Using a sales funnel in your online business can be the biggest and most important change in your business. How to go from an exhausting online business to a profitable online business. Think for a second about your competition. How many may be offering the same products and services as you? 10, 20… 100? You will be tired of reading about personal branding and strategies to differentiate yourself, but do you know the truth? The only thing that will differentiate you from the rest of your sector is to provide a 100% personalized experience to the people who enter your blog. What your readers want is for you to give them what interests them.
What is the sales funnel model?
The term sales funnel is used in marketing to describe all the stages that a person goes through from when they meet us until they buy from us. You will also see that it can be called a conversion funnel or sales funnel. The metaphor is simple. If you are applying the correct strategy to gain visibility, over time, thousands of people will begin to reach your blog every day. Does that mean everyone is going to buy from you? I wish, but obviously not. What will happen is the following:
- Of all the visits you receive, only some will become subscribers (have you created a Lead Magnet and a Squeeze Page so that no one leaves without giving you their email?).
- Only some of your subscribers will interact with your content regularly (you need, yes or yes, an autoresponder system).
- And of the latter, there will be a part that will buy your products or services (only if you have chosen a winning info product).
You will see it very clearly in this image.
On the left, you can see how your entire audience reaches the web through the different input channels. But of all those people, only a few will become subscribers. Here is already a great first filter. And of all those readers who have become subscribers, not all of them will become interested in your products. The day may come when they decide that they are no longer interested in you or that what you offer them is no longer attractive to them. Again, in this process of reaching the sale, we will experience a filter. In the end, of all those who started, only a small percentage will make it to the time of sale. The sales funnel is the secret to making money blogging. Without a sales funnel, your blog has no backbone. And you have the feeling of dragging yourself with your blog, instead of moving forward and changing lives.
What is the use of creating a sales funnel?
Although I have used the verb create, the reality is that what you are going to do is optimize the one you already have. Because yes, my friend, believe it or not, you already have a funnel. From the moment you sell products and services you already have a sales funnel. It will not be worked or optimized, but a funnel already exists. I give you examples:
1. If you sell services
You are a designer and you have a service to create company logos. A person searches Google for “logo designers” and finds your website among the results. Enter, review your portfolio, see the testimonials of your clients and decide to write to ask about your service. You answer him, explain how you work and what his rates are. The client, reading your email, likes your approach and decides to hire you.
2. If you sell info products
You are a programmer and you have created an ebook on how to optimize WordPress to the maximum so that the loading speed is minimal. A blogger who just hit the internet is looking for information on the best plugins to jump-start his project. After browsing for a while, he finds your website and sees that you have a lead magnet talking about just that. He subscribes and, in addition to reading your ebook, he discovers that your content is very good. He then decides that you are a person worth reading regularly. After a month he discovers that you have put a special page on your blog offering your info product. Since he knows that his blog is very slow and your lead magnet was very good, he decides to buy. The client has gone through different stages before coming to buy from you. And that is nothing but a funnel.
What is the goal of optimizing a sales funnel?
Our challenge is to get the maximum number of people to reach the end, of the sale. And for this, we will use a segmentation strategy that will filter the people who enter our blog according to their interests and needs. Sounds tough, right? Classify each person according to their interests and create a specialized content network for each one. Well, it is not too much. In fact, the magic of sales funnels is that we can automate them thanks to autoresponders. When we enter the stages of the sales funnels, you will see what types of content you should send to each person according to their needs and at the time they are found… Do not forget that everything is based on offering a personalized experience. It is about adding value to the subscriber at the same time that we teach them that our products are what they need to be able to solve their problems. And all in a natural and automated way.
Sales Funnel Stages
The sales funnel is based on one idea: to fully personalize the person’s experience so that we can show them that our products and services are what they need. To achieve this, what we will do is hyper-segment our list of subscribers to divide people by their interests. You will only send interesting content and no one will get bored reading about other topics. In the process of setting up the funnel, you cannot forget about your client. You always have to be able to put yourself in his shoes and see with his eyes what his experience with you is like. When I wrote the post about Robert Cialdini’s persuasion techniques, I told you that understanding how a person thinks helps us predict how they might react to certain situations. Only if you understand what the client wants can you offer that something. That is why the sales funnel can and should be seen from the customer’s point of view. The buyer’s journey is nothing more than the evolution of the buyer’s mentality from the moment he discovers that he has a need until he buys.
