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What is a Sales Funnel?

A sales funnel is one of the most essential concepts for business growth, and you can turn your social media into one massive sales funnel. But what is a sales funnel? A sales funnel is each step a customer takes on their way to purchasing a product or service. For a store like Target, the sales funnel begins with people walking by the store. When someone walks into Target, they’ve reached the next level of the sales funnel. When they start to look through a rack of sweaters, they’ve made it to the next level. As they walk towards the cash register with a sweater in hand, they’re on their way to the final step of the sales funnel - the purchase. But there's lots more to a sales funnel than that simple process. Let's break it down.

Four Stages of Sales Funnels

The four basic stages in a sales funnel are Awareness, Interest, Decision and Action. The well known acronym for this is AIDA. Each of these stages requires a different approach so you don't turn off a potential buyer or client.


Awareness typically happens through advertising or social media. Sometimes, the stars align, and all a customer needs to see is your Instagram post to want to buy your product. But typically, this stage is more like a quick first impression. This is why you need to post on social media frequently. You never know when it's going to be someone's first time coming across your content.


When a consumer has reached the interest phase, it means they're beginning their research stage. They're looking to learn about your product and service, but they don't want to be sold to - they want to learn. That's why it's important to focus on educational content on your social media that presents yourself as an expert in your field.


The decision stage is when consumers are ready to purchase. You want to be able to offer them a discount or product that is superior to what they can get from other businesses. It's great to cycle your social media content through entertaining to educating, and then sprinkle in your sales pitch as you go so you can catch your followers that are in the decision stage. You can meet consumers in the decision phase in your "call to action" on social media.


The action stage is when the consumer finally makes the purchase. But it isn't just the consumer that needs to take action. Your business needs to move into customer retention mode ASAP. Thank the customer for their purchase and maybe offer them a discount on future purchases.

Check out Amandina's (CEO and founder of Media A La Carte) Instagram post below. She talks about how she moved through these four stages as a consumer with well-known athleisure wear brand Fabletics.

Our Biggest Tip for Using Social Media as a Sales Funnel

We think social media functions at every phase of the sales funnel. It doesn't fit neatly into any one section of AIDA. We also think that social media can function as its own separate sales funnel apart from other forms of advertising. Here's our biggest tip for turning your social media into a sales funnel:

You can't just post content that promotes your products and services. You also need to post content that answers your follower's questions, entertains them, and solves their problems.

Ex. A florist shouldn't just post photos of their bouquets. They should give advice on what flowers are best for which seasons and tips on how to arrange store bought flowers.

This might seem like giving away industry secrets, but it actually builds relationship and trust with your followers because you aren't gatekeeping information. This helps reach users in all phases of AIDA.

Media A La Carte consistently shares valuable information for free that other companies charge for. We share it because we want to build community and loyalty around our expertise. Our free educational content has functioned as a sales funnel for us. We give you the basics, and if you need more, we're here to take you on as a client and bring you to the next level.

There is so much more to break down about sales funnels - more than we can fit in one article. If you're having trouble converting your online presence into sales, there's probably a hole in your sales funnel. Hit us up if you need help identifying it.


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