Sales funnel is the cornerstone of every company’s marketing strategy. Thus, it’s worth knowing what it is and how you can profit from it. In today’s entry, we’ll tell you why it’s worth benefiting from the sales funnel, how it affects SEO and why your business model (B2B or B2C) is so important. Get ready for a great amount of knowledge.
Table of contents:
- Sales funnel – what is it?
It doesn’t really matter whether you work in a small company or run your own business – if you want to expand your marketing expertise and manage sales activities properly, the so-called conversion funnel is the real key to success.
Without it, it’s hard to talk about effective activities and it’s almost infeasible to build a proper marketing strategy. That’s why we’ve prepared today’s entry – it’s filled with theory and useful tips that will allow you to benefit from the sales funnel in your everyday marketing actions. Let’s get it started.
Sales funnel – what is it?
You may have come across various terms like conversion funnel, revenue funnel or marketing funnel. However, all of them describe the same concept – sales funnel which presents the processes occurring on the product or service purchase path. On the one hand, it allows you to track user behavior, on the other, it makes it easier to tailor marketing activities to the customer’s needs at each stage.
Where does this name come from?
When you imagine customers going through various stages – from the moment they notice the brand to the moment they finalize transactions – you may notice that the entire process resembles a funnel (wide at the top, narrow at the bottom). This represents the interest of potential customers: at the beginning of the purchase path the number is the greatest, but over time, when they’re close to reaching the conversion level, the number decreases.
Different stages may vary depending on the sales model, however, most frequently they include 5-7 points. Today we’re going to show you how the sales funnel works at each of the stages.
Sales funnel stages
- Awareness & attention. At this stage the potential customer is supposed to get acquainted with your brand and find out how your products/services can satisfy their needs.
- Interest. Now the customer realizes that your range can somehow improve their life quality or solve certain problems. The potential buyer isn’t motivated yet but sees the need.
- Desire. The buyer explores the market and compares offers of various companies. The customer knows his/her needs and tries to satisfy them.
- Action. This is the point when the customer finalizes transactions. At this stage, depending on the business type, the buyer orders products from your online store and converts.
- Loyalty. Although it might seem that the sales funnel ends with the purchase, or conversion, it’s not true. Loyalty is a key point – if a customer is satisfied with a product or service, there’s a good chance they’ll come back to you and shop again. Perhaps they’ll even become your brand ambassadors. A satisfied customer creates a virtuous marketing cycle which translates into improved brand recognition.
Why is it worth using the sales funnel?
The process of developing the sales funnel requires a lot of work and time. However, it’s a type of investment that quickly pays off and you’ll see satisfactory results sooner than you expect. How to use the sales funnel in your business and what benefits does it bring?
- You’ll be able to tailor conducted activities to the needs of buyers at particular sales funnel stages. If you know that at the beginning it’s crucial to define expectations of potential buyers, motivate them, show what makes you stand out from your market rivals, you’ll be able to present accurate arguments at the right time.
- You’ll be able to monitor the effectiveness of activities at each stage of the sales funnel and get rid of the so-called bottlenecks. Perhaps negative associations with your brand deter potential customers at the very beginning and this is the reason for a small number of conversions. Or just the other way round – what if you do everything correctly but because of the UX problems users don’t finalize transactions? Determine trouble spots and keep customers for longer.
- You’ll learn new lead generation techniques and you may even be able to pinpoint the ones that work best with your audience.
- By knowing individual stages of the sales funnel, you’ll be able to quickly learn which customer groups are the most beneficial for your business and should be addressees of your messages.
- You’ll be able to eliminate activities that don’t bring the intended results and you won’t waste your budget.
- Ultimately – based on the analysis and evaluation, you’ll develop a well-optimized sales funnel that facilitates or even automates some of the activities. Thanks to the fact that you’ll determine conversions at different stages of the funnel, you’ll learn how to scale your business.
Sales funnel in B2B and B2C
B2B refers to a business to business sales model, i.e. cooperation between two business entities such as companies, while B2C – business to consumer – is based on selling products/services to individual consumers.
B2B and B2C sales funnels are similar in a number of ways – they’re supposed to help you reach new customers and improve the conversion rate. This is why we can analyze both funnel types based on the aforementioned 5-7 stages (it all depends on the offer and processes run by the company). So, what makes them different?
Characteristics of the B2B sales funnel
- a successful sale to a company is usually based on a relationship with an entire group, not a single person.
