Hammerkit Master Class: Funnel Content for Sales
When building new client relationships as an agency or advising your clients how to leverage the web to enhance revenues, you need to be aware of techniques that help. Funnel marketing is one of the oldest forms of published marketing approach and has both ardent supporters and detractors that believe it just does not work.
From a digital marketing perspective, when good content meets a good marketing process a funnel is easy to construct and always leads to positive results. Period. However, the web is much more complex a world that traditional marketing media, so how do you leverage funnel marketing in your digital PR strategies – after all, as we have been talking about, your success is now measured in concrete results.
The first step is to construct the funnel. This basically means starting with an audience - the number of people you have access to that are potentially qualified to buy your services. You want an audience to become aware of your offering, as this is the first stage in the funnel – Awareness.
Next you convert your aware audience into prospects that identify themselves as being in the market for your stuff. These people self-select, as they are shoppers looking for something like the services you supply. This is Interest and this converts prospects to leads.
The third stage is converting interest into Desire. Desire is the stage where leads indicate a willingness to become a customer if the offer, the timing and the deal are right. The final part of the process is Action, where a person completes a transaction with you to become a customer.
The funnel of Awareness, Interest, Desire, Action (or AIDA as it is more commonly known) was first promoted in 1898 by Elias St. Elmo Lewis. It has become the de facto sales process of the last century and I believe it still works today.
When we reflect how it would work in todays context we have ready methods that PR can tap into to:
- Reach an audience and create awareness such as Facebook, Twitter, Blogging, mobiles sites, augmented reality challenges
- Convert the broad audience into prospects such as using Likes, Retweets or Facebook competitions that allow individuals to add their details voluntarily to become leads
- Approaches to build desire by offering the right deal to the right lead at the right time, such as Google Adwords campaigns that promote offers when the user is searching for that product or outrider sites that draw leads back to the main site when they are looking for similar products
- Ways to drive sales action, like email offers that help to close the deal by offering a slight discount or other incentive if action is taken.
What do all of these methods have in common? They are all content-led – meaning that there is every reason why digital PR should take the lead in making them happen.
One very nice trend that is happening in web design that reflects the success of the funnel is the approach of providing multiple front doors to your services on your web site that reflect the stage of the AIDA process a potential customer is in. This is very well shown and discussed by The Sales Lion (Marcus Sheridan) who writes about the approaches he has used to drive his successful swimming pool business. Sounds bizarre, I know – but if he can use it to build a business around large value, one-off purchases then most business-to-business services can do likewise. You can read more about it here http://www.thesaleslion.com/home-page-design-funnel-marketing/.
The simple fact is a funnel is good on many levels. It provides a structured process, evidence in the form of data and results that can be measured. If you have been following my other posts on lean digital production, one of the things you will know by now that if you have these things you have something you can continuously improve. Regardless of whether you are doing this for yourself or if you are helping you clients, this will lead to results that count. Just do it!