A marketer’s primary task is to get good leads and transform them into loyal customers. While paid ads can easily drive traffic to your site, you have to pay for this privilege. And, for every dollar you earn from leads generated by paid ads, a part of it goes to actually paying for the ads themselves. This means you’ll need earn more than what you paid for those leads to be profitable.
If you’re willing to splurge on paid ads, finding leads is a piece of cake. But you need to have a plan to convert online leads into customers who will keep coming back for more, thus making your business sustainable. This is why a sales funnel is a vital tool for marketers.
Mastering the ins and outs of a sales funnel is an essential skill. Not only it helps you boost the number of leads but also increase conversion, which will result in higher sales.
What is a sales funnel?
A sales funnel is a structured process of qualifying and converting prospects into consumers, who are willing to pay for what you are offering. There are several steps in a funnel, which differ depending on the sales process involved. Each step in the funnel is designed to bring consumers to the next one, and usually end with customers purchasing the product.
To illustrate, here is an example of a simple sales funnel.
Awareness. Let’s start at the top of the funnel. At this stage, your company is totally unknown to your customers. It’s the first time your lead becomes aware of what you have to offer. In this day and age, that usually means your company’s social media post or website caught their attention. The key thing is to catch their eye in the first place.
Interest. Once you’ve piqued their interest, your prospects will probably do some comparison shopping for similar products, ask for their friends’ opinions, or even check out third-party reviews.
Decision. Based on all the information they gathered in the previous step, your leads will consider the advantages and disadvantages of your product. They would analyze it carefully, keeping mind any questions, issues, or doubts that may arise.
Action. Hopefully, your prospects decide to take action and transform into a paying customer.
As a marketer, your role is to cultivate prospects and guide them through the steps in the sales funnel toward the ultimate goal: a sale. How will this look like in practice?
- Awareness: Your goal is to boost brand recognition and familiarity by posting useful content on social media, retargeting social media ads, or tweaking the website for SEO compliance.
- Interest: Once you’ve grabbed their attention, ask your prospects to sign up for your mailing list. This way you can have more time to indoctrinate and build up their desire for your product/service. Now is the time to do email blasts of valuable resources and information that would make your leads want whatever you’re planning to offer.
- Decision: Make it easy for your prospects to choose you by sending incentives their way, be it a discount code or exclusive offer that’s too good to refuse.
- Action: Once they’ve made that buying decision, maximize it by cross-selling or promoting related products on your site. Not only will customers appreciate the advice, but your sales will also increase.
Remember that a sales funnel is based on your target market. You need to know what your audience wants in order to give it to them.
How do I create a profitable sales funnel?
There is definitely a learning curve in creating sales funnel. It requires a lot of guesswork and testing to find the perfect funnel for your product.
That’s why it’s a good idea to study the sales funnels created by experts who know what they are doing with proven results.
Here are some tips that worked for me as an online marketer:
1. Offer a Valuable Lead Magnet Your Audience Can’t Resist
Remember the illustration of a simple sales funnel? There’s a reason the top part, or the mouth, of the funnel is wider than the bottom. It’s because you want to have as many leads as possible going into the funnel; not all of them will convert into a paying customer after all.
This is where a lead magnet comes in. It rewards people for signing up to your mailing list, which starts the sales funnel process. Since people won’t give contact information out of the goodness of their hearts, it’s a good idea to offer a reward. Otherwise, your offer and email will just get buried in your prospect’s inbox.
In order to create a lead magnet, you need to do the following:
Identify Your Audience’s Needs and Preferences
You have to give a lot of thought and time to creating a valuable lead magnet. First, identify your prospects’ problems, goals, interests, and requirements. Are they experiencing any specific pain points in their life or business? What solutions can you offer to help them achieve their objectives?
For example, if you’re selling condominiums, create a master list for people who are moving to a new home. Your list should contain useful information in a checklist format, including tasks or materials they need to prepare.
Do a Competitor Analysis
Spying has a bad rap, but it’s wise to know what your business competitors are offering and their best practices. This way, you can offer an even better product or service to their customers and increase your profits.