Like the funnel has 3 phases:
- Phase 1 – Discovery ( awareness ): this phase could be summed up with the question “ how can I increase my sales?”. The client is looking for options but has not yet found an answer. He is scouring the internet looking for solutions.
- Phase 2 – Consideration ( consideration ): the question now would be “is this what I need?” . The person has found a product or service that they think can solve their problem. And how do you verify such a doubt? with more specific information. This time, your goal is to verify if it really is “that” you need.
- Phase 3 – Decision ( decision ): the question becomes more and more concrete and is “do I buy or not what this person offers me?” . The moment of truth has arrived and the customer needs the definitive information that will make him buy.
If you understand what stage each customer is in, it will be easier for you to offer them what they need to keep them moving towards the purchase. The whole process is based on resolving your possible doubts and insecurities. And now yes, we enter the stages of the conversion funnel.
1. Top of the Funnel (TOFU)
The first phase describes the widest stage of the funnel and the moment when there are more people. How to translate this to your blog? You have to link this stage of the funnel with the visits that come to your blog. Perhaps you have just been found by Google, by social networks, or because someone recommended your blog to another person. It doesn’t matter what channel they entered, the important thing now is that you already have them inside your blog.
What is the challenge of this phase?
At this moment you have a visit, a number that will increase Google Analytics. Your goal now is to give that person a name and be able to start a conversation with them. And to achieve this you have to get them to subscribe to your blog. I’m always pestering you with the idea that the subscriber list is the No. 1 asset of your business and the reason is this. Getting traffic is very important, but if you don’t convert those visits into subscribers, your sales funnel will be broken. There will be no sale. In order to sell, you need to establish a conversation with that reader, further analyze their needs and gain their trust. Without this, it is impossible for you to personalize your experience.
How do we convert visitors into subscribers?
The best-known strategy that I have already mentioned is to offer a Lead Magnet or free gift in exchange for the person subscribing. But there are many more options:
- Organizar webinars.
- Create a “get started today” page and direct the person to other resources we offer.
- Implement Content Upgrades in your content.
- Use specialized conversion plugins such as Thrive Leads.
- Redirect your social networks to a Squeeze Page where you offer a gift.
- Create contests on social networks.
As you can see, there are many strategies. Go testing which are the ones that work best with your community, but does not forget that if you do not attract subscribers there is no funnel that is worth it.
2. Middle of the funnel (MOFU)
We have descended a little more in the funnel and we arrived at the second phase. Now comes a very important point that many overlook: what to do with subscribers? We all know how important it is to capture leads, but very few bloggers really know what to do with them. The reality is that most only send newsletters with reminders that they have published a new post. And to give you an idea, using email marketing for just that means wasting 90% of the potential of this strategy. The potential is in combining the sales funnel with the autoresponder. You just need to create it once and then it will work automatically. In this phase, email marketing has to help us at the time in 2 moments: lead scoring and lead nurturing.
The literal translation is “measuring the lead” and it helps us very well to understand what this stage is. Now, remember the phases of the buyer’s journey. Depending on the stage in which the client was, he was closer or not to the sale. This distance or closeness is also called lead temperature.
- Cold leads: they are in the first phase and far from the purchase. You have to move them through the funnel.
- Hot leads: they already know what they need, they just need the last push.
But as in everything, there are no whites or blacks and we could talk about “warm leads” or “very hot leads”. I give you examples:
- Very hot lead: you receive an email from a person who wants to hire you for the service you offer. This potential customer already writes to you with a clear purchase intention. If your explanation of how you approach the work and your price convinces him, he will end up hiring you.
- Tempered Lead: This could be a person who signed up for your list a month ago, opens all your emails, but clicks on content on different topics. This person is interested in you but is still collecting information. You don’t know yet what his main need of him.
