Sales Funnels: How To Create Your Sales Funnel Properly

Every business has a sales funnel.

The best businesses have a robust sales funnel both offline and online. Where they can they automate each stage as much as possible.

In this article, I'm going to show you how to create your online sales funnel using software and digital marketing. These two resources will prove to be your secret weapon in building a successful online sales funnel. This will continually drive new business and greater profits.

What is a sales funnel?

A sales funnel is essentially the way you design your marketing system and grow sales in your business. It's how a prospective customer first interacts with you through to the first sale, repeat sales and even referrals. Sometimes, people refer to sales funnels as sales pipelines.

Every business has a sales funnel, even though many business owners don't formally know them as sales funnels.

If you map out what your sales cycle looks like, you'll have a better idea of how your sales funnel will take shape.

Use the 7 stages in this post to design and build your sales funnel and define each key area of importance. It's also important to recognise the role marketing has in filling the front end of your sales funnel as well as tapping into the bottom end for future sales and referrals.

Each core component listed below are sales funnel stages. Each stage represents an opportunity to move potential customers towards a new sale.

sales funnel stage 1

 

Stage 1: Attracting potential customers into your sales funnel

The first and often biggest concern for most businesses is how to attract your ideal customers. Plus build awareness of your products and services. You can do this by putting people into the top of your sales funnel.

Attract people into your sales funnel using traditional methods such as:

  • Newspapers
  • Radio
  • Billboards
  • Magazines
  • Receipt Marketing
  • Direct mail

Attract people into your online sales funnel using online methods:

  • Search Engines like Google & Bing using Pay Per Click advertising or SEO (Search Engine Optimisation)
  • Social Media like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube and Pinterest
  • Content Marketing
  • Guest Blogging
  • Aggregate sites sponsorship
  • Banner advertising
  • Native advertising
  • Affiliate marketing
  • Re-marketing

With traditional media types, your business is often making a broadcast of your product or service. Often this is to a large audience in the hopes that a small percentage of them are suitable customers. With online marketing however, you have far greater control over who sees your ad. You can target a specific group people, increasing your percentage chances of customer acquisition.

Offline marketing has been diluted with the adoption of the Internet. As a result it has suffered diminishing returns year on year. So much so that many business owners are now fully opting out of traditional media for online advertising.

I don't recommend turning off traditional media unless it's absolutely not generating any business for you. Like any kind of advertising, you want to make sure what you do works.

Whatever the case, for your business to be successful and grow, you will need to build your sales and marketing funnel. Then choose an attraction method that suit your business. In many cases, that will include a mix of traditional and online methods.

Note: Digital marketing funnels have an added advantage of easy automation.

Research the demographics

Your first step is to look at the audience reach you'll have with any particular marketing activity you take. Adding customers into the top of your sales funnel is more cost effective the better you target your audience.

As an example: A weekend newspaper may be able to tell you that the total readership base is 220,000 people. Out of those people 45,000 are between 40-50 years old and made up of 60% males and 40% females.

If your ideal customer is a male aged between 40-50 years old there might be opportunity to advertise to that audience.

Attracting customers using Facebook

Facebook on the other hand will allow you to go even deeper.

Not only can you get the age and sex that you would get from the newspaper demographic, but you'll also be able to refine your reach to specific interests.

As an example, if you sell fishing gear like fishing rods, you can create a targeted ad to those people interested in fishing, fishing shows, boats, etc…

This allows you to be very specific about who will see your ads and increase the chances of acquisition.

Here's a snippet from Facebook on this demographic;

Facebook audience insights

 

Using Facebook's Audience Insights we can narrow down the audience. Perhaps men between 40 and 50 years old living in Sydney, who are interested in boating and fishing. You can see in the image above that there's 20,000-25,000 people in that audience that can be readily targeted with advertisements.

On Facebook, users can also tag friends in your ads – giving your advertising a viral boost to bring people into your sales funnels.

Attracting customers using Google

There's one thing that I love about Google compared to everything else out there. That is; People are trying to find you.