So what kind of information should you gather? First, look at the websites and social media accounts of your top 15-25 competitors and download their lead magnets and sign up for their mailing lists. Study them carefully, making sure you compile all that information in a spreadsheet for easy reference. What value do they provide? Are there any gaps? How can you leverage this knowledge to your advantage?
Provide a Better Lead Magnet
Obviously, you need to offer a lead magnet that would stand out from the competition. How do you do this? Without charging a cent, provide even more value than what’s out there. Does your competitor offer a free one-week course? Then offer a course that runs for two weeks.
It might feel like you’re throwing away all your effort and resources, but trust me, your generosity will pay for itself in the long-term. Your customers will feel grateful for your help, which will translate into loyalty for your brand and even more sales.
2. Tell People About Your Lead Magnet
So now you have a shiny, irresistible lead magnet. But how will people sign up for it if they don’t know it exists? This is where self-promotion is a good thing. Don’t be shy; make your lead magnet as obvious as possible on your website. Post about it on social media. Or, judiciously boost traffic to your site with influencer marketing and paid ads so that people will see your lead magnet.
3. Implement an Automated Email Drip Campaign
Your sales funnel should not stop once you have your prospects’ email addresses. Now, put all that to good use by communicating and interacting with your leads regularly. Be a constant presence in their inbox, so that your brand becomes familiar, trustworthy, and top-of-mind.
How do you do this? Create and start an automated email drip campaign.
It involves writing a set of emails ahead of time, then sending them out one by one on a set schedule: every morning, every Monday, etc. This depends on your specific audience and business, so test different schedules to see which timeframe gives the best results.
Nurturing Your Leads
Why is this important? Email drip campaigns, like all other efforts at the top of the sales funnel, help you nurture your leads. It’s similar to taking care of a newborn. At first, babies are dependent on their parents for, well, everything. Parents give their children what they need, teach them life skills, and help them become independent adults. The analogy can only go so far, as you don’t want to coddle your prospects too much. But, keep in mind that nurturing your leads involves helping them reach their goals. This, in turn, will lead to more conversions.
Creating a Content Plan
Email drip campaigns (and all online marketing these days) require excellent content; otherwise, they won’t succeed. Having great content is the most strategic way to engage your target audience, so you need to have the writing skills or hire someone who does.
Content goes beyond your email campaigns. Consider your social media, website, and blog. Do you post fresh content regularly on these platforms? If the answer is no, you need to do something about it fast.
Earlier, we identified your prospects’ needs, wants, and problems. Now, use this information to craft a content a plan and determine how you will promote that content for the best results.
To be able to do all of this efficiently, you wiIl need an email service provider. For that, I would recommend GetResponse. I’ve personally tried quite a few email service providers, and I can say that GetResponse gives you the best value for your money. (Click here to get a 30-day FREE trial)
4. Provide a Tripwire Offer
Sounds sinister, even illegal? Don’t be concerned, as this marketing tactic can drive more leads into your sales funnel. So, what is a tripwire offer exactly? It’s an affordable offer that’s extremely easy to avail of. It can either be an online or physical product or even a service. For example, a romance fiction author can sell a short and well-written novella at $0.99. Once they read your novella and like it, your customers will look for and buy the other full-length books in the series.
See what happened there? Because of your low-cost offer, you now have a committed and paying customer. That’s why a tripwire offer is an essential part of your sales funnel. It’s the critical point where a lead converts into a paying consumer. Now, you have a relationship. And once they’ve made that first purchase from you, it’s more likely they will do so again.
Plus, a tripwire offer is a way to prove your worth. If you disappoint your customers at this stage, they will probably never buy from you again. However, if you satisfy or even exceed their expectations from the start, they will reward that with loyalty.
5. Inform Your Audience About Your Core Offer
What is your worst experience at a brick-and-mortar shop? Personally, I hate that feeling when I’m just browsing, and then a salesperson keeps asking me about what I need (and they’re never around when I actually need their help!). Now, imagine if they’d shoved an item into my hands, dragged me to the cashier, and forced me to shell out cash. It’s not a pleasant picture, and you want to avoid doing a similar thing to your online leads.
