Content marketing is easily one of the best things to happen to the marketing industry in the last several years. It gives businesses the chance to really get up close and personal with their customers, talk to them on a level that old-school advertising never managed, and create strong, long-term relationships and customer loyalty.
There’s just one thing - it can take a lot of effort to get right… effort and time. That’s where sales funnels are your best friend. As we’ve discussed before, sales funnels are a highly effective way to find leads, get them warm, and convert them into sales.
That said, you don’t want to be spending all your time manually sending out your content - that kind of defeats the purpose of building a sales funnel. That’s why we’re showing you the five most important steps to building an automated sales funnel that works.
Step 1: Plot the steps in the process
To build an automated funnel, you first need to ensure you have the various steps in your process mapped out. While there can be variability in the exact sequence of content that you send out, you need to make sure you’ve covered at least the first fours stages of the sales funnel, if not all five. Here’s a quick recap of what those are:
- Stage 1 - Awareness
- Stage 2 - Interest or investigation
- Stage 3 - Decision
- Stage 4 - Action
- Stage 5 - Repurchase
Step 2: Plan your content
Creating an automated sales funnel needs to be a well-planned process. This is partly because you want to be able to unleash it and let it do its job without any further input, so it needs to be set up right. It’s also partly because, if, for some reason, it doesn’t work properly, you need to be able to take a good look at each stage and see where it went wrong, so you don’t make the same mistakes again.
Step 3: Plan your automation
An automated sales funnel doesn’t necessarily need to consist entirely out of a series of emails, for example. It could also include a variety of social media options, website content, blog content and, yes, emails. There are hundreds of automation tools you can employ to help make the process as smooth as possible, so plan this out thoroughly in advance, before you start creating your content. If you know that step 1 will be a paid Facebook ad, step 2 an invitation to a webinar, step 3 a pre-webinar email, and so on, you can create the appropriate content more easily.
Step 4: Create your content
Each of these steps is going to require its own piece or pieces of content, and it pays to fine-tune these until you get them right. To do this, you will most likely need to do some research into what your ideal customers want and need, to make sure you are targeting their pain points, grabbing their interest, and offering them something that they deem worthwhile. By creating the entire suite of content for the funnel in advance, you can ensure that it is consistent, that the flow works and that you aren’t contradicting yourself at any stage.
Read more: The kind of content you should be offering your customers
Step 5: Monitor your funnel
Now, I don’t mean spend all your time scrupulously watching for every single click, subscription, like and click-through, but I do mean keep an eye on how the funnel is progressing. Is your initial piece of content being seen, and if so, is it leading to awareness? If not, you need to address that. Likewise with the rest of the steps in the process.
Remember also that it can take time for an automated sales funnel to start showing results, but if it’s been properly planned, researched and created, it will bear fruit. If it isn’t, you need to go back to the drawing board.
Read more: How to measure content marketing ROI
What sales funnel automation tips do you have that I haven’t covered? Let me know in the comments.
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