Everything You Need to Know About Building Funnels in Business

Sales funnels, marketing funnels, business funnels. It's enough to make your head spin, isn't it? 

Here at The Social Brain, we talk a lot about marketing funnels and the stages of a marketing funnel: brand awareness, nurturing, decision making and the sale.

But did you know there’s more than one type of funnel?

I recently spoke with my friend Rebecca Wise on The Social Brain Podcast to discuss all things business funnels, including the relationship between sales funnels and social media marketing. If you don’t have a funnel in place or you have a ‘leaky’ funnel, this is for you.

Prefer to listen to the audio version of our conversation? Go here. 

What are funnels in business?  

A funnel is simply a series of steps that your prospective buyer takes in the process to buy from you. Traditionally it was a four-stage process:

  1. Awareness
  2. Consideration
  3. Decision
  4. Action (purchase the product/service)

In recent years, with the ever-expanding online industry, this has changed. It can now take customers longer to make the decision to purchase from you, which is why we always need to be top of our audience’s minds.

The best way to look at building a business funnel is thinking of it as the journey that you create for your client before they decide to buy from you.  

Rebecca says: “It's about putting the right step in the right place at the right time. What we want to do is take our client on this journey where there's never a stage where we're leaving them at a cliff edge.

“It's really getting to know your clients, thinking about the journey that they take, thinking about the journey you would take them on if you were there in person guiding them through and then how we can start to automate that so it happens every single day in your business.” 

How to get started with sales funnels

Before you create your funnel, you need to decide on the product or service you want to be selling. The mistake most people make is creating a business funnel for something completely new.

Instead, you want to use a product or service that’s already being purchased by your customers, as this is a validated offer that you know people already want.

Once you’ve chosen your product or service, start to look at that customer journey and then decide which funnel would be best to put in place. This will allow you to free yourself up to focus on other things.

Whether you're writing an email nurture sequence or trying to map out your funnel, start with a blank piece of paper. Rather than trying to map out the steps, start with how you want your person to feel. Remember, this is a human being. It's really easy to lose sight of that when we get fixated on the numbers and the stats, but at the end of the day, this is a human being that is going through that funnel.

Think about them as a person and start to map out how you want them to feel and what sorts of things they're going to need to see from you to help them make the decision to buy from you.

The more data you've got about how people come into your world, how long they stay in your world, and what triggers them to take action, the easier this stage will be. Then you can start to plot out each phase of the journey and look at how you can turn the whole thing into a funnel.

Depending on the product or service you’re selling, you might need a bit more of you in there. Look at where you can bring yourself in personally: Could you create a little video of yourself? Could you send them or a DM? How could you personalise that experience for them to connect with them on a deeper level? 

Where does social media marketing fit into the sales funnel process?

Social media is a brilliant place to drive traffic to your business funnel. The best funnel in the world isn’t going to work if you haven't got people coming into it. You can use social media to get those people that are hovering in your world to actually take that step closer to working with you by inviting them to join your email list. 

During their funnel journey, you want to continue showing up on social media, as this will keep nurturing your community. The more we can appear in front of people in different formats and in different places, the more likely people are to become customers.

It’s now been suggested that a person needs to interact with your brand a minimum of 21 times before they will decide to purchase from you. However, Google also did a study that showed it took customers 80 or 90 interactions before they decided to purchase washing powder, something many of us would consider to be quite an easy decision.

You can use social media to layer on that extra information that helps people to make the decision to purchase from you. Sharing testimonials, reviews, social proof, and valuable content for your audience means you’ll always be front of mind. They’re not just seeing it in an email sequence or on a sales page because you’re feeding the information to them, and appearing in front of them in multiple formats.

The benefits of building an email list

It’s important to consider diversifying your marketing so you're not completely dependent on social media. We don't have any control over the algorithms, and we don't know how many people are realistically going to see our posts, and we can’t depend on social media to be around forever. 

We’ve heard many stories of people’s accounts being closed or businesses at a loss when a social media platform has temporarily crashed. So, it’s safe to say we can never solely rely on social media to market our business. 

Another advantage you've got with creating business funnels as opposed to focusing completely on social media is that you can really segment the journey for the customer. You can split your list to deliver specific content to different members of your community. 

With social media, you have to, by nature, put all of your content in front of everybody at whatever time you post. Whereas with a funnel, you can use the information you know about that person to work out what they need to see for the products and services they're interested in, and where they are in the buying journey.

It’s important to use the strengths of both social media marketing and sales funnels together for a well-rounded approach. 

Is there an average sales funnel journey for customers? 

The journey of your customer through a sales funnel can depend on a couple of things:

How used to buying that way they are 

If a customer is not used to purchasing that particular product or service online, then the buying journey might need to be slightly longer. This means you’ll need to create more content that builds trust. 

The cost of your offer

Typically, the higher the cost of a product or service, the greater the number of touchpoints a customer will need before they commit to a purchase. It might not necessarily take longer for them to buy but they’ll likely need to see and feel more of you in that funnel than if you were selling a lower cost product or service.

The most important question to ask yourself is, who is the person you’re trying to connect with and sell your product or service to? Understanding that person as a human being, how they want to feel and what would feel good to them along their journey with you will help you to create a sales funnel within your business that focuses more on building a genuine relationship with the customer than trying to race to the end goal of making a sale. 

Rebecca Wise is a fuss-free funnel expert who helps course creators, coaches and service providers to create customer journeys that take their potential clients from stranger to super fan.

Follow Rebecca Wise on Instagram and visit her website to book your free funnel-mapping call.


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