The funnel… It’s not what it used to be.
Remember when a funnel was a device used in the kitchen to put jam into jars, and in the garage to put oil in the engine? Today, in marketing-speak, it describes the channel your prospects enter, which narrows down like the hat of the Tin Man, delivering a smaller, select group of nearly-converted customers into your eager hands. It’s an important early step in the customer’s journey.
Keep That Funnel Full
We see lots of talk about filling your funnel, and for good reason. You’ve always got to be filling that funnel: generating leads, connecting with prospects. Even if you have all the customers you could wish for, it’s dangerous to get complacent. Things change: companies go out of business or switch their loyalties, so whether you’re sitting pretty with a full roster of great clients, or looking at gaps in your schedule or production line, you always need to be filling that funnel.
When your funnel is full, you’ve got plenty of highly qualified prospects lined up, so it’s easier to relax. It’s also good to know that you’re not overly dependent on every current customer and client: you’re in a much stronger bargaining position when your funnel is full, and you don’t have to acquiesce to every demand at the negotiation table.
The important thing is to consider funnel-filling a maintenance activity. Incorporating ongoing activities which attract prospects is key: You don’t want to be scrambling when a client surprises you by departing.
How Do You Fill Your Funnel?
There are plenty of tools out there for generating leads. In fact, there are so many that it’s easy to get overwhelmed. We recommend that you keep your ear to the ground and stay acquainted with the options out there, but focus on a few activities which suit your industry, your clientele and your personal affinity. As long as you keep replenishing your supply of potential new clients, you’ll be in good shape. No one can or should engage in all the tools out there for attracting leads — try a few methods, and keep what works.
Here are our favorite funnel-fillers at Wild Fig Marketing.
According to the Data and Marketing Association, for every $1 you spend on email marketing, you can expect an average return of $38. That’s a pretty good return, right? Email lets you keep in touch with people who have expressed an interest in you. Have you ever visited a website, and signed up for their newsletter simply to make sure you remembered the organization and what they’re up to? That illustrates the power of email marketing.
Blog to Establish Credibility and Attract Loyalty
Establish a credible blog. That means providing lots of useful, objective, insider info to people and companies in your industry. It doesn’t mean loading each post with lots of sales pitches. The goal is not to sell to your readers, but to earn their trust and respect. Generously sharing industry news and expert advice will earn loyalty, and increase traffic. When readers truly value your content, they’ll keep coming back AND they’ll trust your expertise.
Have you ever visited a website, and encountered a pop-up? They typically entice you to enter your email address in exchange for restricted content, such as a white paper or a tutorial. This is a great way to turn visitors into leads, while establishing your qualifications in the field.
Fill Your Sales Funnel
These are just three of the dozens (maybe hundreds?) of ways to fill that vital sales funnel. Experiment! Try a few techniques, and find two or three favorites which suit your business and your personal style. When you know you’ve got more business right around the corner, the pressure is off–it’s a lot more fun to do business, no matter what your industry. If you need help with any of this, feel free to contact us to get something started!