Marketing is not an event. It is definitely not a random event. Marketing is a strategy-based multi-step, multi-media process. If you don’t have proven systems and marketing funnels in place, you’re doomed to fail.
Thanks to strategic advisor and direct response marketer Dan Kennedy, I learned this early on in the game. Therefore I’m giving credit where credit is due.
This is the eighth part of the Small Business Owners series, which I have started recently.
Today, I’d like to talk to you about the importance of having proven marketing funnels in place. You see, most business people do not approach their business and marketing needs in an organized manner that is essential for gaining competitive advantage.
Why is that so?
Well, because they don’t have systems, processes and marketing funnels.
Use Marketing Funnels to Set Yourself Apart From the Crowd
Let’s start with the most important building blocks of your business:
- STRUCTURE and
- A governing MARKETING SYSTEM.
The next thing you need to focus on is attracting customers who are predisposed to do business with you, so that you can banish income uncertainty and gain more peace of mind in your business.
Why is this important?
Because you cannot grow without new customers.
Obviously, you can be creative and design all kinds of fancy marketing tactics that will help you increase frequency and transaction value for your current customer base, but ultimately you’ll need those fresh new clients to come knocking at your door.
If you cannot confidently and affordably create a steady flow of new customers anytime you need them, things will get shaky faster than you’d imagine to.
And this is where marketing funnels come to play.
The magic lies in seamlessly integrating offline and online networks as well as horizontal and vertical chains, which allow you to break the silo mentality and operate effectively across borders (whether these are geographical, political or cultural).
Marketing funnels will help you navigate through the maze of business complexity. Furthermore, they will give you both the certainty and flexibility to add additional layers to your business structure, thus propelling you ahead of the competition and ever-changing marketing ecosystem.
Convincing benefits, right?!
How to Incorporate Marketing Funnels Into Your Small Business
What type of marketing funnel should you create first? Should you focus on offline funnels and add online ones later on in the game? What about production, supply chain or sales funnels?
These are all legitimate questions and there isn’t a general, foolproof answer that will satisfy your hunger to implement the right marketing funnels from the get.
To be honest, these sophisticated questions require critical thinking in order to answer them adequately. Furthermore, they require industry know-how and a level of understanding that goes beyond mainstream business and marketing propaganda. Unless, of course, you want to end up with a generalized product launch funnel or a sales funnel that lacks proper up-sells, down-sells, cross-sells, bundles and other essential marketing twists.
As a starter, I suggest you have a look into the following article I’ve written on how to guide consumers through your marketing funnel. Make sure you check it out as I’ve included a couple of funnel examples that have proven to work like clockwork for me. Maybe it will do the very same for you. Feel free to swipe and deploy.
Next, I’d like you to sit down and have a look at the “holes” in your business AKA the spots where customers who are predetermined to do business with you are leaving the party.
Why do these qualified customers leave your business prematurely? What is it that triggers their decision to go? Where exactly in the process (eg. Supply chain, customer care, money-back policy) are they parting from you? How can you close the leaks? How can you reactivate and regain your lost customers?
A lot of questions, I know. I did this on purpose to demonstrate that there is no one size fits all answer that applies to all businesses irrespective of size, industry or stage.
Some of you will need to tackle your supply chain funnel first. Others will have to fix the connecting points between customer care and marketing to enable your sales team to increase conversions. Or, if you’re just starting out, you’ll put all your attention on a proper product launch funnel.
The key is to build a robust multi-step process that enables you to consistently attract your ideal prospects, turn them into clients and increase your return business substantially and sustainably.
Leverage Integrated Marketing Funnels
Silo #1 (Manufacturing): Anyone out there from finance?
Silo #2 (Sales): Hey marketing department, what’s happening with our sales folders?
Silo #3 (Recently acquired company): When can we access our computers?
It’s true, these type of shout outs occur almost on a daily basis in big businesses, however, small business owners aren’t safe from this disease either. The difference lies in the size and number of silos; the conversations on the other hand, have a lot of similarities.
Thinking and operating in silos will only get you so far. Creating marketing funnels without gathering feedback from operations, sales and finance will most likely result in lack of support across the organization.
Therefore, inviting people from different silos AKA departments to the same table, going through the challenges the business faces and finding solutions together, is a highly effective approach. In my experience, this is where some of the most sustainable and results-oriented marketing funnels are developed and implemented across the business.
Never underestimate the importance of integrating know-how from various sources. When you have all departments involved in the process, you gain leverage and compound your effectiveness. This keeps momentum and you get the benefit of synergy.
Over to you:
What is one of your best performing marketing funnels?