That's a big difference to other types of advertising.

When someone is actively searching for “Fishing Tackle in Sydney”, there's a very good chance they are ready to part with their money. So Google is a beast that you really should consider feeding – especially for very strong ‘buy' type of keyword phrases. If people know about your product, then Google will likely be a key component to attracting customers to your sales funnel.

Here's a snippet from Google using ‘Buy' type keywords only;

Adwords Keyword planner

 

As you can see there's a good amount of monthly searches. The left side of the image above shows we're targeting Sydney and we're using closely related keywords (not broad search which is less relevant).

On average, there are 880 searches each month for “fishing tackle”.

What Method is Best?

Both Google and Facebook are powerful in their own right. However, both require different strategies to effectively convert visitors into paying customers.

In the case of Google, sending searchers directly to a highly related product page or landing page is a proven strategy. This is more likely that you will get conversions instead of a generic web page.

With Facebook, you may like to try a different strategy. Instead it could prove beneficial to build awareness of your business first using fishing videos, catch of the day, fishing tips and more. Then mixing those with direct calls to action and also promoting your lead magnet (more on lead magnets next). This will build your database of potential customers.

For now, I think it's clear that there's a ready made market in this instance, for “fishing tackle” and we can tap into both on Google and on Facebook.

This means the ‘Attraction' strategy now has been defined your business can launch a fairly simple attraction campaign quickly and easily.

What's your attraction strategy? Have you got one? If not, spend some time researching platforms where your audience is and see what opportunities exist. If you're not too sure where your best target market is, get in touch and we'll help you out.

 

sales funnel stage 2

Stage 2: Building your database (or list) – a key to any successful sales funnel

In an ideal world, potential customers would see your products and service and immediately buy from you.

But we all know that doesn't always happen. In many cases, it takes buyers a bit more time to get to know you before they make a purchase.

This is where capturing leads can help.

Fixing the website to build your database

If you're going to be sending new visitors to your website, you might want to consider a redesign with a strategy behind it. Often businesses create a website that promotes what they do and have done in the past, without much thought into what they would like visitors to do when they visit the website.

If your priority is to make sales, then naturally your website would work better if it was designed for that purpose. Consider if you've built your current website with that in mind. Perhaps you didn't. You may have simply let your web designer take control and made it look nice, without a clear purpose.

That's a common mistake many people make, so if that's you, you're not alone.

There are some good conventions with web design these days so I'm not going to visit those in this post, but there's one thing we want to definitely include;

  • Landing Pages
  • Opt-in Lead Magnets

Landing pages are single pages that you present on your website with one purpose in mind: getting a potential customer to take action. That could be to phone or email you about your service or to opt-in to a ‘free report' or something similar.

We call these ‘Lead Magnets'. They attract people to your product and service and you give them something of value. That could be a free report or free guide in exchange for their email address.

Lead Magnet examples

Hubspot's Lead Magnet

 

Hubspot lead magnet

YBB's Lead Magnet

lead magnet example 2

 

Why get people to opt-in?

This is a really important question, so I'm glad you asked…

Let me play devils advocate in my answer to this question. Lets assume you don't get any information whatsoever from people who visit your website.

In this case, you're hoping your product or service is so compelling, that buyers will buy immediately. This is a good strategy – but it's level 1 thinking and we want you thinking like a level 10 business.

What about if they aren't quite ready to buy? What if they were simply doing some research as to what is available but had no intention to buy anything that day?

You've now spent money to tell someone about your product and service, but you're relying on their memory to bring them back to you when they are ready to make a purchase.

Wouldn't it be easier if they gave you their details and said;

“Hey, I like what you sell but I'm not ready to buy from you just yet – but can you send me an update every now and then so I don't forget about you?”

OK, so most people aren't going to say that out loud, but it's essentially what they are saying if they opt-in. This is a key component to adding someone at the front end of your funnel. Once they're in your sale funnel, they can start to move through your sales pipeline towards becoming a customer.

The power of an email database (or list)

More and more people today are realising the power of an email list for potential buyers. It's essentially your own database of potential customers who for whatever reason decided at some point you had something of value to offer.

