I’ll be honest, I hate the word “funnel” it’s so overused and over-hyped, and oh-my-goodness, if I get one more Facebook ad about some secret step-by-step funnel that will make me a gazillion dollars in 2 weeks, I might crack! Everyone has a funnel that can solve all your problems and bring you a truckload of customers. As to whether or not those work, well, that’s a different blog post. Today I want to get back to the basics of marketing funnels. No flashy language, no sensational stats and promises…just building a strategy for your business that is as practical as it is effective.
So what is a marketing funnel?
A marketing funnel is simply the process you take your potential leads and customers through, from stranger to paying customer. It’s the starting point, middle steps and acquisition. If you hate the word funnel (which I do), you could use “map” or “process”. It’s basically laying it all out and seeing how it all first together. So how do you make one for your business?
PREP: 5 Questions to Ask Before You Build Your Funnel
Before you start building out your funnel, you NEED to know the answers to the following questions, or at least have a good idea! Take time to write down your answers before you move on to the next step.
- Who is your current audience?
- Where do your customers come from? List the top 3 places.
- Where does your website traffic come from?
- What marketing has worked for you in the past?
- How much can you pay per lead?
How to Build a Marketing Funnel for your Business
This is the top of the funnel, the one where you are throwing out the largest net. Social media, content marketing, advertising and publicity all fall into this category. The goal here is just for people to know about you! This is the stage where you are trying to stand out from the noise and be someone that your audience remembers and wants to hear more from.
- Figure out how you can attract the largest audience. What can you put out there that will help you attract people who would be interested in your business? This could be a blog, a regular live feed, a podcast or a killer Instagram account. What value can you offer someone who is a potential lead?
- Hone in on your key strengths. You need to know your strengths if you are going to be able to market effectively. What do you have to offer that your competition doesn’t? What problems can you solve for your customers?
People buy from those that they know, like and trust. That’s the goal of the “relationship” part of the funnel, you want to take that ice-cold lead and get them warmed up. You do this through consistency on social media, nurturing your email list, blogging and just generally staying front of mind for your potential customers.
- Create a content strategy. What type of content can you commit to creating regularly that will showcase your key strengths? This could be tips, quotes, inspiration or just your personality! Could you start a blog, a podcast, YouTube Channel, etc? Creating consistent content is key to building relationships online.
- Develop a social media schedule. Whatever content you put out needs to be blasted across social media. So this is where you need to know what platforms you should be using and have a plan for staying present and consistent.
- Create a free opt-in. This is the best way to turn your followers into active leads. Get their email address by creating a freebie or opt-in that will incentivize them to give their email address to you.
- Nurture leads. Customers don’t usually buy right away, so you need to nurture your leads. Make sure you have a good follow-up email sequence (for after they sign up for your opt-in). Continue to highlight your strengths in your marketing.
This is the step we’re working so hard to get to, but unless the other two stages are in place it’s VERY hard to get here. We know that a person has to see something 7 times before they are ready to buy, so after you’ve worked hard to build a relationship, you are finally in a place that you can sell to them! This is where good sales processes, calls-to-action and clear branding come into play.
- Make sure your website is selling you! When someone clicks on your website they are showing an active interest in what you are selling. Be sure your website is selling for you. Can they get all the information they need in about 30 seconds? Because that’s about how much time you have before they are moving on! Audit your website’s imagery, copywriting and flow.
- Create Calls-to-Action via email. At the end of your email sequence, you want to have at least one strong call-to-action with some incentive. Maybe you offer them a discount for a couple days or something extra.
- Be available. Make sure they can get their questions answered easily by being available to customers looking to pull the trigger.
- Follow Up. If someone shows a strong interest in what you are selling, you need to be able to follow-up if they drop off the sales sequence. If you sell a product, you could have an “abandon cart” email that goes out after 24 hours, or a “just checking in email” after a couple of days if they haven’t responded to your proposal.
- Put a human on it. I am all about automation and web selling, but sometimes you need a person to finish the deal. Maybe you’re business needs to set up a system that if a lead gets to a certain stage they are called or emailed by a real person. Make sure these communications are personal and not spammy!
- Stay connected with past customers. If they bought from you once, they are likely to do it again. So be sure you have a way to stay connected with your past customers and clients. Add them to a special email list, offer them something special and nurture them by taking care of them!
Building a funnel doesn’t need to be complicated, so hopefully, this post has helped you fill in some of the blanks about what a true marketing funnel needs to be. The goal is to document and optimize each step in your customer journey so you can scale it for growth.
Want more information about how to create a sales funnel? I would love to chat!