Online Sales Funnel – From Traditional Funnels to Sales Webs How is the online sales funnel different from the traditional sales funnel that ends in a face to face sale? We’re all familiar with the way that the faithful old sales funnel works in brick and mortar establishments, so let’s focus on the online difference. In a traditional sales scenario, you may start with a cold call or other contact — in that case, your goal is to get the customer into the store, where your goal becomes making a sale.
If you don’t make the sale when the customer is in the store, you know that you’re probably watching money walk out the door right then and there. On the other hand, the online sales funnel is more flexible, and more tolerant of what seems like a walk off. In fact, you’ll sell far more to people who have visited your site two, three, four, or oven five times than you will to those who’ve only visited once.
Differences Between a Traditional and Online Sales Funnel So, if the ideal offline sales funnel looks like this:
- Initial contact (phone, mail, whatever) - Sales discussion -Sale
Then the online sales funnel can’t even be described in a linear sequence. In fact, the term “funnel” — which applies perfectly to what you expect as an offline merchant — is no good when you’re operating exclusively online. Much like the internet itself, your marketing becomes an interconnected web where each item has the potential to influence the others.
At the far end is a huge variety of potential doorways:
- Social Media (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn …) - Social Bookmarking Sites (Reddit, StumbleUpon …) - Attraction Marketing (Article Marketing, Videos, Presentations …) - Forum Marketing - Virtual Events - And More …
Naturally, you still want all of this to end in a sale. But instead of having one “funnel,” you have dozens or even hundreds. Each one adds to your sales power. When a visitor is headed through your online sales funnel, he or she doesn’t necessarily end at the sale — not at first.
Instead, you’ll have to:
- Entice visitors to give you their email addresses with a free special offer
- Impress them with something valuable in exchange for their email address - Lure them back to your site with additional offers or info - Finally close the sale
The Online Sales Funnel Becomes a Maze: Know Where to Put the Cheese
Although this seems like a painfully long and drawn out process, once you have it all set up your visitors will do most of the work for you. A totally new prospective customer can make it from one end of the funnel to the other in days, hours, or even minutes â€” and itâ€™s largely a self-guided process. All you have to do is provide the right guidance and prompts at every stage of the relationship, including when progress stops.
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