Don’t be a pushy salesperson. Give your audience enough time to warm up to the idea of your product. Provide value first before you ask them to buy from you. You can inform your subscribers about your core offer, but don’t be too aggressive.
So, what does a core offer mean? It might be your signature collection, subscription box, or latest product – as long as it fits squarely with your prospects’ identified needs and wants. You can even have several core offers if you have a wide enough audience base that can be segmented further. Whatever your core offer, your audience needs to take action in order to get it.
6. Launch Your Core Offer
Once your customers are familiar with your offer, it’s now time to pitch your product or services. Keep it concise and meaty.
Let’s say you’re a fitness coach, and your core offer is a basic personalized fitness plan.
Try out this email:
Subject Line: Get Your Best Body this 2019
Dear (First Name),
Thanks for sticking around and reading my emails. I’ve had fun sharing my fitness tips these past few months.
A few days ago, I was chatting with a new client, and she mentioned that she was dreading the holidays. Not because she hated her relatives, but because she just knew her weight would skyrocket with all the food this December.
So, I shared with her what I’m sharing with you now. For the next seven days, I’m running a special for the holidays. You can get my basic personalized fitness plan for just $100 – that’s 50% off the usual price.
I’m only offering this to my long-term subscribers, so please don’t forward this email to others. Use the coupon code 50OFF at checkout to get your discount.
Thanks again for staying around, and best of luck on your health journey!
Express your appreciation to your subscribers for reading your emails, and then share your core offer at a discounted price. The key thing here is that you’re offering them an irresistible call to action, which is the 50% discount in this case.
However, if you’re promoting an affiliate offer where you don’t have any control over the price, or you just simply prefer not to give discount on your core offer, then consider creating bonuses to add on top of your core offer.
For example, you can give away a free ebook on 10 healthy recipes to everyone who purchased the fitness plan through your link. The more bonuses and the perceived value that come with it, the better it is.
The point of giving special discounts or bonuses is to provide an incentive for your customers to take action. Especially if they are on the edge of buying, but still haven’t made up their mind yet. The incentive will be the final push to get them to purchase your core offer.
7. Test and Measure Your Conversion Funnel Results
If you went into marketing because you hated math, I have some bad news for you: this job involves a lot of numbers! On the upside, testing everything ensures that you know what works, and you have the evidence to prove it.
As you try out different options, always A/B test everything. Change your landing page layout, the email subject line, even the color and style of the call to action button. Which works best for your target audience?
It’s not easy, and it might even be downright boring, but constant testing is a must. Marketing is not one-size-fits-all, and change is a constant, so your test results will help adjust accordingly. You’ll know the best course of action, and you can use the results to tweak and innovate your sales funnel.
Sales funnels are the key to amazing conversion rates. In this case, knowledge is power, as you can use what you know about your audience to improve your funnel. It involves a lot of effort and brainpower, but practice makes perfect when it comes to managing a sales funnel. You can even have multiple sales funnels for your different buyer personas. Just remember that all that hard work translates to more sales.
Still not sure how sales funnels can help your online business? Check out this exclusive FREE 90 minutes training by Russell Brunson on how you can boost your product sales by an extra 540% with his secret funnel strategy. This presentation alone made him $3 million in sales at Grant Cardone 10X Event last year!
You will learn cool funnel-boosting strategies, like:
- How to Instantly Outspend Your Competitors
- How to Get The Best Sales Person On Planet Earth to Close Sales For You 24/7 Without Ever Complaining, Asking For A Raise, Or Taking A Break!
- How to Get The Exact Same Customers Who are Currently Going to Your Competitors Funnels to Start Coming to Your Funnel Instead!
This training was super helpful for me, so I wanted to pass it along to you for 100% FREE. I don’t know if Russell will ever take it down, but I’d recommend you watch the entire presentation while it’s still available.