As a small child I wanted to make some money. I can remember being 7 or 8 and thinking I could wash cars. I put on what I assumed was typical car washing gear: a neon green bathing suit, Spiderman rubber boots, a plastic spaceman helmet with tinted visor, and a nice floral print pair of gardening gloves.
I got together a bucket, a sponge, washcloth, and squeegee. I unwound my parent’s garden hose, and dragged everything down to the end of our driveway. And waited… and waited… We lived on a very quiet crescent when I was growing up. Not much car traffic, great for a family with small children, not great for a budding car wash entrepreneur.
I got together a bucket, a sponge, washcloth, and squeegee. I unwound my parent’s garden hose, and dragged everything down to the end of our driveway. And waited… and waited…
We lived on a very quiet crescent when I was growing up. Not much car traffic, great for a family with small children, not great for a budding car wash entrepreneur.
I’m sure you can guess how much money that I made that day. I remember the disappointment. The cars that did turn down our street didn’t stop, not one pulled into our driveway to pay for a car wash. Instead the drivers would look at a little spaceman wearing Spiderman rubber boots waving a washcloth with his floral gardening gloves, and continue driving.
After some time I gathered all my gear, dragged it back to the house, threw it in the corner of the garage, went to my room and escaped in some videogame. I didn’t realize it at the time, but I learned a valuable lesson that day.
Let’s assume that I had the greatest car washing skills in the world, how would anyone have known?
I had a terrible location, no way of telling people what I was doing, and no way of converting traffic into customers.
I didn’t have a plan.
The lesson that I learned years later, is that you need a plan.
The sales funnel is your plan. A sales funnel is the ‘why’ behind every action you will do.
Before you pick a domain name, build a website, get an email list, or fire up your social media accounts, it’s beneficial to understand why you are doing all of these things.
What exactly is a Sales Funnel?
A sales funnel is your plan for turning traffic into customers.
It is the ideal path that you want your customers to follow as they go from visitor, to prospective customer, to paying customer. The purpose of a sales funnel is to increase the likelihood of converting visitors into customers.
It’s called a sales funnel for the same reason that you use a funnel when changing your oil – you don’t want to spill any oil, so you use the funnel. Likewise, you don’t want to “spill” any customers so you try to funnel them through your content and provide opportunities for them to purchase your products.
How does a Sales Funnel Work?
The idea is to get attention, garner interest and increase desire, and then encourage action.
The top of the funnel is the widest part of the funnel. The top of the funnel only has 1 goal – to capture as much attention as possible. Off-Site Content, Social Media, and SEO are methods for getting your brand out there.
Off-Site Content includes guest posting, posting in forums, and commenting on other blogs. These activities provide opportunities for more people to become aware that you are an authority figure in your niche.
Social Media, such as Facebook, Twitter, and Google +, are powerful sites that allow you to reach a large amount of people, while creating backlinks. Backlinks are arguably the most important aspect of SEO.
Search Engine Optimization is the art of getting your website noticed and ranking in a search engine.
The second level of the sales funnel is where the funnel begins to grow smaller; it is all about garnering interest from prospective customers and increasing the desire of your prospective customers.
This is done by showing prospective customers that you have an answer to their specific problem, in other words – you will add value. On-Site Content educates potential customers about who you are and how you can help. This level of engagement is more targeted as the people viewing your site are there for a reason. You need to be able to show your authority and offer solutions. Creating excellent content and high-value free eProducts such as cheat sheets, tutorials, and how-to guides, are excellent ways of selling yourself as a trustworthy authority figure that will solve specific problems.
The bottom of the sales funnel is all about building trust in order to encourage action. The prospective client knows about the site, understands the value that you offer, and is in a position to be converted into a paying customer. At this point potential customers have opted-in to your email subscription list; they trust you enough to give you permission to contact them via email.
How do I Create a Sales Funnel?
A sales funnel for a beginner needs to be simple. It’s of little value looking at all the shiny objects that are out there and getting distracted, overwhelmed, and frustrated; we need to figure out an easy and effective method for selling things.
It is counterproductive to create complicated sales funnels with trip wires, upsells, and downsells. Once you understand the fundamentals you can build upon them and add increasing levels of sophistication. The goal here is to teach you how to sell something on the internet.
Your sales funnel will use SEO and Social Media to increase traffic; excellent on-site content and free eProducts will show your authority and incentivize visitors to give you permission to communicate with them via email. The products that you will sell will be affiliate products reviewed and recommended in your content and in your emails.
So never forget, begin at the beginning: A sales funnel is your plan for turning traffic into customers.