If you’ve been trying out this business thing for a while, you’ve probably heard people use the word funnel a lot. And you probably smile and nod and pretend you know what people are talking about but inside you’re screaming:
What the heck is a funnel and why is everyone saying I need one for my business?!
No worries, I’m gonna give you the lowdown on what exactly a funnel is, how to create one, and why your service-based business can benefit from having a solid marketing funnel strategy.
The Funnel Secret: Your Customer's Journey
A marketing funnel is just a fancy term for the process you’ve set up for getting traffic onto your landing page and eventually people buying your product.
The Harvard Business Review found that companies with simple, well-designed marketing funnels are 62% more likely to close high-quality sales (hbr.org)
Funnels are a step-by-step, long-term roadmap designed to draw in new visitors and keep them coming back for more through your products/services, landing pages, and eventually lead them into the purchasing experience.
Think of your funnel as a journey for your customer. It’s how you’re nurturing them and gently directing them to your deal/offer. This isn’t a foolproof process, but a good funnel can be the difference between you getting sales and not getting any traction at all.
So, what does a good funnel look like?
An example of a successful sales funnel might look like this:
- A Viral pin on Pinterest, advertising your freebie or lead magnet.
- Users are directed from the freebie to your landing page.
- On your landing page your customers encounter pop-ups advertising the deals and exclusive offers sent out through your email list.
- The customer subscribes to the email list and receives a welcome email sequence that leads to a product or service.
- The customer buys the product/service.
To some people this might sound super intuitive. Obviously people aren’t just going to start buying your products/services out of the blue.
You need to find ways to draw people to your landing page and your products/services so that you can actually make some money.
But the tricky part is actually figuring out what to put at each phase of your funnel. Should you hit them straight away with an offer to join your email list? Or should your freebie come first?
Luckily, there are some tricks you can use to figure out exactly what funnel is going to work best for your specific needs.
The Funnel Formula
Step 1: Identify your Target Customer
You want to start with the customer. Without customer interest, you don’t have a viable product. That said, you want to know their wants and needs inside and out so that you can market to them in a way that addresses their particular pain points.
The best way to do this is to build an ideal customer avatar (ICA). Build yourself some fictional customers that embody the wants and needs of your real customers. You want to know everything about them: their age, their socio-economic status, the sort of hobbies they enjoy, where they hang out etc.
Where do you get this info?
From the real people you want to attract. Dive deep into some Facebook groups and do some market research to identify the general demographics of your audience, or your desired audience.
Step 2: Get Clear on their Pain Points
What are the niche problems they have and how do you solve that problem. What is a problem they have but do not want and what is a result they want but do not have?
By asking yourself these questions when thinking about your offer, you can clearly understand what you client needs on their journey.
You will also want to dig into their external (tangible) pain points like, they aren’t seeing the engagement they want on their facebook posts or they get anxious being on video.
Then get clear on how those external problems make them feel (their internal problems). These may be that they feel like a fraud because they aren’t getting the traffic. Or they are embarrassed and feel silly on camera.
If you can see how your customer might approach their problem, then you can build offers and a funnel that will lead your ideal customers straight to the buy button.
Step 3: Reverse Engineer the Funnel
Now that you know who you’re marketing to, you’ve got to figure out what exactly you’re trying to get them to do.
In other words: What do you want the end result of this funnel to be?
Most of the time the answer is going to be, “Buy my thing!”
Working backwards from your ultimate goal up to the very first phase of your funnel is the best way to make sure there are no holes in your formula. If you can clearly see the end goal at every step of your funnel, you know that you’ve created something that’s going to get you the result -- or revenue -- that you want.
Step 4: Lay Out Every Stage of the Funnel
While you’re reverse engineering your funnel from result to first encounter, you want to make sure you’re also hitting the major benchmarks of each step.
Every phase of your funnel should ideally do something different and move your customers along in their customer journey getting to know you, overcoming objections and seeing that you have the solution to their problems.