That's a great start.

You now have a positive reputation with that customer and can start to build even more credibility over the coming days/weeks/months/years.

Have you heard of touch points?

A touch point is basically an instance where a customer has some kind of interaction with your business. It could be that they saw you in a newspaper, then heard about you on the radio, then saw a sign of your store, then found your website, then received an email, etc….

Many people believe it takes 7-15 ‘touch points' before a customer will make a purchase from you. Having a customers email address means you can automate ‘touch points' to each and every customer from the first day they sign up onto your database. Every good digital marketing funnel does this.

What lead magnet can I create?

Being relevant is the best advice I can give you. If you were a tackle shop then you could use something like this;

  1. How To Tie The Best Fishing Knots
  2. What Size Hook Is Best For Your Target Fish
  3. The Ultimate Guide To Maintaining Your Tackle Box
  4. The Top 10 Lures That Outperform All Others

These are simple right? For someone who sells tackle every day, these guides would be very simple to write and fast to create. They are also beneficial and not simply about your business. If they were, you'd hardly get any downloads – and that defeats the purpose (PS: that's why corporate brochures rarely get downloaded). Instead, your lead magnets should focus on solving a problem your customers have.

Here are some simple tips if you're crafting an opt-in Lead Magnet;

  • Headlines are really powerful. Be sure your headline has an attractive benefit to the reader.
  • Use existing stock images if you have it. Photos of fish, tackle etc.. would be better than a horrible stock photo.
  • Make sure it's useful and has value. Don't provide an opt-in that is really poor value or that will reflect badly on your service.

 

sales funnel stage 3

Stage 3: Automate as much as possible in your sales funnel

You may not be used to sending out emails to multiple people on a regular basis. A task like that sounds like a big turnoff – and a big time sink (something I hate).

The good news is that it doesn't have to be.

With automation, you can set up a series of emails as a mini email sales funnel to automatically be sent on your behalf whenever someone downloads your lead magnet.

What's more, follow up emails can automatically be scheduled to continue to send out for months, or even years after someone has downloaded your material.

That's the power of email marketing and if you're not doing it, it's time to make up the best excuse known to man as to why not!

How to get started with Marketing Automation

There are lots of email marketing platforms available – way too many to cover here and what's more, a lot of them are a bit junky and clunky to use. So I'm only going to cover off two options.

I've used these tools myself and they are great for different reasons.

Mailchimp

 

Mailchimp

A free option available if you're just starting is Mailchimp.

Mailchimp is a great email marketing tool and has automation options though it's not as comprehensive as other platforms. If you're just getting started and you're doing all the work yourself, it might be a good option to begin with.

It will allow you to easily design a template for your emails, then get on with the business of setting up an automated email sequence.

It's free while you have less than 2000 people on your list, so for some small businesses it could remain free forever.

Mailchimp recently added pro version too which expands on it's great email marketing platform and gives you some powerful tools to boot.

Active Campaign

Active Campaign is currently my choice of marketing automation tools as it combines the power of email marketing and automation together with a great CRM if needed.

Active Campaign

 

The above is a screen shot of a campaign we use when someone requests our lead magnet. The campaign editor works in a top-down style and follows a logic path.

As you can see from the image above, there are also conditional rules which can be used through your campaign. The most common being the ‘Wait' condition. After sending the first email, we add the wait condition for 1 day, so the next email in the sequence is sent out a day after the first, and so on.

Further advanced rules can be set in place so if someone takes a certain action, we can begin a different automation and so on.

This becomes a powerful tool in the right hands of a good marketer and is a serious weapon in creating a successful sales funnel because you are the architect behind the design of your sales funnel. You decide what happens and when it happens. From emails, to timely sales calls to special offers when prospects interact with your website. Your sales funnel is boosted in effectiveness by marketing automation software such as Active Campaign.

Infusionsoft

For businesses who want a robust solution that tightly integrates ecommerce, membership websites, marketing automation and a CRM, Infusionsoft is a popular choice.

