Feeling overwhelmed at the thought of setting up your sales funnel? You’re not alone. Many online business owners fail to properly plan out their funnel, and it shows.
They have an opt-in incentive that doesn’t appeal to their audience.
Their follow-up emails don’t flow naturally from the opt-in.
Messages are unbalanced—either too many sales pitches or not enough. Even worse, the offers don’t match the market.
Making these mistakes is common, so if you recognize yourself here, don’t feel bad. The good news? There’s an easy fix.
Step 1: Survey your market
All too often we think we know what our readers and potential buyers want, but in reality, we’re simply guessing. We make the mistake of believing that we are our market, but that usually is not the case.
The only way to know for sure what your market truly wants and needs is to ask them. Set up a simple survey (even a Google form will work) and ask your blog readers, social media followers, and email list to give their opinion.
Do this right, and you’ll know exactly what you should be offering your audience, plus, you’ll know that language to use on your opt-in page.
Step 2: Create your opt-in
Now that you know what your market needs, it’s time to create your opt-in incentive. Keep in mind that readers today seem to prefer simple, easy-to-digest offers rather than 200-page eBooks or 7-part video series. This makes your job a bit easier, too.
Some popular choices for opt-in incentives include:
- Resource guides
- Video training
- Audio downloads
Step 3: Map out your autoresponder
Every good opt-in incentive should be followed up with a series of emails that build on the material. If you’ve offered a resource guide, for example, then your follow-up emails might include usage tips for each of the resources, or case studies that show how others have benefited from using the tools.
Step 4: Make an offer
Arguably the most important part of your funnel, your offer must be the logical next step for readers to take. They’ve worked through your opt-in incentive, read and acted on your emails, and they’re hungry for more. Time to make your offer.
Just like the other pieces of your funnel, your coaching offer needs to be the answer to your readers’ most burning questions. If you consider your opt-in and follow-up series to be the “lite” version, then your coaching offer is the premium package. Bigger, beefier, and the perfect next step.
Before you post your first opt-in code, take some time to map out your funnel according to these steps, and you’ll not only fill your funnel faster, but you’ll close more sales along the way.
For an online business owner, a sales funnel is probably the most important marketing tool you have. And yet many entrepreneurs – both new and established – have no clear understanding of what a funnel is or how it works.
As you can imagine, failing to fully understand this critical part of your business means fewer sales, lower profits, and ultimately, an unstable business.
A Simple Sales Funnel
At its most basic, a sales funnel consists of free content, which typically requires nothing of your readers. Many sales funnels begin with blog posts, YouTube videos, Facebook content, and other information readers can access at no cost. This is the “top” of your funnel.
Next, you’ll have an attractive offer that requires a very small “payment” of sorts – typically an email address. You’ve seen this type of offer on websites all over the internet, and probably even signed up for some. This is the free ebook or guide, video series, checklist, workbook, or other valuable content that is available in exchange for “opting in” to an email list.
Once on your mailing list, you’ll then present your readers with a series of low-cost offers. Perhaps you have a low-priced ebook or a trial membership.
Customers who purchase your low-priced product move further down the funnel, and are presented with more, higher priced products. As they continue to buy, they move closer and closer to your top-end offers, which make up the bottom of your funnel.
How Your Funnel Works
If you imagine your funnel as looking like, well, a funnel, it’s easy to see that your free content—at the top—is consumed by the largest number of readers. Below that, your extreme low-cost item (available only for the cost of an email address) attracts a smaller subset of the true freebie seekers. Next, your low-priced products bring in yet a smaller group.
Finally, as you near the tip of the funnel, only the most loyal of fans and customers will purchase your highest priced offers.
Your job, as the business owner, is to ensure that your funnel leads buyers naturally from the top, free offers all the way to the bottom. The more buyers you can keep in your funnel, the more money you will make.
Most new—and even established—business owners can easily envision the top of the funnel, but if you truly want your business to grow, you must master the entire process, and that starts with understanding what a funnel really is and how it works.
