As long as there have been salespeople, there have been sales funnels. It's a numbers game, after all.
The basic concept is to attract potential prospects to you who will become familiar with your products/services through a series of interactions that lead to a sale. Sounds simple, right!
It can be simple and straightforward or complex, driving potential customers both on and off-line with demonstrations, case studies, and product trials all to end in a sale. Putting all the pieces together is also a sophisticated process with many moving parts carefully crafted to work together.
What does it mean?
Today's sales funnel can work for cold traffic, people who don't know who you are and if you have a solution to their problem. In that case, it's a process of being the sign spinner on the side of the road announcing to the world that you have – mighty good pizza, for instance.
If the pizza shop is smart, they get your email address to put you in their warm funnel, people who know who you are and you have a solution to their problem.
How it works
Let's say you just wrote a book, and it's about to be released, but now you need to sell it. You didn't sign up for one of those fancy big book publishers, so you're on your own to get it in the hands of the folks who would enjoy it.
What do you do?
You create a book funnel—the same process as either the cold or warm traffic. You attract them with a chapter of your book or a story about the book to gain their interest, then send them follow-up emails letting them know when the book will be released and how they can get it. Naturally, you'll add soap-opera styled stories to keep them hungry for your next email.
Ambitious writers will include extra incentives to create urgency and sharing.
Funnels are the lifeblood of every business that enjoys a steady income stream. Even if your buyers aren't ready today, as long as you stay in touch with interesting tidbits, you'll see them again with their credit cards in hand.
When do you need it?
When do you want to start selling your products and services? A funnel can be as easy as capturing emails in your restaurant, coffee shop, interior decorator, or hair salon to stay in touch with your customers.
Once you have one funnel working, all you have to do is dream up something else to capture emails for other services.
Your email list is the biggest asset your business will have. With your buyers' list, you don't have to depend solely on outside advertising to generate cash; you're already got buyers. All you have to do is entertain them and see what else they would like to buy from you.
Why do I need it?
Once you have a working funnel, it's the lowest cost lead generation you can do. The objective is to spend $1 and get back $2. A sales funnel can start in a print ad that directs the consumer to their website. On their website, they sign up for the emails with an incentive, and the nurturing begins.
The exciting thing about a funnel is all the different elements that can be employed in the process. Direct mail, phone calls, websites, landing pages, postcards, demo products, incentives, along with email, are all tools in the sales funnel toolbox.
The price of your service will likely determine the shape of your funnel. If your service is highly profitable or a subscription service, generating a high lifetime value, you will tend to put more effort into landing your clients. Your sales sequence will be longer with a variety of tools to keep your audience interested.
With a low-value item such as a book, you'll tend to have a shorter punchy sequence. Unless, of course, your book is an incentive to have them contact you for a consultation. Which is the beginning of a new type of funnel…
When your funnel is automated, it makes it easy to sit back and let it run, as long as it's making money. There is a bit of trial and error to get all the parts working nicely together. And nothing is perfect straight out of the gate.
The simple funnel includes:
- A sales page, aka landing page, squeeze page
- An offer of some kind, with a free gift
- Ask for the email and first name of the person to get the gift
- A thank-you page with instructions on how you will receive your 'gift.'
- Either another web page with the 'gift or
- An email with the 'gift.'
An excellent starting point. Once you see results, you can add additional options for the prospects.
If you're asking yourself, where do the people come from, or how do they get to the sales page, that, my friend is another discussion.
You could start with snail mail [letter, brochure, postcard, flyer] to introduce yourself. Perfect for a local business who wants to introduce the neighborhood to the new dental office. Asking them to go to the sales page for a free gift or hello coupon to bring them to the door will get your engines moving.
Word of mouth is viable depending on where you are on social media. However, you tend to do cheap Facebook Ads, like $5-$10 a day, to drive traffic to your page. Do this for one week to see how it goes. Make adjustments as needed – and they will be required. Budget a small amount to do this testing. Now you're trying to find the sweet spot for your service.
Naturally, Facebook Ads is a whole lesson in itself. So many options to choose from, but very doable.
If you don't have a sales funnel yet, now is the time to start working on one. If you'd like some help working out the details, reach out to me for a free consultation.
Leave me your comments; let me know how you are doing. What else would you like to hear about?
Linda James Bennett, here on day 11. I'm publishing articles every day for 365 days.