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Growth Hacking for SaaS, SMB & Startups Bootcamp Part II: What is a FUNNEL? – The Right Customer, the Right Message, in the Right Channel

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In last week’s post ‘Growth Hacking for SaaS, SMB & Startups Bootcamp PART I What is ACQUISITION - Getting the RIGHT Early Customers for Free’, we covered the various growth hacking techniques that work well and ones to avoid.

We are now in the second week of the ‘Perfect Funnel’ challenge series. This week we will discuss Funnels and how to acquire the right customers by sharing the right messages in the right channels.

A Funnel illustrates the ideal journey your prospective customers go through on their way of becoming your customers.

Businesses may market their products and solutions to several thousand or several hundred thousands of people, but only a small percentage share their contact details to become leads. Out of these leads, only a fraction will become customers. Out of these customers, a further smaller fraction will become loyal customers for your brand.

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CUSTOMER LIFECYCLE - AIDA MODEL

The various stages a potential buyer goes through in a company’s marketing funnel is commonly referred to as customer lifecycle. The age-old marketing funnel model, more commonly referred to as the AIDA model, was developed by an American advertising advocate, E. St. Elmo Lewis in 1898.

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As a business, you have to funnel down your prospects in the AIDA order to get amazing new customers. Moving prospective clients through the funnel to convert them to loyal customers is the main goal for marketers.

 

PERSONA DESIGN - KNOW YOUR CUSTOMER AND USE THE LANGUAGE

Before building the funnel for your business, a critical first step in the lead acquisition process is understanding your customers and potential customers and creating buyer personas. Buyer personas are fictional, generalized versions of your ideal customers.

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In order to define buyer personas for your business, you need to understand your existing customers, their demographics, behavior, interests, and location.

Based on your understanding and analysis, group and define your ideal consumers’ characteristics and expected behavior. Create buyer personas for your business so you can design your marketing strategy accordingly. The success of your communication strategy with your target audience will largely depend on your full understanding of the buyer personas of your business.

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FUNNEL MAPPING - CREATE AND CONTROL THE USER JOURNEY

Create or design the sales funnel for your business based on the user journey and control the way users pass from one stage to another.

Businesses should carefully map the user lifecycle with the sales funnel. Marketing messages have to be developed for various stages in the funnel such that potential buyers are able to move at ease, from top of the funnel to the bottom of the funnel and become customers.

You may assume that the funnel has a linear path based on the AIDA model. However, in reality, a funnel is not that simple. When consumers come across your products, they may first look at alternative products by your competitors. It may then take weeks or months for them to come back to your funnel and convert.

Here are 10 funnel mapping tools you should consider using for your business.

CONTENT MARKETING - CREATE CONTENT THAT IS HIGHLY VALUABLE FOR YOUR BUYER PERSONAS

Over the past decade, the Internet has transformed the way consumers research products and services. Consumers would prefer doing a comprehensive online research about the various ways in which their business problem can be solved.

Consumers these days trust brands only when the brand is able to provide them with valuable content. Brands must focus on creating high-quality content that is extremely valuable for their leads as they pass through various stages of the buying journey.

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LEAD MAGNETS AND TRIP WIRES

High-quality content frequently acts as great lead magnets. Businesses could give basic relevant content for free and then gate the high-value content. Businesses can drive their target audience to fill in lead generation forms by offering lead magnets like eBooks and whitepapers.

Trip wires are a way of converting a lead to a customer by offering them a low-cost alternative. Once they are in the sales funnel, you could then upsell to them to improve the CLV.

RETARGETING - MAP AD CREATIVES AND MESSAGING TO EACH STAGE IN THE USER JOURNEY

Users may visit your website, follow you on social media and they may drop off at some point of the buying journey before completing the purchase. Create retargeting campaigns targeting such potential customers who are in various stages of the buying journey.

Based on the content your target audience consumes, you can identify which stage they are in. You could then create retargeting journeys motivating these users to consume similar content or driving them to take some action, move towards the bottom of the funnel and convert them to leads/customers.

DRIP EMAIL NURTURING CAMPAIGNS

Launch drip email nurturing campaigns based on the activity and online behavior of your leads and potential customers. Based on the stage of the buying cycle and sales funnel, your audience is in, create relevant marketing mailers that would drive conversion.

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Drip campaigns help businesses in acquiring customers through lead nurturing techniques. You should set up email campaigns for various stages starting from indoctrination or introducing your brand to deliver value and build trust. The objective of drip email nurturing campaigns is to get your leads to know, like, and trust your brand.

 

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MARKETING AUTOMATION TO STREAMLINE YOUR MARKETING NEEDS

Use technology for messaging and ensure that human interaction is required only for high priority items. Automate your social media posting by scheduling the posts to go out based on high activity time.

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Introduce techniques like ‘Lead Grading’, where your business can classify leads based on their location, demographics, industry, job title etc and ‘Lead Scoring’, where leads are classified based on the lead’s activity and online behavior. Here are 23 awesome marketing automation tools that your business should evaluate to simplify and streamline your marketing functions.

PROGRESSIVE PROFILING - GATHER MORE INFORMATION AS USERS CONSUME MORE CONTENT

Getting to know more about your leads is crucial for the success of your marketing campaigns. However, to know more, you need to collect more information from them through lead forms. This is where progressive profiling comes into picture. You can have dynamic lead forms that collect tiny bits of information as and when users download different content.

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When a lead returns to consume more content, the automation detects what information we already have and generates dynamic web forms asking for the next level of details. As they move from one stage to the next stage in the buying journey different details are collected.

This comprehensive user profile collated by the automation tools will aid in creating highly targeted marketing messages for driving users towards conversion.

FINAL THOUGHTS

By designing a sales funnel tailored according to your business and industry, businesses can prioritize marketing campaigns and create relevant high-quality content for your buyer personas.

Stay tuned to the growth hacking series! Next week, we will learn about the importance of CONVERSION and how to get the most from every encounter with your target audience. Don’t forget to sign up for the “Perfect Funnel” CHALLENGE.

 

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