Sales funnelCan you believe it? It’s almost springtime and 2013 shows no signs of slowing down! So far this year, we’ve seen social marketing take an even larger role in content creation as well as the growth of the mobile market.

All of these avenues for content creation and marketing continue to change the way that the sales system works. In the early days of marketing, influence was limited and only sales people had the knowledge about the service or product.

Now the paradigm has shifted and the internet allows consumers to do their own research before committing to a purchase. The sales funnel is now 3-dimensional and is pointing at every direction. Potential customers can enter your sales funnel from any source and at any point of your funnel and ruin your strategy.

In 2013, content creators must organize content that allows internet users to enter at any point in the funnel and ultimately decide to make a purchase.

Content Planning Strategies

The sales funnel has 4 main stages:

  1. Awareness. Internet users are exposed to your brand or services for the first time. Whether they find you through a Google search or through social networking, your brand makes an impression.
  2. Interest. After consumers learn about your brand, they become interested because they realize that you can fulfill their needs.
  3. Conversion. After the potential customer becomes interested, you or your content engages and encourages them to make a purchase.
  4. Loyalty. The funnel doesn’t stop after a purchase is made. In our world, email marketing and social media makes it easy to stay in touch with consumers. Continuing the marketing plan past a purchase creates loyal consumers.

In 2013, an internet user might stumble upon a webpage or a piece of content that is on stage 3 of the sales funnel. They’ve never heard of your brand before or have no interest in your services. This is why content planning strategies are so important.

To optimize your site and avoid this situation, give your site options. If someone can enter your sales funnel at any point, then they can leave at any point. By making your site simple to navigate and making the progression of thought and process obvious, someone who enters at stage 3 can click on a link to go to stage 1 content and learn about your brand. In other words, the content of your site should be obvious and flow from one stage to the next, but give users the option to jump around and find their own place in the funnel.

Slow Calls-to-Action

A CTA in the sales funnel doesn’t always have to be a strong sales pitch, especially online. For instance, including a line such as “Interested in learning more? Click here to see how…” will make your content useful and simple to navigate for potential customers.

Place slow CTA’s throughout all stages of the funnel. This allows people who randomly stumble upon your content to grow their interest and awareness of your brand. People who have never heard of your brand don’t know why they should care about it. Slow CTA’s provide you the opportunity to explicitly tell them why your brand should interest them as well as organize the 4-stage funnel into a pliable process.

Organizing your content for easy navigation and including slow CTA’s with inner links also improves your site’s SEO. Unlike the early days of sales marketing, users can run across your funnel at any point. Content creators can no longer control how people run across their stories, but we can influence how it ends!

Have you taken steps to ensure that any stage of your sales funnel is welcoming to new users? What tips do you have?