Over the next few weeks, I’ll be covering sales funnel in depth. Want to keep up? Sign up for my email list and you’ll get it first!
Do you use a sales funnel? Do you recognize one when you see it?
If you’ve been a follower of The Blogging 911 for any length of time you know that technology is our mainstay. You’ll never hear me say, “I wish we still had landlines” or “I wish we still did it the “old” way”.
NEVER. GOING. TO. HAPPEN!
I use it constantly and life would be so much harder not to mention a whole lot more boring without it. I mean come on where would we be if we couldn’t share what we ate for breakfast in a swoon-worthy photo on Instagram or create an email sequence that will explode your following or even sell those amazing products without that shopping cart.
In today’s world, you cannot even begin to build a business without mastering at least some of the basics of technology. Some people hate it, some love it, but EVERYONE has to use it.
I love to find new ways to make technology fun for people.
For the last few months, I’ve been working on a fun, new quiz that will lead you down a path to your “technology-personality” hence the name “Tech-Nality” quiz! At the end of the quiz, you will receive a .pdf with your technology personality and a collection of things that can only help you in your day-to-day business.
I’ve created 3 unique personalities and embellished them with attributes which I feel are important to you. Each personality has been born to make your life simpler, give it more style, & help you create the lifestyle with which to build a successful business.
First off, there’s Serephina:
Serephina is a free-spirit and lives to create. She’s authentic & brave while being honest & resourceful. Meet Serephina:
Next is Addison (or Addi for short):
Addi is all about productivity. She is driven & self-sufficient, but also caring & strong. She is not afraid of hard work and knows that some things are worth fighting for.
& last, but certainly not least is Isabella.
Isabella is tough, independent but not afraid to gamble on a good idea. She trusts with all of her heart, but she’s nobody’s fool. Meet Isabella:
Which one is closest to your personality? Have you taken the quiz yet?
Welcome to the third in our “Women In Biz All Around WordPress” feature that will run the 1st Sunday of every month. It’s a new series where we spotlight amazing women and the ways in which they have used WordPress to spread their message, sell their products, or provide valuable services.
The hope is to inspire other midlife women to build their online businesses and find what we’re all looking for; financial freedom, a lifestyle they love, and excitement they may have been missing! All of these women are clients of mine who have inspired me over the years and I think they will inspire you as well.
This month I want to introduce you to a woman that I both admire and envy a little! She’s an accomplished writer, with many books under her belt. Books such as Frozen Dinners, Midlife Cabernet & Menopause Sucks. She’s a “verified funny lady” who’s MRI fart was literally heard around the world!
She uses WordPress to sell her books, keep her readers updated, & promotes her speaking gigs on her website ElaineAmbrose.com. She has managed to make midlife fun again! She leads a life that most would envy but is as down to earth as your next door neighbor! I met Elaine personally a few years ago at a conference and enjoyed her self-deprecating sense of humor and friendliness.
A few years later our paths crossed again when she was looking to redesign her site and fix some issues that were driving her batty. I’m happy to say that we took care of her issues and she’s been a loyal client in my luxury maintenance program ever since
And here’s Elaine!
Tell us a bit about yourself, Elaine:
I grew up near the farming village of Wendell, Idaho, population 1,000. I was bored with weeding potatoes and moving sprinkler pipes, so I started writing short stories at age 10 and had my first national publication at age 12. I majored in journalism at the University of Idaho and worked in television, advertising, and corporate communication. In 2008, I met an agent at a writers’ conference and signed a contract to write “Menopause Sucks.” I’ve written ten books and have stories in several anthologies. I live in Meridian, Idaho with a charming, patient guy I call Studley. We have four grown children and five grandchildren.
What made you first decide to build a blog or website? How long have you had your site?
I started my publishing website in 2003 for Mill Park Publishing as a way to promote my books. In 2008, I started the personal website with ElaineAmbrose.com. It’s evolved several times, and I’ve published more than 610 blog posts. I use the site to promote my books, speaking events, and writing workshops.
