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June 12, 2018 Elise Le-Galloudec

By Jen McKinnon

Often used to distinguish the types of content necessary for your brand strategy, as a concept, the sales funnel helps marketers and business owners understand the customer journey. It is also a useful tool that, when properly implemented across your digital marketing strategy, can fast-track your business success.

Comprising of four stages, the sales funnel tracks the journey from the customer’s first interaction with a brand, right through to initial transaction (purchase) and customer retention thereafter, ensuring that prospective customers are being nurtured in the most effective way when interacting with your brand.

Whether you realise it or not, if your business relies on consumers to make a profit, you probably already have a sales funnel. However, if you don’t know what it is, it’s more than likely not optimised for maximum return.

In the general sense, a funnel is used to channel tiny particles into a container with a small opening. The purpose of a funnel is to capture as many of those particles as we can. The same goes for the sales funnel; however, the small particles, in this case, are your potential clients, and the small opening is the metaphorical door to your business. You want to capture as many customers as you can, and paying close attention to the four stages of the sales funnel will help you do so.

The Traditional Sales Funnel

Awareness

During the awareness stage at the very top of the funnel, you make your first impression on potential customers. At this stage, you are speaking to prospects, so it’s here that you should be introducing your brand, products and services.

Establish the Problem

All sales are made by solving a problem, so establish the problem your product or service can fix early on to really get your audience thinking. This problem doesn’t have to be huge; it may be seemingly trivial to one person but significant and important to the next.

For example, clothing can solve a number of problems. In the practical sense, an item of clothing may keep you warm in winter or cool in summer; or, emotionally speaking, it may provide confidence or esteem to the owner. You just have to pick the angle(s) that will be most relevant to your target market.

Lure Them In

At this stage, it’s all about finding a ‘hook’ – something that will lure the audience towards your brand. How can you catch the attention of the right people? The funnel is wide at the top, so the more attention you can draw to your brand through SEO, PPC, blogs, display network advertising, PR and viral social content, the more likely you are to filter in potential customers.

Consideration

The next stage of the buying journey is consideration. Once your prospect enters this stage they become a lead. It is in this stage that your prospect is evaluating their options, so identifying a clear unique selling proposition (USP) will aid your efforts to stand out as the best option in the market. For your prospect to complete the consideration stage and take the next step, you need to qualify them by providing the information they need to understand more about your product or service.

Recognise Your Lead’s Goal

What is it that your prospects want from your product or service? If you can recognise what your potential customer needs, you will have a much easier time convincing them that your product is right for them. While the awareness stage is about identifying the problem, the consideration stage is about solving that problem.

Explore the Details

It is as this stage that you can really get down to the nitty gritty. It’s here that your lead wants to explore the features of your product or service so an emphasis on deeper education should be made when it comes to the consideration stage.

The best way to engage your consumers at this stage is through a combination of product or service descriptions, case studies, demonstrations, how-to videos and more extensive documentation on the details of your product or service.

Decision

Once the lead is interested and fit to make a transaction, the decision stage sees your lead transform into a customer, as they make the choice to purchase your product or service.

Answer the Right Questions

This stage is about establishing that final layer of trust. Here you should be answering questions like, ‘why your business?’, through testimonials and reviews. You can also influence your customer’s decision by displaying impeccable customer care through interactive digital channels, such as social media and Chabot services.

Retention

Often neglected by business owners, customer retention is all about turning an existing customer into a repeat buyer. Some people see retention as beyond the funnel but, not allowing your existing customers fade away is an integral part of the buying process.

Did you know that a repeat customer is worth 9 times more than a new customer? It takes far less effort, and is far less costly to retain customers than it is to attract them. An existing customer has already been through the sales funnel, so to lose them thereafter would be a waste.

Nurture Current Customers

Loyalty is valuable to your business, so client nurture is essential. You can incite customer loyalty through immaculate customer support and further education on the product, service or industry. However, the best way to ensure allegiance to your brand is through a loyalty program that provides value and recognition to your existing customers. Using a loyalty benefit scheme, your brand can inspire repeat purchase through rewards and special offers, and even the occasional freebie.

