At Galway Business School, you can take up a Certificate in Business Communications as part of the Springboard scheme. Here we look at how smaller companies can use communications to drive a sales funnel.
Digital media has changed a lot in the world of sales and marketing over the last couple of decades, but one song has remained much the same - and it sounds the same on online channels as it did in sepia-tinted, pre-internet days.
AIDA remains a sound model for marketing to drive sales funnels, even if derided as a little old-school in some quarters - a way to drive consumers from first contact to online sale.
It’s an acronym which describes a conversion funnel, attracting customers to the top of a sales funnel and driving them to the point where they want (and purchase) what the company is offering.
It works something like this:
This is the section that’s driven by communications and marketing, with the intention of filling the top of a funnel with potential customers. The role of the marketing communications (marcomms) effort is to raise awareness of a brand to new audiences and create a profile with which people can identify.
Creating a buzz - through content marketing, PR, advertising and customer relationship management programs, amongst other things - can often suffer from underinvestment, but is the key first step. Without spending effort or resource, a company is reliant on fate or serendipity. And that doesn’t often work.
In the digital space, this awareness comes through techniques such as content and social media marketing, alongside traditional PR perhaps. Creating the sense for consumers that something is going on with a brand that they need to know about.
Once potential customers know a brand exists, then that needs to be converted into interest in its products or services. Getting customers to trust the brand, or to think it’s cool or aspirational, means they can begin to drive them towards individual products.
Once that interest is piqued, then the digital work kicks in as people start looking for a brand - the very definition of search engine optimisation and search-led advertising. If people are looking for a brand or a product, then they have to be able to find it easily. If it’s isn’t on the front page of Google or popping up on social media feeds then it may never happen.
At this point, potential customers should be aware of the brand and interested in the product.
As potential consumers move into this part of the funnel (and a good proportion of them may be returning visitors) they will expect to move from a wider brand awareness to more product-based information. The trick now is persuading them to cross the line and buy - old-fashioned sales talk on the USP of the product, the value it gives, the way it’ll change your life, and feedback from others who bought before them. They need to believe that this is the best, or at least the best value - which can be helped by onsite reviews, case studies, or price promotions.
It’s about convincing the user that the product or solution is right for them. There has to be a hook to get an audience interested in the product, or they are lost to competitors. Sell, sell, sell.