I've switch to Active Campaign personally because I don't use a number of features in Infusionsoft, however each solution can work for different businesses.

Here's a snapshot of one of my old lead magnet campaigns inside Infusionsoft.

Infusionsoft

 

If you've not seen a campaign before, simply work from left to right.

What you're looking at are several lead magnets (7 in total) that deliver the opt-in .pdf report to whomever subscribes.

The next step is they enter into a first month sequence and that sequence is shown below;

Infusionsoft sequence

 

This is the automated sequence that runs once a prospective customer has opted-in to my sales funnel.

  • 2 days after receiving the .pdf report, they get the first follow up email titled ‘Roadblock'.
  • 3 days later they get another email titled ‘Flexible Building'.
  • 1 week later another email titled ‘No Natural Light'.
  • And so on….

If a prospect doesn't buy from me within those first few weeks they then move into a Long Term nurture sequence which runs for a year. My clients in this business heavily research before they choose a company to deal with so it's not unusual to speak with people for a period of 3 years before they become a customer.

Your main objective here is to entice someone to buy from you and become your customer.

So what type of emails do you send?

Email Ideas

First, emails are best if they are closely related to the subject that the prospective customer opted in for.

If you came up with an opt-in free report titled “The Best Fishing Tips To Land Fish More Regularly” then your emails that follow can all be associated in some way with that free report.

So the first email might be about ‘Keeping your tackle up to date' followed by ‘How to set your drag so fish don't bust off your line' then you may want to lead the prospect to take an action like visiting the store, so the next email might be something along the lines of ‘Open Day At XYZ Tackle Shop' where your and your team put on a fly-fishing demonstration.

A week later it's back to good old advice so the prospective customer doesn't feel like you're just bombarding them with advertisements or hard-sells – which is a big turnoff.

So now that you know how to nurture a prospect, go and get your email solution and start writing those emails. Think of every email sequence as a mini sales funnel.

 

sales funnel stage 4

Stage 4: Converting Potential Customers into Sales using a sales funnel

Lets take a look at what you've done so far.

  1. You found where your customers were online
  2. You then developed an opt-in form and added it to a re-vamped website
  3. The opt-in was for a high-value free report
  4. You then automated a nurture email sequence to the customer

Now you're going in for the kill (or the sale… depending on whether you're a pacifist or not).

You already know who has opted-in to your email sequence as you have been tagging them (automatically) as ‘Lead Magnet – Best Fishing Tips'.

So, you created a custom list of people in his database with that tag and crafted a special email:

Bring this coupon into the store this month and you'll receive 10% discount off your total purchase price.

Bingo!

This is a great strategy. You're now dangling the carrot for new customers to come in and make a purchase in store.

This gives your staff the ability to forge an even stronger connection with the customer and lead to repeat business.

Implementing a sales pipeline strategy that works

For someone in retail, there's a fairly generic sales strategy of generating foot traffic and then approaching people within the store and offering assistance. The top performers will also up-sell and cross-sell a customer to increase the average sales values. Here's the catch (pun intended!) If you don't really have a good strategy in place, then some staff might miss good opportunities to generate additional sales.

This is where a selling system can be introduced into your business to increase sales numbers and sales values.

A selling system really helps you to deliver a consistent experience for the customer and provides a strategic approach for your sales team to know what to say and when/how to say it. It can also be revised and enhanced regularly to increase sales conversions.

A generic sample sales template

The following is a breakdown of the foundations for a sales template;

Introduction

A brief intro is probably all you need, but it is important you break the ice and help the customer feel comfortable.

Needs Analysis

Right now you want to think about why the customer has come to you. What is their current state and what problem are they trying to solve. Then, you want to be able to display a solution.

Proof Elements

Every business should have proof elements. It's good to bring up those proof elements to strengthen your sales conversion prospects. Also, story telling is a great way for potential customers to lock in to what you're selling.

Handling Objections

Now that you've shown a solution, you're going to want to handle objections the customer may have. This section could demand its own strategy entirely.