Email marketing has become the penultimate when it comes to nurture, as automation technology gives business owners the capacity to ‘set and forget’, streamlining the process and minimizing time, effort and resources. Without bombarding your database, keep your brand’s image at the forefront with consistently valuable email communication to repeat buyers, and re-engage past consumers who you haven’t heard from in a while with an automated nurture program.

The sales funnel is an extremely valuable tool when used effectively, helping you understand your customers and get more out of your marketing efforts. Applying the four stages of the sales funnel to your marketing strategy will stimulate an enriched experience for your consumers when interacting with your brand and, in turn, extract a better return on your marketing investments.

 

With a strong background in creativity, Jen has found her niche in digital marketing. As the senior content creator for the ASX-listed Melbourne IT Group, Jen is responsible for branded content across all subsidiary businesses. Her flair for writing is matched by her passion for sharing knowledge and she is driven to produce digital content that is useful to business owners and marketers alike.



October 4, 2017 Elise Le-Galloudec
By Nirma Ledford

Since my first day working in the marketing communications field, I realised that there was a distinct disconnect between the online efforts of attracting traffic and making sales. I started out in media sales and quickly advanced into broad-scale communications strategies for leading B2B clients.

Developing and implemented multi-platform campaigns that would reach out to target markets across print, online, direct and social were my main stake. Content marketing was just kicking in and earned media space (PR) had its hay-day.

Fast-forward a decade and a half and despite all the advancements in technology, algorithms, data-driven campaigns and refined know-how of consumer behavior and buying patterns, the disconnect I realized back then – the pain point for many marketing manager and sales people – still remains. I knew from first hand experience that the issue in one form or another remained the same.

That’s when out of yet another meeting of elaborating about this persistent issue the decision was made to kick-start what has now become the LeadCaller. I had often thought about starting my own business and while marcom and media strategy was always top-of-mind, developing the solution for a decade-old problem held not only a strong ‘why’ for us, but also a mountain of new challenges. I felt scared yet ready to take the leap.

‘Know your fear and do it anyway’ goes the saying (and the book title), and I thought ‘why not’? After years of standing my women in the largely male dominated world of B2B I set foot into tech start-up land and again was faced with a boy’s club of sorts.

Talking about challenges of getting the LeadCaller developed and started, being in meetings and some of the developers or potential suppliers simply turning to my male co-founder for most crucial negotiations and topic discussions felt like more of the same. Needless to say, we chose to collaborate with IT professionals and developers that operate in the 21st century mentality of gender equality.

Now to the LeadCaller.

We all know that traffic and lead generation, much like cash flow, are the life blood of any business – no matter what size. So then, how come research shows that over 70% of leads never get called? When we look at the staggering amount of time, energy, content and money we invest to drive traffic to landing pages, websites and call-to-action forms, why on earth would we then be so poor in responding to them?

The answer is simple. Human predicament. Not that we or our sales people don’t want to, but the reality is that most sales people will make 2.5 attempts of reaching a lead. And, usually, when a new lead arrives it takes us on average 46 hours to respond to them personally. Sure, we have email auto-responders set up, but does this really equate to ‘connecting’ with a potential buyer?

Add to this, that 78% of leads will buy from the first company that calls them back, and that the conversion rate is upward of 600% higher within the first 5 minutes from when an inquiry is made. From this, you have the very foundation of what we set out for the LeadCaller to be: a tool that would allow your sales people to actually personally engage with leads as soon as possible after they make an inquiry – and to automate this.

Introducing the LeadCaller. Imagine, your lead enters their details into a call-to-action form and within less than 1 minute they receive a call from your sales staff. Would that not prove world-class efficient and prompt customer service? Create a stand-out first impression of your company for your potential buyer? And, as they have literally just filled out the form, your sales staff has a 72% plus reach rate, meaning they save the usual 3 – 5 attempts to actually reach the lead.

