Looking for new customers? Let’s talk about how to create content that will attract NEW customers to your business before they even know they need a product like yours. Stop waiting for new customers to come to you and start learning how to attract them like a moth to a flame.
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The Sales Funnel
The first thing that I want you to understand and start grasping is the idea of a sales funnel. Every business on the internet is talking about “The Funnel” with the main goal to fill your funnel with new people and push them through until they buy.
If you Google sales funnel you will see a bajillion results, with different funnels for different topics all looking a little bit different. The specific funnel we’re going to talk about a is a very high-level but simple 4-step funnel. This doesn’t mean that other funnels are not relevant or that you won’t need other funnels for your eCommerce business in the future.
Funnels specific to eCommerce include the journey the customer takes while they’re on your website, including when they go from the homepage to the checkout, and high-level funnels, which may include additional steps because they are more specific to email marketing, for example. It can be overwhelming and you’re probably sick of hearing the phrase sales funnel, but we have to talk about it!
Focusing on this simple 4-step funnel one step at a time is a great way to start thinking about the overall journey a consumer takes from first discovering you to becoming a repeat customer.
The Sales Funnel Steps
Today is all about awareness. The purpose of going through each step one at a time is to allow you to implement the content I provide for you. That way, when we move to the next step in later episodes, you have a solid foundation to build on.
What does awareness really mean and what customers are falling into the awareness bucket?
At the awareness stage, there are two groups of people:
- People who haven’t discovered you at all and may not even know you exist.
- People that do know you exist, but have only visited your website once or have only engaged with a few social media posts, but they’ve never really taken any action.
This awareness group is at a different step in the journey than someone who has already made a purchase from you. It’s important to create different content for them and treat them differently than those people who have purchased or are a repeat or loyal customer of yours.
In the awareness stage, it’s possible that they don’t even know they have a pain point to solve, or that they have any need for your product.
For example, let’s use someone who just found out that they’re pregnant. They don’t necessarily know everything they need and the first thing they’re going to do is jump on the internet and start doing some research.
They want to figure out what they need to know, what they need to prepare for and the products they need to buy. Where on the internet they go for their information is going to depend on the customer, which is why it’s important to understand your target customer and what platforms they are most likely to be on.
For today, I’m mostly going to talk about Google searches to keep it general, but all of these concepts translate to all the other platforms, including social media like Instagram, Facebook, etc. I just won’t be addressing them directly.
Focus on creating educational content
In the awareness stage, your main goal is to focus on creating content that educates and informs them. The form of this content is going to depend on your business, your customer and your product. Examples of this could be writing a blog post, creating a video, or in my case, creating a podcast episode.
Remember, this is not necessarily about pitching your product or that your product is the solution to their problem. It’s just educating them on the general aspect of what they’re experiencing and shedding light on what they don’t know.
Let’s use my business as an example. Even though I’m service-based, this fits perfectly. I work with female eCommerce entrepreneurs and when I started my business, I spent most of my time talking about email marketing, because I was in love with the Klaviyo platform and had seen such success when I switched. Honestly, I wanted to shout it from the rooftops because I knew that it was underutilized and not really talked about enough in the eCommerce space.
After talking to more and more female entrepreneurs, I realized that many of you didn’t even know the value of email and how much revenue you could actually drive from it. Some people weren’t making any money for their efforts and others weren’t using email at all. I worked with numerous clients who were in this situation and after making some tweaks to their program, teaching them how to approach email marketing and implement high level campaigns they began to see revenue from this email marketing channel that they didn’t even know was a possibility.
Before I could get to the point of working with these women, I had to educate my audience, who found me on social media, about the power of email. They didn’t realize it was even a pain point or that they were missing something that could actually make money from. By planting those seeds, I encouraged them to wonder whether this was something that could work for them too.
What kind of content does your ideal customer need?
Business at the awareness stage is just you educating your audience and letting them know what’s possible so that you can move them further down your funnel. Think about the people who don’t even know that they need your products yet. Take a couple of steps back from your current customers and repeat customers, or think about where you were a few steps ago (because a lot of the time we are our own ideal customer) and ask, what kind of content do they need to consume to figure out whether they need your product?
A really good example of this is a website called The Man Registry, which sells groomsmen gifts. When you think about a groom about to get married, it’s very possible both he and his best man have never been in that position before. They might not know what’s expected of them so The Man Registry has created content on planning a wedding, such as planning the bachelor party, giving the groomsmen gifts, tips on proposing and planning the honeymoon. These all target the awareness stage of the funnel.
When someone first hits the website, they’re not necessarily ready to buy the groomsmen a gift right away but they have such great content that they are in the top organic results for these topics. If you are the groom-to-be and you keep coming across this website, which is full of great information, when you are ready to buy it’s going to be at the forefront of your mind.
The Man Registry does this specifically with blog posts but you can do this with video too, which actually has an extra element of connection and trust that you can’t get through the written word. You can upload videos to YouTube or embed them on your website, it doesn’t matter because it’s going to get served up in search results when someone Googles their query.
Put in the work now so you can reap the rewards later
You’re probably dreading the idea of creating all of this content for people who aren’t necessarily ready to buy. However, when you’re creating educational content your focus is evergreen topics, which means topics that aren’t time sensitive. Putting the work in now means the content you create will serve you for a long time to come. Plus, when you start with a larger piece of content like a long form blog, you can then take bits and pieces of that post and repurpose it in other places like social media. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel all the time.
The longer content exists on the web, the more likely it is to show up on Google. Search engines take into account the age of your website when it ranks things (I did a whole episode on SEO, which I talk more about here). This means, that a piece of content you create today could potentially serve you for six months to two years or more. You can go back and update this periodically with new information or to coincide with new trends, and just republish it as a new post. It’ll be on the same URL so you will still have all that old SEO “link juice” as they call it, which keeps your rankings higher.
Always have a call to action
After you’ve created all this awesome content, you need to make sure you have a call to action explaining what you want the user to do with said content.
Educational blog posts can have a content upgrade offer where you go deeper into the topic you are sharing in exchange for their email. The upgrade could be Top 10 Tips for Insert Your Topic Here with one of those tips being your product. Not only can this work as an upgrade from an existing piece of content, but you can use this as a lead magnet on Pinterest, which, just like Google and YouTube, is a search engine.
If they’re coming in from a search engine they’re just trying to get an answer to their query and they’re not necessarily ready to buy so it might be too soon to send them a discount code in exchange for an email address.
If you’re posting videos on YouTube, don’t forget to mention and link your website in the video description so you can send them to sign up for the content upgrade that you’ve created.
Ultimately, you want to make sure you’re getting them to your website so that you have an opportunity to get them on your email list. Getting them to your website also means you have them pixeled so you can remarket it to them.
The awareness stage is the very tippity top of the funnel. You still have a long way to go so it’s crucial that you have a way to stay in touch with them.
Make sure your content appeals to new and repeat customers
Every potential customer is at a different point in their journey with you and the type of content they want to consume is going to be different. It’s your job to give them what they need when they need it either through your blog posts, your social media, or your emails.
If you only ever create content that speaks to loyal customers, you will lose any potential customers before they make their first purchase. On the other hand, if you only talk to the people who haven’t bought from you yet, you’re going to lose repeat customers.
You’re not going to knock all this content out in the next week because this is an ongoing process. Once you figure out where you should be spending your time, you can break down your content creation using the same ratio that you are breaking down new versus repeat customers.
For instance, if you want to spend 50% of your efforts getting new customers and the other 50% of your efforts catering to your repeat customers, then spend 50% of your time creating content for new people and 50% of your time creating content for the repeat customer. Of course, that’s a really simple breakdown and it’s going to be different for everyone.
You need to know where you should be putting your resources because you’re an entrepreneur, and you don’t have all the time in the world. We’ve got to be smart about what we’re doing.