What is your niche?
I love writing humor. I dabble in current events with mixed results. My audience wants to laugh, and so do I.
Of all of your blog posts or pages on your site which is your favorite?
My favorite blog post is “Don’t Fart During an MRI.” The essay was published on the Huffington Post in 2014 and went viral with more than 800,000 “likes.” It was published in six different languages around the world. Other humorous blog posts have won national writing awards from BlogHer and from the National Society for Newspaper Columnists and Bloggers.
What is your favorite social media platform and why?
I’m most active on Facebook because all my friends are there. I also like Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn. I like the WordPress feature that enables inclusive distribution.
Do you find WordPress easy to maneuver or do you avoid the back end like the plague?
Technology is complicated for old, creative writers. It took a long time for me to learn how to insert links, photos, or videos into my blogs, but I was giddy as a pig in warm mud after I learned how to do it.
Is your site a business that makes money or a passion that makes your heart sing?
My books make money. My blogs make people laugh, or at least smile.
If you use your site for business what do you sell or what service do you provide?
Books, writing retreats, and speaking gigs
What is one thing you’d like people to know about you?
I intend to live happy so I don’t die crabby.
As women, we often put aside our own: health, wants, dreams, & hopes for our spouses, for what society says we should be doing, or for the “better-ment” of the family. Even though I know what a huge mistake this is, I’ve been guilty of it myself for far too long.
Even if you have a wonderful marriage and divorce isn’t anywhere on the horizon or even in your hemisphere things happen. Life happens. You know that old saying, “If you want a good laugh, tell God your plans.”
I grew up like most of you did. My dad worked and my mom stayed home taking care of us kids. We didn’t have a lot of money, but we weren’t struggling either. I had four brothers, three of whom were older and out of the house. My parents were in their 40’s, much like my husband and I are now.
It was a normal Friday in May, sunny and mild when my father stuck his head inside my bedroom door and shouted “Snow Day! No school today we’re having a snow day!” I was 15 and you didn’t have to tell me twice. My younger brother and I watched that big yellow bus go by thinking we were so lucky!
Eight hours later my father died from a massive heart attack and our lives were never the same again. I don’t just mean the gut-wrenching loss of my dad, but even the mundane daily stuff that we never paid attention to before. When you’re in your 40’s you don’t think much about dying. Well, at least my parents didn’t, but they had never been big on planning things out.
My mom woke up that Saturday morning as the sole decision maker, breadwinner, & a widower with two teenagers at home. She not only had to figure out how to bury my father with no insurance, but also keep the house, and raise her kids.
I always said my life would be different, but as we grow older we tend to take the path of least resistance. The days go by in a haze of soccer games, dinners, and laundry and before you know it 40 is staring back at you from your bedroom mirror and you’re no more prepared than she was back in 1985.
Then my brother-in-law died with no insurance and we struggled to come up with the money to bury him. It was so bad that my stubborn husband went out and dug his brother’s grave to save money. Don’t ask…it was a very dark time, but we learned something very important.
A few weeks later we were the owners of two bright, shiny new life insurance policies and two gravesites. We thought that was it. We were responsible, we were smart, we still didn’t have a clue. Those things are VERY important but financial freedom means a lot more than just two pieces of dirt and a sheet of paper.
I’m on a mission to find out what it means to be financially secure because those two words have never gone together in my world. My parents grew up with nothing. I mean NOTHING. My mom’s family grew or hunted their food & my father was an orphan by the time he was 4.
My parents were the first generation to ever see a city of more than a few thousand. I’ve written before about the lives of my ancestors and it’s not a pretty picture. Not only was it one of the poorest times in our country (the depression), but also one of the poorest places in our country(Kentucky).