The LeadCaller essentially translates any online inquiry into an automatically triggered call and message directed to your designated number(s) and with the click of a single button your sales agent is connected to the lead in under 60 seconds. This means you save time in making follow-up calls, you minimize leads going cold by being called too late and you reduce loss of leads to your competitors too. Traditionally, when potential buyers investigate a product or service, they will fill out 4 – 6 forms on provider websites. If you, due to the LeadCaller, happen to be the first to call them back, you are leaps ahead of your competition and you have increased the chance of conversion by 6 fold or more.

There are oodles of other features such as call recording, forwarding and re-routing, but essentially, having a speed-to-connect of under a minute and facilitating a prompt personal connection with your leads means that you short-fuse the sales funnel and fast-track to more sales. Now, after years of hearing this very problem as one of the key pain-points from marketers and sales folks across B2B and B2C, here it is, the solution I myself had even wished for all these years.

Being new to market, we have decided to let businesses trial the LeadCaller for free for 7 days, enough to show just how effective it is. After that, there are different subscription packages available depending on call volumes and added features, with pricing being rather low when you look at the impact the LeadCaller can have on your lead-to-sale conversion.

Head to www.leadcaller.net to learn more about the product or to apply for your free trial.

Key lessons I have learned:

  1. When you come across a problem, don’t fret over it, simply go about creating the solution. This is true innovation.
  2. Work with people you jell with, not those that treat you differently, be it for gender, race or anything else…
  3. Listen to your market, then provide the solution they need. Often we focus on what we want, but we are not the buyer they are.
  4. Never-ever go with the first best-quote, service or provider. Get a broad scope of quotes, dig into the fine print, then make a decision based on the overall best value, not just price.
  5. Find the right people to collaborate, partner and do business with. People do business with people – not emails, funnels or brands. That is also the core value of the LeadCaller.
  6. Trust yourself. Focus on the ‘can do’ and be willing to embrace the challenges and face your fears. That is where greatness and success are born.

About Nirma Ledford

Nirma Ledford is a B2B/B2C marketing communications professional of over 15 years, a brand management advisor and co founder of the LeadCaller – lead response management system. Nirma has been sought after by media for comment and has written extensively on marcom and related topics.

www.leadcaller.net



September 23, 2017 Elise Le-Galloudec

By Tash Corbin

It seems that almost every person you meet these days has an idea for an online business. There are millions of people who want to make it big, work for themselves, and retire to the beach.

The result? The internet, and social media in particular, is BUSY.

It’s a noisy, bustling, ever-changing place where it seems everyone is vying for just a moment of your time and attention.

So in this busy online world, how do you stand out? How do you actually ensure you’re heard over the noise of everyone else out there, trying to shout over each other with bigger promises, sexier branding, and sassier photographs?

Particularly for women in business, this can be a big issue. We aren’t particularly programmed to want to shout over the top of everyone, making bigger and bigger promises. And even if we are, it’s not a lot of fun. Bustling for attention, chasing every dollar – that’s not the lifestyle dream that’s promised when you get into online business.

Thankfully, there’s a growing movement of women who are proving that you don’t have to be ‘everywhere’, nor do you have to spend thousands on flashy advertising campaigns, in order to create momentum, build a business, and create a movement.

They are discovering that if they build their marketing and sales strategies to their feminine strengths, in fact, they can attract more clients, create more sustainable growth, and do it in a way that feels easier and more connected.

You see, women are amazing connectors. You don’t find men sitting at the bar, whinging that they can’t have another drink because of the empty carbs. Men bond and connect over their accomplishments, their toys, and their trophies.

Women, on the other hand, connect over periods, the battle of the bulge, the stress of parenting: in other words, they connect through their vulnerability. Their imperfections.

So instead of spamming every possible platform that you can find with your offer, and instead of feeling that you have to have everything looking perfect, and market the way the ‘big boys’ do, I invite you to explore your strength. Your ability to listen. Your ability to empathise. Your ability to connect.

This is what some of the boys are missing – the internet isn’t just another one-sided platform that can put you in front of millions of eyes. The internet is an opportunity – an opportunity to connect, and have a two-way conversation.

