It’s time to retire the traditional sales funnel. The tried-and-true method of marketing for the past century worked well – so well, in fact, that many stubbornly continue to try and make it work today.
But content marketing has changed the game, and it’s time to recognize that the funnel works better as a circle.
Flywheel, lifecycle – no matter what you call it – the ideal modern marketing strategy is circular.
The traditional funnel fails to keep customers engaged
When you force customers down a one-way street you allow them to slip away. They choose new routes and find avenues that keep them moving in a way that feels forward and engaging.
The traditional sales funnel uses a one-way method to attract sales with an endgame of increased revenue – and customers are often thought of last in the strategy. The funnel ends when the conversion from prospect to customer takes place.
But in a circular strategy, customers are at the center of every step with a focus on inspiring brand loyalty. The customer chooses their path on their way to becoming a return customer – and happily sticks around to see what comes next.
Content keeps them in the loop
In a funnel, customers slip away after making a purchase. In a closed-loop strategy, customers enjoy continued engagement through valuable content and activity.
So, what does that content look like?
Valuable content creates brand awareness, raises interest in action, converts prospects to customers and supports engagement with brand loyalty.
Create brand awareness with valuable content that is consistent, utilizes optimized SEO, encourages referrals, and attracts leads using a variety of call-to-actions. This evergreen content establishes trust and authority. Targeted content should answer customer questions and offer complete information on your company and your solutions – these are not sales pitches.
Some ideas of the types of content that create brand awareness include:
- Case studies
- Social media content
- Informational web pages – also called Pillar pages
- Published works such as reports and whitepapers
- Community groups or forums
Raise interest towards action with content that increases desire in an instant. Consumers have millions of options at their fingertips 24/7. Share conversational content that encourages potential buyers to engage.
Some ideas of the types of content that stimulates conversation include:
- Live chats
- Social media posts with questions
- Client success stories
- Industry news
Convert prospects to customers by prompting a decision and making a sale. Now that the consumer values your content and trusts the brand, it’s time for action. This content convinces the consumer to convert.
Some ideas of the types of content that instills trust include:
- Quick response time to inquiries
- Free samples
- Customer testimonials
- Positive reviews
In a traditional sales funnel, this is where the journey ends. By using a circular marketing method, content keeps the consumer engaged and loyal.
Support engagement and brand loyalty by keeping customers delighted with continued, valuable content offerings that encourage action.
- Frequently updated content
- Thank-you gifts and messages
- Customer loyalty programs
- Referral programs
- Social media groups
- Advisory board membership
- Excellent service and support
Consumers are unique and appreciate personalization
Where the traditional sales funnel fails to personalize the journey for your customer, a circular strategy offers unique paths tailored for individuals. Not all customers will use a product or service to the same end. Keeping this in mind allows for continued growth as customers follow different – yet successful – paths towards continuous conversions.
So, how do you evolve a funnel into a circle?
Instead of using a flow that sells, sells, sells and repeats, try selling, learning, personalizing and evolving.
Offer communication and content options that are specifically tailored towards your customers’ interests. A variety of newsletter opt-ins, niche social media groups, and exclusive offerings for loyal customers are ways to create a sense of personalization and keep them engaged.
Retire the funnel and stop losing customers
No one wants to lose valuable leads – from small businesses to nonprofits and large corporations, the end goal is to yield results.
Sticking stubbornly to the traditional sales funnel and refusing to evolve comes with a cost. Instead, incorporate old strategies into one that encourages continuous engagement and ultimately, success.
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