Mastering The Sales Funnel: 5 Proven Strategies For Converting Leads Into Paying Customers

The sales funnel broken up into sections for Awareness, Consideration and Decision resting on a pie chart with conversion rate of a business mastering the sales funnel

The sales funnel plays a crucial role in effectively converting leads into paying customers. There are numerous tools and channels available for business owners to make sales – social media, email marketing, and PPC etc, but it’s important to distinguish these methods from the sales funnel itself. 

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A sales funnel is a conceptual model that captures the typical journey of a customer starting from the awareness stage, through consideration, all the way down to making a purchase. This funnel can be broken down into several different stages based on the prospect’s level of knowledge, priorities, and level of engagement. In this article, we'll discuss 5 strategies for mastering the sales funnel and converting complete strangers into loyal customers.

1. Start With The Right Message

One of the most crucial factors in moving leads through your sales funnel is to make sure you are targeting the right audience with the right content, at the right time. A persona-centred marketing approach involves segmenting your leads according to demographic, behavioural, and psychographic criteria. This allows you to tailor your marketing messages to their specific needs at every stage of the sales funnel/buyer’s journey, which makes it more likely that they will progress from one stage to the next, until ultimately, they are ready to make a sale.

Start by identifying the key features and benefits of your product or service and the questions that your prospects may have at each stage, and then craft content that highlights these features in a way that resonates with your target audience. At the awareness stage, for instance, your prospect’s priority will be determining a potential solution to the challenge they are experiencing – they won’t be interested in technical details, your company history, or even price at this stage. If your content isn’t aligned with your prospect’s present priorities, they won’t give it their time. To convert, your content must resonate with where your prospect is on their buyer journey today.

2. Use Lead Magnets

Lead magnets are essentially freebies that you offer to your leads in exchange for their contact information. The idea behind this is to provide value and useful material upfront so that the leads are more likely to trust you and engage with your business. A lead magnet can be anything from an ebook to a free consultation, or even a free email course or webinar series, as long as it provides value to your target audience. Once you have their contact information, you can nurture these leads through the rest of the sales funnel. Ebooks or guides are a popular choice because you can advertise them through a pop-up window on your website, immediately drawing your visitors’ attention and encouraging more signups for your email list. Start with one general interest ebook on your home page for awareness stage leads, and then expand your resource library into a range of guides and incentive content relevant to each stage of the buyer journey.

3. Create A Sense Of Urgency

People generally don’t act unless there is a sense of urgency involved, such as a deadline or a time-limited deal. Leads usually go cold, therefore, unless there is an incentive for the person to take action. Creating a sense of urgency in your content is a powerful way to move leads through the sales funnel and shorten your sales cycle. You can try and create this urgency ‘around you’ by offering limited-time promotions or discounts – but a more effective way is to highlight the urgency of the prospect finding a solution to their challenges, e.g. how acting now or investing in such and such solution can save time and money and prevent future problems. Make the urgency about them for the best results. You can also use social proof, such as customer reviews or case studies, to show the prospect how prompt action by another customer yielded XYZ benefits. This strategy is particularly effective in the consideration stage of the sales funnel where leads are comparing different options and service providers.

4. Nurture Leads

In digital marketing, ‘cold sales’ are rarely made overnight, so nurturing leads through the sales funnel over the course of weeks or months is crucial for maximising conversions and sales revenues. You want to ensure that you're staying in touch with your leads and providing them with valuable information that moves them closer to making a purchase, not letting the conversation go cold or allowing your stream of content to dry up. You can maintain your conversation with prospects through email marketing, social media marketing, or many other forms of digital marketing; the key is to provide value to your leads with every communication or touch point and build a relationship with them over time.

5. Close The Deal

Closing the deal is the final stage of the sales funnel where leads are converted into customers. This is where you want to make sure that your messaging is completely aligned with the financial and strategic needs of your potential customer. This is when many sales fall through, so you’ll need to have content available that answers questions relating to implementation, quality assurance, technical details, payment terms, and after-sales care, and be ready to address any concerns they may have. It's important to have a clear call to action in all decision-stage content and a defined sales process in place to make the purchase and onboarding process as easy and seamless as possible.

Find Out More

To find out more about how to tailor the sales funnel and your digital marketing strategy to the needs of your customers in order to boost conversions, please contact JDR Group’s digital marketing team today, or download our free guide on How To Attract, Win, Keep And Grow Customers.

Guide To Attract, Win, Keep And Grow Customers

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