5 Steps To A Lead Generation Funnel That Wins You Customers Daily
You already know that a consistent flow of leads is essential for your business. But even more important? Actually converting those leads into customers.
For example, let’s say you own a clothing store. As the store owner, it’s not enough to get people to walk inside and try on shirts - you actually have to get them to buy something as well.
Lead generation through your website works much the same. For long term success, you can’t only focus on converting more website visitors into leads - you need a system that reliably turns them into customers.
A lead generation funnel is that system. Read on to find out more.
- What is a lead generation funnel and why do you need one?
- The 5 most important steps to creating your lead generation funnel
- Website chat: your secret weapon to optimize your lead generation funnel
What is a lead generation funnel and why do you need one?
Let’s quickly cover what a funnel is.
As you can see at Hunter.io , the purpose of a funnel is to turn strangers that have never heard of your business into customers willing to pay you for the solution you provide.
Setting up this kind of lead generation funnel is important because it gives your business an overall view of your buyer’s journey. This allows you to visualize how a lead will interact with your company over time.
More targeted interactions with your leads, and a much quicker process of moving somebody from "website visitor" to "happy buyer."
Of course, at different stages of your funnel, you will treat your leads...well, differently. They all have various needs and desires depending on where they are in their own individual journey. To understand this, as well as how your business can most effectively interact with leads, let’s divide a funnel into three parts: top of the funnel (TOF), middle of the funnel (MOF) and bottom of the funnel (BOF).
Because leads across these three stages have different needs, the way you help them (and the information you provide them) should also differ. Leads at the top of the funnel, for example, are mostly looking for information and shouldn’t be pitched to. In comparison, you have already built up a relationship with leads closer to the bottom of the funnel, so a sales message would be much more effective.
Let’s go back to our clothing store example. Imagine you’re in a rush on your way to work, and only want to enter the shop to ask about one of their product magazines. You don’t have the time to shop, but you still have enough interest to do your research about a potential future purchase.
What if, instead of giving you the information you asked for, the store clerk instead insists on chatting to you about a new style of jeans they had? In your rush to work, it would be strange and even a bit annoying.
Your relationship with your site visitors is the same. Regardless of the stage your prospects are at, remember this: your job as a business in lead generation is to position yourself as the guide to your leads’ problems. Provide value and timely input at all stages of your lead generation funnel, and strangers will eventually become customers.
Now that you know how a funnel can help you visualize your lead generation, let’s dive deeper into the five most important steps of the funnel.
The 5 most important steps to creating your lead generation funnel
1. Understand your audience
Your lead: At this stage, your future leads are all at different points in their buyer’s journey . They might be completely unaware of their problem or at the beginning phase of looking for solutions. They may have even tried similar products before and experienced a wide range of emotions: disappointment at their results, confused by the number of options they have, or simply excited for a better solution.
The important thing here is that you haven’t yet researched your future leads in enough detail to give you a game plan. You don’t yet know what their needs are. You haven’t interacted with them enough to find out; you need to learn more.
Your job: Before you attempt to establish a connection with your website visitors, you have to understand what motivates them. This means coming to a deep understanding of what their main pain points are, as well as their deepest desires and how you can help achieve them.
This process of understanding your audience is where you lay the groundwork of an effective lead generation funnel. There are a number of tactics you can use here, including observing your audience’s behavior on social media forums to researching the most successful competitors in your market. Check out our post on customer analysis for more ideas.
Once you understand your audience and how your product can best help them, it’s time to introduce yourself.
2. Raise awareness of your company
Your lead: After completing the groundwork of step number 1, step number 2 is where you connect with your audience. The people at this "top of the funnel stage" aren’t looking for a product. They instead need help, and are likely open to being educated by an expert like you.
Just one problem - they don’t know your company exists. Similar to the previous step, future leads at this point are often at different stages of the buyer’s journey. This means that at the point of them discovering you, some of your audience is well acquainted with their problem and has likely already researched competing products to solve it. Others, meanwhile, might simply be consuming information with no plan to spend money.
Either way, it’s time to introduce and establish yourself as a trusted authority.
Your job: Assuming you have spent some time on the first step and adequately researched your audience, it’s time to draw them to you.
You can do this in a number of ways, including paid advertising and social media content. Of course, it’s important to remember the difference between this general strategy and a more refined, targeted approach. While posting content on your social media accounts can be useful, it’s not nearly as effective as targeted content.
That’s where content marketing that resonates with your audience comes in. Not only does it help with long-term SEO , but it provides the education that leads at this stage are looking for. This ensures the leads that you do generate are high quality.
3. Convert targeted traffic into leads
Your lead: By this point your site visitor is aware of who you are and how you can help. Through the value that you have provided with your content, your visitors trust you and are more likely to be researching any products or services that you offer.
