- Posted by Alaia Williams
- On July 29, 2018
- sales funnel
Every business has a sales funnel. For online business owners, a sales funnel is probably one of the most important parts of your business to focus on and streamline. 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
In its most basic form, a sales funnel for an online business 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. There's one at the bottom of this page.
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 or services. 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
When you close your eyes and imagine your sales funnel as a real-world funnel (whoa…) 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 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. And yes, sometimes people will enter at the middle of your overall funnel, or they'll jump right to hiring you in some cases. What's important is that your funnel is in place and you have systems and processes in place to nurture people along from wherever they enter and guide them through a smooth sales process.
What's Does Your Sales Funnel Look Like?
Your funnel will likely change over time, which is normal – and in fact, its a good thing. If you're thinking about your funnel it means you're invested in the health of your business. The key is to go beyond just thinking about it – actively work to refine and and streamline your funnel. Evaluate what makes sense for the kind of business you have.
If you're selling $10,000 coaching packages, you probably need to warm up an audience before they buy. The top of your funnel probably includes a lot of free content, webinars, livestreams and other activities that drive people to your email list. You also probably have to send out weekly emails to keep your audience super engaged and thinking about your offerings. You also probably launch several programs or products each year. Keeping your funnel full and running smoothly is super important. You'll probably have to do some direct sales emails and discovery calls before people hand over that kind of money.
If you're a hair stylist, your funnel is probably less intense and you're more focused on showing off your work and happy clients. Lots of stylists I know are killing it on social media with photos and videos of happy clients. So, there's less nurturing, but more free content and frequent updates to stay in people's feeds. You may do a consultation session before someone books their paid appointment, or you may make an online scheduling link easily available so excited prospects can book with you right away.
Your funnel should:
- Reflect the needs of your potential customers – what information do they need to take them from curious to sold?
- Work smoothly internally – set yourself up with systems that are easy to use, that save you time and help move potential customers along.
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.
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