You don’t try to get her (or him) in your bed on the first date. At least I hope you don’t. It’s not a great tactic for a long-term relationship.

Building meaningful relationships takes patience, generous nurturing, hard work and time.

Same goes for your customers.

The goal of marketing is not to make sales. The goal of marketing is to build value-based relationships with an audience. A sale is merely the logical consequence of such a relationship.

Without a relationship, there can be no sale. A sale is your lead acting on their trust in you to solve a problem they’re having, to reach a goal they care about.

The marketing equivalent of the process that sees you trying to win the heart of that special someone is a sales funnel.

For the sake of keeping it simple, let’s break it down and stick to the basics:

  • awareness: the prospect learns about your existence
  • interest: the prospect checks out your value
  • decision: the prospect decides they trust you to solve their problems and acts on that trust by taking a purchase decision
  • long-term relationship: the prospect has become a customer

1. Awareness

You’re starting out from a position where you and your prospect don’t know each other.

Know your audience

To know what kind of value you should create, you first need to know what is of value to your target audience. This takes empathy and diligence. This takes being wherever your audience is and putting yourself in their shoes.

Aside from immersing yourself in online tribes, you can look at a site like AnswerThePublicto find out what kind of questions people are asking around a given keyword. Here’s a peek at questions revolving around the keyword ‘CRM’:

CRM questions

Another great resource to find out what people want to know is Quora.

Ultimately, the best way to find out what is of value to a group of people is to become part of that group of people.

Creating content and promoting it are two very different things

The money is in lists. The bigger and more targeted your lists, the more people will read and share your content, fuelling its spread and unique traffic.

  • Email list
  • Facebook chatbot list
  • Retargeting list

As soon as you finish a new piece of content, go all out on distribution. Share it on your own channels, and promote it on any relevant channel you can find. Spend twice as much time on this as creating it. It’s not optional.

Become a familiar face

Put a face to your content by being everywhere your target audience is. People buy from people they know, like and trust — give them the opportunity to build that kind of relationship with you. Serve your helpful content with a friendly face.

Automate your reach

A simple rule. Create great content, and automate everything else.

Zapier for automating almost anything. Mailshake to automate email outreach. Magic tricks with Google Sheets. Use whatever is available.

2. Interest

A prospect clicking through to your landing page is like a first date. It’s great that they agreed upon that first date, it shows interest. But the game is only just beginning: you now have a shot at proving that interest is justified.

What you’re after is the marketing game’s equivalent of getting someone’s phone number: their email address. Interest only becomes real once you manage to capture it.

Build an email (or chatbot) list

An email list is so much more than just a list with email addresses you can send messages to. It’s your audience, your fan base, a lifeline that helps you thrive when times are good and keeps you above the water when times are bad. Empires have been built on email lists.

The email list of the future looks like a chatbot list. Prospects can sign up to it by clicking a CTA like the one below (not a real one) and get your updates automatically in their inbox.

You can see how it looks on GrowRevenue.io, and you can read more about chatbots here.

However, keep in mind:

Over time, all marketing strategies result in shitty clickthrough rates.

Chatbots are the next big thing. They’ve become easy to use, and they work. You can either wait until everyone uses them and your audience has grown annoyed with them, or you can be an early adopter, jump on the boat today and have a loyal audience built up by that time.

Unleash the Facebook Pixel

In online marketing, you can automate keeping the spark alive. It’s called retargeting, and Facebook made it ridiculously easy.

The Facebook Pixel allows you to segment website visitors into Custom Audiences you can then target with ads.

Examples of custom audiences:

  • people who have visited your website in the past 24 hours
  • people who have visited your website in the past 180 days but have not been back in 30 days
  • people who have visited a specific page on your website
  • people who have visited a specific page on your website but not another specific page

The possibilities are fantastic here.

A basic retargeting funnel would look something like this 👇

  • Day 0–6 since last visit: promotion for free trial signup
  • Day 7–11: offer lead magnet to get email address (ebook, etc.)
  • Day 12–16: highlight benefit #1 of product with CTA to signup for trial
  • Day 17–21: testimonial video highlighting the value of the product with CTA to signup for trial
  • Day 21–25: highlight benefit #2 of product with CTA to signup for trial
  • Day 26–30: promotion for free trial signup with new image in the ad

Just to give you an idea.

Come running when they need you

Forms are so 2016, 2015, 2014… ‘Prehistorical’ is the word we’re looking for. Today you can have a direct line with your prospects and customers using livechat software like Intercom or Drift. This is a key element of establishing yourself as someone your leads can trust to solve their problems. They have a problem, you solve it. In real-time.

Enable prospects to help themselves

FAQ, How-tos, helpful bots suggesting articles based on keywords.

Bring it all together in your CRM

Data is the new oil, and your CRM is where it becomes most powerful. It’s how you deliver the right message to the right person at the right time.

3. Action

You can be putting out great content over and over, at some point you’re going to need to get serious and make your move.

Make your intentions clear with CTAs

Have a goal in mind with everything you create and have your prospect lay eyes upon. Be it an email, a piece of content, a landing page or a Facebook Ad — you want your prospect to perform a certain action. Make it easy for them to do just that.

Make them fearful of missing out

Few things drive decision more than the fear of not being able to later on. Discounts are most powerful when limited in time. This is why Black Friday is the craziest shopping day of the year: the chance to finish all your Christmas shopping in one day. Not the next day, only on that day.

You need to be subtle about it though. Trying to create FOMO can give people the feeling that they’re being sold to and nobody likes that. The secret is to instil FOMO in your prospects without them being aware of it, gradually along the lines of all that value you’re giving them across channels.

Slip in some customer testimonials

Your best tactic to avoid giving people the feeling that they’re being sold to, is having someone else tell them how awesome your product is (and how sucky it would be to miss out on it). Beyond all tools, channels, hacks, and techniques, the strongest driver of sales is and will always be word-of-mouth.

Create scarcity and urgency

Drive decision by making prospects feel it’s ‘now or never’. It’s ‘limited’ edition. There’s ‘only a few left in stock’. This deal ‘ends tomorrow’.

You can use data to make sure you only show these kinds of deals to the people who are right there on the tipping point of going for the purchase.

Again, don’t overdo it, and don’t create a fake scarcity. “The last 3 copies of this amazing PDF” won’t do it.

4. The long-term relationship

This is not a one-time thing kind of deal. You and your prospect committed to each other and are in it for the long run.

You don’t want to be like the majority of Android apps:

If 100 users download your Android app, you’ll have about 20 left after three days. About 80% of those will have you left you 90 days later.

Loyal customers are worth way more than new ones and creating loyalty takes consistent hard work just like a long and happy marriage takes consistent hard work. Don’t just engage, stay engaged.

Make sure you know how to get this right before you scale up your marketing strategies. Customers you can’t retain aren’t just gone, they’re often also not very good ambassadors of your brand.

Leverage your Net Promotors

“On a scale of 0 to 10, how likely are you to recommend this app to a friend or colleague?”

This question helps measure customer satisfaction and identify Net Promotors, people who like your product so much they’d happily refer it to other people.

The ones who gave you 9 or 10 – leverage them. Make them your ambassadors. They will spread the word for you. Rightfully so, because you’ve done a great job for them.

And just like that, you’ve closed the loop. Now you have happy customers pushing new prospects into the top of your funnel. The process continues.

How To Build A Sales Funnel That Sells

 

PS. I want to be in a long-term relationship with you 😎