Tips on Moving the Customer Through the Sales Funnel

Taking a potential customer and converting them to a loyal advocate for life is the goal of most organizations. While I have covered customer loyalty and advocacy in previous blogs, I recently was asked for suggestions on how to move a potential customer down the sales funnel to make that oh-so-important first sale.

Here are a few tips on how to shorten the sales cycle…

A typical sales funnel may look like this:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As your prospect moves through the sales cycle, your goals will change as they meet each stage in the decision process:

  1. Awareness – Perhaps your product or service is well known. Maybe it is not. In either case, the goal is to make sure your service/product is top-of-mind when they eventually have a need
  2. Consideration – Engage with those who are now aware your service/product exists
  3. Preference – Educate those who are now committed to making a purchase but haven’t decided where yet
  4. Purchase – Make the sale!

I recommend you think of moving your prospect through the sales funnel as a series of small conversions. Each conversion leads to the next and will eventually result in a sale. To be successful, it will be critical to define what each stage looks like for your particular company, develop a step-by-step plan to communicate with the prospect for each stage, and to track and analyze the results along the way.

Awareness

I have written blogs on each of the following topics if you care to do further reading. However, I am going to assume we are all in agreement these are some of the more successful ways to generate awareness and drive traffic to your website:

Engage

Once your prospects are aware of your service/products, it is time to engage them. To do this, you will need to get their email address so you can communicate directly with them. Not so simple, you say? Here are some great tips on how to use “lead magnets” to build your database with opt-in subscribers:

101 Lead Magnet Ideas For Every Stage Of Your Marketing Funnel

16 Ridiculously Simple Ways To Get More Email Subscribers in Less than 5 Minutes

Keep in mind, the prospect is not only volunteering their contact information, but they are also volunteering what interests them, based on what offer they responded to when prompted. It is important to keep their interest in mind when reaching out, so to not be considered spam and provide the best chance to engage them.

Tips to consider when engaging your prospects: Continue reading

How To Turn Your Customers Into Advocates – Part 2

Turning customers into Advocates will do wonders for your business. There may be no better way to create a sale than by having your customers rave about your business/product/service. In my last blog, I discussed how creating online communities will keep your customers on your site, and talking about you. But, what can you do to create a community in person?

This notion has been around for ages. One classic example is a book club sponsored or created by bookstores. What better way to get people reading more than to get a group of people to all read the same book and then gather to discuss it? There is something about sharing one’s passion with a fellow fan that brings a lot of joy. Plus, there is the peer pressure of finishing it by the allotted time, and being able to discuss it intelligently. Ultimately, it keeps the customers active in what you offer and, hopefully, your business “top of mind.”

You may be thinking, “But what about my business? I don’t sell books. What can I do to get people together to enjoy my service/product?”

The answer is simple, really. Continue reading

How To Turn Your Customers Into Advocates – Part 1

It is no secret… it costs more to win a customer than it does to retain one. You may spend considerable capital to advertise your product or service to fill your pipeline with interested prospects, with only a certain percentage actually closing. After all that investment, effort and manpower to get the sale, doesn’t it make sense to do what you can to keep them spending with you?

There are many avenues of creating customer retention; loyalty programs, coupons, customer referral rewards, auto drafts, subscriptions, to name a few very effective ways. However, you may want to consider adding another tool for your arsenal: Communities.

Providing customers a place to gather, whether online or in person, will create a bond around a common interest. This is the best way to turn Loyal Customers into Advocates. According to Dictionary.com, to advocate is “to speak or write in favor of; support or urge by argument; recommend publicly.”

Wouldn’t it be great if an undecided prospect read, or was personally given, a recommendation by one of your customers? In Fred Reichheld’s “The Ultimate Question,”  he breaks down customers in to three categories; Continue reading

Brand Loyalty and What it Means to America this Fall

My mom always told me, “Never discuss politics, religion or sports.” She was right, of course, as nothing gets people in more heated arguments than the subjects they hold so dear. As a marketing strategist and a person who has spent a career building brands, I understand the psychological hold brand loyalty can have over even the most intelligent and informed people.

When I mention words like; ketchup, cola, toothpaste, car, beer, fast food, computer and so on, chances are the brand of the product you are most loyal (or most aware) creeps into your subconscious and conscious brain. Some brands we may be loyalty to, while others we can be swayed by new data (opinions, reviews, advertising) or offers (deals, coupons), among other things.

The same can be said for matters more important than what we consume, such as the political party we side with, the religion or faith we practice, or the team we support and root for. For the most part, these topics are heavily weighted in our core being and it takes something drastic to change our minds.

