Instagram has long been a popular marketing tool, with many brands around the world now using it to find and collaborate with social media influencers and use their established voices to generate sales and build awareness. Not as many businesses, however, use their own Instagram profile to build a complementary marketing channel to create a more effective sales funnel.
Admittedly, building up your sales funnel takes time - it's much faster to use someone else’s already existing authority than invest in building your own. However building your own assets is more effective in the long run, enabling you to bring in sales on auto-pilot, without further investment. So how can your Instagram channel help you build a more effective sales funnel? In this blog post, we take you through just that and more.
But, first off, what is a sales funnel?
I'm glad you asked. A sales funnel is a visual representation of how your customers are proceeding towards making a purchase, or hiring your services. In its simplest form, an average sales funnel consists of three main stages (shown visually in the diagram below):
Top of the funnel (i.e. the first introduction of your brand and your products to a customer)
Middle of the funnel (i.e. this is where a customer feels interested or curious enough to know more about you or your product)
Bottom of the funnel (i.e. this is where your customer adds your product to a shopping cart and completes the sale)
Used well, Instagram can provide an extra boost in each of these segments.
Let's look at each segment in more depth...
1. Top of the funnel: Create Instagram stories that build relevant clicks
Instagram Stories have become an increasingly effective marketing channel since Instagram allowed clickable links to be used within Stories frame.
“Swipe-up” links add an ability to generate direct referral traffic from Instagram - and if you do your job well, that traffic will be well-targeted and highly converting. But not everyone can access Swipe Uplinks in Stories. in order to qualify for the option, your brand profile needs to:
Have to have at least 10,000 followers
Be a verified account
Both of these are relatively attainable, though it does take some work. But once you've established a presence, and gone through the verification process, adding Stories links can be a valuable consideration.
But you shouldn't just start selling from your stories. That's a good way to lose followers quickly. Instead, you should focus on these key elements to maximize your Stories performance.
Use creative ideas that are able to soft-sell without being too “salesy”
Build engaging stories that catch an eye and hold the attention.
A tool that could inspire some creative Instagram content ideas is Text Optimizer. The tool analyzes your target niche and returns underlying concepts, entities and questions. All of those never cease to inspire engaging content ideas.
2. Middle of the funnel: Use Instagram to curate & display social proof
Middle-of-the-funnel content is the bridge between the first introduction and the initial engagement - a key piece of your marketing strategy. This is where your customer decides whether to leave or stay and give your product or service a chance.
Social proof tends to help make that decision, especially if it’s easily verifiable, which can be facilitated via Instagram. Numerous retail brands curate Instagram in search of real people who've featured their products in creative and engaging ways- proving how impactful user-generated content can be. This type of curated content showcases your product in a real-life context, engaging your loyal customers and helping to build community. All of this applies to establishing the powerful middle of the sales funnel.
Obviously, don’t forget to ask Instagram users’ permissions before reusing their content on-site and/or on your own feed but this is also a good opportunity to engage your social-media-active customers.
3. Bottom of the funnel: Use Instagram retargeting
I'm sure you’ve noticed that you often see ads on both Facebook and Instagram coming from sites or brands you recently engaged with. This is retargeting in action - Facebook enables businesses to target Facebook and Instagram ads to those people who visited your site and performed some sort of action.
Specifically, you can retarget those who have abandoned a shopping cart on your site without completing the purchase. This is exactly how Instagram can boost your sales funnel performance and trigger more action at the very bottom of it.
Instagram can be a powerful marketing tool, especially when you use the platform to its fullest potential. Of course, it’s not the only tool you should be using to build an effective sales funnel but it can definitely be a great addition to your current marketing tool suite.