If you’re in marketing, your goal is to get people to convert on a desired action such as buying your product or subscribing to your newsletter or YouTube channel. It takes multiple steps to get someone who has never heard of your company to trusting it enough to make a purchase. That’s why it’s important to know what is a sales pipeline.
The sales pipeline definition involves a visual picture of where your sales (and/or marketing) prospects are in the buying process. While the sales funnel explanation is often related to sales, it can be easily transferred to marketing.
Marketing Funnels: Where it All Begins
How do you go about reaching out to prospective customers or consumers? Chances are you utilize email. Email is instantaneous, doesn’t take up as much of your precious time and is less intrusive than a phone call. With email, the recipient can open it whenever they are available.
While email marketing is still a dominant marketing tool, it isn’t the only one.
With nearly every company and nearly every U.S. consumer having a page on Facebook and accounts on Twitter and Instagram, social media has poised itself to be a potentially equally powerful marketing outreach tool.
While both email and social media marketing are both great activities you should be regularly engaging in, they are different. Below are some differences to take into account and consider before diving right in:
You have an email list of prospects in your sales pipeline. Through a variety of marketing techniques, you have succeeded in getting people’s email address. While each company’s email marketing funnel is different, most follow a similar pattern of initial outreach, then follow-up all in an effort to obtain qualified leads that can be handed off to the sales team who can work them through the sales pipeline with the final result being a lead conversion.
Before you send out emails, you need to have an email list. There are many marketing tactics one can use to get prospects’ emails. Some of the more common ways include landing pages, opt-in forms, white-papers and downloads and blog posts. Social media can also be a great way to get emails.
Regardless of how you get your email list, it is important to nurture your leads appropriately based on what stage of the marketing funnel they are in.
Those that you send a welcome or introductory email to won’t be familiar with your brand and trust will need to be built before you send them a follow-up email with an ask in it. For the first email, make sure your brand is personable, yet professional, trustworthy and credible. All of these can be done with a series of emails whereby you supply the reader, or prospect with valuable, interesting, educational content.
As the lead becomes more and more trusting of your brand and business, the more likely he or she will convert and make a purchase.
Once a sales lead converts and becomes a customer, it’s important to retain them by continuing to email them great content and deals. At some point, they will likely convert on an upsell.
There are many email automation tools available from email content templates, to mail merging to scheduled emailing to tagging and sorting email lists to analytics. Email marketing automation helps make for more efficient use of your time as well as sent the right email to the right people in your email funnels.
With social media marketing, you’ll get a lot more of those quick, one-time visitors to your website. While you can share personalized, educational content with each prospect via email, this task can’t be easily done through social media, where people are more interested in personal connection than a marketing or sales transaction. While there are these limitations to social media, the platform can be a powerful tool for your pipeline sales.
Social media can be effectively used in all stages of the traditional pipeline funnel. Social media can quickly spread awareness of your brand through people that are current customers and who are currently “following” your social media page. The engagement and interaction social media marketing fosters allow the prospect to move through the familiarity and consideration stage of the typical sales funnel through commenting on posts and asking questions on live Q &As. Many social media networks such as Facebook now allow merchants to feature “buy” buttons on their company page posts and ads. Social media is also a great tool in establishing relationships with loyal, repeat customers.
Social Media Remarketing
Like with email marketing, prospects, especially those who have never heard of your brand, will not likely make a purchase from you after only seeing your company post or social ad one time. As with email, people may be initially interested, but then get distracted and may forget about making a purchase.
Social Media Remarketing
Ever see those same ads for a website you may have clicked on to in the past either in your Facebook news feed or off to the side? That’s an example of remarketing. The purpose of remarketing is to get visitors back to a company’s website. Remarketing is the social media marketing equivalent of a drip email campaign. You consistently provide little goodies such as discounts, targeted messages, infographics, eBooks and whitepaper downloads and cross sell or up-sell current customers with deals. Shared blog posts are also great ways to bring people back to your website.
Who you remarket to, who ends up seeing your ad or post in or near their social media feed can be done through embedded scripts on your website. These scripts can let you know who visited your site, how long they stayed on your site, how they got to your site and what page they viewed on your site. With Facebook, for example, customers’ Facebook profiles will be identified and your Facebook ad, blog post or offer will automatically be shown in the newsfeeds of specific prospects.
Again, both email marketing and social media marketing require your brand to build a relationship with prospects in order for them to move along the sales pipeline funnel. Both are great to be used simultaneously to get highly qualified leads that will convert into sales. Both marketing tools, however, are different and one should have a unique strategy for each one.
Before one engages in either of these, it’s important to know what is a sales funnel and what your company’s unique sales pipeline funnel looks like.
Not everyone you repeatedly reach out to via email or social media will respond. While sales may call these dead leads and abandon them, these leads may prove to be valuable in the proper timing. It isn’t uncommon for prospects to initially show interest in purchasing only to go dark for many months or years. Aktify can help your company draw these dead leads back and possibly make them into converting customers. If you are realizing your email or social media contact list is shrinking and people aren’t converting, contact us at Aktify to learn how we can help you find those converting customers.