This blog was originally published in November 2017 but was updated to include more up-to-date information.
Rarely does someone learn about you and then immediately buy what you’re offering. That’s why we create nurturing email campaigns and why we spend much of our time marketing ourselves and our businesses. We have to be visible, and stay visible, if we want to remain relevant. We need to use marketing as a sales funnel to help our audience find our offers–both free and paid.
There’s a natural journey that your audience goes on when they’re deciding whether or not to work with you or buy what you’re offering. This journey acts as a funnel of sorts for your audience. Like any funnel, some audience members will make it all the way to the end–because they’re your ideal match. Others will get there, but they’ll take longer. Still others will only make it part way through before they ghost. And that’s okay.
Why does that happen? As your audience gets to know you and your products or services better, they’re thinking about your brand and your personality, identifying whether what you have to say (and how you say it) is truly something that resonates with them. They continue following or buying from you, or they quietly slink away.
So how do you keep your audience engaged and interacting with your content so you use your marketing as a sales funnel? Use the same principles you’d use during a launch or any other time you’re promoting something! (And let’s be real: You should always have a product or service top-of-mind that’s driving your content strategy.)
You should always have a product or service top-of-mind that’s driving your content strategy.
Provide quality content
If your content isn’t well-crafted and valuable, your audience won’t stick around to consume it. And when you’re offering quality information, delivered on a professional platform, your audience will not only consume it they’ll share it and ask for more. Sometimes creating quality content means hiring it out, while other times it might mean limiting the amount of content you produce so you can create less but higher quality content. It’s up to you to decide how much to create, but make sure that every piece of content is highly shareable and that you promote it widely.
Respond to interaction
When you post quality content, you’re inviting your followers to engage in a conversation with you. So when someone comments on your blog or a social post, responds to an email, sends you a direct message on Instagram or replies to you in some other way, be sure to engage. Interacting with your audience is how you build relationships, which grows trust and eventually persuades someone to buy from you. Sure, it takes time. But didn’t you go into business to be of service?
Address pain points
I encourage people to have a reason behind the content they produce. You can answer one of your most frequently asked questions via a blog post or give feedback via your newsletter about a mistake you see people making. Addressing the pain points of your audience gives them the information they need to make changes and improvements to what they’re doing in your area of expertise.
Demonstrate your expertise
People want to hire an expert. They want someone who knows what she’s doing and can help them get to where they want to be. When you share information that your audience needs, content that educates them and helps them to learn something new, you’re demonstrating the expertise you have in that subject. And that earns you the trust of your audience.
So where does the funnel come in?
Every person who has ever bought from you has gone through the same process–the client journey. A lot of people get to know your brand, but not everyone who has heard of you is on your list. And even fewer have sought you out as an option to but, while fewer have bought from you.
Your entire business model is a type of funnel, and it’s up to you to guide people through brand awareness to educating them to demonstrating your expertise and so on. The Client Journey Map shows this journey.
And when you’re providing quality content, interacting with your audience, addressing pain points and demonstrating your expertise with every piece of content you create, your funnel grows and you’ll be able to convert more audience members to customers.
Not every person who follows you is your ideal client, and that’s okay! If you’re a maker or a service-based business owner, you wouldn’t know what to do with all those clients anyway. But you also don’t necessarily know which followers are your ideal clients. Until you start having conversations with them, it’s up to them to decide.
If you need help moving audience members along the client journey, grab my Client Journey ebook, a 36-page workbook to help you create content for your audience at the right step of their journey with you. It’s your guide to using your marketing as a sales funnel. You can get it here: