In folktales around the world there is a thread, a typical structure that the hero of the story follows to reach the end “they lived happily ever after”.
The White-Hawk is given a mission to set out for the Green Emperor’s court and become his heir. But along the way he encounters evil – the Spaniel Man and the Red Emperor, and is helped by the forces of good – Saint Sunday, the Queen of Bees and others to carry out his tasks.
Sherazade continues a dangerous game and tells magical tales to enchant the Persian king for 1001 nights, for another and another morning to stay alive.
And Harry Potter goes through extraordinary adventures year after year to defeat the One Who Must Not Be Named, alongside Ron and Hermione, under the guidance of his mentor, Albus Dumbledore.
When you have a business, including your client goes through such a hero’s journey.
In sales and marketing we call it Customer Journey.
Or you can call it Sales Funnel.
Your customers feel a calling or receive a mission – they need a product – so they form a purpose. Determination drives them to set out.
Along the way, they are helped by the forces of good – The information and resources you make available, the way your online store looks, your marketing materials. And it faces obstacles and problems, due to internal or external influences (fears, excuses, lack of knowledge, bad UX).
Then follows VICTORY STAGE in which they achieve their goal – they buy what they set out to buy.
Customers are “coming home” to the joy and pride of the community – In other words, they will be appreciated for their decision or for the benefits your products have on their family, friends or acquaintances.
When you see your customers this way and understand the incentives that condition them to act, sales become easier to control.
They become predictable.
So for today I’d like to take a little foray together into the backstory of how to run a profitable online store where your heroes – your customers – have the best chance of getting the happy ending they long for.
What am I talking about? Let’s see.
I’ve mentioned Customer Journey and Sales Funnel before.
Both are different ways to imagine The much more tangled “thread” that the potential customer walks from the moment they get the stimulus that they need something, until after they’ve bought from you.
The easiest way to structure this thread is to use sales funnel.
That is, look at it from your perspective and your goals at every stage, since you have no way of knowing 100% what your customers are thinking.
You can make the funnel concrete on paper or an online document, it’s not something tangible that you take off the shelf from somewhere.
Personally, I recommend the model divided into 3 main blocks:
- Top of the Funnel – the part where you get traffic and exposure – cold audience
- Middle of the Funnel – the part where you get leads – warm audience
- Bottom of the Funnel – the part where you get sales – hot audience
Each block can be broken down into smaller cubes, as granular as you want to go, where you set super specific goals.
For example, when using Social Media you may want to get more direct interactions, or testimonials or general customer content. Just an example.
Let’s take them one at a time.
How to attract quality traffic with profit potential
At the top of the funnel, you interact with cold traffic.
That is, people who are complete strangers, who don’t know about you, or perhaps have heard of the store but have never made purchases before.
Your goal is to get exposure to this audience, so you can start to gain their trust and motivate them to give you their contact information.
How do you do that? The secret is targeting the right audience.
You won’t be able to sell to everyone.
Not all people will buy as soon as they enter your site.
But you can increase your chances of selling immediately or over time if you target a high-volume audience at a time when they are most open to your stimulus.
- Consolidate realistic customer avatars – Who are your customers? What are they interested in? What problems do they face? What are their habits? Do you have multiple audiences that you should approach differently? Write these details down in individual documents and use the information when targeting.
- Make sure your online shop is ready to sell – What does the design look like? How easy is it to use? Can customers get to the products they want quickly? Do you have proof of trust (reviews, about us page, testimonials)? Have you removed barriers in the buying flow? Don’t invest money and time in A-grade marketing when your website looks and performs poorly.
- Improve your product pages, they’re the ones doing the selling for you – every product page is a virtual salesperson in its own right. Are they well prepared? Are they complete? Do they include persuasive elements? Do they include techniques for increasing basket value?
Use brand elements to communicate as one across multiple channels – Whatever techniques you use to attract traffic, make sure your core message is similar across the board and you don’t have conflicting information.