Marketing is an essential part of having a successful business. Most business owners know that, without proper marketing and advertising, your business will most likely fail. After all, if you don’t have customers, you don’t have a business.
But what most business owners do not recognise is that successful businesses have a marketing system that brings in clients and new businesses almost like clockwork.
Many business owners systemise their production and delivery, using McDonald’s as the poster child, but very few understand the concept of systemising your marketing function. Those few who understand and practice this concept, are the ones who experience consistent growth in customers and their business.
At the core of systemising your marketing, is what is known as the marketing funnel. So let’s talk about what a marketing funnel is, and how it can help your business.
A marketing funnel, in general terms, is a process that involves your potential customers who move from their first awareness of your company or brand through all of the important steps that will essentially get them to buy your product or service.
The funnel is a way of getting that potential client to actually see the value in your company, and make their way to the bottom of the said funnel. Or essentially, they go from a potential customer to a devoted raving fan of your business.
The top of the funnel (the wider part) is where the marketing starts. Here, you have to come up with the marketing campaigns, ideas, and anything else that is going to get attention.
This can be done through the Internet or offline traditional channels. This marketing portion brings awareness of your brand and product to the masses online or even in person. This will then make them stand up and see your company as a potential place to buy goods or hire services. For instance, using social media is a great form of marketing because you can reach a large audience and have your marketing messages go viral. We have found marketing through webinars is a great way for businesses to have a captured audience where you can explain the benefits of your service and move potential clients further down the funnel towards a sale.
When you have successfully created awareness to your company and business, then you move to the next portion of the funnel, which is essentially where that potential customer will show interest in your company. I generally like to get contact details at this stage in exchange for some useful information that I can email or post to them. Alternatively, you can offer a free consultation at this stage.
Those who say yes here have moved further down the funnel.
The next stage then is to get them to buy something from you. I like to adopt what many other marketers call the ‘self-liquidating offer’ something small that even costs just a few dollars but is packed with so much value you’d be crazy to say no!
Most businesses try to sell a big ticket item here but I believe that getting more first-time customers to pass that first step is essential for building trust that will give them the confidence to buy more from you. That is why I often advocate that business people should write books because your book can be this ‘self-liquidating offer’ that gets them to take the next step with you. Moreover, your book can double up as an authority builder and a sales tool.
The next stage of your funnel is then pretty obvious: it’s where they buy a more expensive item from you. This is when you actually start making a profit from your customer. The thing is, this may not happen immediately, so you will need a specific process here to convert them, whether it be a series of emails or direct mail.
Ultimately, you then want them to keep coming back and buying your stuff repeatedly or buying your other products. This in itself requires a carefully devised strategy to keep them returning time after time.
Looking at a large company like Amazon, as an example, you can see how this works. When they advertise, it comes up on other websites and sometimes even on television. This is the first stage. Then, their customers are often enticed by a deal such as free shipping, deal of the day, lower prices or quick delivery. You will have to create an account to buy things from them.
Once you have selected your first item, they will often show you other related products, which then gets you spending more money with them.
After that, Amazon will try to engage you by asking you to write product reviews, offer you product suggestions based on your past purchases and have periodic special offers to entice you to come back.
Their ultimate goal is that buying from Amazon becomes a habit from you because it is so convenient and simple. That is Amazon’s marketing system that has helped them grow into a multi-billion dollar giant corporation with over 250 million regular customers worldwide.
While you may not have such lofty ambitions, the same principle of developing a marketing system can be applied to your business to grow it consistently. Start working on your marketing funnel today!