July 4, 2022
If you’ve been in business for a little while, chances are you’ve heard talk about sales funnels. But what are sales funnels? And why might you need one for your business?
When I visited Ireland in 2014, one of the coolest things I saw was a shepherd guiding his sheep through a pastor with the use of his sheepdogs. Each dog had their individual commands, given through whistles. The shepherd would stand at the top of the hill and whistle his commands, guiding his dogs around the herd. By doing this, he could make the sheep do anything he wanted. He could divide the herd, select specific sheep out of the herd, bring them back together, move them around a tree or stone, and into a holding pen. He was in control.
Check it out in action here!
Your sales funnel does something similar for your business. Without one, your leads and potential clients will be scattered. Your business may feel like chaos! But with a sales funnel, you can guide your clients to take the exact actions you want them to, such as buy from you, or sign up for a special offer you’re promoting.
Building a sales funnel can be a bit time-consuming, but it is 100% worth the work, I promise!
In this article, we’re gonna cover what a sales funnel is, the essential components of a sales funnel, and how taking the time to create a sales funnel can grow your business.
Let’s start off by being really clear about what a sales funnel is NOT. A sales funnel is not software or any sort of funnel builder. While there is some software you can purchase that helps you build the components of a sales funnel, those are only pieces of the puzzle. And to be quite honest, you can do it for much cheaper.
A sales funnel is like the obstacle course the Irish shepherd sent his herd through. It is a clear path that your clients follow between the time they very first learn about you all the way to the time they make a purchase and the money lands in your bank account.
The core of your entire sales funnel is your website. Let’s face it… having a website for your business today is a bare necessity. But your website must be much more than a brochure or your portfolio, although those can be parts of it. Your website should be the center of all your marketing efforts, the Grand Central Station of your business so to speak. We’ll talk more about this in a bit.
There are a few must-haves to your sales funnel in order for it to work the way you want. Remember, these are the steps your audience is taking to get from the “learning about you” stage to the “buying from you” stage.
This is the beginning of the “learning about you” stage. Hardly anyone, if ever, jumps straight to your website without knowing who you are or what you do. First, they need to build like, know, and trust toward you.
This could be done using a blog, a podcast, or your social media accounts (Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.). The important thing here is to provide value. If someone is going to work with you or purchase from you, they want to know you can actually walk the walk.
Never be afraid of giving away “too much” free content. If you give away loads of free value here, your audience will wonder how much better and how much more they must get if they pay for your services. They’ll know you can deliver, and be more likely to reach out to you for your paid offerings.
You also must know what your unique selling points are. Know what makes your business different and stand out from the others, and capitalize on those key differences.
Your ultimate goal here is to guide your audience to your next step in the sales funnel: your website.
Welcome to the hub of your marketing efforts! This is where you can truly control the story. Once your audience has landed on your website, you know there is at least some interest in who you are or what you do. You don’t want to lose that! How do you make sure you don’t mess it up?
The key is to be super clear in your messaging. Make it super obvious right from the get-go who you are, what you do, who you serve, and how they can get started working with you.
A website provides you with a branded, dedicated place to share your contact information, a list of your services, a summary of what your business is all about, a portfolio of your wonderful work, client reviews, and links to your social media profiles. It’s also a great place to expand your reach and attract new leads!
Here are a few of the key pages you’re definitely going to want on your website.
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At this point, visitors to your website will fall into 1 of 2 categories: those who are ready to buy, and those who are not. You want to have a clear path forward for both.
For those who are ready to buy, your sales funnel is complete! They now become happy paying customers and your business grows! Make sure you have a clear Call to Action on your website so they can get started.
But for those who aren’t quite ready to whip out their wallets, you have a little more work to do. They also need a clear path forward, but you’ll have to warm them up a little bit before they make a purchase.
The clear path they should take here is to opt-in to your email newsletters. Why would they do that? Because you’re going to offer them some awesome FREE stuff! This “freebie” could be a guide, a checklist, a quiz, video training, a workbook, or a special challenge. Make sure it is something your ideal client would be interested in and offers something of value.
Now that you’ve got your ideal client’s name and email address, you can continue to warm that lead until they are ready to purchase from you. Send out weekly newsletters that will answer any questions they may have, squash any myths they believe, and address any objections they hold. Continue providing valuable content and information, and eventually, when they’re ready, they’ll know who to go to when they need to make a purchase.
A couple of words of caution, however, when engaging in email marketing.
You’ve done it! That’s the simple yet effective sales funnel you want to guide all of your potential clients through. Let’s quickly go over them again.
Remember that shepherd in Ireland I mentioned earlier? Without a sales funnel, your leads and potential clients are like his sheep without the sheepdogs. They’re scattered, and there’s no focus to your marketing.
WITH a clear sales funnel, your leads are now organized and your audience feels guided toward working with you, rather than feeling bombarded with sales propaganda.
As an added bonus, you free up your time! You now can spend less time trying to remember who’s who and getting them the right information. You can be confident your sales funnel is working FOR you, even while you’re resting, and spend more time in the parts of your business you enjoy.
So let’s get started! Send us a message and we’ll chat with you about how to optimize your sales funnel and how to make your website, your central marketing hub, the best it can be!
[…] I have a love/hate relationship with social media. But its positive effect on my business has been undeniable. Social media is a great tool for growing your business, but don’t let it be the only tool. It’s just a piece of your sales funnel. To learn more about the pieces that make up your sales funnel and how to use them together, click here. […]