Funnel Vision and SEO

If you know anything about business, which I’m sure you do, you’ll know about the Sales Funnel. If you go to any business workshop, open any business text book, go into any manager’s office, you will be greeted by the site of the sales funnel.

The funnel may vary in size, shape, colours and wording, but the idea is always the same. You take a huge number of people and try to squeeze them through the funnel in order to get them to hand over their hard-earned cash. When you analyse your sales and marketing techniques and strategies you will, in some way or other, be doing so according to the funnel. You will be fixing the leaks, the points at which people break away away from your funnel.

SALES FUNNEL
A charmingly lop-sided sales funnel

Here’s a charmingly lopsided sales funnel that I created earlier to illustrate the process. But how does all this link in with SEO and the idea that I am about to suggest to you, that SEO is a necessary part of any business?

Firstly, every stage of your sales funnel costs money and at every stage people are going to escape through the leaks. You need to spend money to spread awareness, you need to spend money to influence people’s intent and so on. However, the sales funnel is no longer a doom and gloom story of people dropping out after large spends on advertising to spread awareness, as with SEO people now enter your sales funnel halfway down.

People don’t tend to type something into Google that they wish to purchase without some form of intent. They may still be at the research stage, but the intent is there. Therefore, you have skipped 3 whole stages of the funnel if your highly optimised website springs up on top. A person with intent has found you a popped into your sales funnel. That’s a lot easier than squeezing them down from the top.

But, there are still 2 more crucial stages to go. How does SEO help with these?

The evaluation process goes hand-in-hand with SEO. This is the content that your SEO agency always talks about. This is the content on your website that tells your story, reviews your products and convinces the casual viewer that you are trustworthy, knowledgeable and will provide a great service. It is also the reviews that they find on other sites. Not all of them get there by accident, quite a lot are the work of your SEO. When your potential customer is in the evaluation process they may browse around a bit and find out more about you. SEO is essential for this stage.

Then there’s the purchase stage. Your SEO will also have a hand in this. SEOs not only have knowledge of getting customers to your site, but they will also know the best ways to seal the deal. They will optimise the smoothest path for your website visitor to take that results in them handing over their credit card details.

So while you are considering if SEO is the right choice for you, think about your funnel. Would you rather spend on a broad and vague awareness, or would you rather go bottom up, getting interested people interested in your brand and let them spread the awareness for you?