.This is not your typical “how to grow your business” blog that covers a wide range of general tips.
Instead, this article focuses on the specific strategy of understanding and creating a well-designed marketing funnel to drive growth. Think of it as a crash course in turning strangers into loyal customers who can’t resist buying from you.
With 69% of consumers across Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam making online purchases in the past 12 months, the best way to expand your business in the new year is to meet them exactly where they’re hanging out – on the world wide web.
Starting your business in 2023
Creating your business from scratch can seem intimidating. However, you definitely do not want to miss out on jumping on this lucrative emerging market bandwagon. If you’re starving for ideas, look into starting online businesses in Singapore or Malaysia. You can also read these step-by-step guides to starting a business in Malaysia or Hong Kong.
And if you’re already a successful business owner, but haven’t taken the leap into the wonderful world of online sales yet, you’re in luck because we’ve got this handy 7-step guide to get you there.
Signs that your business is growing
“You can’t grow what you don’t know.” Here are three strong indicators that your business could be on the rise. (be mindful that these could seem like your business is struggling rather than thriving):
1. Customers appear out of ‘nowhere’
Not knowing where customers are coming from can make you feel like growth is out of your control. But if you have been consistently promoting your small business and providing a positive customer experience, it can lead to word-of-mouth marketing. The best way to know for sure? Ask your customers how they found out about you.
2. You get good AND bad reviews
Alone, bad reviews show unmet customer expectations, but good and bad reviews together can indicate growth as more customers have interacted with your business. Keep track of the ratio and use negative reviews as an opportunity to improve customer experience, retain loyalty and even come up with new products.
3. You consider outsourcing business operations
As an entrepreneur you’re probably drowning in work. It might feel like your business is on the brink of collapse. But when you’re thinking about outsourcing some of your operations, it means that you’re growing and taking on more work than you can handle alone. It allows you to focus on growing your business further.
The 3 strategies to expand business (ANY business)
These three main categories are a great starting point if you’re looking to grow your small business. Think about which one applies the most to you right now:
1. Get more customers
Business owners will choose to focus on getting more customers when they are first starting out, or when they’ve hit a plateau in growth. For example, a new clothing store runs advertisements on social media to attract new customers.
2. Increase the frequency of repeat business
If a business already has a stable customer base, repeat customers are the way to go. A local restaurant could use email marketing to send out weekly specials to regular customers and encouraging more frequent visits. Loyalty programs also work like a charm here.
3. Increase the value per transaction
Another way to increase profits is by using tactics like bundles with new products and package deals to increase the average sale amount. Explore offering higher-end, more expensive products too.
Almost any activity you can think to grow your business can fall under one of the three categories, including:
- Building relationships with partners. Helps a business get more customers by acting as referral sources, providing insights into customer needs, offering access to new distribution channels and resources, and providing credibility and trust.
- Investing in technology. Brings repeat business by improving efficiency, customer experience, product/service quality, communication and engagement with customers using automation and personalization.
- Building relationships with suppliers. Increases transactional profit and improves cash flow through better pricing and discounts on products or services.
With this framework, figure out where to focus your attention for maximum returns and eliminate wasted energy. If you are a new business, put more effort into acquiring new customers. If you have a solid customer base, focus on increasing repeat business and transaction value, since it typically costs more to acquire a new customer than to retain or upsell an existing one. It’s really about finding the ‘lowest hanging fruit’.
How to grow your business quickly? Build a marketing funnel that actually works
Are you familiar with the ins-and-outs of your digital marketing funnel? If not, you’re not alone. According to Salesforce data, nearly 70% of companies are unaware of how their funnel looks. But not understanding your marketing funnel is like throwing money out the window – it’s a surefire way to waste resources and miss out on potential business growth opportunities.
What is a marketing funnel?
A marketing funnel is a powerful way of visualizing all of the different stages that customers go through on their journey from first learning about your business to becoming loyal, repeat customers.
It starts with TOFU (top-of-funnel), moves through MOFU (middle-of-funnel), and ends with BOFU (bottom-of-funnel). Let’s take a closer look at each stage.
No, we’re not talking about the food. This is where potential customers get their first taste of your company. They may stumble across one of your social media posts or see an ad for your product or service online. Your goal here is simply to generate interest by introducing them to your brand and giving them enough information to spark their curiosity.
This next stage is all about nurturing leads until they become qualified sales prospects. You do this by providing content that gives them more information about who you are and what you do, such as case studies, customer reviews, free trials, etc. At this stage in the funnel, it’s important not to push too hard for a sale because people still aren’t ready yet; they need more time and information before they make a buying decision.
