For parenting and family coaches, building a sales funnel offers a method for planning your monthly income, especially if your income bounces from high to low. The erratic approach can drive you nuts. Welcome to the series on funnels – sales, product, or client.
What Is A Funnel?
For an online business owner, sales occur after a series of steps, which is the funnel. A sales funnel is a fundamental marketing tool. However, many new and experienced entrepreneurs have no clear understanding of what a funnel is or how it works. Read on…you’ll see how necessary a sales funnel is for a stable income and business growth.Imagine: You want a client to purchase a parenting book – that is the end goal. You start by inviting the site visitor to read any content on the blog, or a landing page on your web site associated with the book topic. The funnel refers to the how you lead a customer through the buying process.
A Simple Sales Funnel
- The basic sales funnel starts with free content. This typically begins with blog posts, videos, or social media content from Facebook or Instagram, 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 exchange: trust me with your email, and you receive this offer. You’ve seen this type of offer all over the internet, and likely signed up for some. The offer might the free ebook or guide, video series, checklist, class, workbook, or other valuable content.
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 a funnel, you can see that 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 loyalest 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.
Several applications or tools help you build your sales funnel. Are you ready? Here are some of the most popular options when it comes to putting together both free and paid funnels.
Top Tools for Building Sales 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 funnels. It includes several pipeline templates and a drag-and-drop page builder for the look you want and making it easy.
AWeber—Probably the most friendly 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 emails, 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 automation tools.
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, fully-integrated funnels for your sales process. The benefit here is that you have a complete email system to sync with your shopping cart.
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 high-priced, but if you can (and will) use all its power, then Infusionsoft is well worth the investment.
You have 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.
2. 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, and aMember.
I recommend you start small. Build the funnel framework 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.