3 Reasons why A Bad (or Non-Existent) Sales Funnel is Putting Dollars in Your Competitor’s Pocket
If Adele sang about the marketing world, she’d be singing “Funnel” instead of “Hello” right now. (Somebody needs to get on that parody video right away!)
“Funnel” is everywhere these days. People are talking about what should be in them, how they should be designed, and what tools are best. There are even highly paid specialists who analyze and optimize a company’s marketing funnel. It’s called Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO).
In the internet marketing industry, this is old news. Internet tools introduced in the early 2000’s enabled businesses to test what was working or not working on their websites, then adjust accordingly. Google’s free Website Optimizer (2007) accelerated that process...and there’s no sign of slowing down.
Now this may come as a surprise to some, but “Marketing Funnel” is not a new term. Not by a long shot.
It was imagined by Elmo Lewis in 1898!
Internet Marketing (IM), however, has exploded the term big-time in recent years.
Why? It’s simple. Businesses, and lots of them, are utilizing optimized funnels to make boat-loads of money.
Sometimes in the brick and mortar small business marketplace there’s this adolescent-style peer pressure to have or use something because everyone else is.
This happens all the time with social media platforms! I often see small businesses with every imaginable social media button known to man on their web site. Yet, when I look at multi-billion dollar companies, oft times I only see two or three.
This pressure to do what everyone else is doing is a scourge. And not just in Jr. Hi!
In the case of social media platforms, it comes down to the scourge of bad strategy.
Reactionary thinking says, “Everyone’s on Instagram. We’d better start an account!” OR “McDonald’s is on Snapchat. Er, what is that anyway?!”
Strategic thinking says, “What social media platform does my target customer use most? Let’s go start a conversation with them there.”
That’s why some multi-billion dollar companies only publish on two or three social platforms. They know that’s where their target customer will be found.
Just a Shiny New Toy?
So, is it the same when it comes to “marketing funnels?” Is it the latest fad? Is it just peer pressure to have something everyone else does? Is it the newest shiny thing?
No. A big fat whopping NO.
Here’s why. A marketing funnel isn’t necessarily a “thing.”
The funnel is more of a way at looking at the “thing” called marketing. Then building a profitable, repeatable strategy around it.
A funnel can be a “thing” as in a specific tool or platform, like Clickfunnels, Infusionsoft, or LeadPages. But you can have a kick-ass funnel without using one of these online funnel platforms. It depends on your business niche.
Large businesses and enterprise-level corporations have complex marketing funnels with NASA-level flow charts. And they utilize custom software integrations equal to the budget of many small countries.
This is the reason so many small businesses avoid dipping their toe into the “funnel” ocean. It’s just so overwhelming. And so they continue to depend on hanging out the proverbial shingle, advertising here and there, using print ads in local magazines, posting on Facebook, et al, and hoping it all works out.
Problem is, it’s not very effective or efficient, and thus, it’s not profitable.
So, What’s a Funnel?
Rather than getting into a “what is it?” discussion. It’s more helpful to get into “what does it do?” discussion.
What does a “marketing funnel” actually do?
The way I see it, a marketing funnel is a framework that helps you do two primary things:
One: It forces you to Consider the Path your customer takes from being a stranger to becoming a buyer.
Who’s the target customer?
Where do you reach out to them?
How / where do they find you?
How do they learn to trust you?
How do they know you can solve their problem?
Why do they choose you over a competitor?
The customer’s path as envisioned by the (naive) business owner:
i.e., “Hello, I love you, here’s my money.”
The customer’s path in reality is more like Billy in The Family Circus:
i.e., There is no linear path.
That’s where the funnel comes in.
No, it can’t FORCE a stranger down a linear path to become your customer. But if you do it right, it CAN provide the signposts and direction to make it waaaay less circuitous.
So, after challenging you to Consider the Path of your customer, the second thing it can do for you is that it directs you to:
TWO: Create a Plan that helps move them from stranger to buyer.
By “create a plan” I mean:
Create a strategy targeting a specific WHO (target customer) - with the WHAT we’re going to do & WHY
Choose our tactics appropriate to the strategy - the HOW and WHERE we’re going to deploy the funnel awesomeness
Select our tools - the online (offline in some cases) services that accomplish our goals.
Write out the copy that leads calls people to action.
Execute! (there’s more steps after this, but this is enough for now)
Maybe as a business owner, you’ve been avoiding all this funnel talk. You don’t currently have a “marketing funnel.” Or, you have one but you know it’s kinda crude and not very optimized.
Do You NEED a Funnel?
Let me hereby light a fire under you to say - you need one. You really, really do. You need to have a clear picture of your customer’s PATH and your PLAN to make buyers out of strangers.
I don’t care how small, medium, or large your business is, you need to have a marketing funnel conceptualized and implemented. (Pssst: This goes for non-profits, too.)
Depending on your business niche, you may also benefit from a funnel product like Clickfunnels or the like.
So, what are the three burning reasons should you have a marketing funnel?
1. Because It’s Trendy
By trendy I don’t mean the latest social media darling. By trendy I mean people making gobs of money trendy.
Businesses small and large are utilizing the creation of a marketing funnel to not just make money, but drastically increase profit. Why? Because technology and the internet make it possible to automate the process with very little babysitting.
This is efficiency of marketing effort. Efficiency = profit. Hey, if something’s working (Considering the Path then Creating a Plan), don’t reinvent the wheel. Copy it!
2. Because You’re Leaving Money on the Table
(Actually, putting it into your competitor’s pocket)
No one wants to do that. It just sucks. But if you don’t have a well-considered path and plan to turn strangers into buyers, your competition is gobbling up those customers. Again - suckiness.
3. Because it Forces You to Get Serious about What’s Actually Effective and Efficient
It’s easier and cheaper than ever to track the performance and effectiveness of a marketing campaign. Rather than throwing something out there on a wing and prayer, technology lets us see what our market is actually responding to. We can use analytics to evaluate trends and make adjustments accordingly. Suh-weet!
What’s the next step?
You can choose to get lost down the rabbit hole of googling “marketing funnel.” Believe me, I have. Don’t waste your time culling through posts and pages that don’t have little if anything to do with you.
Do this instead. Go download my free report called “Marketing Funnel for Dummies.” It’ll expand your understanding of what a marketing funnel is, what it does, and why you need one.
Click here to learn more: http://www.scott-mills.com/#!funnel/y9dqm