For years now, (since 1898 in fact when the first marketing funnel was dreamed about by ad agency executive Elias St. Elmo Lewis who designed the buying journey into distinct stages: awareness, interest, desire, and action).
This was seen as a linear progression from the moment a prospect first arrives on a social media platform, website or at an event, taking them through all their research efforts and your nurturing efforts to a sale.
This is what it looked like…
The thing is though, four major shifts have taken place in the last decade or so.
- Your customers are very well informed
Thanks to Google, contemporary customers have access to vast amounts of information and by the time they actually contact you, they are usually experienced, knowledgeable and probably know your competition better than you do.
- You become very attractive if you give them helpful information upfront
To become this informed, your prospects will use the internet to do research. This means you need to be the one helping them easily find the information they want, especially as they start asking questions at the beginning of the process.
This research process is not linear, we all go around in loops as we chase the answers to the questions which grow as we learn more.
- When they get to you, your customers want to be treated as people, not objects in a funnel
People don’t want to be bullied, dealt with through generic or automated processes or ignored. Old fashioned pushy sales are over. People love personalized service and to feel understood. And they want this level of service to extend beyond the point of sale to the after sales service they receive.
- Most businesses have to deal with many more prospective customers than ever before
Thanks to the internet, it pays to be able to deal with more people than would have been possible without automated systems and processes in the past. Just the thing most people really do not appreciate. So we really need to make our automation more personal and add the strategically placed real human voice to the mix.
The bottom line is, the main stages of the marketing funnel are still there, but the way we help our prospects to move through each stage is very different today. This digital age of automated systems mean we are evaluating the need for easily available information, adding automated contact which makes each person feel each touch point is just for them, balanced with warm, real human connection.
And the other thing is, this digital age means we absolutely need to plan for and manage a plethora of different digital services needing different skills to keep the funnel relevant to our followers, the journey they will take and to persuade them to become long term loyal customers.
Each step in the funnel needs:
- A plan so we can create a coherent journey for our followers
- A list of tasks needing to be done to put all the bits of the journey together
- Specialist to make each task happen successfully
It looks something like this…
If this is overwhelming – don’t feel alone – one person is simply no longer able to keep up.
And to make it worse, small to medium businesses really cannot employ all these people full time. There is not the work to be done to fill every week of the year and the cost would be prohibitive anyway.
So, what to do…
There are options.
Top of most people’s list is employing a suite of contractors or specialists for each task on an as need basis.
The problem is it takes time to manage this team, especially if you decide to use the services of great overseas outworkers. Preparing and sending instruction, checking, editing and managing it all seems to take as much time as doing the job yourself.
We do have a solution
Check it out at AdminDone.com.au