The more I help businesses online, the more I become aware of how important intent-based marketing is.

Intent-Based Marketing, in simple terms, is placing your products or services in front of the right people, in the right place, at the right time.

Just because *you think* you know your customers, doesn't mean you truly know that what you have is what they want at the particular time you present it to them.

Additionally, you could spend a lot of time and money targeting customers on a platform (like Facebook), only to discover that your audience doesn't make purchasing decisions on Facebook, but rather on Pinterest.

Or, perhaps you're completely missing the mark in terms of who you're targeting for your product because you haven't done the proper demographic research based on intent rather than a stereotype.

For example, most people would assume that people searching and buying baby products would be in households with children.

But in fact, nearly 40% of purchasers of baby products live in households without children… Think – Aunts, Uncles, and Grandparents.

When developing a sales funnel for your products or services, keep in mind that the journey always starts with “why”, leads to a “how”, and ends with the “what” – which is your product.

These considerations will help direct you toward building a well-designed sales funnel that “graduates” your prospective customer into a sales conversion.

Step 1: Start by Understanding the Customer Journey

According to Jim Yu, CEO of SEO company BrightEdge, there are three types of searches:

1. Navigational/Branded Search (the user is looking for a specific piece of information or a brand)
2. Informational (the user wants to learn something about the product)
3. Transactional (the user is ready to buy the product or is ready to enter the phase of purchasing)

If you're providing transactional information or hitting customers with a sales page when they are in the navigation or information gathering stages – you may struggle to convert.

Likewise, if you are not providing a “bridge” of content to give potential customers who are in these phases to cross over to reach your product – then you will lose them completely, and they will exit out of the buying process altogether and move on.

A sales funnel then, should have at least one “bridge page” – like a blog, where your entire intent is dedicated to educating, informing, and providing value to your audience without any expectation of it resulting directly in a purchase.

Step 2: Build Confidence and Trust by Asking “Why” instead of Answering “What”

Leadership expert and Best Selling Author Simon Sinek says: “It's not WHAT you do that matters, it's WHY you do it.”

The foundation of this principle lies within the physiological and psychological reasons for why people purchase products to begin with.

Sinek goes on to say: “…People don't buy what you do, they buy why you do it. And what you do simply serves as the tangible proof of what you believe.”

Simon Sinek's Golden Circle
Most Businesses Start with What – But they Should Really Start with WHY.

In this regard, as sellers and marketers, we need to focus on guiding customers through a story about their company's core values, the reasons for why we offer the products we sell:
1. We have to communicate WHY we do what we do.
2. We have to demonstrate the DISCIPLINE of HOW we accomplish it through values and principles.
3. We have to have CONSISTENCY in WHAT we deliver to prove that what we say and do are legitimate.

These three components make the framework for one very important element:


Step 3: Build your Sales Funnel with a Clear “Story Brand” Message

Marketing expert Donald Miller, author of the best-selling book Building a Storybrand, says that we can accomplish this in 7 ways:

  1. We make the customer the hero of the story – the customer, not your brand, is the primary focus.
  2. We position our brand as the solution to an internal problem – for example, someone may buy a security camera because they just got robbed, but the internal problem, the emotional reasons for why they are going to invest hundreds of dollars on one, is because they want to feel safe and protected.
  3. We serve as a friendly navigator and guide for the customer. As Miller states; “Customers don't want another hero to compete alongside them.”
  4. We develop and present a well-intentioned plan for helping the customer get exactly what it is that they want without confusion.
  5. We challenge customers openly to take action. This means, we must include a very clear and obvious call to action on our sales funnel – whether it is a button at the top that says “BUY NOW” or “SIGN UP HERE” – the intent of what we want the customer to do should leave no questions.
  6. There also must be clear messaging as to what will happen to a customer if they DON'T take action. Miller says: “If there is nothing at stake in a story, there is no story. Likewise, if there's nothing at stake in whether or not I buy your product, I am not going to buy your product.”
  7. We should never assume that people understand how our brand can change their lives. We must tell them.


Now that you have discovered the basic components of an intent-based sales funnel, you can begin creating it. Before you begin, I cannot emphasize enough the importance of knowing your target audience and developing a clear blueprint outlined that addresses the three steps highlighted in this post:

1. Understand Your Customer's Journey
2. Build Confidence and Trust by Asking “Why”
3. Build your Sales Funnel with a Clear “Story Brand” Message

Without these three steps, you will not be able to develop a clear message or effectively challenge customers to take action on your offer.

The last thing you want to do is frustrate and confuse your potential prospects! As Donald Miller aptly states: “When you Confuse You Lose!”

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