Your freelance web design business depends on your ability to land more sales, generate more revenue, and nurture a bigger customer base. But optimizing your sales strategy is difficult for a number of reasons. For starters, you’re an expert in web design, not sales. You don’t know what you don’t know—the variables preventing you from landing more sales are often invisible and difficult to detect. On top of that, there are so many phases and steps of the sales process, you’re likely unsure where to start.
One of the best ways to begin any sales optimization process is developing and studying a sales funnel. But what is a sales funnel, exactly, and how can it help your freelance web design business grow?
What Is a Sales Funnel?
Let’s start with the basic definition of a sales funnel. A sales funnel is a hypothetical construct that defines the course of action your prospects take on their journey to become converted web design customers. From the time someone is aware that your web design business exists to the time they sign the contract, your customer will be going through the stages of your sales funnel.
Marketing funnels are related to sales funnels, but they typically carry a different set of goals. In some cases, a sales funnel can exist within a marketing funnel, serving as the final stages of attempting to convert new leads.
You can define your sales funnel in different ways. For example, you can start with abstract terminology, describing your average customer’s process in terms like “awareness,” “interest,” and “action.” But it’s often more helpful to design and execute a sales funnel with more specific steps. For example, you might start with a squeeze page to filter out people who aren’t interested in making a website, guide users to a sales page, then lead them to a form they can fill out for a free web design quote.
Why Are Sales Funnels Valuable for Freelance Web Designers?
Why is it so helpful to design and study sales funnel this way?
- Concretely defining your sales strategy. For many freelance web designers, sales strategies are difficult. A properly designed and executed sales funnel can help you concretely identify your goals and the phases of your sales process.
- Better understanding your audience. Sales funnels give you a chance to get inside the mind of your average web design customer. You’ll work to better understand how they make purchasing decisions, and you’ll design processes for them to follow to lead them where you want them to go. In this process, you’ll define the audience qualities that make someone get from one stage of the sales funnel to the next, and you’ll be forced to research the behaviors and attributes of your most valuable customers. With this, you’ll be able to craft much better messaging and become far more relevant and interesting to the people who matter most.
- Effectively filtering uninterested prospects. Audience targeting is often considered as a way to single out the people most likely to pay for web design. But it’s also about getting rid of the people who aren’t interested in it. A good sales funnel will gradually filter out the people uninterested in your brand and product across various stages; when implemented properly, it will help you avoid wasting time and resources on prospects that almost certainly won’t convert.
- Pinpointing moments of failure. Without a sales funnel, if you lose customers along the sales journey, you’ll have few (if any) tools for recognizing where things went wrong. But with a sales funnel in place, you’ll be able to pinpoint exactly where your strategy failed. At which point did this prospect drop off the funnel? Is there one stage of the sales funnel that seems disproportionately likely to turn people off? Why is this the case?
- Designing better follow-ups and recovery. Most web design sales strategies rely on a series of follow-ups with prospects who have expressed interest, but who never finalized the sale. A good sales funnel will help you design (and possibly automate) better follow-ups for people who are no longer interested. You’ll know exactly when and how to reach out.
- Conducting experiments. Finally, your sales funnel is crucial for conducting experiments, so you can learn more about your audience and your sales efforts overall. Swap different stages of the funnel in and out, or tinker with design elements in one particular stage; how do your results change?
With the help of a series of sales funnels, you’ll have a much better chance of increasing your number of web design customers. It takes time to create sales funnels from scratch, and even longer to test them and experiment with them, but it will be worth it if it means consistently increasing your results.