Your Lead Generating Sales Funnel as a Service Provider​

How you can attract and retain customers

As a service provider in an increasingly busy digital marketplace, it can be hard to make your mark and generate leads. You don’t have the advantage of a shop front with passing trade, or a physical product you can demonstrate at trade exhibitions. But by taking a few simple steps, you can develop a marketing journey that attracts your ideal customer and keeps them in the fold.

What is a Sales Funnel?

A sales funnel is a visual pathway that represents the customer journey. It is a set of steps that potential clients will take to ultimately purchase your service. Not everyone will make it to the end of the journey; some will only make it as far as the first step, while others will complete the pathway with a purchase.


Using your expertise and knowledge of digital marketing, you can build and nurture your audience by incentivising them to continue the customer journey.

Why a Sales Funnel is crucial to the success of your business

  • It will build your customer base – without a basic sales funnel, potential buyers will shop elsewhere, unaware that your brand even exists. An effective digital sales or marketing funnel is vital to the success of your service. It will build your customer base, smoothly moving people through each stage of the sales pathway.
  • It will give your brand focus – by creating an ideal customer profile and shaping your sales funnel around it, you’ll be less likely to deviate from the needs of your target market.
  • It will help you monitor the success of your brand – adopting and implementing a coherent sales funnel will help you monitor brand success in a way that scattergun marketing won’t.

The most basic sales funnel comprises the following steps: Awareness, Interest, Desire and Action. Let’s walk through how you can galvanise your target market using this classic sales strategy.

Your Lead Generating Sales Funnel in Four Steps

Adopt the following marketing techniques during each step of the sales funnel journey.

1. Awareness

Your Brand identity

How can you convince a buyer to choose you over a competitor? Start with your brand awareness strategy: develop a buyer persona and use the data you gather to influence the platforms you use and the content you create. Define your business identity with great branding that will engage your ideal customer. This includes your logo, business values and ethos, tone of voice, and your story. Without this framework in place, you’ll waste precious resources.


Your Website

Potential customers generally start their purchasing journey with a search engine. However, if your service is particularly niche, word-of-mouth may play a larger role in building brand awareness.


To rank highly on Google, your website content should be optimised, so take SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) seriously. By designing your content to be seen, your sales funnel is more likely to succeed. So how can you capture the attention of your audience with SEO?


  • Find out what questions customers are asking on Google and incorporate into your website and social media content. Research keywords and phrases commonly associated with your service and build into your online content. This simple strategy will help boost your search rankings.
  • Create valuable written content with accompanying fast-loading and eye-catching images to spark interest. Write in a tone of voice that will resonate with your target market and use short, simple sentences to retain attention.

Your Social Media Presence

Choose social media platforms your ideal customer is most likely to frequent. For example, if you are a B2B (Business to Business) company, then LinkedIn should be your first port of call.


To save time and ensure that your brand is on everyone’s radar, create and schedule social media content in advance. Craft a mix of informative and entertaining posts, and refrain from relying solely on ‘hard sell’ content to sell your service. Granted, buyers want to know if your service is right for them, but they also want to know the story behind the brand and connect on a personal level with you.


Your Networking Strategy

As a service provider without a shop front, business networking is an effective way to build trust in your brand with potential clients. You’re already in a setting with clients who may need your service, so you’re halfway to securing new business. Check out networking groups with members that sit in your target market and pop along, preparing yourself with marketing materials, business cards and a well honed elevator speech. I would encourage you to collect business cards and follow up potential leads.

#designtip – the more people who are aware of you the more potential leads you will have. I always tell clients who are starting out ‘try everything’ as you never know what will lead to that next big job.

2. Interest

At this stage of the sales funnel, you have acquired the attention of buyers. The next step is to capture their interest.


Lead Magnet

Now that you’ve grabbed the attention of potential buyers, you have to reel them in. You can do this with a lead magnet. Encourage people to sign up/subscribe to your email newsletter with the offer of a freebie. It could be a PDF cheat sheet, marketing report, or any kind of content that will be valuable to your ideal customer.


Online Content

So how do you follow your lead magnet? You continue to hold interest with captivating content. This could take the shape of a series of useful email newsletters, developed around a theme, or regular blogs that address commonly held issues faced by your target market.


A solid social media presence is also crucial to building ongoing support. By incorporating your branding into a steady stream of engaging posts, you can remain on the radar of potential buyers, reminding them of what you have to offer.

#designtip – it used to be 5-7 touch points to make a sale. But in our increasingly busy digital marketplace recent studies say it is closer to 20-30! Try to provide variety, and approach repeat messages from different angles by repurposing and repackaging the content.

3. Desire

Buyers have expressed an interest in your service by engaging with you and your content. To move on to the next stage, they have to feel like their business or life will be better with your service. Make your leads feel valued by sending them targeted content that offers solutions to their problems. This is the relationship-building phase and shouldn’t be rushed.


Email Marketing

Ask yourself why you’ve signed up for email marketing in the past. Were you guaranteed a special offer if you subscribed? Maybe you liked the brand story and wanted to find out more about the people behind the business. They may have impressed you with the promise of valuable content that addressed your specific pain points. By sending valuable, well timed content, your email marketing campaign will build brand awareness and create desire.

The email marketing customer journey:


  • Visitor – they come to your web/landing page because you featured in their Google results. This is your opportunity to grab their attention with excellent content;
  • Subscriber – your optimised web page addresses issues and offers solutions, encouraging them to subscribe to your email newsletter;
  • Lead – regular email content will build trust in your brand, eventually creating a lead you can engage with;
  • Qualified lead – by this stage your email marketing campaign is successfully nurturing customer interest, converting them from a lead to a qualified lead, ready to buy;
  • Customer – at this stage the qualified lead has made the purchase.

Segmented email marketing involves the creation of personalised content for different kinds of leads. Survey subscribers about problems they are currently experiencing and use this data to craft bespoke content that speaks directly to them.



Some people turn up to networking events only to walk away disgusted because they didn’t make a sale. More often than not they never return which is the wrong strategy when it comes to networking. Similar to online retail – you are unlikely to make a sale on the first acquaintance. You need to continue to go to networking events, meeting the same people over and over again; forging relationships and building trust. When the potential client is ready to buy, you’ll be the first person they approach. Or alternatively you’ll be the first person they recommend to another contact.

#designtip – at this stage you really need to get inside the head of potential customers. Show them what value you will add to their business, and make them desire your services.

4. Action

Your qualified lead has made the purchase and is now a bona fide customer. This isn’t the end of the sales journey; you have to retain their custom. To ensure repeat business, design segmented email campaigns that target specific pain points, using data you have gathered on your existing customers.


How to nurture your customers:


  • Ensure your website is well maintained and kept up to date;
  • Post regular, useful content on your social media channels;
  • Continue to offer valuable lead magnets;
  • Keep existing customers abreast of what you are doing with regular newsletters;
  • Continue to network in person. In the age of digital marketing, I cannot express how important it is to make ‘in real life’ connections.

#designtip – the goal for every business is to build a strong base of repeat customers. They take less effort to sell to, spend more money with you, and any referral from them is highly likely to result in a sale. 

Hopefully, this short guide has convinced you to adopt a sales funnel. It doesn’t have to be complicated; all you need is a clear marketing process that will help you engage with potential customers at each stage of their consumer journey, and hold their interest long-term.

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