Close The Sale

Time to close the sale. This is really the time when you're asking for a decision to be made.

Up-sell & Cross-sell

Once the client has decided to buy, now is a good time to up-sell or cross-sell.

An up-sell is where you might suggest a more expensive version.

A cross-sell is where you might sell another product – perhaps one that compliments the initial purchase.

Every sales funnel is complimented by a great sales system.

The new sales system

If you haven't already, you can implement a sales system to improve your sales and marketing funnel.

Introduction

Introduce yourself by name and ask ‘how can I help'. Make small talk if you like using intros such as “I saw you pull up towing your boat – where are you heading?” or “Gearing up for the weekend fishing trip are we?”

Needs Analysis

Ask “Are you looking for something specific?”

If they are then lead them to the right area of the store and show them different options.

Ask “Do you have a budget in mind?” If so, show them products in that price range plus a few of the better, more expensive types, and explain why they're worth considering.

Proof Elements

Right now, you have an opportunity to share a story with the customer relating to the product they're looking at.

EG: “Last week a customer bought this reel and took it for a spin when he was fishing over at Rottnest Island – he ended up catching an 8 kg Jewfish. He brought in a picture yesterday – I'll show it to you”.

This shows the customer that the product they're considering brings the results they're looking for.

Handling Objections

You can also create a list of common objections and how best to respond.

Objection: “I don't like braid line.”

Response: “It does take a bit of getting used to, but if you rig it right, it's the best for certain situations. I can show you a few rigs if you like?”

Training on regular objections can be a great way for staff to learn how to cope with unfamiliar situations and lead customers to a sale.

Close The Sale

Once you feel like a customer has had time to consider the item, ask “Would you like to buy that one?”

Up-sell & Cross-sell

(Note: This section is important so I've given it a whole section to itself below this paragraph).

Now's the time to up-sell. They've decided which one they want to buy, so tempt them with the more expensive and better quality product to see if they want it.

Also, ask if they would like to add a 12 month warranty on any of your rods or reels.

If they buy;

  • A rod, see if they would like to buy a rod cover.
  • A reel, see if they would like lubricant.
  • Hooks and sinkers, see if they would like any leaders.

With this sales system in place, you'll have a lot more confidence when dealing with customers and your staff will be more familiar with cross-selling products.

This same sequence can be pulled apart and used in email sequences too or within sales letters, sales videos, landing pages. They're all elements that work offline, so consider ways you could incorporate these online.

 

sales funnel stage 5

Stage 5: Up-sells & Cross-sells in a sales funnel

What matters most? Not number of customers, not revenue, not staff numbers, not the size of my office… I couldn't care less about vanity metrics. Profits is always king.

 

Up-selling your customers is a great strategy to increasing profits. The good news is, it's almost always possible too and a sales funnel will help you do exactly that, every time.

Up-selling customers is also often referred to as increasing your average sales value. You may or may not have heard of this concept so I'll give a simple example;

Your Tackle Shop sells fishing gear and you has transactions that range from as little as $1.50 to over $3,000.

Based on the number of transactions (purchases) you make in an average week, you can calculate your average sales value.

First of all, remove the big purchases (Eg: items over $600). They're less common and will skew his numbers too much.

You average 60 transactions each day 6 days a week and your average turnover (excluding the 1-off type purchases over $600) comes to $21,000 each week.

This means your average sales value is $58.33

$21,000 / 60 / 6 = $58.33

The craft of Up-Selling

Part of the sales system and what should happen in your sales pipeline is to introduce up-sells and cross-sells as a sales strategy.

Now, in every single case, your sales team are asking if a customer wants to purchase an additional item or a more expensive item than the one they are considering.

If just 15% of customers add a $15 product to their sale, your average sales value will increase from $58.33 to $60.58

360 customers x 15% = 54

54 customers x $15 = $810

$21,810 / 60 / 6 = $60.58

The difference in revenue is increased by $810 each week adding $42,120 to your revenue each year.

What seems like such a small and insignificant sales boost has now just make you a pretty penny more and all because your sales team now up-sell and cross-sell.

