Marketing Funnel Canvas
This article is about how to set up an marketing sales funnel for your business. For this I came up with a tool inspired by the "Business Modal Canvas" that consists of clear building blocks that helps you to evaluate your current funnel and to come up with new ideas to improve it.
Please do not confuse this canvas by the famous "Business Modal Canvas". It is something I created because I thought it was missing in the literature I had at hand.
The art of selling is mastering the process of directing people, who do not know you, into returning customers, who tell others about your how great your product or service is. The better you understand this process from A to Z the better you can grow your business.
We can model this process as a funnel with 6 different stages. At every stage your audience gradually change their attitude towards your business from a 'not knowing' into ultimately a 'loyal' customer who advises others to buy from you as well. I have named these stages as following:
- Happy User
Different actions are required to get someone from one stage in to the next. These sub-processes, from one stage in to another, are what I like to call: 'conversions'. The figure above shows the 6 arrow headed conversions. By understanding what kind of actions you can take to lead your audience from stage to stage the more likely it is that your business will grow. In this article I will go deeper into the stages and the required conversions.
I see the first stage metaphorically as a fish pool. The fish pool can be a large lake with all types of fishes or a small pond with only yellow ones. But no matter what type of fish pool, the potential fish isn't aware of you and what you have to offer. They just swim around you...
The pool stage requires you to think about where to fish and what type of fish you want. This is thé single most important step and by not defining this well enough your business will ultimately fail like many many others.
Some type of customers are found in big quantities while others are rare and scattered around the globe. By choosing your pool size and type you will get ultimately different types of customers at the end of your funnel. Defining the pool too wide will give you lots of different fishes with types you probably don't want, or in other words customers that require 80% of your time but only deliver 20% of your income. Garbage in is equal to garbage out. Choosing too small however and you will end up with a non-scalable business. Choosing the right pool is the first, most difficult and most important stage for being able to grow your business effectively now and in the future! Since this step is that important it is something you are not able to get completely right in the starting period of your business. You just cannot invent your customer from behind your computer you will only understand your target audience truly and deeply from real world interactions. During the development of your company you often have to re-invent who that pool really is so you can sharpen your actions and the products or services you have to offer.
The next step is the 'contact-stage'. While the pool-stage is a bunch of unaware fish, contacts know at least your name or website. They are somewhat aware of you but are not convinced or interested in any way. They have just met or heard about you.
How can I lead people from the pool-stage into the contact-stage?
The question is here: how can I lead people from the pool-stage into the contact-stage? If your funnel is more sales oriented you could simply increase the amount of handshakes you do with your targeted audience. Or maybe you can do more (cold) calls. If you are more marketing oriented you can use advertisments and spread your name wide and loud. The smartest thing for you however at this stage is to use tools that convert your audience somewhat automatically. So I won't do real sales I rather would use online marketing tools if possible. At later funnel stages you can use a more personal approach with people, but for now use tools like Youtube marketing, SEO or Google Adwords to convert people from a pool into a contact.
Create 'low profile' HOW-TO video's that give valuable information to your defined audience about a certain subject and finish the video with your web address. People will share the video if it has really great content. Good How-To video's can easily have thousands of shared views online. With this you can "automatically" pull people from the pool stage into the contact stage.
For online businesses this stage requires you to think about: how do you get people on your website, blog or Facebook page?
A lead is someone who has some initial interest towards you, your product or your company. If someone spends time reading your landing page, viewing your product-movie, he or she is interested. Be aware that getting someone's interest takes place at a really short period of time. If people are uninterested they leave your site on an instant.
How can I lead people from the contact-stage into the lead-stage?
To convert a simple contact into a lead you need to convince him or her at a short period of time. Typically, you will show them your offer on your landing page and explain ‘why’ your offer matters to them.
Create a short and awesome "why" video and lead viewers to pages with more information. Conversion 2 requires you to think about how to get people's interest at a short period of time.
Unfortunately there will be a percentage of visitors that 'bounce' right away from your site. You can measure your bounce rate of your website with Google Analytics. It tells you how well or not you are performing to convert contacts into leads. If you have a high bounce rate you have to improve the initial touch point visitors have with your site. Think about your landing page and more. Watch this great talk about bounce rates and more: Interview with Avinash Kaushik
You can measure how well you are performing to get people interested by measuring how deep people go into your site. For example: measure the clicks to certain information pages or how long people stay on your site. Remember only people who are interested read your site. Checkpoint!
I describe the difference between a lead and a prospect as follows: a lead has interest in you but is indifferent between you and the competition, while a prospect has a preference towards you. The prospect stage is the stage just before you close the deal. With prospects you have established a base agreement, but some points are still unclear to them to close the actual deal.
How can I lead people from the lead-stage into the prospect-stage?
To convert leads into a prospects you have to really convince them of benefits of your product, service and company. Show them how trustworthy you are and give them actual proof for the selling points you promise. Check if they are in need of more and detailed information. This conversion requires you to think about how you can really convince people by explaining the benefits, showing proof and gaining trust.
If someone, invests real time in getting more information about what you have to offer he or she is converted into a prospect. Check if they ask for more detailed information or even request a quote.
Create product video’s that give more detailed information: customer testimonials, personal background stories and ‘how it’s made video’s’. Request at the end of the video to call or email you. Especially customer testimonials are powerful ways to combine lots of online marketing smartiness into one video.
How can I lead people from the prospect-stage into the customer-stage?
In order to convert a prospect into a customer you need to remove that final friction between uncertanity and the decision of choosing you. It really depends on the type of business for how long this process will take. In general to more in depth knowledge you have about your prospect the faster and the more likely the deal will close.
If you have dificulties closing the deal you did probably something wrong at the beginning of the funnel. Maybe you have to rethink the customers you want to serve or the real world selling points you have offer. Otherwise gather more indepth information about what your customers really want.
How can I lead people from the customer-stage into the happy-user-stage?
The 'final' stage. Not unimportanly: happy users. Convert a customer into a happy user by deliver great value to them ! By this I mean deliver them the damn product or service as a candy with all the sugger you can add. The happier they are the more likely it is they will come back and spread the word.
Are your customers happy? Just ask them !
There is however one last conversion to be done.
How can I help happy users to promote my business or come back to me again?
The point is that it would be great if somehow the funnel empowers itself. A feed back loop. Customers that attract more customers. Your business will grow by itself and the costs per sales will go down. Perfect!
- Clearly define criteria to select your audience.
- Define how you can measure every step. See every stage as a checkpoint and decide what the requirements are to reach that checkpoint.
- Think of different ways to lead your audience to through each checkpoint / stage.
- Check if your real customers are still your prefered customers.
- Ask your prefered customers about their journey. Maybe it is totally different than you the funnel you had imagined.
- Adjust your funnel(s) accordingly. Strengthen the aspects of the funnel your real and prefered customers experienced. So if your prefered customers never visit your website but do visit your Instagram account strengthen your Instagram account!
How can you improve these building blocks for your own business? I have created a template of the Marketing Funnel Canvas so you can start a brainstorm or discussion with others.