While sales for many have slowed during this pandemic, there are still ways to generate leads that will get you through these tough times and set you up for success after this pandemic has ended.
It isn’t just the retail sector that have seen their sales decline during this pandemic many types of businesses have been hurt during this crises. With hot spots popping up around the country and some businesses forced to re-shut down or endure increased regulation to stay open at reduced capacity, it seems the economy is in a holding pattern waiting for either permission or science to get things moving again. Even if currently in some industries it’s been difficult to close deals now is the time to generate leads, filling the sales funnel and start moving them through the process then closing them as things move towards normalcy. (Whatever normalcy might look like in the future.)
Hone your online sales process.
Many businesses who held their own or even those who thrived during this pandemic were those who embraced selling and marketing online, embracing a viable digital marketing program. Let’s step back a second, first if you’re not selling an inexpensive or impulse buy, it will be difficult to generate sales immediately from a basic advertising or digital campaign.
It’s believed, it takes three exposures to a company before someone makes a purchase. These days with more of the sales process online the actual number is much higher. Today, it is estimated prospects are interacting with your business through your website, social media, email, and phone 20 times before making a purchase.
Few salespeople have the time or the fortitude to follow up with a prospect 20 times before seeing results. That’s where a sales funnel, digital marketing and artificial intelligence come to the rescue of your bottom line.
What is a digital marketing sales funnel?
“Sales funnel” is a posh term for a sales process, as soon a someone learns about your company to the time they make their purchase. Your sales funnel also know as your revenue funnel or sales process it is directing your prospects through their buying journey.
A well designed and properly executed sales funnel has five stages: awareness, interest, decision, action and connect. While it assists the business in converting their leads into sales.
It’s critical to build a great funnel. One that helps you identify the correct buyer early, and makes buying your product a happy experience.
The Steps associated with setting up a sales funnel.
- Know Your Target Audience. You need to understand your target audience before you begin to create your sales funnel.
- Build Your Buyer Personas. You can build different buyer personas targeting your marketing campaigns for the different variations of your customers. Develop different but accurate buyer personas from research based on collected data and probing questions.
- Plan on Generating Traffic. If potential customers aren’t aware of you or the products or services you sell, they can’t purchase them from you. Therefore, you need to implement multiple lead generation strategies to drive traffic to your website.
- Plan on Engaging Your Audience. Your lead generation efforts aren’t going to be enough by themselves if you fail to engage your audience. They need to learn about your products and/or services. This can be accomplished with a worthwhile digital marketing strategy.
- Have a strategy to convert Your Leads. Lead conversion is the final stage of the sales process during which your prospects convert into paying customers. To ensure this step doesn’t take too long; minimize the number of form fields, keep the number of steps for completing a purchase low, implement one-click options for sign-in and sign up.
Automating you sales funnel is critical and makes it efficient. Take advantage of the A.I. automated CRM systems available to your business to act when necessary to move your prospects down your sales funnel on the journey to turning prospects into customers.
Ways to fill your digital sales funnel:
- SEO & PPC will bring you leads. But which should you invest in PPC or SEO to receive the best ROI on you digital marketing investment? The answer is both, PPC & SEO are two sides of the same coin they are two different but vital digital marketing functions.
SEO and paid marketing target two quite different audiences. PPC targets your “unbranded” audience. Those are the prospects who are likely to buy from you if they only knew you existed. The other side of that digital marketing coin is SEO, it targets “branded” audience. Those are the segment of you target market who have some sort of an existing relationship with your brand. They’ve heard of your brand. They may have even done business with you already. Or, maybe they are an existing and or repeat customer.
So to get the best return on your marketing budget you need a combination of both PPC and SEO or you risk missing out on a chunk of traffic and leads which each program will bring to your site and the benefits which come from that traffic. Related article: “SEO for small businesses to increase profits & organic search results”. A good SEO campaign and the right Keywords can turn your website into sales funnel filler and generate profits while you’re working other areas to grow your businesses. SEO is one of the most used digital marketing strategies to help drive traffic to your site.
2.Create a blog. You should be producing content to build your brand. You’re investing a lot of time producing relevant quality content make sure your target market is finding it once it’s released into cyber space.
Your blog content can provide a review and relevant information your target market is looking for on the onset of their purchase journey. Used correctly a blog can generate traffic to your website and your other social media sites, improving your Google rankings and growing your brand.
Blogging can also help fill your sales funnel potentially generating significant revenue for your business. However, you need to create engaging content for your audience. The trick with that is don’t only write on the topics you believe your audience is interested in reading about, ask them the topics they are interested in reading about, and include those topics on your blog and social media.
- Will a Facebook chat-bot drive traffic to your website. Traffic translates into increased leads, which can become increased sales and subsequently increased revenue for your business.
Google has over 200 ranking factors embedded into their ranking algorithms. We’ve already touch on SEO earlier in this article to help drive traffic to your site.
Another digital marketing technique used to generate traffic is chat-bots. Currently you can create your own Facebook chat-bot with the help of, Manychat, and HubSpot’s chat-bot builder, plus many others. According to research 1.3 billion people use Facebook Messenger each month. With such a large number of people using the platform, you can increase your traffic if you use a custom chat-bot for your customers.