Crucially, if enough time of consuming your free content has passed, this is also the stage where your site visitors might be looking for more in-depth information. Not just blog posts, but a detailed deep dive into a specific topic. This is when they are ready to become leads.
Your job: It’s time to take your relationship to the next level by turning site visitors into leads . To do this, you need to provide them with something so valuable and helpful that they gladly give you their contact information in exchange for it. After that, you have permission to contact them later and can move them down the funnel.
This is where lead magnets come into play. Some of the lead magnets we give away at Userlike, for example, include a mix of whitepapers and free trials of our product. The most important thing here is to ensure you are creating lead magnets your audience will actually like.
To do that, a tool like website chat can help. It puts you in direct contact with your audience, allows you to remove some of the roadblocks in a conversation, and gives you a more detailed insight into the sort of content they would willingly trade their contact information for.
And one pro tip: check out our post on the nine most important lead generation metrics . This will help you optimize all five steps of your lead generation funnel and let you take charge of your results.
4. Qualify your leads
Your lead: Once your prospect has become a lead, it’s time to market to them. By opting in for whichever lead magnet you choose to go with, your lead has directly expressed a desire to hear from you. It’s now time to bring them further down the funnel and make a purchase.
That said, their value to your business is still undetermined. Just because they opted in for your lead magnet doesn’t mean they have any plans to make a purchase. A good example? Look at all the newsletters that people sign up for without ever becoming a customer.
Likewise, these new leads still aren’t entirely sure how valuable you and your products are to them. Consider them as leads that have yet to be qualified . They have potential to become customers, but you really have no no idea how strong their interest is.
Your job: You need to find out how valuable these new leads actually are to your business. Sure, it’s great that you just scored a new lead. That’s what a lead generation funnel is all about, after all. Still, it’s important that you don’t spend too much time and resources trying to convert the wrong leads into customers.
Why? Well, your time and resources are limited. Only some of your leads will ever actually buy, and it’s usually the ones that show the most interest in your organization. It therefore makes sense to invest the most in the leads that are most valuable. It not only makes your marketing efforts much more efficient, but ensures you are handing over only the best leads to your sales team.
You discover who your most valuable leads are through lead scoring. While there are a lot of lead scoring methods, check out our post on predictive lead scoring for the most accurate results.
5. Nurture your leads until they become customers
Your lead: By step number five, you have a good understanding of who your best leads are. These are your fans that are the best fit for your product or service. They interact with your emails, visit your website frequently and may have even clicked on one of your sales pages.
However, they are still not convinced about who their best solution is. While they are close to making a decision on whether they want to invest in your product or service (if they become a buyer at all, of course), they are likely comparing their options. In this case, your lead is researching your competitors and comparing your product to others in the market. They need further valuable communication with you in order to gain enough trust to actually buy.
Your job: This last step of lead nurturing is how you get your qualified prospect to come down off the fence and make a decision. In the age of options, your lead has more power than ever before. Just because they are qualified and a proven fit for your offer doesn’t guarantee they will pull out their wallet. After all, they might be at the exact same stage in your competitor’s funnel.IN
Your job is to educate them more about how your specific product can solve their problem. Because they are comparing you to other options, it’s also important here to differentiate yourself from your competitors. You do both these things by providing your lead with product information. This includes price comparisons, feature lists and case studies of your product in action.
It’s important to note that lead scoring (step 4) can and should happen simultaneously alongside lead nurturing. Only by consistently scoring leads based on how they interact with your nurturing efforts can you take full charge of your lead generation funnel.
Website chat: your secret weapon to optimize your lead generation funnel
By going through these five steps, your lead generation funnel should start to bring in more website traffic, valuable leads and eventually, paying customers. As for a tool that can help you set up each of these five steps?
Website chat. Some of the many benefits of this tool include:
- Fill out lead profiles to better understand your audience (step 1)
- Create content from ideas provided during conversations (step 2)
- Set up widget routers to customize each visitor’s site experience (step 3)
- Understand who your hottest leads are through long-term conversations (step 4)
- Help your leads during a purchase with on-page guidance (step 5)
Not only does website chat make it easier to understand your site visitors, but it’s also the perfect tool for building relationships over time that turn them into leads and eventually customers.
Of course, that doesn’t mean that website chat is a "one stop shop" for a lead generation funnel that converts. You still need to do the work of creating content and developing lead magnets, for example.
But website chat does support your other actions. For example, by using website chat, you can directly ask website visitors about the sort of content they’d be interested in as well as send them over lead magnets immediately.
And when you do? You’re the proud owner of a lead generation funnel that wins you customers daily!
Interested in all the other features of website chat that will turn your lead generation funnel into a well-oiled machine?