What lead scoring does is precisely this, measure the temperature of the lead. Depending on whether it is “cold” or “hot”, we will send different types of proposals to your inbox. If it’s a colder lead, you’ll need to give them more information about the benefits of dealing with the problem they’re having. On the other hand, if you are the “hottest lead”, we will already offer you other types of possibilities such as a free trial of our product or a half-hour Skype session. How are leads measured? There is very advanced specific software for this function, such as Active Campaign, and other more accessible (and with fewer functions) such as MailerLite. You can also see it yourself: the key is in the interaction that the subscriber makes with our content. There will be people you see who download your lead magnet and then do not open any of your emails. This would be a “frozen lead” because it will be very difficult to move it forward through the funnel. However, you will see that others do open your emails and click on some of the links. This interaction is proof that this person is interested in your content and products. Here we do have options to “put some temperature on it”.
The verb “to nurture” means in English to feed and raise. This term refers to “nurturing or feeding” our leads with more content so that they continue to descend through the conversion funnel. The goal is to continue adding value in a more specific way. If we continue with the comparison with the temperature, we can say that we are going to “warm up” our subscribers. Let’s see what the process would be like. According to the measurement that we have made of the lead, we will determine what types of content we will send them. For example:
- Cold lead: the ideal is to send them more generic content and see which ones interest them the most. You measure that based on which links you click or don’t click. Do not forget that the key is to only send content that interests you.
- Hot lead: they only click on the contents of a very specific topic, which indicates that their need is clearer. In this case, you already have to send more specific and detailed content. For example, deeper guides or content with more statistics. This information will already be more related to our products and services so that they can see that we have the capacity to meet their needs.
With this type of content, you not only have to gain the trust of the subscriber, but you also have to demonstrate everything you know and are capable of doing. The goal is for the subscriber to see more and more clear that you are the solution to their problems.
3. Bottom of the funnel (BOFU)
And now yes, it is the moment of truth, the moment of sale. The contents are no longer informative and have a more hard-selling character. For example, you can show your success stories or offer more personalized sessions where they see your product or service more clearly. And as you may have imagined, it’s time to finish the job. For that last push, you have to write a sales email or a landing page. To do this, focus on these 3 questions:
- Benefits vs. features: don’t talk about how good you are, about the experience you have or if your info product is designed in such or such a way. That doesn’t matter to anyone. You have to focus on convincing the person of how you can improve their life.
- No objections: put yourself back in the skin of your client. What questions can be asked about your product? What doubts can prevent you from buying? In that landing or email, you must answer all these questions.
- Clarity: make it clear what the process is going to be. Whether it is a service or a product, the person has to know how everything is going to be developed or how the product is going to be received.
If you want to learn more about how to write that sales email or that landing page, I recommend that you read these 2 posts: The bottom of the funnel is the last phase of the funnel, but now I ask you a question: do you think that everything ends here? No, my friend. We’re not done yet.
The evangelization of the client
After the purchase, you still have something very important: customer loyalty. A person who has bought or contracted a product or service and has been satisfied is a potential evangelizer of your brand. In the midst of the digital revolution and in a world planned for neo-entrepreneurs to dominate, there is still an unstoppable offline sales strategy: word of mouth. A person who has already bought from you is your potential best customer and can recommend you to others. And that means receiving “very, very hot leads.”
The 4 pages to make a sales funnel
These are the 4 pages you need to create a sales funnel.
1. Squeeze page
Capture emails and convert visits into subscribers. Visitors are the most dangerous shiny object of all. I know businesses that, with 1 million visits, do not generate half as much income as others with 100 visits a day. Why? Because to make money with a blog the secret is not in the visits, but in the subscribers (and what you do with them). For this reason, the squeeze page is where it all begins.
This page is really simple and only has 4 elements: title, photo or mock-up, benefits, and download button + pop-up. Graphically, the ideal squeeze page would be something like this: I will give you some tips for each of the sections of this squeeze page:
- Title: use a question, attack a pain point of your ideal client or present a concrete and quick benefit. The success of your squeeze largely depends on this title. Remember to connect it 100% with the text of your ads if you generate traffic with Facebook Ads, for example.
- Benefits: There is a big difference between saying that you are giving away a 10-page ebook on online business (feature) and saying that you are going to explain how to sell online even if you hate selling (benefit). Think of the benefits, at least 3, and write them in those 3 scripts. If you are not inspired, think that you are always trying to get more time, more money, or more happiness.
- Image: the image can be a representative image of the lead magnet, gift, or training (I recommend Canva + My eCover Maker to create it) or a photo of yourself, as is the case of my squeeze page.
