The sales funnel has changed a lot since the onset of digital marketing. What was once a simple journey of awareness, through to interest, then the decision and finally the sale, is now influenced by a variety of factors along the way. The once traditional customer journey sales funnel looks more like a tin can, battered from all angles thanks to a very convoluted decision-making process. The average consumer now has access to a plethora of content and information online, allowing them the freedom to make innumerable decision changes.
While the usual ideas of social media influencers come to mind – brand ambassadors, celebrities, content creators, and the like come to mind, there are other external factors that play an important role in the changing sales funnel. Here are three that usually fly under the radar, but are just as important.
1. Market Influence
What was great about the traditional customer journey sales funnel, was the fact that everyone was more or less on equal footing. In the past, a typical business was largely concerned only with its direct competitors within their industry. For example, if you were a dealer for Lenovo computers, you were probably not too concerned with what the regular retail stores were promoting. But now, however, all businesses big and small, are operating on the same online platforms.
By harnessing the power of digital marketing, every business (at the bare minimum) has a website and a social media presence. Some even go as far as to provide their own app with e-commerce through which customers can transact and even seek service or support. So if one industry can allow for mobile payments, or offer online support, customers are definitely going to know about it and expect the same from you, regardless of your industry niche. The best thing you can do is keep yourself updated with ongoing business trends. Even if you don’t follow a hundred different companies, at least keep an eye on the industry leaders.
2. Seasonal Influence
Even as a lot of stores move online, seasonality plays a big role in customer decision making and the customer journey. In India, major seasonal changes include the onset of summer and the monsoons, and most offers or sales revolve around those. Festivals such as Diwali and Christmas are also very popular and influence buying decisions.
Keeping in mind weather changes and major festivals in mind, it is important to orchestrate sales and deals, with the subsequent marketing to match. Whether you have an online business or a brick and mortar store, your marketing strategy needs to be adjusted for the correct seasonal audience. Towards the end of summer, it would be prudent to start marketing monsoon gear since people will be gearing up for the rains. Once the monsoons are over, it will be time to prep for Diwali celebrations, and later Christmas.
This is by far the most important since people are highly influenced by others. In this case, we are not talking about social media influencers. Instead, we are talking about average consumers sharing their experience with your product or service through social media, reviews, or word of mouth. Since it is extremely easy for people to share reviews and comments on social networks, the majority of people will turn to these reviews when making a buying decision.
This is where reputation management plays an important role in your marketing strategy. It’s important that you encourage customers who have had a positive experience to post reviews or share testimonials on your social media handles, and Google search result. In the event that a customer has left a negative review, it’s important to address the concern immediately and with a positive response.
Seasonal, market, and social influences can impact every part of your customer journey. It is important to realise the potential of these influences while planning your entire digital marketing strategy.