Anyone who has spent any time at all in sales is familiar with the concept of the sales funnel – that time-tested model for leading the prospective customer from initial attraction to decisive action. If your inbound marketing isn’t producing the results it should, you may need to evaluate whether it’s supporting this journey correctly. Let’s look at how aligning your marketing strategies with different stages of the sales funnel can boost your inbound lead generation.
Content Marketing: Your Sales Funnel’s Front Door
The wide end of the sales funnel is very wide indeed, but it’s not the entire Internet – just the people who are using search terms that might indicate an interest in your products or services. These are your potential website visitors, so you lead them into your sales funnel by showing up in their search queries. How do you do that? Let us count (some of) the ways:
- Blogging is a great way to get noticed. By creating a steady stream of relevant, helpful, engaging articles on the subjects your prospects care about, you may inspire enough interest to get readers to click through to other blogs, or even to your website.
- Social media connects your marketing content to a community of like-minded individuals and businesses. By cultivating those social media channels where your target market is most likely to hang out, you can join – and perhaps be the subject of – vibrant online conversations even as you refer people to your site.
- SEO can lead prospects into a shortcut through the top level of your sales funnel directly to your e-commerce site. Optimize your site carefully with the right mix of relevant long-tail keywords, and your site may show up as the answer to your prospect’s burning question or concern.
Your E-Commerce Site: Directing Traffic Through the Funnel
Now that you’ve driven the public to the midpoint of the the sales funnel – your website – it’s time to confront them with more specific marketing content so you determine which of them are seriously interested in what you have to offer. To achieve this, your website must be easy to read and navigate, with obvious links and buttons to direct your inbound traffic streams toward their proper destinations. Each page should provide logical links to other pages, including your product and service pages, while the home page should serve as a great main hall with all the portals clearly marked.
One critical error that can spoil your inbound lead generation efforts at this stage is failing to build a responsive website. A growing portion of the online consumer market does its searching and shopping via mobile devices, and if your website cannot shrink down to fit smaller screens elegantly and functionally, the middle of your sales funnel could be the end of the line for many prospects.
The End of the Funnel: Lead Targeting and Followup
By the time your prospects reach the last and narrowest part of your sales funnel, you’ve weeded out the casual visitors in favor of a small but genuinely interested group. Ideally, they’re now viewing landing pages pitching the specific products and services that address their needs.
Make certain these pages contain your most compelling content, laid out in clear text with plenty of white space and enticing headers every few paragraphs. Then make absolutely sure you’ve hooked them by offering them the chance to download an e-book, in-depth article, or coupon in exchange for that all-important contact information. Congratulations – you now have the means to continue touching these red-hot leads via email blasts, newsletters and special offers until you close the sale.
If your marketing follows your sales funnel, your inbound lead generation is bound to benefit from it. Here’s a white paper to help you get things off to a great start by blogging more successfully.