T.P.R. Episode 2 - Sales & Marketing Funnels: Why should you care?
Sam: Today we're going to talk about sales and marketing funnels and why it matters to the success of your business and your overall marketing strategy.
Sales funnels are a core concept in digital marketing. A way to move prospective browsers into customers. You can't go 20-feet these days without hearing people talk about "funnel-this" and "funnel-that.
Let me simplify it for you. A funnel is a way to structure a series of offers, landing pages, and emails that lead a user to take a specific action, such as fill out a form for an offer, schedule an appointment or make a purchase. To keep it really, really simple, a sales and marketing funnel is the strategic positioning of content in order to build value for someone (like an offer, like highlighting offer) and influencing them to take a specific action.
Sam: Now Mikhail, why are we hearing so much about funnels?
Mikhail: I think we're hearing a lot about funnels because for a long time we were hearing a lot about content, content, content! And then people were like, "wait a minute, I'm producing all the content in the world and it's not generating any leads for us. And like you said, it's the strategic placement of content to lead somebody to make an action, like a purchase or an opt-in type-of-thing. So I think that's really what it is. People finally got fed-up, to be honest, with like, "content is king".
But no, not really. Sales is.
Sam: Interesting. Very interesting. So, it's not just enough to produce content. Companies are realizing that they need to produce content in order to position themselves as authority figures, and as someone that can be trusted for their product or service. But it's not just about creating the content, it's about leading someone to take an action.
Hannah, should marketing managers care about developing a marketing funnel?
Hannah: Definitely. Because as you just mentioned, the funnel turns prospects into customers. And so as the marketer, you're the one grabbing and bringing those prospects in. So you need to have that funnel in place in order to take it to your salespeople and to give them those leads that they can then turn into customers.
Sam: As a marketing manager, it's a great way to really build value in your services and what you're doing for the sales team, right? Because you're delivering qualified leads. And through a sales funnel, you can gather very specific and qualified information about leads that can help the sales team to overcome objections and to understand how to format and customize a product or service that that fits their needs.
So Hannah, how can a company use a marketing funnel to prevent losing out on potential customers?
Hannah: The biggest part is to nurture the prospects. And so you want to provide value in exchange for their email address and, maybe, liking your company on Instagram or something like that. And when you do that, you need to keep giving them value to nurture that relationship and as long as you're nurturing that relationship, then they'll stay engaged with you.
And that engagement will turn into a sale.
Sam: Very interesting. So on the other side of this, Mikhail, once you get someone into this funnel, once they've opted in for your offer, once they've become aware of your company and they've expressed interest, e-mail marketing is a huge way to to nurture them, to educate them, and to bring them back into, ultimately, landing on pages where there's calls-to-action and places for them to take action...
Why is email so important in a marketing and sales funnel?
Mikhail: E-mail is really important because it's still something that, generally, if people are going to open up your e-mail then they're going to take the time to read it, right?
So you have their attention, for however long it might be, which is a lot less than you might have on Instagram, where you have their attention for about half-a-second before they like it or scroll up. So I think that's one of the bigger reasons. In addition to that, it's a way to communicate with your potential customer that is more personal rather than just blasting out information. Hypothetically, that e-mail is tailored to them.
Sam: Exactly. Great point. And I think that in our experience with our clients, e-mail is the highest-converting channel. You're sending messages specifically for people that have already expressed an interest in what you do. And so that engagement is going to be super-high.
Hannah, how can a company use a marketing funnel to.... well, let me re-position this: What is the advice that you would give to a company who is trying to, for the first time, really go from that stage of creating a bunch of content to really creating that outline, or that structure, to build an actual sales funnel?
Hannah: I think a really important part of it is to sketch it all out ahead of time. And so to know what that content offer is, that sounds kind of buzzword-y but it's true, you find a couple of pieces of content that you can update (or package) into a guide and then have that be the lead magnet. Get their email address and then offer them that content, and then keep bringing it down, what is the second email? What's the third email? When do you go in for the sale?
And by mapping that all out at first, you know what is coming next and that can help you when you're setting up the emails (whether you use Infusionsoft, or MailChimp, or ConvertKit), having that plan ahead of time, even before you get into your service (or whatever your product or service is), can help you create a cohesive sales funnel.
Sam: Very interesting. So using a visual aid and really putting it on paper and mapping it out is huge. Here at Replay, as you guys know, we use FunnelMaps and we use our Perfect Path, Sources and Offers framework to help really create that visual aid for our clients so that they can really easily see where people are going to be coming from and what they're going to be experiencing as they lead to that final conversion event.
Sam: Great stuff, guys! To our viewer & to our listener, I hope you're able to find this episode of The Production Room really valuable and helpful. We thank you so much for joining us.
This has been an episode of The Production Room, brought to you by Replay - The Collective Marketing Agency. My name is Sam Smith, the Head of Growth Operations here at Replay and from all of us, we love you!
Until next time, don't stop growing.
Don't ever, ever stop.