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Choosing the right sales funnel

How to choose the right funnel for best results

What is the best sales funnel to use? 

 

Seriously, I wish I had a shiny black Lamborghini for every time I’ve had that question. It’s a great question, and genuinely, if it was that easy we’d all have a fleet of Lambo’s, but it’s way more complex than that. Stick around, I’ll explain. 

But first, what is a sales funnel? All the gurus tell you to have one, other business owners brag about how awesome theirs is, and agencies scare you into believing if you don’t have one, you’ll go broke.  

The reality is that just about every business has a funnel (yep, even you) whether you realize it or not. You might not call it a funnel, but you have one.  

In its simplest form, it’s a process of taking someone from being a prospect, to being a client, a regular client, and hopefully an advocate for your business. Back in the day, old people like me would pick up the phone and make a cold call, or meet someone at a networking event. We’d have a chat, get a business card, follow up with a call or email, do a proposal, follow up, like, a million times and finally, we’d close a deal or we’d be told to go away. People who bought from us went onto a regular call schedule and we’d ask them for referrals. People who didn’t buy would still get a call every few months to see how they were going and if anything had changed. Some eventually bought, and some didn’t.  

That was our sales funnel and pretty much everyone used the same process 

Fast forward and technology, and a better understanding of buyer behaviors, has opened up the way for a myriad of different funnels. It hasn’t just allowed us to 10x our sales, it’s 10x’d our confusion in choosing the right funnel too. 

So what is the right one? Well, it’s a bit of a ‘mix and match’ scenario. Let’s look at the different elements of a funnel, and then how to put them together. 

Getting visible

This is the first part of the funnel. It makes people aware that you exist, and that you’re capable of fixing whatever problem they have. You can post on your social media profiles, use paid ads on social media and search engines like Google and try to get yourself published on relevant websites or in print. Being invited to other people’s podcasts is also a great way to raise awareness and become more visible. The aim here isn’t to get people to do anything other than consume your content. Read your blog, your post update, or listen to your podcast.  

 

Building an audience.

This is often where your free offer comes in. It’s a way of starting to really engage people. This can work hand in hand with the visibility step in your funnel. If you have a podcast you can do posts and run ads that send people to your podcast episode. You might have an e-book or really useful PDF checklist or process people can download in return for their email address. Maybe you could run a webinar or a 3, 4 or 5-day challenge that people sign up for. Maybe a free module of a course you’re selling or a free gift with purchase, giveaway competition, or discount voucher if you’re an e-commerce brand. Whatever you choose, it’s a free offer in return for someone joining a list or audience so you can nurture them. Just because it’s free doesn’t mean you can cut corners. It’s gotta be valuable, and it needs to demonstrate clearly there’s a real solution to the problem your customer has. Ideally, it should highlight something you do differently that’s the secret sauce they’ve been missing until now, and it should highlight the gap in the skills they’ll need to actually make it all work. And that’s where you come in with your paid offer.  

 

Nurturing your leads.

Some of your leads will be ready to buy from you right away, and some will need more time. This part of the funnel often gets overlooked and it’s where you can make the most gains. You need to regularly keep in touch with your leads, especially the ones who haven’t bought from you. Email is the most common, easiest, and most effective way, as long as your content is good. Like your free offer, it should be designed to demonstrate that a solution exists to your prospect’s problem, that you have the missing ingredient that stopped them from succeeding before, and that there are skills they’re missing if they want to succeed, that your paid offer can provide. SMS, Facebook groups, Messenger, and free podcasts are other great ways to stay in touch and to keep nurturing your leads.  

 

Converting your leads.

This is where shit gets real. If your free offer and your nurturing did their jobs, this bit should be relatively easy. If your prospect now believes there is a genuine solution to the problem they have, and you’ve got something special to help get them there, when you make your offer they’ll be way more likely to accept it. How should you make your paid offer? You could do that on a free webinar, or you could do it using a Video Sales Letter that you send out in an email, you could have a sales page with a host of testimonials on it, or you could do it on a live call. Sell By Chat is incredibly effective and face-to-face meetings still have a place, especially for local businesses. There isn’t one BEST option, only the one that’s best for you. 

OK, so how do you choose? There are many things to consider… 

 

Your client persona.

Nope, no shortcuts and no magic bullets. There’s no such thing. If you haven’t done your client persona by now, stop here and go do it. It’s the foundational piece of your marketing strategy. Yep, we’ve got a podcast for that. Check it out here 

Based on this you can decide if your ideal client is more likely to show up for a webinar, listen to a podcast, read a blog or download a PDF. It depends on things like how busy they are, how they like to consume content, and how likely they are to engage with others or shy away from people.   

 

Your strengths and weaknesses.

Don’t invite people to a free webinar if you know you’re not comfortable speaking live, or making a sales pitch. Don’t create an e-book if you know you can’t write compelling copy (unless you pay someone to do it for you). Don’t offer a free challenge if you know you don’t have the time to create it properly or to show up live in your Facebook groups. Choose a conversion tool that plays to your strengths.  

 

The value of your product or service.

If you’re selling a service that costs more than a few hundred dollars you’re unlikely to convert people simply using a free e-book or sales page, you’ll need to add in a specific conversion tool like a challenge or webinar. It’s not impossible, but it’s harder. If you’re selling a low-cost e-commerce product, don’t create a long complex sales funnel or it’s not going to be profitable. The tool you choose may be different depending if you’re targeting B2B or B2C markets, or at least the way you present it will be different. Where your prospects are located will make a difference. For example, a live webinar might not work if you’re in vastly different time zones.  

 

So you can see there is a stack of factors that will have an impact on how you set up your funnel. And there is no right or wrong answer. You need to be prepared for the fact your first (and second, maybe third and fourth) attempts won’t work. That’s OK and completely normal. It’s not impossible to get it right first go, but it’s unusual. The key is to monitor what works and what doesn’t and make changes quickly. We have a range of metrics we use to measure the effectiveness of every step of the funnel so we can change visibility ads, audience-building ads, nurturing sequences, and conversion tools to optimize campaigns in the shortest time.  

The key is to monitor, measure and keep testing new things until you get it right.  

In the next step, we’ll look at how to create offers at each stage of the funnel. But that’s for another blog next week…