You started a business doing something you love but you didn't expect to spend so much time or money trying to get new customers. Some days you feel more like a salesperson or marketer. You wish you could spend less time selling and more time doing.
Does this sound familiar?
We get it.
You are not alone.
Unfortunately, this is a common dilemma most business owners are faced with.
So, how can you get more customers without having to spend more time selling?
This is where an online sales funnel comes into play and I am going to break it all down for you in this post. If you are serious about gaining more customers for your business online, then trust me, it will be worth the read!
What's a sales funnel?
A sales funnel is a system set up to attract and nurture relationships with potential customers as you guide them through the awareness, consideration and purchasing stages of the buying cycle.
There are many different sales funnels and testing out which funnel works best for your business can be a long and slow process.
Luckily for you, we've done most of the work for you!
In our search for the perfect sales funnel, we have tried and tested plenty of strategies and have discovered one that consistently performs for our clients and will work for just about any type of business.
And today we are going to break it all down for you.
So let's dive straight into the five stages of our sales funnel:
- Identify and Find
- Grab Attention
- Exchange Value
- Nurture the Relationship
- Establish Loyalty
Stage 1: identify and find
If you want to grab potential customers attention online you first need to understand what motivates them and drives their purchasing decisions.
How can you do this?
Well, if you already have customers this question is easy, simply ask them. This may seem obvious but it is often overlooked.
A good way to do this is by sending an email to your current customers. You can use an email marketing provider like MailChimp to send a mass email out to your mailing list for free.
What should you ask them?
You could simply ask them one question or send them a survey using Survey Monkey.
Let them know that you have their interests in mind and that you are looking to help. Make this clear in the subject line so that you get their attention and they open the email. Some example subject lines could be 'How can I help you?' or "If you could ask me one thing". You could also offer an incentive such as a discount or exclusive access to you for responding.
The objective of the email is to find out more about your customers, especially the challenges/problems or goals/aspirations that your product or service could assist with.
Here is an example of an email that we have sent to our readers:
"But what if I don't yet have any customers?"
No need to worry! There are still plenty to discover what motivates and drives your potential customers. Here are some ways we recommend:
- Look at your competitors and what their customers are looking to achieve by purchasing their products/services. For example, if you are selling yoga classes, you could look at the Facebook page or online reviews of one of your competitors. What are their customers saying about their classes? Has it solved any problems or challenges they were facing?
- Look to other businesses that would complement your product or service. Again, why are people purchasing their products or services? Going back to our previous example, you could look at local Yoga clothing stores.
- Look at industry reports.
- Talk to potential customers.
- Pay attention to social conversations. What are people saying online? One way to do this is to go to Facebook, Twitter or Instagram and type words into the search box that are related to your product or service. What are people saying about it?
Collate all of this information and you will learn pretty quickly what motivates and drives your potential customers.
How could your business help solve these challenges or fulfil their aspirations?
You can use this information to grab their attention.
stage 2: Grab Attention
Here's how to use this information to grab their attention. It may seem counter intuitive at first but hear us out:
You are going to solve their challenge or fulfil their aspirations for free.
Yep, that's right, for FREE! (Did that get your attention?)
Now you're probably thinking...
"What could I possibly offer them for free!?"
Here's the thing, you're the industry expert (look in the mirror and repeat that phrase if you need to). You have knowledge that your customers will find useful.
Put this knowledge into an offering that helps them.
For instance, we offer access to the first 6 lessons of our flagship course, Online Unraveled, for FREE.
And the great thing is that in exchange, subscribers provide us with their email address. This allows us to send them even more helpful and valuable information for FREE. As we provide them with so much free information, we don't feel so bad throwing in a little sales pitch to our paid courses every once in a while.
Here are some other examples of what a business owner could offer in exchange for someone joining their mailing list. You will notice each of the examples below solve a problem:
A Restaurant - 10 recipes for starters/appetizers that can be prepared in 5 minutes
A Chiropractor - Information on how to correct your posture
A Yoga Studio - 20 minute yoga routines for those who want to try before they sign up
A Butcher - 10 ways to cook a turkey this Thanksgiving
A Clothing Store - 5 ways to wear a scarf this winter
See. It's not so hard.
And these free offerings don't have to be hard to put together either. You could hire a designer on Freelancer or Fiverr or you could do something up in Microsoft Word or PowerPoint. Add your logo, save it as a PDF and offer it to people in exchange for their email address. This is exchanging value and it happens during the third stage of our sales funnel.
stage 3: Exchange Value
By this stage of our sales funnel you have already identified and found your customers and gained their attention with your free offering. You now need to entice them to exchange value with you, their email address for your free offering.