- Set up a single page sales landing page. Using a landing page is common practice in digital marketing. They usually are designed to contain a description of your product or service with some reviews. To help make your landing page a success design it with eye catching content, easy to read, and catches the prospects attention starting them on their purchase journey towards your products or services.
Your content may be the ticket that gets the prospect to the show, but if you’re late raising the curtain to that show it might result in losing a lead. Therefore, making your landing page interactive enough is the key. Use bots to interact with people guided to your page. You have piqued their interest don’t let them get away due to a poor user experience.
- Establish your reputation as an expert in your field. By establishing yourself as an expert in your field you build trust between yourself and prospects and current clients. By building trust, people will prefer doing business with you instead of your competition.
It isn’t going to happen over night it will take time to establish yourself as an expert in your field. Dedicating a set amount of time every week to accomplish this goal and make it consistent. Create and post content to your social media, comment on peoples post with knowledgeable and relevant comments, email blast original articles to your database, guest author on other industry relevant blogs, create a You tube channel, do a webinar. You don’t have to do all of these suggestions but start doing something to get your name out there. Establishing yourself as a though leader will start yielding results sooner than later.
- Referrals, money in the bank. Every salesperson knows the golden rule of prospecting “Always ask for referrals” but not as many as you think follow that golden rule. Your client just paid you the best compliment they could they purchased your products or services, they trust you the relationship is at a high, there is no better time to ask that new client for a referral.
Another rule business owners should live by is “the customer is king”. You always want to keep the king happy. If your clients, new or old, are happy you’ll be more comfortable asking them for referrals. And if the “king” is happy with you they’ll be more willing to refer your business, possibly becoming an advocate for your business.
Make it easy for your customers to make referrals keep the lines of communication open offer their referral a discount and them a valuable freebie for referring your business to others. And always keep in mind the old saying, most businesses know to well, a happy customer brings in two more, but an angry one has the potential to take away 12.
- Enhance your mobile presence. A mobile app or mobilizing your website? There are more than 3.5 billion smartphones in the world, so you can’t afford to ignore mobile interaction. A mobile app connected to your sales platform can provide a better customer experience and help to increase revenue. However, you shouldn’t rush into it. Do your research, decide on the correct functionality you want to offer and execute properly, bring your customers in on the planning process after all they’re the ones who will be using it. Solicit input from them on features they would like to see in a mobile app. When you feel you have the right design and functionality and believe you either have or can hire the right resources to effectively manage your app, then make the leap.
If you’re not quite ready to launch your app don’t worry. You can and should, (if only for the sake of your Google ranking) make your website mobile friendly. A large percentage of consumers now rely on their smartphones and tablets to access the internet and subsequently your website, don’t upset them by them not being able to read your website on their non desktop devices.
- Develop an email marketing campaign. The rumors of the death of email marketing are greatly exaggerated. More crowed then in the past and you will need to step up your game but email marketing when done effectively is still alive and kicking.
An effectively designed email campaign meant to introduce your blog, other new products or initiatives can serve you well to get the word out and spark interests in your new venture. Afterwards, touching base regularly with well-crafted relevant content can help to drive leads to fill your sales funnel, educate your target market on your product and services, draw favorable comparisons between you and your competitors, and introduce discounts or special offers to your clients and prospects, to name a few uses for email marketing campaigns. In other words, email marketing is a great way to keep the conversation alive between your business and your customers and prospects.
Your clients will be happy to hear from you if you don’t send them irrelevant quotes and images, or emails just selling yourself. Use your email campaign to provide value added, provide educational content on how to solve their problems, better run their business, or industry specific news or innovations. In their eyes, build yourself as an industry thought leader and resource, so when they’re in the market for your products or services you’ll be on the top of their list of trusted companies they want to do business with.
- Trial Period. This technique works well with SAAS products. Many people are reluctant to make a purchase until they are sure the service is right for them. A free trial of 2 weeks to 1 month takes the risk out of the purchase for them. This is also a great chance to introduce, and get the user hooked on the qualities of your services, your premium features and show them how your service is one they can’t live without.
- Offer a free mini course. I left one of the more challenging suggestions for last. It may be the most time-consuming option suggested in this article but if done correctly it will also produce some great results.
Offer a mini course delivered through daily email lessons. While it sounds overwhelming, it can be automated, the daily lessons don’t have to be long, and you can leverage existing resources to create the course. The reason this yields result is because you’re building trust and over a period of time. The trick is to give away enough information that people find value and begin to see results, thus seeing the value of a continued business relationship and the desire to receive additional services from you after the mini course has ended.
How does this apply to COVID-19?
If the data has shown anything it has shown that people are spending much more time on their computers and on the internet moving a much greater percentage of their product researches and purchases online. With so many people working remotely and enjoying additional free time due to a lack of a commute to and from the office.
People who previously had crazy schedules, who didn’t usually have time to consume content or attend a webinar are now finding time to do both and enhance their business and personal skills.
This makes for a great time to get in front of your customers and target market and build stronger current relationships and foster new relationships.
Keep in mind these are tools designed to create lead generation to fill your sales funnel. They are usually top-level sales funnel leads its up to you to guide them through your funnel. It’s important to design a process that includes following up with prospects, nurturing the relationship, and ultimately transforming those leads into sales and loyal customers. Combined with an automated email platform, such as Constant contact or HubSpot, to help implement these tools is a great solution for generating new leads during this pandemic and after it.