marketing needs online prospects online customers sales process

Five Pillars of Digital Marketing and the Sales Funnel


How to provide human interaction to current online customers and online prospects? And how to move an online prospect through a successful sales process? What are existing customers' marketing needs?

The Sales Process

Your digital marketing strategy should follow a 5 steps process. Most of all, this process should continually help build trust by meeting the psychological marketing needs of online customers and online prospects. In addition, it should carefully escort visitors through the selection phase and sales process.

Creating a successful online sales process is achieved by making sure that the 5 pillars of digital marketing are present on your website. In particular, your website must have the ability to guide your online customers through the sales process.

Marketing needs of online customers and online prospects

Anyone who has studied marketing knows that people have important psychological and marketing needs. And these needs should be met in order to persuade an online prospect to purchase a product or a service.

If you are selling a product: is it responding to a specific problem or meeting a specific need? And if you are selling a service: do you understand your potential online customer? In particular, are you aware of his/her current situation? What are his/her marketing needs? Also, Is the service you are offering meeting his/her expectations?

There are some steps you can employ to convert your online prospect into an online customer. As a result, it will enable you to create a successful and resilient sales process. Hence, in the virtual world, an Internet marketing strategy is a necessity, not an option!

The 5 pillars of the sales process are built on one another.

A digital marketing strategy that is done correctly will clearly define the path which the online prospect should take. Thus, your website's structure is clearly a decisive matter. Especially relevant, your strategy should assist you in setting realistic and attainable digital marketing goals. And it should also help you use each step correctly to influence others. Finally, the process continually moves towards a successful sales process.

These 5 pillars of the sales process are the core components in converting your online prospects. In fact, you want to transform the traffic on your website into happy online customers. So, by efficiently utilizing each level mentioned below and courting your potential customer through them, your website transactions will move from failure to success!

5 pillars to transform online prospects into online customers

  • Marketing/Prospecting to your Target Market and Audience
  • Build Credibility and Trust. (Understand your customer's marketing needs, so he/she can move forward.)
  • Guide the Buyer through the Process.
  • Present the Product or Service which Meets his Needs.
  • Successfully Close the Sale

Let’s explore each phase in-depth. In particular, you should gain a greater understanding of how to put these principles to work for your own business.

Pillar 1. Marketing/Prospecting. Bringing Online Prospects.

Prospecting is the end result of your marketing path. It's the "delivery" of targeted visitors to your own virtual storefront. Achieve this through Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Pay Per Clicks (PPC), or online ads which draw people to your website. Once they are there, it's your job and responsibility to deliver your Unique Selling Proposition (USP). Not sure what your USP is? Ask yourself the following questions:

  • What is the obvious void in the marketplace which your product or service fills?
  • How does your business stand out as distinct and appealing? Why is your business different from the others?

Pillar 2: Build Credibility and Trust

In a brick and mortar business, human interaction builds trust. For example, you can greet a person who walks through the door, or physically help that person find something that he/she had been looking for. So, how can you build that same trust and credibility online?

You may be surprised to find out that you can build that same level of trust and credibility with elements such as web design and web development. Especially, online prospects are judging your credibility by mentally asking themselves the following questions.

  • Does the website look professional? And is it a legitimate company?
  • Is this site reliable?
  • Using the navigation bars, is it easy to find my way through, or is the website cluttered?
  • How is the copy on this particular site?
  • Is the content powerful? Does it draw me in or is it obvious that there was no time taken in writting it?
  • Are there spelling and grammatical errors?
  • Can I find the company's assurances and privacy policies easily?
  • What about customer support?
  • Also, are support and information easily accessible or "kind of hidden"?

Take a peek at your website and ask yourself the questions above. Are you guiding your online prospects, or are you leaving them in the dark? In fact, your site should work as a personal shopper... a live virtual assistant who understands the marketing needs of online prospects and renders solutions to those needs easily accessible.

Pillar 3: Guide your Online Customer. Understand his/her Marketing Needs.

If you followed the first prospecting steps, it means that you correctly targeted your website visitors. Now it’s show time! Actually, that part is very easy as they're already looking for a solution to their problem. In fact, when an online prospect arrives on your website, his/her marketing needs are clear. Thus, offer products and services which can provide a solution to his/her problems. Indeed, Internet marketing studies show that 7 times out of 10, online prospects are ready to buy. So, take the time to guide them through the resolution of their problem.

  • Does your website help online prospects identify and discover the best solution to their problem?
  • Are you guiding them in a way they can find what they need?

The navigation needs to be structured for 3 groups of visitors.
1. The first group knows exactly what he is looking for. Thus, your product or service needs to be found easily.
2. There are those who know what they want in general, but are not totally sure. So, convince them your product or service meets their needs.
3. And finally, there are people who are browsing your site for information. Try to provide simple directions to the right information and close the sale.

Pillar 4: Present the Product/Service

The presentation process is the way you are presenting your products to online customers as you show them through their options. At that stage, they have already been guided through the website and have found out about their needs. But it is important to remember that every level of the sales process is overlapping. So, make sure to meet their marketing needs. Hence, keep them interested and attentive. Most noteworthy, motivate them to go on with the sale as you present your product or service.

Pillar 5: Close the Sale

Does your website close sales? Have a look at each product that you are offering... Are you really providing enough information regarding the product? And do you give your online customers assurance policies or guarantees on their purchase? Is your product description enticing and does it meet people's marketing needs? Furthermore, does the description answers common questions that visitors might have? Maybe, consider adding testimonials for each product or service to build credibility. Also, one thing that lots of e-commerce sites forget to do is to provide payment information. Do you take credit cards? If yes, which ones? Can people pay you with electronic checks? Suppose that someone wants to mail you a check, is that an option? Another vital part of the sales process that is often missed is the communication of guarantees and assurances. Will you stand behind the product or service?

If your website correctly incorporates all levels mentioned above and effectively guide your online prospect through the 5 pillars, you'll gain the power to ensure the success of your business as a whole.


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