You see the term “sales funnel” many times in marketing. It’s a good analogy in one way because a funnel is used to catch a wide stream of something and narrow the stream to the size of the container. But in another way, a funnel is not really what you are using in marketing because the traditional funnel puts everything into that container and not everyone who hears the message will buy your product. The sales funnel has filters in it so only the right things get through.

Think Backwards

The best way to figure out how to get a particular result is to work back along the process. For instance, if you want to develop loyal customers who buy from you regularly and will buy your most expensive offerings, those customers have to start somewhere. What path will they take to get to the loyal customer point?

Look back along the path and you see what choices you want them to make. Those decision points are the filters that narrow down the stream of potential customers and let the ones you want through your funnel.

A loyal customer makes  multiple purchases and interacts with staff, site, and product repeatedly. What maks them decide to keep coming back?

There was a first time purchase. What triggered that commitment? Why did they choose your store? How did they hear about the product or the business? All these points filtered out those who heard or saw and ignored. The ones who heard or saw and responded went further into the funnel.

A lot of people are active online, so social media may be the first place they become aware of your brand. Others may notice an ad in a newspaper or community board. The only way you find out for sure is by asking — and the people to ask are those who have already become part of your audience. If you can find out how they went from no knowledge of your business to becoming a regular, you have just figured out a sales funnel that worked.