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The Ultimate Small Business Marketing System

Entering the marketing world can be daunting in so many ways, and there is a lot to learn. One of the most challenging aspects is learning all the terms — the language that is key to marketing like a boss.

One of those key terms is “sales funnel.” A sales funnel is the journey a prospect takes from first learning about your business to making a purchase. The different stages include awareness, interest, decision, and action.

Imagine the shape of a funnel. It’s large on one end and then gets smaller toward the other side. This reflects the nature of a sales funnel. You start out with a large mass of prospects, but at the end you end up with a small portion who actually become customers.

So when a marketing tactic is “top of the funnel,” that refers to targeting a large group to build awareness. The middle of the funnel is the sales process that includes a lot of follow-up, and then at the end of the funnel are the sales you’ve closed from the hottest leads. Throughout the funnel, there are all different ways the prospect might reach out.

And I’m going to get into that…

Ultimately, only you can determine what your customer’s journey will look like, but we can show you how we’ve done it to help build PostcardMania into an $83 million-dollar company, because I would never tell you to do something that I haven’t personally tested and refined myself.

And, in the interest of full disclosure:

You can do this yourself, or you can let our experts handle it for you. We built a product (a.k.a. a sales funnel) to specifically handle every little step you see on this page for you, so you can focus on your business. It’s called Everywhere Small Business, and we have some great insight for you about it if you keep reading and learn all the steps of the sales funnel below.

Stage 1, Top of Funnel: Awareness — Introduce yourself to your prospects

Remember how I said the top of the funnel is wide? The first step of the sales funnel involves narrowing down your audience and identifying your target customer so that the funnel gets narrower.

For example, if you are a pediatric dentist, you’ll want to target families with kids near your office. Or, if you are a real estate agent in an upscale neighborhood, like West Palm Beach, your target will be individuals making six and seven figures who can afford multi-million-dollar homes.

Once you identify who you want to attract, you can start developing your marketing outreach to grab their attention.

Then, choose which channel(s) you will use to create awareness of your brand — we recommend postcards!

Creating awareness of your business starts with advertising, and there are many different forms. Each one has its own advantages and disadvantages.

Traditional advertising includes:

  • print ads in newspapers, magazines, or other publications or flyers
  • broadcast ads on TV and the radio
  • direct mail such as catalogs, postcards, and letters
  • and outdoor ads via billboards, posters, and other signs

Newer forms of advertising include:

  • web-based advertisements, like the ads you see on websites
  • social media advertisements on platforms like Facebook, Instagram and YouTube
  • paid search listings you find at the top of search results on Google, Bing, etc.

Out of all of these options, only one comes directly to you instead of happening to find you during your day-to-day activities — it’s direct mail!

Direct mail is effective because it is delivered right to your home, so it’s basically guaranteed to arrive in your hands.

Every other type of advertisement may or may not be seen. You could broadcast a radio ad, but only the listeners to that radio station would hear it, and they might not even hear it. Billboards on main roads will be seen by many people on that particular route, but that’s about it — and even those who did see it might not remember it.

Could you tell me what was advertised on the last billboard you saw?

Even digital ads could be hit or miss depending on how narrow the targeting is because we’ve become so desensitized to all the noise on the internet that isn’t EXACTLY what we want to see.

Direct mail is really the only sure-fire way your prospects will see your ad on their own time.

In addition to that benefit, direct mail is also the only advertising option that has specific targeting options. With direct mail, you have access to information about prospects who fit certain criteria, such as the value of homes, income, ages of children, etc.

Digital ads may be able to narrow down some of your audience with targeting based on age and interests, but direct mail takes the cake when it comes to solid data on many important factors.

These are the reasons why I LOVE direct mail so much.

We’ve also gathered a whole list of 82 direct mail statistics that reveal even more reasons why it is more effective than many other forms of advertising. You can read it here.

In our sales funnel, the first tactic we utilize and recommend is mailing prospects a postcard. We mail over 180,000 postcards every single week to promote my company because prospects see it, become aware of our brand, and can then begin to form an opinion of who we are.

Once those postcards are out the door and in mailboxes, you’ve achieved your first goal — creating awareness of your brand and entering a ton of qualified prospects into the very top of your funnel.

In my personal journey – I started mailing 1,000 postcards per week 25 years ago. I never, ever missed a single week. Ever. Over the years, I have acquired the best possible list of prospective businesses to target, and I mail to them over and over and over and over and over again. I don’t stop unless they ask me to.

Even if you decide to diversify your tactics and include mediums like print advertising or radio, I still recommend at least trying direct mail and tracking your responses. That way you’ll know which avenues create the most buzz.

Stage 2, Middle Funnel: Interest — Increase interest by following up and creating as many conversion or sales opportunities as possible

Ok, so you have your first win — they know who you are! That is actually a huge accomplishment, because so many small businesses get lost in the sea of overwhelming advertisements.

After your first mailing, you’ll definitely see a portion of prospects become qualified leads—these are leads that take some sort of action. Perhaps they visit your website, leave you a message, or add something to their cart. These are leads who fit your criteria of ideal customers and are closer to making a purchase. Sometimes your mailer just hits them at the right time and they need exactly what you are selling and they buy right away.

Qualified leads that don’t purchase immediately continue down the sales funnel, which just means they’ll get different forms of follow-up which I’ll get into in a bit.

The prospects who don’t jump the gun on your offer will need more time to become genuinely interested. That’s why it’s so important to be consistent with your marketing. I’m the kind of person that makes fast decisions on purchases whereas I have found that most people do not. They need to consider the idea of purchasing for a while.

Your prospects need to keep hearing from you in order to move toward a purchase.

Creating a follow-up system can be difficult and time consuming. I swear it feels like you’re walking through sludge. I’m sure if you’ve tried this you know what I mean.

