By Louis Tanguay, Special to California Business Journal
We all have the same idea. Let’s get a ton of traffic to our website (or phone calls, customers walking in the door, etc). However, putting this goal too early in your marketing strategy will increase waste, lose potential opportunities for sales (and repeat sales) and will ultimate lose you some money.
We all heard of sales funnels. A prospective client/customer starts at the top and works their way down to eventually becoming a customer. I like to reverse that thinking and have a pyramid. People don’t like that word “pyramid” because it conjures up “pyramid scheme” and other negative connotations. However, if you think of your funnel upside down, you will be building a foundation where it counts…when the customer reaches the bottom.
This is the way a typical funnel works…
Most businesses and marketers focus on this funnel idea because they know that there are less and less people as the eventual customers head down to the next step. That makes logical sense, but the vast majority of marketers and business owners think about the top areas the most. How can you get more and more traffic? How can we optimize each part of the funnel to get more and more customers on to the next step? Then, when the customer reaches the bottom, they give up because they “closed” the deal. If they don’t give up, then they definitely spend less time thinking about a customer experience “after purchase” than they do in the sales and marketing part of the funnel.
This approach can obviously be successful — and is. However, I want you to reverse that thinking, because it’s vital to your sustainability and success of your business…
Rather than focusing as the top priority and attention on the parts where the prospects aren’t largely paying, I want you to focus on the bottom of the funnel first and think “backwards.” Why? Because one-third to one-half of your potential revenue comes from repeat customers and referrals. As you probably know, it’s much easier to get an existing customer to say “yes!” than a prospective customer who you’ve never done business with.
So, focus on the customer experience after the sale. If your customer enjoys your product or service, then they’ll repeat as a customer, leave great reviews and definitely recommend friends and colleagues to your business.
From there, optimize your Sales Conversion process. Now that you know your customers will love your product and service (truly know, not “hope”), you need to get more prospects to say “yes!”
Finally, approach the top of the funnel/pyramid last because that’s where the most waste is. Less people are moving down to the next step, so focus on the steps that bring you the biggest ROI first. Then work your way up to the top.
With this reverse funnel, you’ll be building a solid foundation for the sustainability of your business, and you’ll be making your customers more and more likely to keep coming back, refer others and be that catalyst for helping you grow your business reliably over time.
Louis Tanguay is Managing Director of Circle Marketing. He founded the agency seven years ago during the recession. Having over 20 years of marketing and business experience, Louis wanted to help businesses acquire and retain the essential abilities and strategies to survive in any economy. Circle Marketing is a full-service marketing agency for small businesses and serves as a one-stop shop for all marketing and advertising needs.