Online Marketing Funnels for Small Businesses

When building a website, most small businesses think of a very linear approach. They set up the 4 basic pages: home (with basic info about your company/product/service), 'About us' (company history, etc), Product/Services (normally a list), Contact us (hopefully has more than just an address and phone number). They assume that visitors will hit their home page, find the product or service they want, then go to the contact page and get a hold of the company.There are a few problems with this kind of approach. First, they assume that people will navigate the website in that order. Second, they assume that just listing products/services will prompt the visitor to want to buy. Finally, they assume that the visitor will suddenly contact them (which is even harder if there is no email form).These businesses must start thinking in terms of a sales funnel; that is, bring a customer into the website, show them the product/service with a reason to buy, then give them an easy way to buy or take the next step. This doesn't mean you need to sell products online, but you should streamline the process. The biggest part of a sales funnel is to educate the potential client, and really make sure they're the right fit for your company. A very basic, but easy to implement process could be this: Build a easy to find landing page (SEO comes in handy here) which shows off your service/product, gives enough information that the person will trust that this is the product/service that they want, takes away any doubt by showing off any guarantees tells them how easy it will be to use, then finishes with a simple way to take the next step: either a contact form (with a guaranteed time-line for response), or a longer form that takes down the important information your company will need to proceed.Take for example a local gym in Austin, Texas. Their website landing page (not their home page, but a page that is optimized for search terms like 'austin texas crossfit') showcases what the gym offers for crossfit training, gives a schedule of classes, tells why crossfit is the way to go, then finishes with an offer to try the gym for one week for free, with a form that has to be filled out with enough information that the gym can qualify them as a potential member(more than just name/email). If done correctly, as soon as the form is filled out and sent, a response email should be sent to the visitor with details of their trial membership, what they should bring, directions to the gym, etc. Then on the gym's end, they should get all that info, and have it ready for when the potential member comes in for their trial membership. This information is critical to new potential customers.Websites for small businesses should not just be separate pages of information, but be linked and flow together. If your website is just those 4 chunky pages, your online marketing needs a boost.Business tip: Get someone not related to your business to objectively look at your website and/or your sales funnel and give their thoughts on it. If they wouldn't feel like they want to contact your business right away, then its time to change something. href='' - - - -