But, you have to keep following up with the leads who have reached out to you and shown interest. Think about it… you’ve spent a pretty penny to get that lead in the first place. If you don’t consistently follow up with them they’ll most likely get what you have from someone else when the need finally arises. Whomever is top of mind at the moment.

We definitely advise you to continue mailing postcards regularly in order to get more and more leads. One mailing may bring in some leads and conversions, but you’ll get better results with a consistent direct mail marketing campaign.

But that’s just one way to continue putting your brand in front of them. You can also increase their interest with follow-up digital ads, which are cheaper to deliver at scale and, combined with postcards, truly make your business seem like it’s everywhere.

With an Everywhere Small Business campaign, every prospect who visits your website is funneled into an automatic follow-up system. I get super excited about this! It’s truly the ideal solution for small and medium-sized businesses!

Digital ads that look like your postcard design will appear on the following platforms:

  • Google: Digital ads that match your direct mail piece will display on millions of websites in the Google network, keeping you and your message top of mind.
  • Facebook and Instagram: Your matching digital ads will also be displayed on Facebook and Instagram. The ads will display to the people you mailed to, as well as to others who match similar demographics in your targeted area.
  • YouTube (with Platinum Package): Your promotional video (or static ad) will be displayed to your targeted prospects when they watch other videos on YouTube.
  • Gmail (with Platinum Package): Your targeted prospects will see your ad when they log into their Gmail inboxes, the world’s most popular email service. Your ad shows up at the top of their inboxes like any other email, but it’s a full promotion about your business directing the prospect to your website.

Of course, you can create digital ads on each of these platforms yourself, but it does take a lot of time to curate specific audiences, run the ads, and develop a system to manage them. Working with a professional who can do it for you will save you a lot of time and energy.

Stage 3, End of Funnel: Decision and Action — Persuade prospects to buy

At this stage, the prospect has shown some kind of interest. They’ve visited your website, seen your digital ads, signed up for emails, given you their email address or even called and inquired.

This stage could be a make-it-or-break-it moment for your business.

Think of it this way: digital ads and mailers are like window displays. Shoppers will pass by them and look at them. In stage 1 and 2, the prospects are like the shoppers in a mall who are there to browse. They may look around, walk into a store and take a closer look at the items, but they are just passing through.

In stage 3, they are serious shoppers. Now they are trying on the clothes in dressing rooms, taking a closer look at prices, asking the salesmen questions about the items. They are going to multiple stores to compare and find which one they love the most.

This is when a tempting offer can especially push them closer to a purchase.

Offer them something free or a good discount, and if you tell them the offer is only valid that day or week, they’ll take action a lot faster.

If you need help coming up with a deal-closer offer, download our free report: Marketing Offers that Work.

It’s a collection of every offer included in a successful campaign across 15+ industries like real estate, retail, home services, financial services and way more. Even if you’re in a niche industry, it’s a great way to get inspired to come up with an offer that suits your business.

Even after offering them a discount or free item, it could still take a lot of time for a prospect to make a decision. In my experience, I’ve had prospects show interest for years before converting! Don’t give up. Keep marketing, keep showing them great content, and be responsive!

This is where one of the features of Everywhere Small Business comes in handy. It includes call tracking and a unique phone number that redirects all calls to the business number you select. There is also a call recording feature that allows you to listen to the phone calls and ensure that your reception and sales team members are handling prospective callers properly.

The best part:

The digital ads included in Everywhere Small Business can continue indefinitely — even if you tweak your mailing list.

These prospects showed interest in you, so why give up on them?

Digital ads will keep showing up in their feeds and will keep you planted in their minds in case they decide to call you.

So stay the course and keep marketing! Those indecisive buyers will come around eventually.

Bonus Stage 4: The Next Funnel — Keep current customers engaged to create referrals and repeat orders

Of course, the most rewarding part of the sales funnel is the sale! Once a prospect has become a customer, the goal becomes retaining them so that they keep your services, make another purchase, and refer you to their friends and family.

Add all conversions to a new, current customer funnel that focuses on retention and encouraging repeat purchases.

Here are some ways to continue engaging with your customer right after converting them:

  • Encourage them to leave you a review on Google or other review platform. You can even give them another discount or free item for doing so.
  • Continue to direct them to your website through social media ads, postcards, and email marketing. If you feel a newsletter fits your brand, include interesting information they can read. This will also help position you as a leader in your industry.
  • Create a rewards program that gives them something for remaining a loyal customer, like a free service or other unique benefits that only they can use.

It all comes down to this:

Making every prospect and customer’s journey as seamless and professional as possible.

Establishing a consistent sales funnel is key to bringing in leads and increasing revenue. However, I wouldn’t, as they say, “set it and forget it.” Your sales funnel is a living and breathing tool that must be constantly tweaked and improved.

But, if you don’t have time to constantly manage a sales funnel, that’s where hiring a professional to do it for you will be a great benefit.

Instead of spending countless hours yourself on feeding the funnel with mailers, social media advertisements, and follow-up emails, you’ll be freed to invest your time in your business, management, developing your staff, and all the necessary tasks that a business owner needs to do instead of playing the role of marketer.

Everywhere Small Business saves you this time and energy because a dedicated marketing consultant and account manager works with you to create the postcard design, formulate a plan, and do the hard work of facilitating follow-up digital ads and tracking.

Everywhere Small Business is very affordable – just pennies per piece. However, since each campaign is tailored to your specific business, we need to have a quick chat with you about your business before giving you a quote, but don’t worry – it’s FREE!

Just call 1-800-628-1804 to speak with a marketing consultant.

FREE DOWNLOAD: Marketing Budget Calculator

 

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