Before Christmas, it seems like everywhere I looked online, there was a guru telling me I needed to get a sales funnel.
Just get one – anyone – and all your website traffic and sales problems would be solved.
Not only solved – but smashed beyond all comprehension.
Did you see any of those?
A particular online software program comes to mind and with it loads of people who just sell sales funnels it seems. Like a giant pyramid sales funnel selling machine…
So what exactly is a sales funnel and does my business need to have one?
Well yes, you do need to have one and you may already have one – or more than one. You just may not realise that the process you already have in place is one.
Does this sound familiar:
- Advertise to attract attention
- Showcase products or services
- Highlight an offer to gauge interest
- Follow up and build a relationship
- Do this again with someone else
That is a funnel.
Not a piece of software that magically gets plugged into your website but a process that draws people into your world, that builds a relationship with you and that leads to a sale.
Often for small business, we can get very hung up on the first 2 steps and want to jump straight to the transaction. Unfortunately the process of securing sales is not as straightforward as that due to the myriad of ways today that our customers come to buying decisions.
A case in point is my current health journey. I have been toying with a health and fitness program for some time, so loads of ads have been appearing in my feed that align with this interest.
Step 1 – Attract attention
I was looking for a combination of a diet program, fitness program and mindset to truly make a lifelong change to my health – so when an ad grabbed my attention, I then popped onto a landing page to scan the offer. Program details were highlighted to me with the usual discount rates, freebie, sample, etc.
Steps 2 & 3 – Nurturing your prospect
As part of my business, I am constantly critiquing landing pages, so I am not generally drawn in by outlandish claims or discounted prices – there has to be a fit with my needs. So when reviewing these landing pages from a personal perspective I am both critiquing the buyer psychology of the page as well as how well it fits in with what my burning need regarding a health transformation is. The program that offered a good fit got the prize – my email address.
Many businesses then make the mistake of hitting people hard with the main big ticket offer, rather than building towards that goal and consequently losing out on the full sale. So it is within Step 4 that you score the higher ticket and longer lasting client.
The nurturing sequence really is the core of the funnel.
Step 4 – Close
For each stream within your business, you will need a different kind of funnel that drives your potential customer to the sale. I am very aware of the need to be providing real value in this process in my business. To work on building a connection to a prospect in this way leads them to the path of purchase. In my health journey buying process, this was a key in securing the sale. So beyond the initial freebie sign-up, I then received additional value that clearly spoke to and about the other options that drew me in in the first place – diet program, fitness program and mindset. They were presented to me in a way that was firmly focussed on building a connection first, to provide additional insight I could implement immediately and to answer my questions.
By being patient, yet focussed on the end goal, my health transformation business ended up securing three times the investment that I thought I might outlay when the sales process came together. The sales process being a personal call, the prior steps and emails being the marketing steps – at which point I was willing to actually have a chat about the process.
Yes, it was also that I was a ready buyer. But with so many options for this at this time of year in the marketplace, why choose this program over someone else? Why spend more than I thought I might?
It wasn’t slick salesmanship. It wasn’t just a cycle of emails. It was the entire sales funnel process designed around this product. Think about your business and the products or services you offer. How can you create an online process that will feed you a regular series of leads?
First up – Think about how you might attract people to your offer. Don’t assume people know what you do, you should be regularly cycling your advertising plans to expose your business to more people. Don’t just rely on some amazing SEO plan, whilst that will pay off in the long run, proactively putting your business in front of the right people at regular intervals is critical. Regular, low cost, targeted Facebook campaigns are a great way to do this.
Second – Where are you sending people? Do you have a landing page that outlines your offer. Not just a page at your existing website – but a special dedicated page that just outlines the offer. So many small business owners make the mistake of sending people to their home page from an ad. Your ad and your landing page must be in sync and it will not be the home page of your website.
Third – Make sure you have an email sequence in place. If your email marketing program doesn’t allow for sending of timed emails as part of a campaign sequence, it is time for you to get a new email marketing program. It is not enough to just send regular email campaigns to your existing list. Sophisticated buyer behaviour calls for more sophisticated approaches to email marketing. Segmentation, welcome series and the nurturing sequence that comes from people entering into a sales funnel with a defined purpose are appropriate for ALL businesses and are really not that hard to set up.
Fourth – Close. Ask for the sale. If you have been sending items of value, then don’t forget to close the loop and ask for the sale. For a large ticket item – maybe you need to arrange a call. Maybe a demo, maybe a trial, but step forward into this process and don’t assume that people will know that now is the time to part with money. Ask!
The beauty of setting up a funnel is that once it is done and tested, you can let it run automatically for as long as that produce or service is live or until you know you need to change it to suit your market. There is nothing like set and almost forget.
So the next time you see online gurus trying to flog you a sales funnel, pause and think what tools you already have to create your own.
Oh and if you are interested, I am still benchpressing and squatting and boosting my metabolism like a boss. It was one sales funnel definitely worth the wait.