Finally, we have the bottom of the funnel (BOFU). This is where leads become hot sales prospects and eventually convert into paying customers. Here is where you really “sell” them on why they should choose your product/service over others in the market and why they should do it NOW. Here is where strategies like retargeting ads and irresistable email marketing come into play.
Editor’s note: Don’t let your emails go straight to spam – get a professional email with GoDaddy’s email marketing suite.
Note on marketing funnels and the 3 ways to grow any business
- Acquiring new customers mainly takes place at the top of the funnel (TOFU) through tactics like content marketing, social media, SEO, and lead generation.
- Increasing repeat business mainly takes place in the bottom of the funnel (BOFU) and post-purchase stages through customer service, follow-up communications, loyalty programs, email campaigns, and personalized offers.
- Increasing transaction value mainly takes place in the middle and bottom of the funnel (MOFU, BOFU) through upselling, cross-selling, customer satisfaction and relationship building, limited-time offers, and bundle deals.
8 steps to build a marketing funnel to skyrocket sales
Now that we know what a marketing funnel is and why it’s important for businesses, here are eight steps to start building one of your own.
1) Figure out who your dream customer is
And we don’t mean coming up with something like “people who like pizza”. We’re talking specifics here, like age, location, income, interests, and pain points. If you discover your customers’ desires and frustrations, you’ll be able to offer solutions that they’ll actually want. According to CMO Council research, only 26% of marketers in Asia-Pacific admit they don’t have a solid plan for engaging customers.
No customer engagement data means no insights, and no insights mean you’ll have very little chance of connecting with customers. What you’re left with is a hard time trying to stand out in a competitive market.
If you want to find out more about your customer, it’s simple. Ask them.
A great way to do this is by using a survey tool like Google Forms (it’s free to use). This allows you to create professional-looking surveys that can be distributed to your customers via social media links, email or posted on your website.
According to SurveyMonkey here are the top 5 questions to ask your customers:
- What would you like to see us keep (and/or stop) doing?
- Are you willing to enthusiastically recommend us to a prospect today? If not, where must you see change this week?
- What’s the main benefit you receive from our product/service?
- What are your biggest challenges?
- Why did you choose us over the competition? / If you had to choose a competitor who would it be and why?
Tips to gather customer insights
Want a quick way to gather customer insights without having to conduct surveys? Get online and start rummaging through:
- Reviews: By analyzing both your and competitors’ reviews, you’ll identify patterns and common issues to improve your product or service. 3-4 star reviews generally provide more detailed, constructive criticism than 5-star reviews. 1-2 star reviews may be overly negative and not informative. Pay attention to the ‘most helpful’ reviews, they tend to be informative and actionable, giving a more accurate representation of customer sentiment.
- Quora: Quora is like a treasure trove of customer insights. Just search for questions related to your product or industry and voila! You’ve got a goldmine of information on what customers are curious about, what issues they’re facing, and what they’re looking for in a product.
- Blogs: Comment sections on popular blogs, forums, and Reddit are like the wild west of customer research. It’s where customers let loose and share their honest thoughts and experiences.
- Social media: On social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, TikTok and LinkedIn, it’s like having a giant focus group at your fingertips! Customers are always sharing their thoughts and experiences in real-time so you can keep up to date with what they want and need.
What to look out for when you find your ideal customers?
Here are several key things to look for when scouting for your dream customer:
- Customer demographics: This includes information such as age, gender, income, education level, and occupation, which can help you understand who your target customers are.
- Customer needs and wants: This includes understanding what customers want from your product or service, as well as any pain points or problems they are facing.
- Customer satisfaction: This includes understanding how customers feel about your product or service, as well as any areas that need improvement.
- Competitor analysis: This includes understanding how customers find your competitors, how they perceive them and what your competitors offer that you don’t.
- Buying habits and preferences: This includes understanding how customers make purchasing decisions, as well as their preferred purchasing channels.
- Customer loyalty: This includes understanding how likely customers are to continue doing business with you, and why.
- Customer language: This includes understanding the language and terminology that current customers use when discussing your product or service, which can help you develop more effective marketing strategies and messaging.
2) Outline your customer journey
Mapping out the customer journey allows you to understand the steps customers take leading up to a purchase, enabling you to improve your process and ultimately grow your business. You can gather inspiration from customer research, such as how they find your competitors’ products and services, and use that as a template to outline your own.
