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:
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.
Ready to start building out your sales funnels? There are just a few things you need before you can get started. Here are some of the most popular options when it comes to putting together both free and paid funnels:
Lead Pages—when it comes to building opt-in pages, LeadPages.net is one of the most powerful tools you have at your disposal. They’ve tracked and tested a variety of page styles to determine which ones convert best, and they make it easy for you to build similar pages for your funnel.
It does come with a monthly fee, though, so before investing, you’ll want to be sure you can recoup your investment.
Instabuilder—similar to LeadPages, but without the monthly investment. Instabuilder is a plugin for WordPress that allows you to create your own funnels. It includes several funnel templates and a drag-and-drop page builder that makes it easy to get just the look you want.
AWeber—Probably the easiest email manager on the market today, AWeber is the choice for many small business owners, not only because it’s simple to use, but because it’s also economical. Starting at less than $20 per month for up to 500 subscribers, AWeber offers both autoresponders and broadcast emails, list automation, and segmenting, so you can send emails exactly when—and to whom—you want.
AW Pro Tools—an add-on to AWeber, AW Pro Tools gives you added control over your list management by automatically removing unsubscribes, moving subscribers from one list to another based on the link they click, and other useful automations.
PayPal—The simplest of all payment processors, PayPal allows you to take payments online for a very reasonable fee. It will also act as a simple shopping cart.
Ontraport—Another email manager, Ontraport offers shopping cart functionality as well, so you can create powerful funnels that are fully integrated with your sales process. The benefit here is that you don’t have to try to synch your cart with your email system, since it’s completely self-contained.
Infusionsoft—Probably the top tool for any business model, Infusionsoft is an all-in-one solution for customer management, funnel setup, mailing list, and even membership sites. It’s priced at the high end, but if you can (and will) use all its power, then Infusionsoft is well worth the investment.
You can see that you have a lot of options when it comes to building out your sales funnels, but what are the must-have items? At the most basic level, you must have:
A way to create web pages. A simple WordPress website will fill this need, with a little bit of work. LeadPages or Instabuilder are nice to have, but not essential, especially if you’re just getting started.
A way to capture email addresses. AWeber is definitely the top choice here, but others include MailChimp, Constant Contact, and iContact.
A shopping cart. PayPal is as easy as it gets when it comes to shopping carts, but other options include 1 Shopping Cart, Woo Commerce, Infusionsoft, and aMember.
I recommend you start small. Build the funnel framework as simply as you can, using tools that don’t cost a fortune. Once you have a few funnels up and running, you will be able to see where they can use improvement, and how the tools available to you can help make your funnels convert better and work more efficiently.
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?
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
While huge corporations can afford to spend a lot of money testing out different marketing strategies, small businesses do not always have that option due to a much more limited budget. That is why they usually need to stick to proven marketing methods which have the best ROI.
The Benefits Of Email Marketing
One such method is email marketing. It is a cost-effective way to reach a large number of customers and has the added benefit of enabling you to track the marketing campaign results easily.
Another great benefit of using email marketing is that you can target specific audiences with specially designed and personalized content. This improves the chances of the email being opened and read because it will reach people who are more likely to be interested in the products and services that your company is offering.
Email marketing also brings dozens of other benefits, all of which are listed in the infographic below provided by 99firms.com.
Know What You Want
Before you start creating an email marketing campaign, you need to define your goals. What is that you are hoping to achieve from the campaign?
Sales conversions – It goes without saying that every business wants to improve conversions. Luckily, there are many metrics that you can use to see how well your email marketing is affecting them.
Website traffic – Bringing as many people as you can to your website can only be a good thing. Not only will this raise awareness of your brand, but it will also improve its ranks on search engines. You can see how effective your emails are by taking a look at the click-through rates.
Increase revenue – Another common email marketing goal is to increase revenue. When recipients start to become customers, you can declare your email marketing campaign as successful.
Once you know why you want to use email marketing, you should segment your email lists into relevant groups. That way, you can send specially designed content to certain groups of people. If you do otherwise, i.e., send the same email to all the addresses you have, your campaign will fail.
When it comes to the future of e-commerce, nothing is set in stone. Its hard to believe, what with the rise of online shopping, that many e-commerce businesses are still in the early stages of development and are yet to fully find their feet in such a busy marketplace. Others are adopting eCommerce to the fullest and offering all sorts of benefits such as same day shipping and delivery of subscription boxes to their customers. Here’s a great post The 51 Best Subscription Boxes from ThrifyCrates.com
It is for this reason that many retailers may find the predictions for trends to come in the e-commerce industry pretty futuristic, such as drone delivery or payments made with digital currencies. As a smaller business, if you can’t compete with some of the market giants out there like Amazon, you should instead focus on the things that are more achievable in the short term.
Ecommerce customer service automation is now almost commonplace with online retailers. People are used to heading online and having a chatbot pop up in the corner of the screen asking if you need any assistance.
In general, online retailers will be paying particular attention to the customer service element of their businesses, as currently this is what has been lacking from online shopping. Many people still prefer shopping in brick and mortar stores as they have constant access to a member of staff to help them with their purchasing decisions.
To encourage people to head online, this should also be achievable digitally, without the need for businesses to hire many members of staff to handle queries. Already in 2017, AI has been able to handle 45% of customer questions using live chat, and as this technology continues to develop, this number is set to grow.
Technological developments will also be the cause of more trends, such as the use of cryptocurrencies, most commonly the Bitcoin. Although digital currencies have been around for a while now, it is only more recently that they have started to be considered as a payment method for online stores. It is looking likely that this will become more commonplace in the years to come.
For more information of future trends to look out for, take a look at the infographic below which was created by industry experts.