Because almost everything is done digitally these days, an effective search engine optimization (SEO) strategy is imperative for all businesses, regardless of the size. Before drafting your SEO strategy, it’s necessary to understand your sales funnel.
This refers to the stages that customers go through before deciding to purchase a product or a service. It’s also known for many names—conversion funnel, marketing funnel, or purchase funnel.
Whichever term you prefer to call it, the marketing funnel is a critical component in planning your marketing campaigns, tweaking your strategies, including SEO methods, and increasing revenues. Learn the basics of the sales funnel, how it works in the current setting, and how you can boost your business by injecting SEO strategies in your conversion funnel in this article.
Whatever it is you’re selling, understanding the sales funnel is an essential process in which a business can base its marketing campaign upon. And as all of you may already know, an effective marketing strategy can lead to increased sales and profit.
The sales funnel started as the brainchild of advertising guru E. St. Elmo in 1898. It has undergone several tweaks since then, but the fundamentals remain the same. This makes the marketing funnel a universal and timeless theme for all ventures. Relatively, Elmo described the advertising strategy as follows:
This was the frame in which advertising and marketing strategies were created in the traditional setting, obviously before the advent of the internet and digitalization. In 1904, the editor of Salesmanship magazine, Frank Hutchinson Dukesmith, identified four stages in the sales funnel:
About five decades later, Arthur F. Peterson, a pharmaceutical company marketing and sales executive, coined the AIDA model. The acronym stands for the following components:
These concepts may have been created more than 100 years ago. But the ideas still resonate these days. For instance, online businesses mainly identify the conversion funnel as composed of the following stages:
An SEO strategy can draw in potential customers and target the appropriate target consumers. The challenge lies in standing out from the competition. As the internet is also a free venue in which anyone can use to broadcast anything, businesses are engaged in ferocious competition over who gets the users’ attention and sustains it.
Being that your goal is to stir awareness and aim your campaign by reaching out to the appropriate market segment, your SEO technique may include ranking high in searches.
With your audience already aware and considering availing your products and services, your goal is to effectively lead the audience to choose your company. You can also follow up on your leads and convince them to do the same.
Once your prospective buyer has gone through the two stages, next comes the crucial phase. Conversions happen when your prospective buyers embark on a positive response (or two). Ideally, it should include buying your products and services. However, it can also include other actions such as content downloads, availing of free trials, signing up for subscriptions, etc.
Most marketers think that their work is done after successfully producing conversions. But retaining customers is just as important as attracting new ones. Industry estimates show that getting new customers can cost up to five times as compared to making loyal ones.
This means you’ll be staring at missed opportunities if you fail to create customer loyalty. You want you buyers to keep going with their purchases, which means higher return on investments (ROI) for your company.
It may sound a bit exploitative, but we’ll say it anyway. You can turn you customers to generate new leads for your company.
But it’s not all deception. Most of the time, if your customer is really happy with your products and services, including customer service, it’s highly likely that this customer will recommend your brand to family members, friends, and colleagues or all of his or her connections.
This is crucial as up to 83% of buyers are convinced to purchase products recommended by their friends, making it one of the most compelling and trustworthy reasons for conversions, according to Nielsen Global Trust in Advertising Survey for 2013 and 2015. Online customer opinions and editorial content were ranked equally in second place, garnering 66%.
In addition, a local consumer review survey done in 2020 by Bright Local indicated that 87% of consumers read online reviews, with 76% of them considering these reviews as trustworthy as recommendations from someone they know.
At this stage, you can build your positive reviews online, particularly in websites where most users turn to for unbiased reviews. Apart from reviews, you can ask your loyal customers for support by creating testimonial videos or quotes. Your company can also create success stories and case studies, with their permission.
Optimize these review pages for organic searches. If it’s a business-to-business (B2B) transaction, encourage your client to mention your brand or post their testimonials on their site, if it makes sense.
As you can see, SEO can be integrated at every stage of your sales funnel. It’s a continuous process that doesn’t stop at conversion. Creating an effective SEO strategy means you have to evaluate it often and make some improvements as necessary.
Recommended reading: How to do Keyword research