They couldn’t teach us about money because they didn’t know about money. They spent what my dad made on a little house and five mouths to feed. Their years of having little paving the way for a long road of shiny new object syndrome. Until at 46 years old my father had a heart attack and died. Forty-six. Think about what you were doing at 46. What would happen to your family if you died suddenly on a random Friday morning at the age of 46?
Even worse, imagine a world where you were alive, but unable to take care of yourself. How would your family function if God forbid, you had to have round the clock care or expensive therapies? How would your loved one earn a living and be a caretaker too? What would your kids have to give up? college?
What if you have big dreams about the second half of your life. Travel around the world or maybe owning your own restaurant. How do you create that strong foundation to be able to live out your dreams when you’ve finally met all of your responsibilities. We’re married, we’re single, we’re homosexual, we’re L.G.B. or T. We’re black, we’re white, but WE ARE ALL FEMALE. Whatever it is that we are in our lives we’re already far behind in one of the most important things we need to survive. MONEY.
It takes us longer hours, more days of the weeks, and more years in college to make less pay and even fewer promotions. This isn’t going to change overnight. What we’re going to have to do is educate ourselves on making our money work both smarter & harder.
We have to make better choices and we can’t do that if we don’t even know what those choices are. We need to be strategic in not only how we spend our money, but how we save it and make it grow at a healthy rate. I don’t know about you, but I have no clue what this looks like.
According to CNN Money:
- Women earned about 82 cents for every dollar a man made in 2016.
- When you take a career-long view, the gap hinders wealth building. Based on the 2015 wage gap, a 20-year-old female entering the work force full time will lose $418,800 over a 40-year career compared to a male worker, according to the NWLC.
- The gender pay gap is much larger among African American and Hispanic female workers.
Hispanic women made 54 cents for every dollar a white, non-Hispanic man earned, which means they will lose more than a million dollars over a 40-year career based on today’s wage gap, according to the
- Black women earn 63 cents for every dollar a white, non-Hispanic man earns, meaning they will typically lose more than $840,000 over a 40-year career.
Asian female workers are faring the best at narrowing the gap. They make 85 cents for every dollar a white, non-Hispanic man makes.
- The gap is often larger among higher-paying jobs, according to Hegewisch.
Personal financial advisers had the biggest gender wage gap last year, according to a report from IWPR. The study did find occupations where women earned more than men. Those occupations included counselors; teachers assistants; combined food preparation and serving workers, including fast food; and sewing machine operators.
What this tells me is we have to stretch our dollars even further to get what we want. That means investing the money we do make. Just saving it isn’t going to grow that nest egg.
So with a little help, I’m going to learn about investing and I’m going to share that with all of you in small bits and pieces (in a way that doesn’t make you want to stab me in the eye). Because as female entrepreneurs we owe it to ourselves to educate ourselves on what it takes to achieve financial freedom on our own terms.
Working women contribute to healthier economies and societies yet we still have to contend with challenges like the gender pay gap. We can’t fight for equality if we don’t know what equal should look like and the worst thing we can do for ourselves and our businesses is to make financial decisions based on fear.
Are you so frustrated with the results of your email marketing campaign that you’re ready to throw in the towel? Don’t worry about it – we’ve all been there. Email marketing seems like a simple way to boost sales.
And it can be, provided that you can get your subscriber to open the email in the first place. After all, it doesn’t matter how great your marketing message is if no one ever reads it, does it?
In the busy world that we live in, you need to time the email perfectly so that they get it when they have time to open it. Is there any point in sending it through late on Friday afternoon when everyone’s getting ready to go home, for example?
Security awareness training is another thing that you’ll have to consider when crafting your email. Many companies have software that allows them to remove any suspicious messages and spam before they get delivered to their servers.
There are a good few more, but these will be dealt with in the EveryCloud infographic that we’ve published below. You’ll learn:
· Why email marketing is still the best thing since sliced bread
· How people use emails and whether or not they view them on their mobile phones
· What might make people consider your email spam
· When the best spending times are
· And a whole lot of other interesting facts