Business owners often engage with prospects with the intent to eventually convert them into paying customers. Sales funnels are a sound strategy to help nurture prospects.
When you provide valuable information and content that helps solve your prospects' challenges, they may be more likely to trust your brand. And with a trustworthy brand, prospects can be much more likely to convert into paying customers.
Nurturing leads is important. Businesses that nurture their leads typically generate more sales.
So often business owners just put a product in front of the prospect with the expectation that they'll make a purchase. But thinking of sales funnels as a way to nurture an ongoing relationship can help businesses add value to would-be customers. You wouldn't come up to a stranger and ask them to get married. The same goes with prospects. It takes time: Once customers get to know your brand and engage with it, they are more likely to purchase a product or service.
As you're creating your sales funnel, consider the importance of sharing the correct content for each period of the purchaser's journey.
I speak from experience running nurture campaigns. Only a small portion of qualified leads are prepared to buy immediately. So, instead of pestering your leads with frequent calls or inactionable emails, consider implementing a sales funnel using ToFu, MoFu and BoFu content creation. (ToFu, MoFu and BoFu are shorthand references to the phases of the inbound marketing sales funnel.)
ToFu: Top of the Funnel
The top of sales funnels is the awareness stage. The prospect is experiencing a problem or challenge and is doing research to more clearly understand the problem.Here is where you can position your business as the subject-matter expert and prove your authority on the topic.
Your objective with ToFu content is to educate your audience on a particular pain point or challenge that they're hoping to address, without a business tie-in. (You'll get the chance to do this with your MoFu content as clarified beneath.)
In this phase of the sales funnel, you're hoping to draw in a substantially large gathering of potential leads, as the number of interested prospects will get smaller and smaller down the funnel.
Typical forms of content and key elements of the top of funnel phase:
- blog posts
- social media posts
- email newsletters
- landing pages
- sign-up forms
MoFu: Middle of the Funnel
Once a lead converts on a piece of content in the ToFu stage, the prospect can then advance into the MoFu stage.
MoFu is the most complex as the length and type of content in this phase can vary based on your business model. If it's a simple consumer product, then this phase might require a short period and more promotional content. If your business model is a complex, multi-faceted SaaS product, then this might entail a long nurture phase with numerous touchpoints of in-depth content including articles, case studies and white papers.
In this phase of sales funnels, your content continues to educate your prospect, adds value and, at the same time, positions your brand as the answer for the lead's needs and pain points.
Typical forms of content and key elements of the middle of funnel phase:
- sales pages
- in-depth videos
- case studies
- white papers
- email autoresponders
BoFu: Bottom of the Funnel
You've pulled in a solid number of leads with your ToFu content. You've warmed them up with your MoFu content. Now you're ready for the BoFu stage, which is the most decisive since you're going in for the sale.
Your BoFu stage may not consist of content at all. The prospect has decided on their solution; now they are pruning the list down to ultimately make a purchase decision.
One-on-one engagement, sales calls or a free assessment are strategies you can utilize in this phase of your sales funnels.
Typical forms of content and key elements of the bottom of funnel phase:
- price comparison charts
- salesperson engagement
- welcome email series
- follow-up calls
Using Marketing Automation in Your Sales Funnels
Creating sales funnels manually is difficult. But using marketing automation platforms can help your business automate a portion of the processes while you and your team carve out more time to create content and engage with your prospects.
The case for marketing automation are compelling. Based on my findings with my clients, companies that automate lead management tend to see a greater increase in revenue.
There are numerous marketing automation platforms in the marketplace. Hubspot is an all-in-one platform that not only includes marketing automation, but also a CRM (Customer Relationship Manager), landing page creation and analytics. Infusionsoft is a mid-range software typically used by digital product businesses as it integrates a CRM and marketing automation with the content delivery.
Mailchimp is reasonably priced and still has all the capabilities of a marketing automation platform, along with email marketing and analytics. In addition, its platform can integrate with numerous other marketing technology platforms such as shopping carts, advertising, retargeting, subscription software and more.
You may want to consider utilizing content in your sales funnels to help bring prospects in at the top (ToFu), nurture and engage in the middle (MoFu) and convert at the bottom (BoFu). This type of strategy can help you bring more qualified users into the fold to engage with your brand.
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