- Button + pop-up: in the button, instead of putting something typical like “Download the ebook”, “Join the training” or other things like these, it represents the benefit of the download. In my case, it is “we are going to sell more”, which is something much more desirable than “sign up for training”. Afterward, the pop-up you just have to connect it with your preferred email marketing tool (for example, Active Campaign).
There is a 5th element that does not appear in this graph and that I have not mentioned, but which is the basis of the success or failure of the page: the gift, hook or lead magnet. It can be from an ebook, checklist, video, training, or challenge to a free consultancy. You choose. I won’t dwell too much on that topic, as there is an extensive guide on how to choose the perfect lead magnet. Come on, there is no more, this is the famous squeeze page and the base of your funnel.
2. the Sales page
Solve doubts, present benefits, and convert subscribers into customers. If you want to sell and have a profitable business, you need a sales page. It’s a box, right? A page where you explain what you solve with your product or service, how you do it, who it is for, and how to contract it. At least, at a minimum, the page should have that information. If you want examples, here are a few sales pages:
On this page I recommend you include:
- 90% transformation and 10% format: do not sell the format. Don’t sell the ebook, PDF, 30 videos, 43 hours of content, or whatever. Sell the transformation and write 90% of the page around it. Put a point A (bad start) and a point B (desirable goal) and describe how your product gets from A to B. Easy writing.
- Testimonials and social proof: show that your product or service works and that the buyer is not the first to do so. Testimonials with images and videos work very well. Your clients will be happy to give you feedback if you’ve done a good job for them. And if it is a new product, anticipate it beforehand and look for beta testers!
- Why you should be trusted: Much of the success or failure of the page will depend on whether the potential buyer trusts (or not) you. Explain a little about your history, why you have created this, what your experience is and what you have achieved with what you teach or offer. Obviously, the more powerful your personal brand is, the easier it will be for you to get sales.
- Video (if possible): if possible and if you dare, put a video at the top of the page saying out loud everything that is on it. There are people who prefer watching videos to reading.
- Call to action: do not close the page without a call to action (sale). Surround this button with guarantee elements like testimonials, 14 or 28-day guarantees, payment method logos, etc.
Do not complicate yourself with the design. Don’t get lost in details either, seek to hire a copywriter without even trying before, or block yourself because “the page is not perfect”. Start with something. You will improve it.
3. Purchase the checkout page
Forget bank transfers. If someone clicks on the buy button… it will have to go somewhere, right? You need a page so that person can buy and, if you can customize it, all the better.
It is a simple page where you only need:
- Payment form: this is a form in which they can enter their data to pay. My page is made with more advanced software, but you can work with SendOwl to simplify the process.
- Social proof: If you can edit this page, include some testimonials next to the form. In my case, you have the testimony of Antonio G.
There are plenty of other things you can do on this page, but don’t get too complicated to get started. The important thing is that they can pay automatically without you having to receive transfer notices, send data, and so on. And, if you want the perfect combo, integrate your payment method with Stripe and Quaderno to automate everything. It will help you sell both digital products and services.
4. Thank you page or thank you page
It gives directions and a route to follow. To finish this little funnel you just need to thank and welcome your buyers. In other words, you need the famous thank you page after buying a product. The purpose of this page is to land the customer, explain what he has to do next, how to download the product, data to fill in for a service, etc.
Here you could put the URL to download the info product if it is in digital format. Perhaps you could explain how the shipping works, in case it was a physical product that is sent home. Or also explain how to register for your course, access the first lessons, etc. It is the onboarding of the client and it is very important to avoid returns. It would also be interesting to create a page of this type right after the subscription on the squeeze page to improve the unconfirmed rate and avoid problems with double opt-in.
What stops you from creating a sales funnel?
It’s that easy. I promise you that, at the page level, there is no more, nor do you need a greater complexity. Yes, later you can add upsells and make the funnel more complex. But, initially, this is MORE than enough. And best of all, to feed this funnel you do NOT need posts if you have Facebook Ads as an ally. At most, to get from the squeeze page to the sales page, you only need about 10-15 emails. Does it seem like a lot to you? Not me, really. You don’t need to be a copywriter, editor, or journalist to sell online and work from home. You just need to start.
When are you going to create your 4-page funnel and start selling at once?