- usually, there isn’t one decision maker – the sales process is often split between different departments or management levels, which affects the shape and expansion of the funnel
- online sales aren’t so common – the B2B sales funnel is often finalized during a meeting or a phone call.
Characteristics of the B2C sales funnel
- we focus on individual customers at each stage of the funnel.
- competition is frequently more fierce than in B2B, which hinders the process of keeping the consumer’s attention.
- it focuses on online activities – from the very beginning to the very end – this means that the communication channels defined in the funnel will have completely different characteristics than in the case of B2B.
In both variants, the funnel has the same foundation – you just need to take into account the characteristics of each sales model and fine-tune the funnel to your needs.
How does SEO support sales funnel stages?
On our blog you can find a post discussing how to improve your conversion rate in Google Ads at different stages of the sales funnel. Today, we’re going to analyze how SEO supports sales funel – after all, search engine optimization, like any other marketing element, is supposed to increase conversions and improve your company’s profits.
Improved online visibility is one of the greatest objectives of SEO. Greater visibility translates into greater brand recognition (if you aren’t sure what website visibility is and how to improve it, check out our entry: Website visibility in Google – essentials you need to know).
Keyword analysis plays a significant role at the first stage of the sales funnel – thanks to it, you can precisely target marketing activities (including SEO) and be sure that you’ll reach the right group of recipients. Although long-tail and brand phrases will be more relevant in subsequent parts, at this point it’s crucial to focus on generic keywords. However, they won’t allow you to “shortlist” users.
Constant work on improving positions in the SERPs is another aspect that entire SEO teams focus on. Thanks to it, it’s much easier to draw users’ attention to elements you care about. It’s also possible to appeal to users by benefiting from structured data and making yourself noticeable in the search results (direct answers, emoji, star ratings under posts/products, or CTR skillfully implemented into the title or meta description).
Having your website ranked high in the search results has a positive effect on brand image. If you run a local business, local SEO and a well-optimized Google My Business listing are aspects you should surely invest in. Linking is also important – apart from supporting SEO, it improves referral traffic and increases your visibility.
Once users realize that they need something, at the second stage of the sales funnel you should convince them that your product or service will satisfy their expectations. Clearly define your customers’ motivation and guide them to the goal, meaning conversion, in a way that doesn’t distract their attention.
Apart from the abovementioned aspects, this stage requires the use of brand keywords – if potential buyers already know about your brand, they’ll want to find it online. Therefore, you need to be displayed for brand phrases and watch out for dishonest activities of your market rivals who may want to benefit from SEO to be ranked for your keywords. It’s also worth optimizing your Google My Business listing for brand phrases.
Additionally, remember about social media links followed by the entire SMO process – feeling overwhelmed? Don’t worry. Just remember to share website content on your social media.
Making sure that you have positive website and Google My Business listing reviews is a part of modern SEO.
Business-wise, such reviews affect the decision-making process of potential buyers which is crucial at the third stage. You need to prove that your product or service is worthy of customers’ attention. Technically – comments are unique pieces of user generated content that can be analyzed by Google. If you’ve implemented proper structured data, it can also help you reach better positions in the SERPs and attract people’s attention. Want to learn more? Read our entry: E-commerce product reviews. Why are they important and how do they affect SEO?
Without a shadow of a doubt, it’s worth investing in quality content that will present you as a reliable expert in the field who is worthy of customers’ time and money. Top-notch (and therefore SEO-friendly) product/service descriptions are crucial here. Encourage users to write reviews and display ratings in the SERPs thanks to appropriate structured data.
The fourth stage refers to action meaning activities that take place within the site and lead to a purchase. As mentioned above, low conversion rate may be caused by on-page errors unrelated to previous marketing efforts. Modern SEO cares about UX and strives to ensure that people who come into contact with your website are satisfied and don’t abandon shopping carts.
Core Web Vitals, one of the ranking factors, are indirectly related to user experience, as they focus on page loading speed and user comfort (page performance). Make sure that your website includes CTAs (that also support internal linking) and act according to the principles of SXO.
Would you like to encourage customers to come back to your brand and share positive opinions about your operation? If so, you need remarkable blog content.
All kinds of tutorials and texts related to the industry or your company’s operation will benefit you in two ways: on the one hand, keywords will improve your brand recognition (because you’ll be displayed in the search results). On the other hand, texts willingly shared and read by existing customers will boost your brand loyalty.
SEO supports each of the sales funnel stages. It effectively helps marketers to improve brand recognition, sales and customer loyalty. Marketing activities done in accordance with SEO make sense.