Why You are Hearing so Much About the Sales Funnel

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There are a lot of software development companies out there.  That means that the competition is stiff, and we need to seriously up our game in terms of marketing campaigns and targeted ads in order to get the clicks and engagement that we are looking for.  That is where sales and onboarding funnels come into the picture.

If you are unfamiliar with them, do not worry.  They might not be new, per say, but there is no denying that we are still experimenting with them when it comes to the online world.  Businesses are rushing to be at the front of this and after today, hopefully you will be able to do that too!

For anyone looking to be a trailblazer, make sure that you stick around today. I will be covering what these funnels are and how to utilize them, at least briefly.  Surely, you will learn something new.

What is an Onboarding Funnel?

The main goal of one is to get users to try out your software.  Usually, you do this by offering a free trial first and proving the quality and worthiness of your product in the hopes that customers will end up paying for it once their trial runs out.  It is a very popular method of sales in today’s day and age, and this is for good reason: it works.

You can read a bit about the basics of marketing on this page: https://www.techopedia.com/definition/26363/online-marketing.  This is the basis for the rest of the article, so definitely check it out if you have the time.  If you are already familiar with digital marketing and how it works, though, feel free to keep on reading instead.

Getting Started: Solve a Small Problem or Provide a Small Win

Once a consumer downloads your software, you want to reel them in somehow and get them hooked on the program.  How can you do this?  Well, as you can probably image, there are many different methods you can take.  However, no matter what you decide on, it will likely fall under the umbrella of a “small win.”

What do I mean by that?  Well, it is essentially the carrot that you dangle over them to keep them interested.  If you are an art software, for example, your free trial could include several of the premium brushes that they will get with the paid version of the program.  That is just one example of this phase of an onboarding funnel, so feel more than free to adjust it to suit what your goals are.

Just keep in mind that whatever you want to serve as this should be something the consumer can easily access the first time that they load up the software.  You should definitely not keep it hidden, as you want to keep them interested.  Other than that, just pick whatever you think is going to be the best part of your program and entice customers the most.

Create an Onboarding Flow

Once you decide what your “small win” is, it is time to figure out how to guide your customer to reaching that point.  That is how you can convert them from that free trial into paying users, after all, which is most of what you are here to learn about.  The process might sound complicated at first, but rest assured it is really not when you get into it.

As you read this, I want you to think about the goal of what you are selling.  How can people experience what you want them to while they use it?  How many steps does it take?  If it is more than four or five, there is probably something that can be condensed.

Your goal should be to make it as easy as possible for your buyer to reach the intended destination (that being the small win that you have designed).  One method in which you can do this is creating a step-by-step guide.  Just avoid being overly wordy.

Concise instructions with little room for distractions is probably the ideal setup here for onboarding.  Consult with your employees or marketing experts as you design this if you want to be extra sure, but if you follow this advice, you should be fine.

What to do Once You’ve Made it: Keep Optimizing

So: you have done it.  You have designed your onboarding funnel and you are feeling super confident in it.  That is great, of course, but you are probably wondering what to do now.

Obviously, you need to implement it.  Create the landing page and design your free trial around getting customers to achieve the small win that you think will hook them in.  From there, your main goal is to analyze what happens next.

One method you could utilize to do this is create user surveys for anyone using the free trial.  Seek out answers for why they decide to uninstall if they do so as well as motivating factors for becoming paying customers.  Both are important to the optimization of your funnel.

Sure, it might seem like overkill to continually try to improve your techniques but trust me when I say it is not.  Far from it, in fact.  It can help you to get that leg up on your competitors that we are all seeking out so desperately.

In general, you should always be striving for improvement in all parts of your business.  This is definitely not an exception.  Pay close attention to when users click off of your software when applicable and try to figure out what the issue is.  Sometimes it is an error in your program, but it could just be that they fall out of your target audience.

Either way, I think it is a good idea to consistently analyze and optimize.  You can apply that concept to other parts of your business as well, so even if you decide against a funnel hopefully you have learned something at least a bit valuable for you today!