Which brings me to the impact brand loyalty will have on America (and the world) this fall: the elections. In less than 60 days, we will be electing a new President, as well as one-third of U.S. Senate seats, all U.S. House seats and many statewide elections. Many Americans will vote simply based on brand loyalty.

Does this concern you? It scares me.

Another thing my parents taught me was to vote my conscious. Over the years, I didn’t allow the party to dictate my vote. Rather, I have researched the candidates and looked at their voting record, read their statements and did my best to shift through the facts. If I didn’t know enough about a candidate, I simply didn’t vote for that position. Has it been perfect? No, but I do feel like I am making an informed choice rather than simply voting because I like the brand.

Surveys show most Americans have made up their mind when it comes to the Presidential election, and all the social media posts, commercials and debates will do little to change their minds. Only about 10% of the population remains undecided at this point. To those still deciding, I hope you do your due diligence and vote your conscious over the brand.

Brand loyalty is an amazing thing. And as a brand strategist, I could talk about it for hours should we meet over lunch or drinks some time. And just as passionate I am about building brands, I could go on about how important my faith is to me, or how fanatical I am about my favorite sports team. In those, I am brand loyal for life. But, regarding politics? I think I’ll stick with my mom’s advice.

Cash Mob Mentality: Supporting Small Businesses

Cash Mob strikes! Imagine owning a small business and a crowd of people show up all at once. While you may be used to a handful of people at your location, all of the sudden… ten, thirty, even one hundred people come at the same time. And, they all have a $20 bill in their hand, ready to spend with you. You have probably heard of flash mobs, where groups of people ascend on a place for fun, demonstration, or promote an idea. But, have you heard of “cash mobs?”

This Friday, May 25th, will be the second annual International Cash Mob Day. The idea of a Cash Mob is to support local small businesses by organizing a group of people to visit them, with each member willing to spend $20 or more. The goal is for members of the community Continue reading

How To Turn Your Customers Into Advocates – Part 2

Turning customers into Advocates will do wonders for your business. There may be no better way to create a sale than by having your customers rave about your business/product/service. In my last blog, I discussed how creating online communities will keep your customers on your site, and talking about you. But, what can you do to create a community in person?

This notion has been around for ages. The classic example is a book club sponsored or created by bookstores. What better way to get people reading more than to get a group of people to all read the same book and then gather to discuss it? There is something about sharing one’s passion with a fellow fan that brings a lot of joy. Plus, there is the peer pressure of finishing it by the allotted time, and being able to discuss it intelligently. Ultimately, it keeps the customers active in what you offer and, hopefully, your business “top of mind.”

You may be thinking, “But what about my business? I don’t sell books. What can I do to get people together to enjoy my service/product?”

The answer is simple, really. Continue reading

How To Turn Your Customers Into Advocates – Part 1

It is no secret… it costs more to win a customer than it does to retain one. You may spend considerable capital to advertise your product or service to fill your pipeline with interested prospects, with only a certain percentage actually closing. After all that investment, effort and manpower to get the sale, doesn’t it make sense to do what you can to keep them spending with you?

There are many avenues of creating customer retention; loyalty programs, coupons, customer referral rewards, auto drafts, subscriptions, to name a few very effective ways. However, Your Guerrilla Marketer suggests adding another tool for your arsenal: Communities.

Providing customers a place to gather, whether online or in person, will create a bond around a common interest. This is the best way to turn Loyal Customers into Advocates. According to Dictionary.com, to advocate is “to speak or write in favor of; support or urge by argument; recommend publicly.”

Wouldn’t it be great if an undecided prospect read, or was personally given, a recommendation by one of your customers? In Fred Reichheld’s “The Ultimate Question,”  he breaks down customers in to three categories; Continue reading

What Football Can Teach Us About Marketing

It’s football season, and fans everywhere are scheduling where they will be on Sunday. Whether it is in front of the television, at a local sports bar or tailgating at the actual game, fans are flocking to the NFL (National Football League). On average, nearly 20 million people view NFL games every week. That’s per game. According to Nielsen, viewership is up for each network who televises NFL games and are averaging their most viewers ever, increasing close to 10% each year.

Wait. Isn’t baseball supposed to be “America’s pastime?”

The NFL has built a business model to be envied. Years ago, they knew they were coming in second to MLB (Major League Baseball) and have since built a juggernaut that now hosts games internationally and is a licensing machine. How did they do it?

Marketing.

Some traditional, some innovative, some grassroots. And we can learn from it all. Continue reading