Growing an audience is nice. Getting traffic to your website or profile page as well.
But if it doesn’t help you make money, it won’t do much for your business.
It is so frustrating to get people coming to you and see your revenues not taking off.
You feel you are wasting your efforts and can’t find out to convert visitors into leads and customers.
A sales or marketing funnel that efficiently drives your audience to your paid offer (product or service).
Don’t know how to use marketing funnels to reduce the wastage of your time and energy, and start making more money? Read on!
Table of Contents
What is a marketing funnel?
Marketing funnels are a concept that the marketing expert Seth Godin calls “one of the best-kept secrets in the world of direct marketing.”
Marketing funnels seem complicated, but they’re actually a very simple way of looking at marketing. The idea is that you take a potential customer through different steps on their way to becoming a paying, loyal customer.
An example of a sales funnel is the following 5-step funnel:
- Awareness: someone sees your ad or hears about your brand for the first time
- Consideration: the person looks into what you have to offer and becomes interested in it
- Conversion: the person makes an initial purchase and becomes a customer
- Loyalty: the customer (hopefully) returns to buy from you again and again
- Advocacy: the customer recommends you to friends and family, giving you new customers
The imagery behind the word funnel tells the benefit of using them: funnelling a large audience into a process to convert them into customers.
The principles of a marketing funnel
There are many ways of creating a marketing funnel.
I would recommend starting with the bottom of the funnel: the destination, that is the product or service you want to sell.
Then go backward by thinking about what your (future) customer will need to learn and see to follow the path down the funnel that will make her irresistibility wanting to buy from you.
You finally have to meet the customer at the very beginning of their journey, where they may not even know they have the problem you are solving with your offer.
To achieve that, you have to understand deeply your audience: what they feel, like, think, consume, and believe.
You literally have to get into their shoes.
This is probably the toughest part of marketing and is essential to creating an efficient funnel.
How to create a marketing funnel.
The first thing you need to do is identify the problem or opportunity that your business can solve.
What are they trying to achieve? Why do they want it? What’s preventing them from getting it? These questions should form the basis of a list of goals and objectives for the sales process.
You know what you’re selling, so think about who those people are and why they will buy from you. Then plan what you will say in order to help them reach their goal.
Educate, answer objections, use psychological triggers (social proof, for example), and make it clear from start to finish that it is the best thing to do right now to solve their problem.
You have to build trust. Without trust, nobody will buy from you.
It doesn’t need to be complicated, but, again, it relies on a good understanding of your audience.
The more time you spend researching what your customer think, want, and feel, the easier it will be to design an efficient funnel. Establishing a buyer persona can help, but I wouldn’t get too stuck on that.
You also have to understand that a funnel doesn’t start at the first step you define on your website (a landing page usually).
It starts at the first touchpoint of the customer with your brand, via a social media post, paid Ads, word-of-mouth, a referral from a happy customer, or an affiliate marketer.
Then, you have to create the relevant content along the customer journey.
What do you need to create a marketing funnel?
You need an audience. From social media or search engines, or both if possible.
Then, you need at least a landing page to welcome and inform your audience about your offer.
From there, it depends on which type of funnel you want to create.
I recommend that you have at least an email marketing strategy in place with a lead magnet on your landing page.
When people agree on giving their name and email address in exchange for the gift you promised, you can present them with your offer directly.
A good practice is to offer a one-time discount or bonus if they make a decision quickly. The use of a deadline timer (usually a countdown banner) can be quite efficient.
I am not such a fan of putting high pressure on customers to buy, but it works and in the end, you want to help them to take action. So why not use proven techniques.
If they don’t buy, you can launch an email nurture sequence that will warm them up a bit more and send them back to the offer a few days later.
Recommended funnel marketing tools
You don’t need a funnel marketing tool, but it can save you a lot of time to use one.
Some of them allow you to design the all funnel easily with the different steps.
The easiest options I know myself are:
- Systeme.io: a very easy-to-use all-in-one platform where you can create different types of funnels with multiple steps, integrated with email marketing. They offer a free account that already allows you to do a lot and make money.
- New Zenler: another all-in-one platform with a dedicated marketing funnel tool. Still in beta, but full of features even with a free account. Less functional for the email marketing aspect in my opinion.
- Convertkit: an email marketing platform very popular among creators where you can even create and sell products.
- MailerLite: another email marketing tool that allows to get started for free and offers a lot. You can even create a whole website for free.
How to optimize your marketing funnel for the customer journey
Setting up a funnel is not going to do much from the start. You will certainly have to tweak different elements to make it work.
The message on the landing page, the text on the buttons (aka call-to-action or CTA), the design, or the copy of your emails. Many things that you will need to analyze and optimize.
For that, it is important to set up analytics tools, such as Google Analytics or Hotjar heatmaps, to measure how many people go from one page to the other, how many clicked a link in your emails, or if your emails are even being opened.
I don’t want you to become obsessed with the numbers because what matters are the people you are trying to help. But you shouldn’t ignore what the numbers say.
A little tip: don’t focus only on one step or aspect of the funnel and over-optimize it. It will waste your time and energy. Instead, keep in mind how each element can be improved to make the whole system better and get closer to your goals.
Hopefully, you know better how a marketing funnel works and what elements you need to add to create one.
The most important thing to remember is to understand your audience and create content that guides them in their journey to the solution of their problem (and putting their money in your pocket!).
However this is only a very simple introduction and you will want to follow me to learn more about funnels, marketing, and online business to achieve your dream lifestyle!
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