What is a Sales Funnel and Why Instagram is Your First Step
If you’ve started to learn more about digital marketing for job or for your own business you may have come across the term sales funnel. If you haven’t, no worries, I’m here to explain to you exactly what a sales funnel is and how Instagram plays a big role at the top of the funnel.
Whether it’s intentional or not if you are using Instagram for your business you already have a sales funnel of some sort going on. A sales funnel refers to the buying process that someone goes through before they become a paying customer. All the steps they may consciously or subconsciously go through to turn from someone who doesn’t know your brand to someone that is buying from you. Some people may never advance past the top of the funnel but of course we hope everyone makes it to the end.
Creating a funnel with intention will help you repeatedly turn social media views into paying clients. Knowing the ins and outs of your funnel will also help you spot any holes where you might be losing people. You can influence how people move down the funnel by doing one of my most favorite things, online marketing.
A 4 Stage Sales Funnel
Imagine the funnel has 4 stages, as someone moves through your funnel each stage requires a different type of action from you!
The top of the funnel is filled with people that have had 1 or 2 exposures to you. Maybe they follow you, maybe they’ve seen you at a market, or they saw a facebook ad. These people are vaguely familiar with your brand, they might recognize it to see it again but wouldn’t know exactly what you’re all about.
A little bit further down the funnel are your warm leads. These people have had their eye on you, they probably have started to like your business or brand, at the very least they know what you do those people are still in the awareness stage too.
In the interest stage the viewer has maybe been consuming your content for a few months, or they have been exposed to your product in some way multiple times. In this stage they are LOOKING for more information. They may ask you for it directly which is obviously an ideal situation but most people are not going to ask which means you need to have the information readily available for them and we are going to talk about how you can do that in a few examples below.
People make decisions very differently. Some need very little information and some need every single detail. As the marketer you are going to provide the information so that those who need it take it. Once they’ve had access to all the information that their little heart desires is the action phase.
The final step in completing the funnel is action! He is she purchases your product or service. Whoop whoop! Good job.
Okay, now that you know a little more about the funnel let’s walk through two examples. In example one Instagram is going to be the entire funnel and in example 2 Instagram will be the first step or the awareness phase of the funnel.
Sales Funnel Example 1 - Instagram
Someone came across one of your posts in some way or another and hit the follow button, let’s call this a Lead. Them following you is really the only way you can know they are actually somewhat interested in what you have going on. They’ve suggested their interest by hitting the follow button which means it’s time for you to impress them.
We can peak interest by starting a conversation with the new lead. Starting a simple dialogue with no intention to sell can be very powerful and it’s a great way to digitally network. Let them know you’re here for them and open to answering any questions.
To move him or her from the interest phase to the decision phase we need to be consistently putting out value giving content on Instagram. Value giving content refers to captions, stories, videos or photos which entertain, educate, inspire or motivate. You are showing these people how much value you have to offer and they can see you are clearly an expert in your field because you are already providing them with useful information.
Additionally, it’s important that we tell our leads aka our audience what we have for sale. People are not going to figure out what your services actually are if you don’t tell them. If you are using Instagram for your business then it’s OK to sell as long as you’re offsetting the selling with a lot of free value.
Lastly is the action phase. If you’re a product based service this might look like someone buying one of your products through the Instagram app. If you’re a service based business then they have most likely left the app through email or a link in your bio to make their purchase. Either way Instagram basically fully supported your funnel! Pretty neat right? I know this is one you probably already have in place it just might need a little more intention or a bit of cleaning up!
Sales Funnel Example 2 - Instagram + Mailing List
The awareness stage is just like in example one, you’ve landed a new follower. But this time instead of keeping the lead on Instagram you are going to get them on your newsletter or mailing list. You can do that by starting a conversation through the DMs and then IF they have a question that relates to one of your free downloads you can refer them to that link and boom! New subscriber.
Once they are on your mailing list you might send them through a dripped out email campaign. This campaign will teach them more about your brand, identify with their current struggles, meet them where they are at and ultimately offer a solution aka one of your products.
If they went through your email sequence and didn’t take action that’s okay we can continue to nourish the relationship by sending weekly, value providing content out to our email list and always providing a Call To Action at the bottom. A call to action tells your audience what you want them to do next. You could have them sign up for a challenge you have going on, or download your free video series, or screenshot your newsletter and add it to their social channels to share the awesome info they got from you. The CTA is just something else to help give you more exposure or encourage them to get to know your brand better.
One last great way to convert from the decision stage to the action stage is through something called a discovery call. This is most popular for online services and coaches. Discovery calls are free 15-60 minute calls during which the potential client is able to really get to know you and ask any questions they may have. Your job on the call is to LISTEN to them and help them navigate through any objections that may be coming up for them. Discovery calls, also known as sales calls are an art so don’t be discouraged if you don’t get a client booked every time.
This second example that I just gave you might sound really confusing if you don’t have a system in place for a mailing list or a way for people to book calls with you but don’t freak out. I want you to think of the NEXT thing you need to do to improve your funnel and start by taking action there.
Okay friend now that you know what a sales funnel is I want you to apply it to your business! It can be helpful to draw out the buyers journey and visualize the steps it would take a customer to move from Awareness to Action, you might notice a few holes or room for improvement.
No matter where you’re at with your digital marketing you CAN and SHOULD have a funnel in place! Like I showed in the first example Instagram can be your entire funnel! Alternatively you can mix in something like a mailing list to really help warm up those leads.
If you haven’t started a mailing list yet I would really recommend it! Check out my How to Start a Mailing List blog post and you’ll be well on your way!
If you learned something from this blog post and wanted to say “Thanks Jo!”. No need, just Pin it for me! We’ll call it even ;)