So what is a Sales Funnel?
A sales funnel is a marketing system that leads someone through a process with the end goal being a purchase. Sales funnels start with finding potential customers. This can be done a multitude of ways. You need to find these potential customers to feed through your sales funnel. Most people think the only way to do this is through advertising. And while that is the primary way, there are others such as Google searches, word of mouth, and referrals, just to name a few.
The second step in the process is selling yourself and your business as trustworthy, reliable, industry experts and worthy of someone to want to spend money on. This is the part of the funnel that differs the most from business to business. That makes sense as the level of trust needed to buy from someone differs greatly from business to business and other factors such as price. For instance, I’m not going to need to trust someone as much if I’m buying a pair of $50 shoes from them as from someone who is trying to sell me a $10,000 business course.
And the final step is selling your product or service, or what is commonly called the sales pitch. In most cases you will make multiple sales pitches.
This type of marketing tactic has been around for years, but since the Internet and online marketing has carved out such a sizable market, the process has become much easier to manage and scale for small business owners.
The ease with which a sales funnel can now be created has to do with how funnels have changed throughout the years. In the beginning, they were essentially one shot marketing pieces. Think newspaper ads if you will. All three steps in the sales funnel (finding potential customers, selling yourself and your business and the sales pitch) was essentially a one pitch ad to entice the buyer to purchase a product. That’s not the case now. They have become a lot more complex.
The big difference in today’s sales funnels is that you don’t make the sales pitch straight away. In fact, the sales pitch is getting further and further from the front end of the sales funnel. Sales funnels are designed to build trust between potential customers and the businesses they choose to frequent before you start asking for money from them.
Sales funnels involve things like lead magnets, freebies, and other giveaways. They walk the customers through a process, gaining their trust and keeping their attention. A sales funnel is now a true funnel, whereas before they were a primary content marketing piece.
It’s not uncommon now for a customer to be enticed with a lead magnet, download the free giveaway, come back to the site to investigate and gather more viable information, received several targeted emails, and finally be tossed over to a purchase site where they will at that point be given the option to purchase their chosen product. That’s how sales funnels work in today’s world.
As you can see there is a lot involved in a sales funnel. The good news is that while a sales funnel is now far more complex, it can be automated. So once you have done the work to set it up, all you need to do is monitor it and answer any questions your potential customers might have. My favorite part about sales funnels is making money while I sleep! It is a pretty good feeling to wake up with new money in the bank!
Why Your Business Needs a Sales Funnel
You might be thinking that’s all fine and wonderful, but why do you really need one? Well, let me tell you, the reasons are many. Think of it this way, you would not walk into a store and purchase an item without first doing your homework. The same is even truer in the online world.
At least in the real world the customer can see the product and the person selling it to them in person. It’s not enough for a customer to purchase a digital product just because you think you are stellar. They have to know the reasons why and ultimately believe in your product before they make the purchase. Plus, there is almost an expected sense of targeting that customers are now accustomed to, and the sales funnel is one of them.
Here is what a good sales funnel will do for you.
This is the biggest reason you need a sales funnel and I can’t stress that enough. You won’t make a sale on the internet without having that trust.
If you don’t have that ‘trust factor’ your business will fail.
I will give you an example of how important trust is in regards to making a sale with an internet business. How many of those annoying spam emails that have a headline like “Prada handbag sale – from $100”. I assume that, like me, you just delete them. I bet you don’t even open them. Why not, a Prada bag for $100 is incredible value! It’s for one reason only… it’s because you don’t trust them!
Whereas if you were walking through your favorite shopping mall and saw the same thing in a shop that’s been there for years and you’ve been to before, you’d go and have a look. Why? Because you trust them.
You need to build that trust, and nowhere is it more important than on the internet. In real life you at least see a person face to face before a sale. Human nature makes you feel more comfortable in these situations. On the internet, people by nature are more cautious. Before you can convince them to buy, you need to convince them you can be trusted. And that’s why building that trust needs to be a focal point of your sales funnel.
Let Them Evaluate
At this stage of the process, the customer is still a bit unsure of your product or service. This is why you give them the lead magnet for free. Let them try it out and see if it is a good fit for them.
This is also a great place to do a small up sell for a course or product that pairs well with the free lead magnet you are offering. It’s a great way to let people try your products for free or at very little cost. Plus, it builds loyalty. that’s crucial to your success.
Now You Engage Them
This part of the sales funnel is always a little tricky. A lot of customers tend to get caught in the loop of always wanting to make a purchase but never deciding to buy. This is where you actually have to SELL your product.
You give them a gentle nudge or push them slightly towards the purchase by offering a limited discount, or one-bonus offer. All you need to do is get them on the hook. They have evaluated your product and are still receiving your emails; this means they are more than likely interested.
They just need to be encouraged, or rather given permission, to make a purchase. Nudging them is often times all the encouragement they need.
To that end, market to every customer who makes a purchase as a potential customer. If they get stuck in the engagement loop after you reset the sales funnel, you know you have a loyal customer on your hands. However, if they continue through and make a purchase, you probably have a repeat customer for life.
This is why a sales funnel is critical if you have an online business. It’s a fail proof systematic process that can be used over and over again with very little tweaking or modification. Once you set it up the first time, you can put people back in the loop again and again and again. It’s critical to your success.
Having a sales funnel that works is one of the best ways to generate a passive income and make money while you sleep. Again, make sure you set it up correctly the first time so tweaking and modifying it is minimal. You will have to create new campaigns, but these get easier in time as you’re more comfortable and familiar with the process.