Here are three ways you can build your business through the power of connection:

  1. Join Facebook communities of likeminded women in business. Do so, not because of what you can get, but instead for the opportunity to give. I have seen hundreds of women join my own group (tashcorbin.com/group) and build five-figure-per-month businesses, simply by showing up, asking questions, listening, and helping others. They become known for their expertise very quickly.
  2. Instead of telling your audience on your social media channels, ask them. Make them the hero of your story – because they are. You are the wise guide, the Yoda, the advisor. Get real with your audience, connect with them human-to-human, and ask them questions about what is challenging them, and what they need. When your products and services address a very clear need that your audience is focused on solving… they sell themselves.
  3. Be human. Instead of feeling like you need to appear to have it all figured out, and you’re absolutely perfect, be a human being. Have you ever noticed how excited we get to see photos of celebrities without their makeup? Or how many magazines post photos of television stars out doing NORMAL things like shopping and going to the beach? It’s because we connect more with other flawed, real humans. Your picture-perfect inaccessible life might be inspiring, but it’s also intimidating, and therefore disconnecting.

 

 

Most of all, remember that your feminine approach to life is a strength, not a weakness. Gone are the days when we had to suck it up and play with the boys. We are creating our own unique business model, and our own way of marketing and selling. And it’s a whole lot easier than trying to fit someone else’s mould.

 

Tash Corbin is a business mentor for women in online business. She is the author of #nomorepinkghetto and the curator of the Heart-Centred Business Conference in Queensland, Australia. Her online community is home to over 23,000 women in business, and her podcast, titled #ladyposse, has achieved over 40,000 downloads in its first two years.

Visit tashcorbin.com for more information.



February 12, 2017 Holly Hunt

LinkedIn is perhaps one of the most resourceful – and misunderstood – social media platforms in the game today. Many people consider it a place to simply professionally connect with colleagues, and then fail to peruse its other features. LinkedIn possesses numerous tools and networking functions that can make it a seriously effective lead-building site if used properly.

In order to help explain how important LinkedIn can be for building a business, here are 5 ways to generate more leads on LinkedIn:

  1. Article Publishing

It’s generally accepted that blogging is crucial to improving website SEO, legitimizing expertise in a field, and encouraging social media interaction today. But, most people fail to take their business blogs and publish them as original articles on LinkedIn.

LinkedIn wants its users to be happy and consequently pay for premium packages. It therefore provides a free tool for publishing articles that it then shares with everyone in your respective network. Since LinkedIn is used for professional as opposed to fun purposes, people are more likely to read your blog on LinkedIn than they are Facebook, Twitter, etc.

  1. Groups

LinkedIn Groups are an incredible way to connect with fellow industry professionals and like-minded people. To join a LinkedIn group, it is completely free, and just needs approval from the group organizer. Once you’re in, you are free to post whatever content you want and interact with other group participants. It’s a solid way to start building a lead list in a niche field you’re after.

  1. Celebrating Others

LinkedIn is a perfect place to pump other people up with endorsements, reviews, and posting comments. If you’re after specific leads on LinkedIn, providing them with a little endorsement love (you can endorse skills) and sharing their most recent post will certainly make them consider your services. You can essentially validate their professional expertise to their network – all for free.

  1. Moderation

LinkedIn is a social media platform centered on brief activity and signing in just once per day. It’s a complete 180 from how we obsessively check Facebook every hour. But, though this may sound like a shortcoming of LinkedIn, it is actually a lead-generating benefit for you. There is a lot less pressure to respond to LinkedIn messages/comments in a timely manner. This means you can sign on once per day, like everyone else, get in your activity in about 20 minutes, and sign off for the day, still ensuring your leads are being built.

  1. Lead Lists

LinkedIn provides users with an extremely helpful tool for identifying first, second, and third degree connections. First degree means you are already directly connected, second degree means you are connected through your first degree, and third degree means you are connected through a second degree association.

By having this information, you know exactly who to contact to start building your connection with a prospective lead. Not to mention, with LinkedIn’s resume feature, you can learn everything you need to know about a person’s professional background.

Though LinkedIn remains a substantially misunderstood social media platform, it doesn’t have to be that way for you and your business. Consider exploring its lead-building functionality tools, and harness the free publicity and interaction that comes with being active on LinkedIn.