The need to build an effective ‘sales funnel’ is essential for your business to attract and convert new customers and keep them coming back for more.
This Coaching Blog will be your guide on what’s needed to create a sales funnel, from building a great landing page, sourcing targeted traffic and all the tools you need to achieve your goals.
Let’s start with the basics!
WHAT EXACTLY IS A SALES FUNNEL?
In a nutshell, a sales funnel is a marketing system that leads someone through a systematic process with the goal of purchasing your product or service.
The idea behind it is to turn a lead into a prospect, then a prospect into a customer, who finally becomes a repeat customer buying over and over again. Sales funnels have been around for decades, but since the introduction of a number of online marketing tools & methodologies they have become easier to scale and manage.
What are leads, prospects and customers?
Leads – are anyone who is aware of your business or someone you have decided to ‘chase’ for a sale. Leads vary greatly from one another and they can be further segregated into what’s known as ‘qualified leads’ or ‘warm leads’, these are groups of people who fit a set criteria. For example, if you’re selling golf products, a qualified lead is someone who plays golf rather than a casual sports fan who is not too enthusiastic about the sport.
Prospect – is someone who has either a contact with your business or is interested in what you offer as they have signed up to your newsletter or shown interest. Prospects are interchangeable with qualified leads.
Customers – well we don’t need to explain what a customer is too much we hope. This group can be further separated by customers who have made a single purchase to customers who are repeat buyers.
When visualizing an actual sales funnel, the top is wide and heavy with many people while the lower end is much smaller with fewer people, this is how you should view your leads, prospects and customers. At the top of your funnel you have a vast amount of leads, it’s unrealistic to expect all your leads to turn into customers, as not all leads will be interested in your product or service. However, there will be a percentage of leads who are interested, these will then become your prospects.
Depending on how truly awesome your sales funnel is, will ultimately decide on how many of these prospects will become customers. Once again, don’t expect to turn all prospects into customers as it’s an impossible task. At the bottom of your funnel you have your customers. As you work down each step of the funnel, you will filter out the weak leads (who have no interest in buying), allowing you to focus your energy on ‘qualified leads’ who have a higher chance of buying.
Sales funnels are awesome because they avoid you from wasting time and money to sell to people who aren’t interested in your product or service. The more well defined your lead generation tactics, landing pages and follow up emails are, will greatly increase the number of qualified leads, prospects and customers your funnel will produce.
WHAT IS A LANDING PAGE? BETTER YET, HOW DO I MAKE AN AMAZING LANDING PAGE?
As the name suggests, a landing page is a page on a website where a potential lead lands on after clicking a link from another website. These links include tools such as social media sites, Google searches or paid ads. The landing page will contain information relating to your product or service with a call to action (CTA) for the lead to enter their details for more information. Any leads who enter their details are interested in your product or service and become a prospect.
Expert Tip: A call to action is a specific instruction to initiate a reaction from the audience (in this case lead) to do something. In our example this would be to give us their name and email address.
However, it’s not as simple as that. Creating a kickass landing page is not as easy as you think and this part of the jigsaw is where most businesses fail. A landing page needs to be slick while informing the reader immediately what the message is using carefully crafted titles and sentences. If your landing page is clumsy and not optimized, don’t expect to capture many emails.
HOW TO DRIVE TARGETED TRAFFIC TO YOUR LANDING PAGE
So now we have created our kickass landing page, next we need to drive targeted traffic to it. Sure we could spam several Internet forums and blast out our landing page URL to numerous random sources but that would just be a waste of time and resources. Why? Because we want targeted leads!
There are two methods to directing traffic to your landing page, they are free traffic and paid traffic.
Common free traffic methods include:
Email marketing – is a great way of turning prospects into customers. Your list is full of people who are interested in what you’re selling, create a well-crafted email with a link leading them to your landing page.
Leverage your blog – If you have a blog, find out your most popular blog posts and insert a relevant CTA to redirect them to your landing page. Since they are reading your blog, there’s a strong probability they will be qualified leads.
Social media – followers who have subscribed to your social media accounts are once again interested in your business, and are strong leads who can certainly be turned into customers using the right tactics.
Paid methods include:
Pay per click (PPC) – this involves creating a small advert that redirects users to your landing page when clicked. Each click is set at an agreed price and you will only be charged for when a user clicks your ad. This method can be used on websites, search engines and social media sites.
Social media campaigns – Create promoted posts to generate targeted leads to your landing page. However, keep in mind that setting up the wrong ads using poor quality pictures or not understanding your target demographic will leave you high and dry with no leads and a big hole in your pocket. Start with a small budget and test several different ads to see which paid traffic method yields the greatest results.
FOLLOWING UP ON LEADS WITH AN AUTO-RESPONDER
A landing page combined with a well thought-out lead generating campaign can get you hundreds or thousands of leads. With so many leads it’s impractical to email each one individually several times a week, as you will spend all your time emailing and not doing much else. This is where I reveal my secret weapon, the auto-responder.
An auto-responder is a way of sending preset emails to your leads over a period of time. These emails are not sent to all your list but rather individuals who meet certain requirements. For example, people who have given you their email via your landing page can be segregated to receive preset emails. Auto-responder strategies vary depending on your goals. In the example of using it for a sales funnel, a typical auto-responder setup may look like this:
Email 1 (day 1) – Thanking them for showing interest in your awesome product or service.
Email 2 (day 3) – Offering them free useful content in the way of blog articles, eBooks or other digital products.
Email 3 (day 5) – The hard sell. Send them the sales pitch to your product or service with a link to buy at the bottom.
Email 4 (day 7) – If successful, you can then follow up with an ‘upsell’ that involves selling more of your products or services.
If they didn’t buy, you can put them on another auto-responder using similar methods as above to try again.
This is just a basic example of how you can utilize an autoresponder to follow up on prospects and turn them into customers.
If you sell anything online and don’t have a proper sales funnel in place, your website is leaking money. No, scratch that. Leaking isn’t a strong enough word. It’s bleeding money. A proper sales funnel is the difference between just getting by not reaching your goals and consistent, steady, repeatable growth.