The Sales Funnel: How Inbound Marketing Really Delivers the Business You Want

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The Sales Funnel: How Inbound Marketing Really Delivers the Business You Want

The Sales Funnel: How Inbound Marketing Really Delivers the Business You Want

The sales funnel is an inbound marketing process that pulls in prospects, turns them into leads and converts them into paying customers for your business. When you understand what happens at each stage of the sales funnel, and what action is required, you will have a better idea of how inbound marketing can deliver the business you want. Let’s break it down:

 

The stages

 

         Top of the sales funnel

 

The funnel opens when potential customers find your content because they have a specific requirement or have been searching for a solution to a problem. They have entered through a need to be educated and are not yet ready for a sales message.

 

         The middle stage

 

This is arguably the most important part of the sales funnel because the middle of the funnel is where you begin to build the relationship and introduce whatever it is that you are promoting. Inbound marketing techniques will guide qualified leads towards the final stage of becoming a customer.

 

         The bottom of the funnel

 

By the time your leads reach this stage they are already receptive to engagement from your sales team or your sales material. This is where you collect their personal details and get them to enter into the sales process.

 

Actions Required at Each Stage

 

The actions you use at each stage will depend on your line of business, but each action has to lead on from one level to the next, taking your prospects closer to delivering what you want from them.

 

         At the top

 

Content distribution at the top of the funnel should effectively narrow down the audience and gain attention from the most qualified leads. This means it should focus on serving those who are most likely to become customers, because they have a specific set of requirements.

 

For example, if you owned a landscape gardening business your target audience would be property owners and developers, but your qualified leads are those who own or are about to purchase property with an undeveloped or neglected area that requires landscaping. Your content at this stage should therefore focus on what those people are seeking to resolve or need to know.

 

Blog posting is the best way to open up the process, with SEO content about the main issues and areas of concern to your potential customers. Keywords should not be based directly on your business or its services but on the problem that you are offering to fix for the enquirer.

 

         In the middle

 

At this stage you could be distributing before and after images, video footage, answers to frequently asked questions, slideshows or some relevant email content. Each channel should be used to supply custom content, based on segmentation.

 

In the example of a landscape gardening service, you could use marketing automation to make sure that homeowners get to view content tailored for them and corporate landowners see something more relevant to their needs.

 

The middle stage is all about encouraging engagement and evaluation. Content should cover everything a prospect needs to consider in order to arrive at a decision.

 

It is essential to use the middle stage for building a reputation and not for any heavy promoting. Your content should be helping people to understand clearly why they need your particular product or service.

 

         At the bottom

 

The content at the bottom of the funnel has to focus on a customer’s objectives. At this stage the content must present a clear picture of the solution you are offering and end with a strong call to action. In the case of a landscape gardening service, the action would be to contact the company now for a quote.

 

Delivering What You Want

 

Inbound marketing will deliver exactly what you want from your leads. The three stages of the sale funnel will generate more leads, increase customer retention and provide your business with a better return on investment.

Paul Sullivan
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