Sales Funnel | Glossary

What is a Sales Funnel?

A sales funnel represents the often invisible journey that potential customers go through, from their initial awareness of your company"s product or service to the eventual purchase decision. It provides a hypothesized customer path, detailing how marketing and sales efforts can guide target audiences through incremental stages as they move closer to becoming buyers. The funnel structure aims to optimize each customer touchpoint even if customers remain unaware of navigating an intentional sequence designed to lead them toward purchase.

The metaphor of a "funnel" stems from the inherent idea that at each stage of consideration, some prospects will unfortunately drop out or fail to continue to the very next step, much like a physical funnel that filters out contents when liquids or particles are pouring through it. The overarching goal is to thoughtfully guide as many potential customers as possible through the full length of the entire funnel using sophisticated data-driven optimization and personalization in order to maximize conversions.

The Sales Funnel Process

There are various frameworks that model the hypothetical sales funnel stages, including the AIDA model. However, sales funnels can take many forms depending on products, industries and marketing strategies. The stages of the AIDA model are:

Awareness Stage
The awareness stage introduces consumers to a product through ads, social media, marketing content and other promotions. The goal is grabbing attention with messaging that conveys the brand promise and product benefits. Marketers cast a wide net across digital and offline channels to penetrate different customer segments. They analyze performance to optimize reach. Strong awareness drives curiosity into the next funnel stage.

In this stage, having a pool of talented writers from Scripted can greatly strengthen your brand"s voice. Our writers are skilled at crafting engaging, relatable content that resonates with diverse audiences, allowing your brand message to come through in a genuine, memorable way.

Interest Stage
Now that initial awareness has been generated, the interest stage is when potential customers seek to understand more deeply. This due diligence phase involves engaging with a range of branded content across mediums to learn what the product does, how it works, key differentiators and consumer reviews.

Social media, native advertising, blogs, explainer videos, podcasts, and how-to articles allow brands to share more in-depth information to inform and educate. Features, functionality, thought leadership and competitive comparisons help prospects evaluate fit. Searches play a major role at this evaluative stage as well. FAQ and chatbots can also provide on-demand learning. Moving prospects from surface-level awareness into more active research makes them more likely to keep progressing down the funnel.

Decision Stage
Having gained solid understanding, potential customers now determine whether purchasing is the right choice. Many sub-decisions can feed into the larger commitment. Trial programs, webinars, consultation booking, demos, free samples and prototype access allow hands-on experience to complement informational research.

Consumer reviews, testimonials and case studies provide social proof. Excellent content and customer service give assurances while removing friction and doubts. The purchasing decision is both logical and emotional, requiring brands to address all aspects influencing the choice.

Action Stage
Those final convinced prospects now take action and become customers or subscribers. The action stage should facilitate completing the desired action whether it is a purchase, signup, content download, event registration etc. This stage should offer a quick and seamless process with minimal friction.

Security badges and trust symbols reinforce the brand"s legitimacy during purchases. Confirmation emails, order tracking and shipping updates keep customers informed post-purchase. Thank you and feedback messages further engagement. While the sale marks the end of the initial funnel, optimized purchase experiences lay the foundation for ongoing loyalty and retention after the transaction.

An Example Sales Funnel

Awareness: You run social media ads and influencer promotions to get our new running shoe line in front of target buyers. Catchy creative and personalized messaging aim to capture attention.

Interest: Those who engage with our ads are sent to our website full of in-depth product information. We use videos and blogs to educate on the shoe technology and features so prospects fully understand the value proposition.

Decision: You nurture leads by sending 10% off coupons via email to those who have engaged with content. Special discounts incentivize visitors to take the next step and make a purchase.

Action: When a lead is ready to buy, you ensure the checkout process is quick and easy. Integrations auto-populate forms to remove friction. Confirmation emails provide order details.

After the sale, you continue engagement through surveys, loyalty programs, and special offers. The goal is nurturing long-term relationships beyond the initial transaction.

Benefits of Implementing a Sales Funnel

Well-designed sales funnels provide key benefits for businesses including:

  • Providing insights into where leaks and drop-offs occur through funnel analytics and tracking
  • Enabling allocation of marketing budgets, campaigns, and resources tailored to each stage
  • Encouraging forward progression through personalized messaging and optimized experiences

Carlos Muza | Unsplash

Transforming Sales Funnels with Personalization and AI
While sales funnels have historically provided a linear path to purchase, this traditional model has evolved to meet changing customer behaviors and new technologies. Sales funnels now take a more adaptive approach to account for digital-first customers and data-driven strategies.

Dynamic Stages
Within the traditional stages of awareness, interest, decision and purchase, there are now many more nuanced sub-steps and touchpoints. Prospects may move back and forth between stages multiple times, especially between interest and evaluation. More personalized and dynamic nurturing and re-engagement strategies are required to continue progressing customers through the winding journey.

Post-Purchase Engagement
After the initial purchase transaction, the journey is far from over in today"s sales funnels. There is now increased focus on continued post-purchase engagement to foster loyalty, retention and repeat sales. Post-purchase surveys, feedback requests, education and loyalty programs aim to keep customers engaged. This cultivation also provides valuable data on how to improve products, services and marketing.

Ongoing Nurturing
Rather than ending relationships after a purchase, brands now nurture customers on an ongoing basis post-sale. Newsletters, tailored offers, loyalty perks, and VIP access help maintain connections while offering additional value. Education and community-building also nurture brand affinity.

Advocacy and Referrals
Happy customers can become powerful brand advocates. Modern sales funnel strategies encourage organic advocacy and referrals to maximize reach. Testimonials, reviews, case studies, refer-a-friend programs and social sharing all help drive growth through word-of-mouth.

Retention and Upsells
Further monetization through retention and upselling has also gained importance in evolved funnels. Rather than one-time transactions, the ultimate goal is cultivating lifetime customer value through renewals, expanded cross-sales of additional products, increased subscriptions, continuous additional purchases over time, and maxed out lifetime spending capacity.

Data Utilization
Advanced tracking and analytics tools provide deeper data on how to fine-tune funnel strategies. Metrics analysis at each stage, lifecycle measurement and attribution modeling allow data-driven optimization. AI and machine learning can even enable more predictive personalization.

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With Scripted as your partner, you can feel confident you have the latest content technology and strategy needed to get ahead and stay ahead in this fast-paced digital landscape. Our complete solution keeps you agile, informed and equipped to effectively connect with your audience.

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