Stages of the Sales Funnel: Turning Your Visitors Into Customers

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Sales funnels have become increasingly popular over the years.

Many marketers see them as an essential part of their online business and today, we’re going to take a look at the stages of a sales funnel.

We’re going to take a look at what the stages are and why each individual stage is important.

Plus, we’re also going to look at how each stage could translate into real-life components of your stage funnel.

What are The Four Stages of a Sales Funnel?

Well, this is quite a funny question actually, as many marketers use different terms for the stages of the sales funnel.

No matter what stages I use here, there will always be somebody else using different terms for each stage, so when you somebody else uses a different term, you know why.

Anyways, here are the four stages of the sales funnel:

  1. Awareness
  2. Interest
  3. Decision
  4. Action

stages of the sales funnel

I find these terms are the best way to describe the process up to the purchase, but it does also depend on the business.

If we’re talking about an outdoor food stand at a festival, it would probably go straight from awareness to desire and action.

What I am saying is that the four stages always depend on the business, so do keep that in mind. 

Awareness

The first stage of the sales funnel is awareness. Without this stage, there wouldn’t be the rest of the sales funnel, so it’s pretty important.

Now at this point, we are just making the future customer aware of our product or service. This is just so that they at least know of us which makes it much more likely for them to purchase later down the line.

 

The chances of someone purchasing from a business that they know is much higher than them purchasing from a business that they don’t know.

Common sense stuff, but the longer you think about it, the more you’ll understand why brands spend millions on TV advertisements.

It’s not for the direct conversion, it’s to make customers aware of who they are. In your business, this stage may translate into a Facebook or YouTube ad, or your organic search result. 

Wherever the customer is first made aware of whatever it is that you do, that’s the awareness stage. If you’re trying to straight away push for the sale, in most cases, you’ll fail. 

Interest

As important as awareness is, it’s nothing without interest.

If the customer has no interest in your product or service, why the f would they buy it? Don’t get me wrong, it doesn’t have to be the type of interest they take in a hobby, it can be any type of interest.

For example, we have an interest in water because we need it to survive. I guess interest isn’t always the right word, but for most businesses, it will be. Or, if not I guess you could switch it out with the word motive.

Anyway, the way we trigger interest in most cases could be through a variety of different marketing channels. Email marketing, social media or blogging could be three channels that we use to create interest in the customer.

For example, if I want to sell email marketing software, I might make blog posts or social media posts that explain why email marketing will help businesses sell more products. This will trigger a lot of interest in business owners because they want to sell more products. 

You usually trigger interest by educating your audience on how they can gain a certain benefit. So, if you want to trigger interest, figure out how the product you want to sell helps your customer get a benefit.

Decision

The next stage of the sales funnel is decision. At this point, the customer starts to decide why they need/want your product.

You can also call this stage desire as the customer starts to have a desire in purchasing your product. This stage usually isn’t really tied to one of your marketing channels like your blog, email, or anything like that, it’s more in the customer’s mind.

Although, you can push the sale at this stage with scarcity, social proof, discounts, and a dozen other marketing tactics. You can do this through email, retargeting ads, and just by popping up everywhere your customer looks, so I guess it is kind of tied to your marketing channels.

Anyway, this is the final stage before the purchase and it really comes down to 2 things:

  • Benefits 
  • Costs

Does your product’s benefits outweigh the costs of the product? 

You can’t actually answer this question with a yes or no, as the benefits have to outweigh the costs in the customer’s mind. If they don’t, they’re not going to buy. It’s as simple as that. 

Action

Lastly, we have action. 

This is where they enter your website URL, go to your store and purchase. Or, message you and say that they want to hop on a call about X service you offered to them. Whatever it is, this is where whoever you are attempting to sell too finally becomes a customer.

Not so fast… At this point, things can still go wrong.

For one, if the customer can’t find what he wants to buy, he may go somewhere else.

Again, this is dependant on how big the benefits are and how unique your product is.

If they can just get that same product anywhere else and can’t find yours, well, they’ll just go somewhere else.

So, what it comes down to this phase, the most important factors are:

  • Branding & how unique your product is
  • Ease of access

I’m not going to talk about branding and uniqueness of your product, as you should probably read a book on that. Plus, I suck at it myself (Sad face). 

But, what I will say about ease of access is that you should make your product as easily accessible as possible.

This is how Amazon crushed Walmart and other brick & mortar retailers, they just made it 100x easier for customers to access the products, while with other retailers they would have to go to the store.

Amazon marketing

If your products are much easier accessed than your competitors, you’re probably going to crush them as well.

After The Sale, What’s Next?

We know that sales funnels are good for businesses, but what happens after the sale? After the sale, this whole thing is finished… NOT. 

Now it’s about keeping that customer and making repeat sales.

The first step to keeping your customer is having a good product that gives them some sort of benefit. 

No product with 0 perceived value is ever going to be bought again by customers. Even, cheaply made clothing brands that sell their items for extremely high markups have perceived value to the customer. 

The customer clearly likes the look or the feeling of having that clothing item. So, the first step is to have a good product, or at least a product with some type of perceived value. 

Then, it’s a case of using the tools available to you to make it more likely for the customer to purchase next time they need or want the product.

Some of these tools are:

  • Order bumps, upsells & downsells (this is for just after the transaction, but still)
  • Recurring billing (easiest way to generate repeat business, duh?)
  • Email marketing (stay connected with that customer)
  • Social media + retargeting ads (stay in their minds) 
  • Content marketing (Give them value post-sale, also makes them like you + stay in their minds)

Read More About Sales Funnels

Did you enjoy this post on the stages of the sales funnel? 

If you did, make sure to leave a comment below and also check out the other articles about sales funnels below. 

Beginner-friendly sales funnel template: Free Download with setup guide

How to build a sales funnel for free: On a Budget?

13 Best Sales Funnel Builder Software: Let’s get building! 

 

 

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