Why an email address?
Because email opens up the lines of communication for you to further nurture your relationship with them in the most non-intrusive way. People don't want you calling them. They definitely don't want you showing up at their house! An email is quick, easy and can be opened whenever the recipient feels like it. If the emails become annoying they can always unsubscribe. It's just nicer that way!
Okay, back to exchanging value.
So how do you entice someone to join your mailing list in exchange for your free offering?
This all happens on a landing page.
What's a landing page you ask?
It is a standalone web page that is specifically designed for a single focused objective. In this case, capturing the visitors email address in exchange for our free offering.
For your landing page to be successful it must clearly explain what your free offering is, how website visitors will benefit from it and include a signup form to capture their email address. We also recommend removing menu navigation from your landing page so as to not distract website visitors from your free offering.
Once you have exchanged value you can them move on to nurturing the relationship as you guide your potential customers through the consideration process and into the purchase phase of the buying cycle.
stage 4: Nurture the Relationship
This is where you put those email addresses to use!
For this stage of the sales funnel you will need to sign up to an email marketing platform such as MailChimp and set up a series of automated emails that will be delivered to anyone who joins your mailing list.
The first email should include a link to download your free offering, however the goal of this email should be to form a relationship with your readers and make them aware of the products or services you offer. Include a brief explanation of how your product or service can benefit them but don't get too 'sales-pitchy' at this stage. You're simply making them aware.
The next few emails to follow can offer more valuable and FREE information, further cementing your relationship with them.
Once you have proven your value by continuing to deliver helpful information you can begin to promote your product or service further.
By this stage you have already established a relationship with your potential customers and they are more open to what you have to offer.
I know what you're thinking... this sounds like a lot of work! Not only do you need to create a free offering, but you also need to create emails with more free information!
Yes, our five stage sales funnel does take time to put together, but the beauty of it is that once it's all set up you can leave it running on cruise-control! That means you can spend less time selling and more time doing the things you love.
And who doesn't want that!
To give you a head start and save yourself from a massive headache, we're giving you access to the first 6 lessons of our flagship course for FREE.
We designed Online Unraveled as your blueprint for everything you need to know about online marketing, including:
➣ How to build a brand online that resonates with your customers. We cover everything from your website to your mailing list and social media accounts.
➣ How to create a sales funnel that attracts new customers and guides them through the decision making process to become your biggest brand ambassadors.
➣ How to get the maximum return from your advertising budget.
➣ How to automate the entire process so that you have more time for the things you want to be doing.
It's your roadmap to online success!
And we're giving you access to the first 6 lessons for FREE! Sign up here.
No credit card or commitment required so you have everything to gain and nothing to lose!
But take a seat for 2 more minutes. We still have one more stage to cover, establishing loyalty.
stage 5: ESTABLISH LOYALTY
This is our favorite stage of the sales funnel and the best part is, we have two pieces of good news for you!
Our first piece of good news is that once you’ve implemented the first 4 stages of our sales funnel, you have already set up the ground work that will establish loyalty. You didn’t just jump right in with a sales pitch. You first created a relationship with your potential customers, proved your value and built on this relationship over time until THEY WERE READY to purchase. By the time they purchase your product or service you have already gained their trust and formed a personal relationship with them.
Our second piece of good news is that there is a simple rule for maintaining this relationship and establishing loyalty. This rule was just as relevant 5,000 years ago as it is today. Unfortunately, not enough business owners pay attention to it:
Give your customers more than they give you.
They pay you 'x' and you give them 'x + y'.
This is the formula for retaining loyal customers and a successful business. Our flagship course, Online Unraveled, would be a total flop if it didn't give those who took it more value than they gave up (i.e. their hard earned money). In the online world there is no hiding from the fact that you MUST provide real value. Just as recommendations can spread quickly, so can warnings against a sub-standard product or service.
You shouldn't be asking "how can I get someone else's money?". Instead, ask "how can I improve someone else's position?".
Focus on solving an issue or problem your potential customers are facing and you will generate more leads for your business.
Focus your communications on the benefits your product or service will provide, specifically how those benefits will help your potential customers and you will convert more of these leads into paying customers.
And finally, focus on delivering a product or service that provides your customers with maximum value and you will turn these paying customers into loyal customers who will become your biggest brand ambassadors.
This formula is what forms the basis of our five stage sales funnel that will continually bring in new customers for your business online.
As mentioned above, it takes a little work to set up, but once it’s all set up it will continue to work on CRUISE-CONTROL, giving you more time to focus on the things you love most.
So what are you waiting for? Sign up now to access the fist 6 lessons of Online Unraveled for free and begin implementing our five stage sales funnel for your business.