Your customer phases should look something like this:
The very first step of your funnel & is all about attracting new prospects and creating an impactful first impression.
This can be done through a blog post, social post, Pinterest Pin or general ad that attracts a viewer’s attention. The goal is supposed to create awareness for your products/services.
You can do this by creating informative content that addresses problems or questions your audience might not even be aware that they have.
- Identify the problem...then tell em' how to solve that pain point through your OFFER: Use blog posts, SM posts, FB or IG ads, social stories using engagement tools, podcasts, pins, paid search
- Position yourself as the solution to their problems, create an: Educational email, bunk a myth, create a lead magnet, educational social media stories with a hook & IG and FB lives: teach them something SIMPLE
At the end of your blog / social post, Pinterest Pin or ad you want to redirect the people to your landing page or where they can find more info on your products/services. Of course, they’re not just going to click on links without a reason.
Include your promise, lead magnet or incentive that creates enough interest for the viewer to want to click through or sign up for your freebie on your blog post page.
While they're not quite ready to whip out their credit card, they're looking for trustworthy sources for information about a product or service they have in mind.
Not sure what to create? Click here to learn how to create a compelling lead magnet!
When they see the value your freebie has to offer, they will give you their email address in exchange for your lead magnet. They will then be on your email list. Click here to learn how to create a compelling email sequence!
After the lead magnet expires or they work all the way through it, you want to extend a your paid offer, an invitation, discount, etc. so they can keep coming back to get more help with their business.
This puts the ball in their court and forces them to come to a decision: will I invest in this or not?
Next, Nurture your new lead in an email sequence, create a similar feeling in social media and content strategy, webinar, masterclass, demo video, case studies etc.
You want people to start getting to know you and your products a little better.
This is when you want to extend an invitation to your paid offer, product or service. Your tripwire (aka low ticket offer) can give them a solution to what they were searching for.
Make it short and easy to interact with and solve one of their problems to demonstrate that your stuff actually works and then leads them to realizing they want more.
As the customer begins to interact more with your business they will discover ways that you can help solve their problems through your compelling content and will begin to consider buying your product/service. Not quite sure on your product suite and what this progression looks like? Click to schedule a little coffee chat where we can dive into your services and what a high-ticket offer and funnel could look like for you!
The final step is that they will actually take action and hit that purchase button. This is when your prospect becomes a customer.
They saw the value in your content and emails and now are ready to invest with you. They see you as the solution to their problems.
Here you want to be sure that you are gathering testimonials so you can use them in the following places:
- social proof
- sales copy
- free trial
- live demo
- Landing page
Of course you want to under promise, and overdeliver, ensuring that this customer becomes a long term client rather than just a one time transaction.
Within your funnel you will want to tag them with what they purchased so you can continue to serve them with content that interests them.
Now that they are an avid fan of all you do and you have continued to nurture them in their customer journey you can turn them into a loyal customer.
Loyalty is all about having that person become your word of mouth advocate.
Get your free fill-in-the-blank funnel workbook below!
Learn How to Juggle Multiple Funnels within your Email Service Provider
Now you’ve got everything you need to create the perfect sales funnel for your product.
But you’re not done just yet. Why not? Because you actually want to have multiple funnels running at the same time.
That’s right. Even if your funnel is foolproof and always gets customers, you don’t want to make that your end all be all.
You should have a separate funnel for every product or service that you’re offering. Some funnels will be almost identical, with only a change in wording to fit each individual product/service.
Others might look vastly different. Some funnels might call for a freebie or lead magnet, some might lead to an email list or text chain. There are tons of different options for what your funnels can look like so don’t think that one size will always fit all.
Although your funnels won’t all be the same, you’ll often run several at the same time. One for your Masterclass, another for your new product launch, another for the next session of your membership program.
Juggling all those different pieces can be tricky, so careful planning and scheduling are absolutely key.