Ideas For Up-selling

The Bundle

You could bundle together a Tackle Box Replenisher Kit which is made up of hooks, sinkers, swivels and traces for all his beach fishing customers. It's a simple way to grab a $15 bag of tackle to top up your tackle box.

It's also really simple for the sales team to present and add to a sale, quickly and easily.

The Weekly Special

Not everyone is into beach fishing, so maybe create a weekly special. New products with your weekly specials could get some of the old fisho's to give some new tackle a try.

A new line of lures becomes a big hit in the weekly special, so you can sell more of them at regular prices because they worked so well.

Who said you can't teach an old fisherman new tricks!

The High End

You could also provide a charter service to increase your average sale value. Perhaps introduce the charter service by including a flyer in each sale bag advertising this service which starts at $990 for a group of 4 people.

Now you have a high priced service getting regular bookings with the simple flyer strategy.

Adjusting Margins

When was the last time you had a price increase? Instead of just lifting the prices on everything, you may choose specific areas of the shop you know sells well, and add a small increase that would barely be noticeable.

These are just a few ways you could introduce the Up-sell and increase your profits in your business. This isn't necessarily part of a sales funnel but it's worth considering as the goal of implementing a sales funnel is to increase profits. Adjusting your margins, when you can, will improve profitability.

 

sales funnel stage 6

Stage 6: Customer satisfaction with your sales funnel

Customer satisfaction is important if you're to ensure your business will continue to grow into the future.

Delivery is something that I hold as very high in the sales satisfaction spectrum.

Consider the negatives. If you don't deliver in every way you promised, a customer will feel jaded, even if you succeeded with a sale the customer is walking away with a bad taste in their mouth. It's a huge no-no.

But consider the positives. If you over deliver on everything you promised, you've exceeded your customers expectations and I know personally when that happens to me, I couldn't be happier.

So what does delivery mean and how can you ensure your business does it.

Sales Training

Seth Godin once said “Marketing has to be separate from delivery” for a number of reasons, but Marketing should always talk to delivery to ensure delivery is capable of fulfilling the promises Marketing makes.

This is a really key point.

You control what your sales and marketing team promise to ensure you're capable of delivering.

Front end sales are extremely important, but the back end will suffer if they're not kept on a leash.

My recommendation is to check out what is possible for delivery and allow Marketing to be creative for positioning against competition and to keep an attractive offering. In every case make sure whatever Marketing wants to offer, you can deliver.

This is why having a comprehensive sales and marketing funnel as well as a sales system is so important.

It establishes a guideline that is in keeping with all of your marketing activities.

Have you ever walked into a store with a voucher only to have the staff comment that they've never seen that before? I have. It's weird because you feel as if they think you're trying to pull a fast one. It's also a huge relief when they finally talk to a staff member who confirms the voucher is genuine.

So the lesson here is; Align your promises with delivery. Then, if possible, get delivery to outperform the promise.

In my bricks and mortar business of building luxury homes, if I tell the customer we'll build your home in 12 months and I hand them their keys in 10 – I'm invited to the Christmas party.

Delighting your customers and how to build it into your sales funnel

So what about customer satisfaction?

This is not just about delivery, but it's more about delight.

A good friend of mine owns a Real Estate agency and her sales reps go over and above to ensure their clients (actually, even their neighbours) are happy. Food parcels, flowers and other considerate gifts are given for no reason other than to delight them.

That's terrific. It's terrifically thoughtful.

What about the flow on effect? What happens beyond the gift?

I'll leave you to imagine the conversations that take place around the dinner table that night.

There are ways that customer satisfaction can be increased through automation – which will ensure no client is forgotten. If this happens in your sales funnel automatically, you'll ensure growth by giving yourself greater opportunities for repeat sales and referrals.

If you want to customise a gift, you could automate a task to appear 2 days after a sale is completed. That task could be to give a small gift to say ‘thank you' to your recent customer.

Another idea is to automate a SMS message to the customers mobile with a quick ‘thank you for coming, we hope to see you again soon'.

