We all know someone or it could be ourselves, who has an online business and who needs to create sales funnel in order to convert his or her visitors into paying customers.

Your survival rest upon visitors turning into customers. If you fail to do that, you will hardly make any money.

In order to be successful in your goal, you will have to move people from the different stages of your sales funnel until they are ready to purchase.

It is important for you to understand the Sales Funnel Stages. From the first time your prospect hears about you until the moment he becomes a paying customer, he will go through different stages of your sales funnel.

The journey might be different from one prospect to the next, depending on your buying personas, your niche and the type of products and services you are selling.

So a sales funnel can be designed as per your needs, there is no fixed model but in general, there are four main stages that you will need to pay attention to:

Awareness – this stage is where the prospect learns about your brand, product or service. This is also where the prospect becomes aware of his problem and he knows that he needs to solve it.

This stage is where he visits your website or social media channel for the first time. He may have found your brand or product through ads, search engine, a post shared on social media, referral or another traffic source.

Interest – this stage is where the prospect is actively looking for solutions to his problems and want to know ways to achieve his goals. This goes through a search on Google or another search engine. At this stage, your content can attract the prospect.

It is also the time where interest is shown for your product or service. Following your social media page and subscribe to your blog or email list are all signs that your prospect is interested in your solutions.

Decision – this stage is where the prospect is making the decision that he wants to take advantage of your solution. He will pay more attention to your offer, features, packages or bundles so that he can make the final decision to purchase.

This is where sales offers are made by using sales pages, calls, emails, etc.

Action – at this stage your prospect is now a customer and the deal is finalized. He is willing to commit to your product or service.

There may be other additional stages to your sales funnel, it is all about how your business model operates.

Your customers might become brand evangelists and refer your brand to others, thus bringing more customers to your business. You can have repeated purchase from the customer, then he becomes a loyal customer. But, we will keep it simple.

Now, many marketers do not align their content marketing efforts with their sales funnel stages and by doing so they can’t close as many deals as those who do so. More often than not, they don’t go deep enough. As a result, they fail to move prospects to the next stage.

This is how you can counter this issue.

Use blog. By blogging, you will generate awareness and interest in your brand and solutions.

The blog also generates traffic for your website. By optimising your content with the right keywords, you can attract your target customers from organic search.

Social Media – promote your content through social media channels will provide for awareness and also influence other people to check your brand, product or service.

Webinars and Videos. Webinars can be used as lead magnets and also they can persuade prospects to make a purchase. When someone is signing up for a webinar, he is already pretty interested in your services or solutions.  They know that their goal can be achieved through your brand.

Videos can cover all stages of the sales funnel. You can do explainer video that will build interest and demand for your product or service. Sales video can persuade a prospect to click on the buy button.

Those are some examples, there are a lot more content marketing strategies you can adopt, check our past articles related to content marketing and strategies for ideas.

Now, how to create your sales funnel. You will first need to gather data and understand your customers. Talk to them, engage with them, such that you know who is buying your product and service. You need to understand the needs and problems of your customers in order to sell them your solutions.  This is how you come to adjust your sales funnel to focus on key and relevant selling points.

Once you have understood your customer, you will have to create buying personas. Remember, you can have the same sales funnel for all your customers as everyone has a different reason for buying a product and people make buying decision differently.

It is better and smarter to create different buyer personas for each customer type and create different sales funnels to better match their experience.

Then you will have to consider traffic and lead generation strategies. You can use Google Adwords, Facebook Ads or other social media advertising solutions to bring traffic to your website. Paid traffic is the easiest way to bring traffic to your website but you also have “Free” traffic.

They are not so “free” but you don’t pay for directly. You might need to spend money on paid tools and work really hard to optimise your site for Google and earn the attention of others so they start talking about you. These include SEO and social media traffic (non-paid), referral traffic and direct traffic.  The use of emailing is also a good way to get traffic to your website.

You will also have to develop engagement strategies to engage your leads, educate them and help them to move to the next stages of your sales funnel. You can engage them with blogs, videos, podcasts or social media posts.

Finally, you have to develop closing strategies. These are used to convert your prospects into customers. Here, sales call and emails work well. You need to turn their implied needs into explicit needs. Make a clear offer that targets your customer and close the deal.

Keep gathering data and analyse them to better your sales funnel, it is an ongoing process.

Written by Gi0