Marketing articles are full of lessons on how to do digital campaigns right. The most popular visualisation is currently the Sales Funnel. Usually it has from three to five stages – depending on your interpretation. It always involves gradually drawing potential customers closer and closer until they become active clients and then taking care of them.
Let’s take the four-stage model of a Sales Funnel consisting of stages See, Think, Do and Care, also known as S-T-D-C.
First, let’s quickly recap what that means:
The phase of spreading awareness about a brand, topic, trend, issue, product, etc. For example: your content mentions that inflation is rising.
In this phase, you can offer solutions related to the content in the See phase. For example: in your content you mention that you have a solution to fight inflation. Then you can invite people to a webinar.
Here you motivate the potential customer to become your actual client. For example: you individually communicate with clients who have attended a webinar.
You look after existing clients so that they stay with you and buy more of your services.
How are Sales Funnels and Customer Education related?
Whether your marketing activities will be successful or not depends on many factors. The main key is your content and the style of your work.
What do you want to achieve in each stage of the Sales Funnel? You want the customer to buy services from you. You are trying to build trust and a strong relationship between you and your customer. Trust can come from your brand’s reputation or recommendations from your current customers. But fundamentally, trust is based on the openness and the information you provide to potential customers.
Customer Education is a principle that seeks to ensure that you give your customers enough information to make an informed decision. So that they have the greatest motivation to become your company’s customers at every stage of the sales funnel.
Let’s have an example of what an Educational Sales Funnel might look like:
Your product is an investment platform where your clients invest in real estate. Your goal is to find clients who will invest in real estate. The benefit of this investment is that people are investing in a product that is not a subject to inflation.
Let’s start from the premise that you want to have clients who know what they are doing and have realistic expectations. You don’t want to cajole or pressure anyone. You want clients to make informed decisions.
So what will the stages of a Sales Funnel look like in this case?
In this phase, you can publish articles and videos about inflation, e.g. what causes inflation and its effects. You can also publish content about real estate investing and stories of your clients or use cases. Because you are working with different target audiences, you will want to try a wider range of content. Your goal is to get potential clients to realise that inflation is something they should be dealing with and that property investment can be a solution.
At this stage, you reach out to people who have responded to your content. (If you use social media like Facebook, LinkedIn or Google to publish your content, you can simply set up retargeting of your content to the right people). At this point you want to offer them a specific way to solve their problem. If you want your clients to understand the topic of inflation and real estate investing better, you can invite them to a webinar, conference, workshop or prepare an online course for them. The main advantage of online tools is their scalability. For example, your online course can be attended by a thousand or ten thousand people without any need of your presence.
At this stage, you are already educating potential clients about the topic and starting a relationship with them. A webinar, video course or a workshop can be good ways for people to associate the topic with your business and specific people. This is where trust is established.
At this stage, you get the right adepts to become your customers. You want them to take their assets and invest them into your fund. At this point, it’s important that these people have a very good grasp of the terms of the whole transaction and the risks involved and the possible scenarios. A simple contract might be sufficient, but it’s better to have some educational material created on top of it – again, this could be a video or FAQ page explaining the terms of the investment.
I believe you want your clients to be interested in other products and in the possibilities of further investing and cooperating with you. In this case, it’s appropriate to educate your clients about your other products as well.
Can you think of ways how your clients can become your ambassadors? Maybe they could become your salespeople too, what do you think? If the clients trust you, you just need to build a customer academy – for example, a set of online courses to turn them into qualified salespeople.
Take the above example of the Education-Based Sales Funnel as just a demo of what I mean when I talk about Customer Education in sales campaigns.
Customer education requires time and money but can lead to dramatic sales, marketing success and customer care improvements.