Finally, you may want to think about asking the customer if they're satisfied. People love to know you care about how they were treated.

You could automate a short survey to get customer feedback – any low scores can be alerted to a customer service representative to resolve or a high score could lead to asking for a testimonial for your website.

sales funnel stage 7

 

Stage 7: How to get more referrals in your business using your sales funnel

When someone recommends you as a provider of goods or services to another potential buyer it's called a referral.

If you're in business and had referrals, you'll appreciate how great referrals are. There's a very powerful force at work that is undeniably more powerful than any other kind of advertising or marketing activity you'll undertake.

Referrals are powerful because of the transference of trust. If my best friend tells me of a great accountant, I'm likely to speak with them. Recently one of my friends gave me the name of her solicitor. I was very happy with the outcome.

In each case, the referee is trusting that their friend will receive the same high standard of service that was given to them. Thus a referral is very, very valuable.

The first and probably most important question you can ask yourself is, “Are customers really happy with my products and services?”

My clients are happy, what do I do now?

The thing with referrals is, you don't want to rely on chance. Sure, there will be times when someone turns up to your business and says “I want to work with you because you did a really good job for my friend who happened to mention your name when I was having coffee with them last week”. But that's too unreliable.

What we want to do is actively encourage referrals and that means you being pro-active. So the best way to do this is to include a way to generate referrals in your sales funnel.

Referral ideas you could implement right now;

1. Ask your customers to refer you to their friends.

How simple is that? Asking your customers just puts you in the front of their mind and they will naturally think of friends that may find your business helpful. You can do this in person, on the phone, via your website, through social media or even automating an email or SMS campaign.

2. Thank customers who do refer you.

Ok so a customer sent you a referral – give them props! In some cases a simple ‘thank you' phone call will suffice. In some cases a small gift would be appropriate. Work out how you want to handle this and implement a system so you never forget to thank someone who send you a referral in future.

3. Remind your customers how important referrals are for your business.

A friendly note at the end of an email or a newsletter can serve as a reminder that your business thrives on referrals. This has a double benefit. A) It reminds your customers that you are doing a good job and others are happily referring and B) Puts you front-of-mind again to be referred.

4. Create an affiliate program.

If your business is primarily online, then creating an automated affiliate program is a great way to get referrals. Affiliate programs are where people can send you customers and get paid for doing so. In the case of a business like Amazon, a huge amount of sales are attributed to affiliates.

5. Provide something share-able

Your shop could print up a box of stickers that had legal fish sizes and hand each of his customers a few free after every purchase. The idea being that each customer would pass one or two on to their fishing buddies. It's the start of conversation “Hey, I've got a spare sticker that I got free from XYZ, want one?” which can lead into a referral.

6. Share expertise publicly

If you participate in a community (online is a great idea – like a forum or closed social platform) then sharing your expertise and helping others can create goodwill with other members. I've personally been referred customers by people on forums that I contribute to.

7. Create talking points

If you can create a shared experience then it becomes a conversation piece later. For example, giving a happy customer 4 tickets to Gold Class cinemas, means they may invite friends and discuss where they got the tickets in the first place. Another example may be to provide a branded piece of regularly used equipment or devices. Ever seen a branded stubby holder? You bet you have. Who doesn't want a group of drunk lads chatting about their business in the wee hours of the night?

In summary, be proactive. Come up with a strategy that is meaningful and implement it. It doesn't have to be complicated. It just has to be implemented.

The referrals sequence is often the last component of your sales funnel, but remember that if someone doesn't refer the first time, if they're a repeat customer they will be asked to refer again and again and again. If you implement marketing automation software in your sales funnel, you'll do this on autopilot – which makes it very easy to grow referrals regularly.

Summary

Implement each key area of the sales funnel into your business. Your sales pipeline is vital to ensuring you have new business on a regular basis. No matter whether you are an online only business or a bricks and mortar business, these sales funnel stages will help you to grow your business successfully.

If you'd like us to build your digital marketing funnel, simply contact us and we'll help you get it done.