Businesses in Europe have, for a long time, been stuck in traditional advertising. These conventional modes of advertising involve complete dependence on retailers. This means that the only way the companies approach clients is through retailers. Most businesses are, therefore using traditional outbound marketing.

What is traditional outbound marketing?

Outbound marketing is a form of promotion where content is used to pursue the customers and attack them situations where they least expected. For instance, a customer may visit a shop to purchase a pair of pants but be met with marketing content for electronics. Outbound marketing is a classical mode of advertising used by entrepreneurs to encourage customers to buy their goods and services. Examples of outbound marketing are;

  • The use of printed advertising materials
  • TV and radio advertisements
  • Telemarketing
  • Outdoor advertising using advertisement boards, billboards, words of mouth and flyers

Outbound marketing was the starting point of marketing as we know it today. However, companies in Europe have failed to understand that there are new and better marketing strategies. Outbound marketing techniques are also not as effective as their modern counterparts. While some companies have refused to move away from outbound marketing strategies, those that have attempted modernization fail. The failure is a result of lack of proper understanding of the new approaches.

What are the better approaches?

The better alternative to outbound marketing is inbound marketing. Inbound marketing addresses the educational needs of customers. Techniques in inbound marketing are less aggressive as the latter, and they are also more personalized. The entire concept is about building long-lasting relationships with customers. Below are the two main approaches in inbound marketing;

1. Marketing Funnels

A marketing funnel is a visualization that helps bring forth an understanding of the process of turning leads into customers from a perspective of marketing.

Stages of a marketing funnel.

  • Awareness
    This is the top stage on a marketing funnel. At this stage, would-be customers are drawn in through marketing strategies, customer research and discovery. The aim is to create awareness of your brand and establish trust and leadership with clients through events, webinars, blog posts, trade shows and social media campaigns, to name a few. The entire stage is aimed towards the lead collection. The leads are pulled into a lead management system which is used to nurture the rest of the steps.
  • Interests
    The interest stage mainly focuses on the company and its products. This stage is all about a brand developing a relationship with the people who are in its lead database. Emails and content that is more targeted around the industry. Classes and newsletters are also used. The aim is to make customers aware of the company, its products and the market.
  • Consideration
    Here, tools like automated email campaigns are sent to targeted audiences. Tactics like free trials and case studies are used to lure clients into considering choosing the company and its products.
  • Intent
    This stage is more about prospective customers. They have to demonstrate the intention of purchasing the products. Clients demonstrate their intent by placing products in a shopping cart during online shopping or taking a survey among.
  • Evaluation
    This is where the customers make the final decision on whether or not they will buy products or services from a brand. The entire sales funnel aimed at attracting clients to a brand and its products. The marketing and sales team work together to nurture the process of decision making and lure clients in.
  • Sales
    The final stage is where the clients purchase the products. Here, the clients move from being perspective clients to being customers. The sales team handles the process. The success and the experience that clients get at this stage will influence whether or not they come back. Businesses use techniques like referral programs to get customers to lure in others.

The entire sales funnel is aimed at turning regular people into prospective clients then finally into loyal customers through the creation of awareness and a powerful marketing strategy.

Importance of marketing funnels:

  • It helps prospective clients to gain awareness of a brand.
  • It also helps businesses visualize their customers‘ journey and come up with a strategy for supporting sales using a well-regulated system.

2. Sales Funnels

A sales funnel is each step that a person takes to become a customer. Unlike the marketing funnel, the sales funnel is more focused on how sales are arrived at than the marketing strategies.

Stages of a sales funnels

There are four main stages in a sales funnel. They are;

  • Awareness
    At this stage, businesses catch the attention of potential customers through means like a tweet, Facebook post, Google search or any other marketing strategy that is described in the first stage of the different funnel. Through these marketing strategies, clients become aware of the existence of a business.
  • Interest
    This is where customers develop an interest in a brand and display it through activities like research, comparison shopping. Content created by the marketing team of a business helps clients to make decisions at this stage.
  • Decision
    By comparing products and using the swoop of content provided by a brand, clients decide whether or not to purchase from the brand in question. Tactics like discount codes, bonus products, free shipping and competition charges help clients with their decision making.
  • Action
    This is the stage where clients click purchase on a product or service. At this stage, the activities of the marketer or the business will help to turn one customer into 2, 10, 100 or more. The focus at this stage is customer retention and referrals.

Importance of a sales funnel

  • It helps to illustrate the path that prospects take
  • It helps you to find holes in the funnel and strengths
  • Understanding a sales funnel will help you learn how you can influence more prospects into the funnel and to become customers.

Conclusion

Building sales and marketing funnels help businesses to have control over their client base. The funnels also help companies to become independent of retailers and social media audiences that are controlled by individual channels. Through the funnels, businesses can build up their audiences, have control over them and maintain them. Creating a the funnels is not an easy task; marketing agencies, however, have a better understanding and approach to the process.