The job of each step in marketing is simply to get people to take the next step.

When you know how well each step is working, you can see what’s best to spend your time improving first.

In this blog, we’re going to talk about your sales funnel and calculations you can do to see how best to boost your sales.

In the coming series of blogs, we’ll be walking through an example showing the nitty gritty how to set this up, what calculations to make, and how to interpret them.

You can read on or watch the video, whichever you prefer.

The basic jobs

Starting at the beginning, remember: the job of each step in marketing is simply to get people to take the next step.

The job of your paid advertising is to raise awareness of your brand, and get more people following you in one way or another (followers on social media, email subscribers, etc).

The job of your content marketing (social media posts, email newsletters, etc) is to get and keep people interested in your brand and how you can help them.

The job of your sales pages is to help people decide to buy from you.

What are the steps your customer takes to buy from you?

This is the very first step. This may be different for different services or products, and it will change over time.

There could be only a few steps, especially for a low-price, straightforward product.

Or there could be quite a few steps, especially for high-ticket, one-to-one, bespoke services.

So first, map this out. What does it look like for your customers and clients? What does it look like for your different products and services?

What’s a funnel?

A sales funnel is the steps you’ve just defined above.

It has 4 basic parts: Awareness, Interest, Decision, and Action.

People first become aware of you, and then some of them become interested in what you’re selling, and then some of them reach the point where they’ve decided to buy and they’re considering their options, and then some of them take action and buy from you.

People drop out all along this path, so there are more people at the top becoming aware of you, and fewer people at the bottom buying from you. This makes it shaped like a funnel, so that’s what we call it.

A sales funnel with 4 stages: Awareness, Interest, Decision, and Action.

What does this look like in your business?

Brick & Mortar shop

Let’s say you have a brick and mortar shop.

First, people walk past your shop: this is awareness.

Then, some of them walk into your shop: they’ve shown interest in what you’re selling.

Then, some of those people pick up objects, handle them, maybe compare a couple of things, maybe take a few garments to a dressing room, maybe get out their phone and compare to prices online, and so on: they’ve decided to buy and are considering their options.

Then, some of those people bring items to the till and pay: they are taking action and buying.

 Service provider

Or, let’s say you are a service provider, and you use networking as your primary form of marketing.

First, people hear your pitch in a networking group: they are aware of you.

Then, some of them book a one-to-one chat with you: they’re showing interest in what you’re selling.

Then, some of those people look at your services page (or pages), or maybe they DM you, or check out your testimonials, or book a call with you, or check out competitors offering the same service: they’ve decided to buy, and are considering their options.

Then, some of those people take action and buy from you.

What does it do for you?

Remember, knowing how many people drop out along the way at each of these stages tells you which of your marketing efforts you should focus on improving first.

You count how many people make it through these various stages of your funnel. You use those to calculate your conversion rates.

How it works: an example

Let’s say you pay for a Facebook ad, and 100 people see it. That’s the top layer, awareness.

Then, 4 people click through to give you their email address to join your email list. That’s the second layer, interest.

Then, 3 of them click links from your emails to your sales page links when you share them.

Finally, let’s say that all 3 of them bought from you.

We can calculate your conversion rates at each step of the path:

  • From Awareness to Interest, we had 4 100 people = 4% conversion rate.
  • From Interest to Decision, we had 3 4 people = 75% conversion rate.
  • From Decision to Action, we had 3 3 people = 100% conversion rate.

What do those numbers mean?

    • Very few people who see your advertising are interested; your ads need help.
    • Most people reading your emails are interested; your emails are doing really well.
    • All people reading your sales page are interested; your sales page is ace and you shouldn’t touch it.

So, you want to spend time on that very first step, your advertising. Now you have a place to start and things to test. You may want to focus on

    • writing better copy, or
    • offering something more interesting, or
    • using better images, or
    • targeting your ads to different people, or
    • advertising in different places.

Try one new thing, then compare your results. Keep or ditch that change, then change one other thing. Keep going!

Conclusion

We’ve had an overview of how a sales funnel works and how you can use it to focus your time, energy, and money.

In the coming series of blog posts, I’ll walk you through some of the considerations for setting up a funnel so that you can actually get these numbers. We’ll consider how fine-grained you want to know your numbers, what’s involved in getting those, and how to interpret the results.

Watch this space!

 

Hi, I'm Sara-Jayne Slocombe, and my mission is to help businesses run better. Everything I do is aimed at giving you the confidence to run your business using the power of your numbers.

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Sara-Jayne Slocombe