Copywriting for Different Stages of the Sales Funnel

Linda Mulcahy
June 6, 2019

Successful copywriting is all about targeting. You want to put the right message in front of the right people at the right time.

Understanding the different stages of the sales funnel helps us do this well.

The Sales Funnel Stages

The sales funnel, or buyer’s journey, progresses through four stages: awareness, interest, decision, and action.

Think about the shape of a funnel. The wide section at the top of the funnel represents a large number of people reading your message. They are potential customers at this point. Then the funnel narrows as people opt out (and many will for all kinds of reasons). The narrow bottom represents paying customers.

Someone at the top of the sales funnel, who hasn’t even heard of your product, will need different information and a different approach than someone near the bottom, who is already convinced of the value but needs a push to close the sale.

The goal, of course, is to get as many people as possible into and through the funnel. You can optimize this process by crafting messages that target the audience’s unique needs at each stage.

When thinking about buyers at each stage, ask yourself these kinds of questions:

  • What are their motivations?
  • What are their questions?
  • What are their hesitations?
  • What competing messages might they be hearing?
  • What assurances do they need to move forward?
  • How can I make it easy for them to take the next step?

Let’s take a closer look at each stage.

Stage 1: Awareness

At this stage, the potential customer learns about your product or service for the first time. Maybe they saw a Facebook ad. Maybe they searched Google for a solution to a problem and found your website. Or, maybe a viral post led them to your blog.  

Messaging at this stage is typically broad and focused on providing helpful information.

Copy strategies include:

  • Informative blog posts
  • Social media posts
  • Infographics
  • An inviting company website, specifically the homepage and About Us Page
  • Lead magnets, such as ebooks and white papers

Calls to action (CTAs) at this stage should either drive engagement (“Leave a comment” “Share this post on Facebook”) or gather information (“Click for your free checklist”).

Don’t bother with fine-print details here. That kind of messaging serves as distracting noise rather than helpful content.  

And don’t push for the sale yet either. Nobody likes the salesman who wants to talk financing the minute you walk into the showroom.       

Stage 2: Interest

At this stage, the audience is actively interested in your product or service. They see their need and believe you might be able to help. They may have subscribed to your newsletter or followed your social media accounts.

Suggested copy strategies for this stage:

  • More blog posts
  • Lead magnets that promise even more information
  • Product demonstration videos
  • Testimonials

Stage 3: Decision

At this point, the potential buyer is convinced he needs a solution to his problem, and your product is a contender. He is comparing your product with others on the market. He might be checking out more detailed specifications. He is paying attention to offers and picturing himself buying.

Suggested strategies for this stage:

  • Case studies
  • Offers
  • Guarantees
  • Cost estimates
  • More testimonials
  • Comparison guidesCTAs here should be highly focused with dedicated landing pages, so you can speak even more specifically to the customer’s needs. Don’t send them back to the company home page. They need different information at this point.Stage 4: ActionThe potential customer is ready to buy. But the transaction isn’t a sure thing, yet.Marketing strategies to help close the sale:
  • Trial downloads
  • Product literature
  • Additional case studies
  • Offers
  • Generally speaking, the higher the price point and the more people involved in the buying decision, the longer this process will take.Keyword: Stages of the sales funnelMeta: Good copywriters target their messages for different stages of the sales funnel: awareness, interest, decision, and action. Writing for the sales funnel clarifies messaging and optimizes results.
  • Guarantees

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