Sales funnel is among the most popular terms used by marketers these days, mostly because of the significant impact it has on generating high-quality leads for businesses around the world.
A sales funnel is defined as the process you use to take your customers through their buying journeys, from the point they become aware of your business to when they are ready to pay for your products or services.
For eCommerce channels, developing an automated sales funnel is extremely important for two reasons: first, the technology allows for it to be automated and, second, you are competing with many businesses and need a perfect and automatic system to generate leads and convert them into sales.
On the internet, the most critical factor that drives the effectiveness of your sales funnel is content. This includes your sales pages, the emails you send to customers, and any extra content you may deliver, such as in the form of newsletters.
For example, if you’ve ever read a blog and then subscribed to it, you’ve gone through the sales funnel of that blog without realizing it. The most effective sales funnels are those who seem natural to customers.
Why You Should Automate Your eCommerce Sales Funnel
Managing an online business is tough. There are so many variables for you to monitor, and automating your sales funnel takes a lot of pressure off your shoulders.
For starters, you must make an infographic of the existing sales funnel for your business. Traditional funnels begin with awareness leading to interest resulting in desire and conclude with action by the customer to become a new customer for the company.
Identify Content Needs
Once you have this infographic in front of you, it should become easier to decide on the information that you must deliver to your customers at each stage of the funnel. Identifying the content your customers are likely to demand at each stage of the funnel is the first step towards automating the entire process.
This is the first step in your sales funnel. At this stage, customers are not aware of your sales offering and must be informed about the problems they have that your solutions can help solve.
Customers become aware either after seeing one of your advertisements, receiving one of your SMS blast messages or by randomly stumbling upon your website from another platform. Regardless, they are now looking for relevant information, and you must give it to them. To reel them in, educate them about the ways your solutions can help them. You may lead them to a specific page on your website, or show them a how-to video to engage them.
This step is already automated for most eCommerce businesses. The content, ad strategy, and other lead generation strategies are already in place and automated with the help of human resources. Creating a proper team flow and delegating responsibilities for content and ad management is essential to automatic this step in the sales funnel.
Also, either through the quality of your content or by offering exclusive content by email, you must encourage your visitor to subscribe to your mailing list with their email.
Once you’ve got your leads interested in your offering, it is time to nurture them. At this step, you need to provide more information, but of a slightly different kind compared to the awareness stage. Remember, by this time, your leads are already interested to know more, so you must send content that they want.
An excellent way to research the content preference of your target audience is by looking at popular keywords in your niche. For example, if you run an online apparel store, your keywords might sound like “best chinos for men” or “latest fashion trends for women.”
Publishing keyword-rich content befitting your niche is essential to assume an educated position among your competitors. Let your customers know that you are an authority on the subject.
Since these are interested leads, you should have their email addresses by now. Set up an automated email workflow, whereby as soon as a customer signs up with your mailing list, you start sending them engaging content that helps develop trust with your brand.
Your leads are evaluating your business offerings at this stage, so you must sell your value proposition to them. It is your job to provide the answers they are looking for, and automation can help you a lot in achieving this goal.
As soon as your leads indicate an interest in your offerings, automatically trigger an action that delivers some kind of advice or guidance to your leads to help them make their decision. For example, you may send a guide offering advice on making the right decision, inform about any promotions such as a free trial, or a call to clear out any confusion.
For example, many online language course providers automatically detect when a lead has not revisited their website for a long time. They automatically send a personalized email to all such leads informing them about a sign-up discount, offering a few months of free courses before charging them a price.
Once your leads have decided to take action and purchase your offerings, the sales funnel has reached its conclusion. But, it’s not over yet. After a sale has been made, you must send out an automated email confirming the purchase and, in the same email or a separate one, share content that could help them get started.
This helps new customers to use your products or services properly, and also strengthens your brand image as a customer-oriented brand. Your goal is repeated sales, so developing a strong bond with customers who have already made a purchase is essential.
Automatically keep sending relevant and helpful content to such customers to solidify your relationship and gain their trust and also to promote any new products and services which might interest them.
So, a few pointers to help you automate your eCommerce sales funnel.
- Set up an autonomous content and ads team that researches popular keywords, develops and publishes high-quality content, and promotes it with intelligent ad spend. You might like to offer exclusive content for email subscribers to encourage visitors to sign up with their email.
- Automate all of your email communication at the different funnel stages. You can do this by setting up templates that could use personalized information of your leads at fixed spots, and sending out these emails after your leads trigger certain events. For example, send an ebook or a link to a webinar to new leads, a welcome note highlighting your value proposition, or making a pitch for your products/services.
- At the end of your funnel, automatically offer free trials, demonstrations, or personal consultations to help your leads make the final buying decision.