Here’s an example of a customer journey for a company that sells organic skincare products in terms of TOFU, MOFU, BOFU:
TOFU (Top of the Funnel)
- Awareness: The customer first becomes aware of the brand through social media ads, influencer partnerships, or word of mouth.
- Interest: The customer visits the website to learn more about the products and the brand’s mission to use only organic and natural ingredients.
MOFU (Middle of the Funnel)
- Consideration: The customer reads reviews and testimonials, watches product demonstration videos, and compares the brand’s products to others on the market.
BOFU (Bottom of the Funnel)
- Conversion: The customer makes a purchase, chooses a subscription plan, or requests a consultation with a skincare specialist.
- Retention: The customer receives follow-up emails with personalized skincare tips and exclusive promotions, and has the option to leave a review and refer friends to the brand.
- Advocacy: The customer becomes a repeat buyer and shares their positive experience with friends and family.
3) Identify business goals and metrics to measure progress
Once you’ve made a plan of how customers buy from you, it’s important to think about what actions you want them to take at each step of the process. This way, you can set goals, measure your progress and make adjustments as needed. Here are some examples:
- Goal: Increasing website traffic through targeted advertising and search engine optimization
Metric: Website traffic and bounce rate
- Goal: Building brand awareness through social media campaigns, influencer marketing and content marketing
Metric: Social media engagement and follower growth
- Goal: Capturing leads through forms, quizzes, or gated content
Lead generation and form submissions
- Goal: Educating prospects about your products or services through thought leadership pieces and webinars
Metric: Social media engagement (likes, shares, comments)
- Goal: Building a prospect list through events and networking
Metric: Number of email subscribers or contacts added
- Goal: Nurturing leads and building relationships through personalized email campaigns and drip marketing
Metric: Open and click-through rates for email campaigns
- Goal: Qualifying leads through surveys and assessments
Metric: Conversion rates for landing pages and forms
- Goal: Providing valuable content such as case studies, product demos, and testimonials
Metric: Number of downloads or views of gated content
- Goal: Offering a free trial or consultation to give prospects a taste of your products or services
Metric: Number of free trials or consultations requested
- Goal: Building trust and credibility through social proof and customer reviews
Metric: Number of customer reviews or testimonials collected
- Goal: Closing sales and generating revenue
Metric: Conversion rates and revenue
- Goal: Increasing customer lifetime value through upselling and cross-selling
Metric: Customer Lifetime Value (CLV)
- Goal: Building brand loyalty and advocacy through excellent customer service
Metric: Net Promoter Score (NPS)
- Goal: Measuring and improving customer relationships and satisfaction
Metric: Customer retention rate
- Goal: Optimizing the checkout process to reduce cart abandonment rates
Metric: Cart abandonment rate
4) Choose one social media channel
Don’t try to be a jack of all platforms and master of none. Focus on building a strong presence on one social media channel before expanding to others. It’s easier to manage and understand a single platform’s audience and content approach. For example, if your business is in the fashion or home decor niche, Pinterest is a great starting point as it’s visually-focused and has a large engaged user base.
5) Make sure your website or landing page is well-designed and SEO-optimized
If you’ve done your job right on social media; you’ve caught the attention of potential customers, building a trove of people who know, like and trust your brand. It’s time to move them further along the marketing funnel and speed up the process of turning them into paying customers. One of the best ways to do that is to guide them to your website, where you should:
- Make navigation a breeze
For a seamless user experience, focus on streamlining your website’s structure and functionality. Think simple navigation, intuitive menus, and prominent call-to-actions. By making it easy for visitors to find what they need, you’ll increase the chances of them converting into customers. Check out GoDaddy’s studio for stunning user-friendly designs.
Related: The ultimate website functionality checklist for 2023
2. Write compelling copy
From your homepage to your product descriptions, your copy should be concise and captivating, engaging the reader from the outset. Don’t forget to include keywords where appropriate to ensure SEO optimization.
Related: 8 online copywriting tips for this digital age
3. Apply SEO techniques
Optimize your content to make it more visible in search engine results, increase page views and attract more visitors. Applying SEO techniques involves choosing the right keywords, optimizing page titles, meta descriptions and content tags, as well as keeping your content up-to-date and relevant.
6) Create a sales process
Create a clear and easy sales process to guide potential customers to make a purchase. They understand their problem and your solution, now make it a ‘no brainer’ for them to buy. Here are a few examples of sales processes you could use:
A product page is an excellent way to present all the information a customer needs to make a purchase decision. Your product page should include detailed product information, high-quality images, customer reviews, and a clear call-to-action (CTA) that directs the customer to the checkout page.
