The Sales Funnel: Engaging Your Crowd

In the previous post in this series about the sales funnel, we talk about attracting your community through the use of Blogging, Social Network Publishing, PPC Campaigns and Traditional PR. It’s great that now this person knows who you are, but they’re still just a face in the crowd. You need to get that person toengage with you. Because they’re still unsure if you can meet their needs, you’ve got to show them you can by answering their questions.

You want this face in the crowd to get a little closer to the playing field. They’re probably not ready to commit to your service or product yet, so you need to help them take baby-steps towards you. You want them to begin making micro-commitments to you. Three tools for getting your new prospect to make a commitment to you are

  • Landing Pages
  • Calls to Action
  • Forms

These three opportunities for your crowd to engage are a critical, but underutilized part of most business’ sales funnels. Remember, your primary goal at this stage is get your customer to make a mini-commitment. “YES! I want to know the answer to this problem I have!” Lots of little YESes will eventually lead to one BIG YES! Let’s look at how you can use these three to engage your crowd.

Landing Pages

There are two primary types of landing pages. The first is a click-through landing page, and the second is a lead generation landing page.

Click Through Landing Pages

Click Through landing pages are just what they sound like: they’re pages on your website which are designed to get the viewer to click through another page. Typically, a click through landing page is part of an ecommerce flow. For example, a single product page on a website with a shopping cart is a click through landing page. It describes the benefits and details of the products, and is intended to encourage the viewer to click through to the checkout page. But ecommerce flows aren’t the only appropriate place for Click Through landing pages.

You can also use Click Through landing pages as repositories of one type of content on your website. For example, if you have 15 great articles about gluten-free cooking, collect all of the links for those articles on one page, and send people to that one, information PACKED landing page. You can then include a call to action specific to that category of service, rather than a general contact page. In this example, it might be to purchase a done-for-you gluten-free weekly menu subscription.

Lead Generation Landing Pages

It might be though that your guest doesn’t yet have all of the information needed to make a decision to purchase. Anticipate and answer their questions and objections. The easiest way to do this is to collect their email address in exchange for a piece of information that answers a question. The pages of your website designed to collect a visitor’s email address or other contact information are called Lead Generation landing pages. Collecting an email address allows you to continue to contact them, sharing answers to the questions they have about your product or service.

Calls to Action

A Call-To-Action is an instruction or direction given to a guest to complete a particular action. “Buy Now,” “Call Today,” “Visit Today” are all examples of calls to action. Here’s the kicker: Each page of your website should have a defined call to action. Every single page. When you’re writing a page or post for your website, you need to ask yourself, “What do I want this reader to DO after they’ve read this?” That call to action should reflect both the content of the page it’s on and where your guest is in your sales cycle.

 

For example, it’s not appropriate to ask someone who is reading an article about the cost of cooking gluten-free foods to click a purchase button for a gluten free cookbook. Not yet. They’re not convinced yet that they can afford that lifestyle, so offering them a cookbook is making a call to action assumes they’re a bit further down your sales funnel. It might be more appropriate to offer them a download of the “Top 10 Ways to Save Money by Going Gluten Free” or a free, budget-friendly, sample weekly menu. Again, you’re asking them to make little commitments along the way – little exchanges of value and trust. You’re keeping them engaged with you by answering the questions they’re asking at the point they’re asking them.

Most businesses could greatly increase the conversion rate of their website if they simply added more targeted calls to action on every page of their site. That doesn’t mean every page is going to have a UNIQUE call-to-action, either. You might very well have pages where the primary call to action is to simply join your email list, or to contact you.

Forms

An important part of any website are the forms used to allow guests to engage: simple contact forms, or email marketing optin forms. I like to use Gravity Forms to create forms for myself and my clients. Their forms can even be integrated with your email marketing system, like MailChimp or Aweber, or used to sell products when connected with a payment gateway. Pretty fancy stuff.

Inbox Game PlanIf you didn’t catch it throughout this post, this stage of the sales funnel introduces email marketing. You’ll see in the next stage (Committed) that email marketing is intricately tied to the best possible conversion rates. Email marketing allows you to educate, convert and remember your visitors long after they’ve completed whatever commitment you asked them to take, moving them closer to making a purchase.

 

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