When you look at marketing and sales, it’s one big process. You might hear it referred to as a marketing funnel or a sales funnel – I hate the term funnel, so I refer to it as a process. But whatever you call it, here’s how it works.
First, something gets the attention of a potential buyer – a social media post, an ad, a direct message, an email, a leaflet through their door. This is the attract stage – you attracted their attention, got on their radar, made them aware of your existence.
So they follow you, connect with you, click through to your website, subscribe to your emails, download your brochure or make an enquiry – and now they are in the nurture stage.
This is where you get them interested in what you’re offering, make them want it and earn their trust enough for them to buy from you. You can do this with your website, brochures, social media content, videos, blogs, emails, webinars etc.
Then comes the conversion part – getting them to take action, agree to your terms and part with their cash.
How long they stay in the nurture stage depends on several factors, including what you sell and how urgently they need it.
For example, if you offer urgent boiler repair and someone has a broken boiler, they will usually make a buying decision pretty quickly. This means you’ll probably focus most of your marketing efforts on the attract stage – investing in SEO or ads to make sure you’re in front of them at the right time.
If you sell coaching or consulting, you might need to spend a little longer showing people the benefits of working with you and gaining their trust through your content.
Understanding your customers will help you figure out the best marketing activities to invest in at each stage and how to join them up so people move through the process smoothly.
And that leads us to one of the most overlooked elements of marketing – understanding who your ideal clients are and their needs, challenges, and motivations.
If you don’t understand who you want to attract or why they would buy whatever it is you sell, it makes the entire marketing process extremely difficult.
This is another reason so many marketing efforts fail. If you invest in a marketing service without being clear about who you want to attract or how you help them, you usually end up attracting the wrong people.
Then you end up with loads of followers or connections who will never buy, lots of website traffic but no enquiries, or a huge email list that never converts into sales.
Work out who you want to attract, and the rest of the process becomes much easier.
If you know who you want to attract and how to create the right processes (or funnels), you’re less likely to invest time or money in the wrong things.