Beyond Action: Expanding the Funnel
The concept of the buying funnel has been around for over 100 years, and with good reason: it’s easy to understand and it’s applicable no matter what your product or service is. However, a lot of people make the mistake of thinking the funnel stops at the point of action, or purchase.
Sure, you could stop there. After all, the customer has purchased your product or service. But what could happen if you didn’t stop there? In order for your business to reach its full potential, you need to extend the buying funnel.
Most companies have some kind of customer follow up plan in place, but those plans are often very impersonal and accomplish little in the way of customer retention. No one wants to be email-blasted by a company they’ve purchased from once.
Definitely continue to engage with customers after you’ve closed the deal, but do it in a way that adds value to the relationship. It’s perfectly fine to email them occasionally, but make sure the emails contain something they might actually want.
Consider any questions or issues that new customers may have about your product or service and create user guides or FAQs to answer them. Don’t constantly push sales and “last chance deals” at them. Unless daily megadeals are your business, it won’t be long before they start ignoring you completely.
Retaining an existing customer is much easier and cheaper than converting a new one. They already trusted you enough to buy from you once; continue to foster that trust and you just might find them moving on to the next, and most valuable stage.
Never underestimate the power of word-of-mouth. The combination of high quality products and services, exceptional customer service and mindful post-purchase communication can easily turn a customer into a passionate advocate for your company, who will gladly spread positive awareness for your brand.
It’s well known that people’s buying decisions are greatly influenced by recommendations from sources they trust, so it’s at this point that the funnel has the opportunity to become a cycle. Customers that become brand advocates usher prospective customers into the awareness stage of the funnel/cycle. However, not all advocates have to be current customers.
Well crafted content can cultivate and nourish relationships with both current and prospective customers, but it can also make advocates out of people who never become customers. When your content gets shared or ranks high enough to be easily found, your brand is being promoted. And the more people it reaches, the more prospects you have.
Of course, you want people to buy from you. But you’ll ultimately find more success if you focus on giving people what they want instead of trying to convince them that they want what you have.