With the improved food technologies and production infrastructures in this 21st century, there are more and more Malaysian are venturing into food related business whether opening a restaurant chain or importing or even producing their own brand of products. According to World Fact Book 2014, Malaysia food service industry showed a steady year-on-year growth percentage of just over 5% from 2009 to 2012 and is forecasted this growth pattern to continue.
With the consistent growth of competition in Malaysia’s food industry today, no brands or entities can neglect the importance and success of marketing role on differentiating themselves with the competitors.
For any newcomers, setting up a business itself is no simple task especially with the amount of considerations and efforts taking place to outshine your products and services against your competitors. Selling points to differentiate yourself including the cuisine, location, operation, deliverance, and the list goes on and on. Most food entrepreneurs will get through the 90% of a food business which is the operations & deliverance, neglecting the remaining 10% which is the need of strategies to pull punters to their food entities, and hence resort to improvising marketing activities alongside their live business operation whenever they deem necessary.
Sustainability, should the core objective of any business set-up, should also weigh much more than initial revenue itself. Without sustainability, business would be inconsistent and unstable. If you’re facing such situation, you as the entrepreneur really should act fast, as this will likely to lead to desperate measures to ensure the continuance of your business. At this point, you’ll likely to start throwing in deals and money losing packages to generate revenue for sustaining the business instead of growth, associating with desperate measures.
Hence we are sharing this article, hoping that this could help the Food Entrepreneurs to plan and strategize their sales and marketing activities. A good place to start is through an objective focused marketing funnel.
What is a marketing funnel?
A marketing funnel is a way of breaking down the customer journey from the start they first learn about your business to the purchase stage which they’re ready to buy your products or services. Basically, your marketing funnel is made up of several stages through which would-be customers move from first awareness of your brand to post-sale evangelism. It’s the process of converting a visitor or browser into a paying customer. Now we had the importance of understanding a marketing funnel, let’s look in depth on how it is done and how can it help on sustainability.
How can a Marketing Funnel Help on Sustainability
A good marketing funnel should be able to analyze, streamline and point any business to the right direction; conveying the right messages to the right target audiences, with a clear picture of what is needed to market the product, and overall grasps of the current market and competitors situations. A common marketing funnel consists of 5 stages; awareness, interest, evaluation, commitment & last but not least Sales.
As you can see, each color-coded piece of the funnel pictured above corresponds with each other in the consumers’ buying process. The 2 widest tier at the top of the funnel represents “awareness,” and “interests” stage which is the point where potential customers are beginning their information search and registering their interests to your products and services; directly or indirectly. The second tier is what we called a “consideration” stage where at this stage customers are corresponding to the evaluation of alternatives described in the purchase process above and committing to purchase your products and services. And finally, the third tier, “decision,” is where your target audiences and customers giving you a chance on your brands, products or services by supporting you through a legit transaction. For each stage of the funnel, you’ll need to answer the following along the way of strategizing:-
- How will customers at this stage find you? (Digital Marketing: Search Engine Optimization, Google Display Networks, Google Ad-words, Facebook Advert, LinkedIn In-Mail, etc)
- What kind of information do you need to provide to help move from one stage to the next? (Content Strategies, Call for Actions, TableApp, Eventbrite, etc)
- How will you know if they have moved from one stage to another? (Digital Monitoring Tools: Google Analytics, Facebook Pixels, Hootsuite, etc)
After the sales funnel planning and strategy being laid out, match it to your content or message creation with the acronym AIDA. AIDA is a simple acronym that was devised a long time ago as a reminder of four stages of the sales process (Strong, 1925). AIDA stands for Attention, Interest, Desire, Action. It is, in modern terms, a fairly simplistic model.
- Attention: This is the problem or need recognition stage where customers or market experience a problem, but must recognize the problem. You recognized and identify the problem and create content or message to draw their attention to the need.
- Interest: Interest and information both start with the letter “I.” This is the stage at which customers are actively seeking, or interested in, information to help them solve their problem. As they move through the sales funnel from recognizing or drawing attention to the problem, their interest is sparked in a solution. They need information to move into the next phase.
- Desire: Customers have moved from attention or recognition of the problem through information-gathering and interest. Now they have a desire for a solution. Customers evaluate alternatives and your job, through content creation, is to spark a desire for your solution. You must convince customers, as they examine various solutions to their problem, that your solution is the right one for them.
- Action: Now it is time for customers to make the purchase decision, or to take action. Make it easy for them to say “yes” to taking action. Have a strong call to action in your copy, and a simple path to follow to complete the sale. The easier you make it for people to take action, the more sales you’ll generate through your sales funnel.
Utilizing With both Marketing Funnel and AIDA being use as your campaign strategy guideline, you should be able to gage with your target market, understanding their preferences and interests; and have a clearer picture of the direction of the message to be conveyed; as well as able to identify objectives and milestones for your campaigns. You may have notice that both modules are aiming at the same objective and direction, which is to ENCOURAGE customers enter the marketing funnel through a process of discernment, choose to either move to another solution or purchase from you.
With that you’ve created your funnel and defined exactly how your personnel will interact with it. Next which is the final step in the process which is to figure out which metrics you’ll track to determine how well your funnel is functioning. With every piece of content you create at every stage of your funnel, you’re generating data. As all these data is useful to your sales process in some way, it’s easy to get bogged down in data and metrics tracking instead of focusing on the few key performance indicators (KPIs) that will actually give you the information needed to make meaningful improvements. Hence it’s best to choose a core 2-5 to focus your attention on. Below are 7 common Key Performance Index (KPI) that corporate usually set for their marketing funnels and campaigns.
- Sales funnel conversions – If you’re going to choose only a few metrics to focus on, make sure this is one of them. Essentially, this metric involves tracking the number of prospects that enter your funnel at any point and then convert into customers. As you make changes to your marketing strategy in the future, seeing this number improve will let you know you’re on the right track.
- Entry sources – Monitoring the sources from which people are entering your funnel can be useful data to track, as it gives you ideas for expanding the reach of your marketing campaigns. If, for example, you see that a large number of your prospects are coming from a single guest blog post you did, seeking out similar guest author positions can be an easy way to increase your overall sales.
- Time in stage – In an ideal world, your marketing content would be so compelling that people move from the top stage to the bottom in a single day. But since that’s rarely the case, it’s worthwhile to know if your prospects are getting hung up in one of your stages. If so, you’ll want to add more content to your site that answers the questions that are unique to this stage of the funnel.
- Exits from stage – Similarly, seeing an excessively high number of people falling out of a particular stage is an indication that you aren’t doing enough to answer their questions. Add more content to give them the information they need to move forward.
- Content piece engagement rate – If you have calls to action on multiple blog posts or other on-site content pieces, you’ll want to know which are sending the most converted customers through your funnel so that you can replicate your success with future releases. Tracking engagement rates on each call to action will give you this information.
- Opportunity arrival rate – Opportunity arrival rate refers to the number of opportunities that are currently in your funnel. Track this rate and see how changes to your marketing strategy impact it. Ideally, you’ll see positive increase in the number of opportunities you’re able to generate.
- Close rate – Your close rate refers to the number of these opportunities that turn into eventual sales. If your close rate is lower than you expect, look to some of the other metrics you’re tracking for ideas on improving the success rate of your marketing funnel.
Make no mistake, creating a sales and marketing funnel using the process described above is no easy feat. This isn’t a project you’re going to complete in one afternoon—it’s a pursuit that you’ll want to actively address as long as your company is in business. It’s not a simple undertaking, but it’s one of the few opportunities you have to drive significant improvements in your efficiency and effectiveness when closing deals.