The problem with your marketing funnel is the hole in the bottom of it.
The concept that the traditional marketing and sales funnel lazily allows clients to re-enter the marketplace is articulated in Duct Tape Marketing by John Jantsch. The general notion is that we think of marketing as pulling new customers in through the top of the funnel, and nurture them through the sale. And that’s it. And that’s incomplete.
Post-decision evaluation is part of any buying process. This is why, after we’ve purchased something, we keep looking at prices. It’s why we respond to “best price guarantees” from travel websites. The traditional marketing funnel fails to address this part of what gets termed the buyer’s journey. We are all inclined, and in the case of marketing decisions and business relationships, often required, to re-examine our current situations. This is your client sliding out the bottom of your funnel.
Jantsch essentially drew three straight lines on the bottom of the sales funnel, thereby plugging it up and creating an hourglass. His message: Don’t turn that new customer back loose on the open market. Where the traditional sales funnel is often broken into three sections–top to bottom, Awareness, Engagement, and Conversion–Jantsch adds Retention and Referral.
How do we avoid having to re-acquire the business we’ve earned? Plug the funnel!
Many initial conversations with prospective clients here at Webolutions begin with a declaration that they, “need more leads.”
New Lead Generation, i.e. bringing in new prospects through the top of your funnel, pits you against formidable competition. You must acquire attention, differentiate your message, create credibility, establish an untested relationship, and beat out other competitors. This is the category of marketing encapsulating Awareness, Engagement, and Conversion, and it’s what most people think of when they hear the word, “marketing.” New Lead Generation is a vital component of every growth-oriented marketing strategy, and it’s arguably the most difficult and most expensive thing to do in business.
For this reason, our standard response to, “need more leads,” is, okay, we can help with that, and let’s also examine what we are doing with the leads and new conversions we acquire. This is Retention and Referral marketing. This is the bottom part of Jantsch’s hourglass. It’s what we at Webolutions call Existing Customer Engagement.
Existing Customer Engagement is 4 to 5 times less expensive and less difficult than New Lead Generation. Its goal is to expand and deepen relationships with people with whom mutual alignment has already been established, problems resolved, and goals achieved. Rather than compete against the entire marketplace, when we engage our existing clients, we compete only against ourselves. That’s a lot less work for a much higher rate of success. It’s also where referrals are generated.
Webolutions clients get help maximizing mutual value from ongoing relationships. You commit hard-earned money and resources to New Lead Generation. Maximize the value of those acquisitions on an ongoing basis. Stay top-of-mind. Deliver reminders of all the ways you help people. Remind your best clients that they are exactly the type of people who get the greatest benefit from your approach and programs, that they make your work more enjoyable, and you want to work with more people like them.
Social media. Monthly burst e-newsletters. Gifts and entertainment. These are all traditional tools for retention and referral marketing. In 2018, small businesses can employ additional high-value tools and tactics formerly reserved for the enterprise.
Topping this list is Infusionsoft® Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and Marketing Automation. Whereas scalable direct digital outreach for small businesses has included time-intensive, tedious, and error-laden processes of downloading databases, re-uploading them to email marketing software tools, and firing off “one size fits all” emails, Infusionsoft CRM creates automated, “right-time” journeys, personalized and specific to interest, scope…whatever, really.
Infusionsoft journeys include retention and referral-focused campaigns addressing the point Jantsch made in 2007, and with which most of the marketplace still struggles. Webolutions systems ensure that you have achievable goals and executable strategies for retention and referral for every new contact you generate.
Build your systems all the way through. Examine how you’ll add value to your client relationships after they say, “Yes,” so they’ll be inclined to say that word more often, and introduce you to others predisposed to following their lead.
Stop sending your clients back out into the cold. Close that hole and get comfortable together. Get the right partners, systems, and tools. Turn your marketing funnel into an hourglass. And grow, grow, grow.
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