing where your customers are in their journey. In sales and marketing, you might have heard about the term “funnel”. In essence, it is the path or routes your target audience goes through before they become paying customers. Although there are many variations of what I’m about to show you, in simple terms, we have three main levels. Top, middle and bottom. Let me explain this in more detail.
The Marketing Funnel
When someone has a problem that they need solving, they have a few different ways to start looking around for solutions. They ask their friends, ask for recommendations on Facebook groups and even ask Google or Siri. At this first stage of the marketing funnel, they are not ready to buy. Think of it as window-shopping. This user is ultimately just browsing for solutions to their problem, that is all.
MOTF – Middle -Of-The-Funnel
At this second stage of the marketing funnel, people have been bombarded with information and options and they begin selecting the people, brands or companies which they feel will best solve their issues. They begin to compare – EVERYTHING! Pricing, brand reputation, perceived quality, everything!
BOTF – Bottom-Of-The-Funnel
By the final stage of the marketing funnel, if a clear decision has still not been made, it’s usually because that person is trying to make up their mind between 2 or 3 possible candidates to solve their need/s. This is the final step before conversion, and it is here where companies can win or lose a potential customer.
As you can see, the actual sale only happens after the final stage. Even if your business has always generated most of its revenue from word-of-mouth, a referral alone is not enough. Potential customers will still go through the entire journey (maybe faster with a referral, but still all the way through) before settling on one brand and handing their hard-earned money to convert as a sale. Marketing is at play in each one of these stages and it’s important to monitor every stage to see where you can make improvements. Luckily with digital marketing, it is easier to track what works so you can make better decisions moving forward.
Are you sure that you need to be online?
It all starts with awareness. For somebody to find your business and know how you can help them, they have to be able to find you.
Ok great! Do this test for me. Open google.com and search for the product or service you offer. If nothing comes up, then yes you are correct. You don’t have any competitors after all. But if you get any results, you are competing with all the names that you just saw on those search results. Here’s an example of someone looking for a nearby motorcycle repair shop.
Oh and by the way, what you have just done is what your prospect does at the very top of the marketing funnel:)
So how do you start?
- Research your customers (or potential customers) and discover which social media platforms they enjoy using.
- Next, build your website and setup 2-3 social media accounts which your customers enjoy using and could connect with you on.
- Link all of this to analytics tools like Google Analytics and Google Search Console so you know what’s working and get the most return on your marketing investment.
Why do you need to setup analytics?
All well-run businesses have systems in place to manage and monitor what is actually going on. If you sell your time-based services, you probably send invoices to clients based on the number of hours you worked by tracking them in a spreadsheet or time-tracking application. If you sell products, you most likely have an accounting system in place to manage your stock levels, purchasing, expenses and product sales. All of these systems allow you to track and monitor what is going on in your business, helping you make better decisions to improve moving forward.
Marketing your business online is no different. Now that you have a website and a few social media accounts, it’s important to know how many visitors you have to those pages, where they came from, how much time they are spending on your website, which content they are engaging with most, the words they used to find you online and how much return you are actually getting from your investment in marketing activities.
Once your website and social platforms are ready, it’s vital that you connect and monitor the analytics to improve the way prospects could potentially find you and engage with you online. The nice thing about digital marketing is that virtually everything can be tracked. With all the tracking possibilities, what should you focus on first?
In all honesty, it depends. It depends on the maturity of your business and which industry you are in. Some things will matter more to certain companies than others. But all businesses are interested in the bottom line. As I explained earlier, that ‘bottom-line figure is only realised after the final stage in the marketing funnel. To ensure that you keep feeding that bottom line, however, there are metrics that you can use to monitor customer patterns and movements at each stage of the funnel so you can focus your attention on profitable actions.
I have selected a few metrics which I feel are valuable for any business to measure online. These metrics will help you track, monitor and analyse your prospects at each stage of the marketing funnel. The important thing to remember is not to try and measure everything all at once. Pick a few metrics that matter most to you right now and focus on monitoring and improving those. You can always shift your focus to other metrics as your business changes over time.