Editor’s note: Building a website from scratch isn’t just for web developers – GoDaddy’s Website Builder makes it easy with marketing tools designed for business growth strategies.
Webinars are an excellent way to provide in-depth information about your product or service and build trust with your audience. During the webinar, you can provide detailed information about the features and benefits of your product, answer customer questions, and provide a CTA that directs customers to your sales page.
A sales page is a dedicated page on your website that is designed to convert visitors into customers. It should include persuasive copy, customer testimonials, and a CTA that leads to a checkout page.
For some businesses, a direct sales call using a free appointment scheduling app like Calendly may be the best way to convert leads into customers. If you’re a consultant, medical or healthcare provider, selling big-ticket items, or providing complex services (like custom home building or event planning) – a sales call via an appointment scheduling app can be a great way to personally connect with potential clients, provide detailed information and tailor solutions to their needs.
7) Craft killer content that connects
Creating content that connects with the desires and frustrations of your ideal customer can be challenging, but if you’ve done the research, you’ll know their preferences, interests and even what makes them giggle. In which case, it should be a breeze (and maybe even fun!).
You’ll need to provide them with content at each stage of their buyer’s journey. Here’s a quick example of what this might look like for a homemade kombucha business:
- TOFU content: Create a social media post that highlights the health benefits of kombucha and include scientific studies supporting the claims. The post also introduces your homemade kombucha drink and showcases its unique flavors.
- MOFU content: Create a how-to video that demonstrates how easy it is to make kombucha at home using your homemade kombucha drink as an ingredient. The video also includes tips on how to customize the flavor to personal taste. Give a call-to-action inviting them to sign up to your email newsletter for weekly health tips. This then helps to build goodwill between you and your potential customers.
- BOFU content: Create a product page for your homemade kombucha drink that includes customer reviews, a detailed FAQ section, and a clear call-to-action to purchase your kombucha. The page also includes a special offer for first-time customers, such as a discount or a free gift with purchase.
Don’t forget to speak their language
Pay attention to vocabulary, structure, tone-of-voice and all those nitty-gritty details from all of that customer research you’ve done. Let’s say for example, you sell natural skincare products. You’ve read reviews for your products as well as your competitors on websites and on the e-commerce platform Shopee.
From these reviews, you learn that many customers frequently use words like “organic,” “natural,” “green,” “non-toxic,” “gentle,” and “sensitive skin” to describe the products they like.
Using this language in persuasive copy would involve highlighting these keywords in product descriptions, marketing materials, and advertising.
- In a product description for a face cream, you might use phrases like “made with organic ingredients,” “gentle for sensitive skin,” and “non-toxic formula.”
- For headlines, you might create phrases like “Get the natural, organic glow you deserve” or “Say goodbye to harsh chemicals, and hello to gentle, non-toxic skincare”.
Connect through storytelling
Humans love stories; they provide context and an added layer of emotional punch that can really drive home a point or two. Think about everyday anecdotes related to the topic at hand or case studies featuring folks who have faced similar situations as those your audience may be dealing with. Implement your stories into the AIDA content model to encourage your audience to take a desired action, like visit your website.
People engage with content because they want something from it, whether it’s advice on how to fix something or tips on how to improve their skills or knowledge. Make sure you nail this one by tying back measurable outcomes for your audience to use in real life; then sit back and watch engagement levels skyrocket like it did with this piece of content that gathered more than 10 million views. The memory coach in the video showed, not just told, how the person watching can unlock the power of their natural memory power with a simple memory test
8) Track results and optimize
To ensure that your marketing efforts are effective, track the results from each stage of your marketing funnel. This allows you to see what strategies work best for your audience and make necessary adjustments over time.
If your business isn’t growing as you’d like, instead of reinventing your entire funnel, start by analyzing the customer journey from the top of the funnel (TOFU).
If you’re not meeting your metrics such as website traffic or lead generation at the TOFU stage, it may not be necessary to make changes to the bottom of the funnel (BOFU) stages such as your sales page.
Instead, focus on improving the things that affect your metrics, like content and strategies, until you meet your TOFU goals and then move on to analyzing the middle of the funnel (MOFU) and BOFU to identify the “bottlenecks” in the customer journey that are preventing progress.
Start growing your business today!
You now have a framework to help simplify the process of growing your business into just three categories and provide a manageable starting point for achieving growth, especially if you feel overwhelmed. And when you pair that with a solid marketing funnel that effectively targets your audience, tracks and measures your efforts, and helps you spot and fix any problems in your sales processes, you will take your business to the next level.