Even if you haven’t purposely created a funnel, you may already have one. However, if you haven’t planned it, you may have serious gaps which will cause you to be leaving money on the table. What’s a funnel and map out what you already have. Let’s dive deeper.
What’s a Funnel?
A funnel is simply a representation of how you attract a lead, turn them into a prospect, and finally, a customer. It’s a process of gaining awareness, enticing them to sign up for your lists, and then nurturing the relationship so that they become lifelong customers. The reason we use a funnel to represent this is that it starts out wide at the top and gets smaller at the bottom, demonstrating visually the amount of content and information you’ll need to provide to get to the next level. There are many ways you can set this up, but most of them follow the same trajectory. The entire point of the funnel is to provide a process to acquire leads, teach the leads about you and your solutions, and eventually sell your product.
You can set up funnels for almost any goal you’ve set for yourself and your business. But the best way for you to understand what a funnel looks like is to think of the image of a funnel, with the widest part at the top and the narrowest at the bottom. The idea is that you must do a lot more to attract people and to get awareness than you do to encourage advocacy after the conversion.
- Awareness – At the top and widest part of the funnel is where you will plan how to attract, inform, and educate people who are basically strangers about your brand and solutions. You can use search engine optimization, blogging, social media, and other methods to accomplish this part of the funnel.
- Consideration – At this point, you’ve found some leads and how you need to qualify them with your calls to action, landing pages, personalization, and nurturing. At this point, you may want to provide white pages, comparison charts, and other information that helps them choose between you and your competition.
- Conversion – Once you’ve got someone to answer your CTA, that is considered a conversion. It may be that someone downloaded a freebie, or it may be that they become a paying customer, it depends on your conversion goal. The truth is, when you nurture your leads, you’ll get far more sales than if you don’t set up a plan.
- Loyalty and Advocacy – After the conversion is when the real job to please, excite, and motivate your audience comes into play. Those who have converted should be segmented into the type of conversion they made, whether it was to download a freebie (lead) or it was to buy something from you (customer). Once this happens, you can work on making them feel loyal to your brand, so they’ll keep buying but also so that they become brand advocates and help you make more sales.
A funnel is essentially a way to show the process of attracting your target audience, proving to them that you are offering a valuable solution for their problems, and then converting them to buy from you. Additionally, the funnel will help you delight your customers after conversion if you take the time to map out what you have, fill in, and fix the holes in your funnel. Match the products, content, and information you already have to the categories above.
Finding And Fixing The Holes In Your Funnel
Once you realize the importance of a funnel and map out what you already have, you can start to fix any holes you have in your funnel. A hole in your funnel will cause you to lose list members, lose sales, and can even cause you to send the wrong messages to the wrong audience at the wrong time.
Mapping out your funnel and developing a plan of action based on your funnel will make a massive difference in your success. Once you do this process, you’ll know what you need to plug the leaks and improve your process and system.
Mapping your funnel is all about noting your traffic sources, stages of your funnel, entry points, customer touchpoints, landing pages, and much more. As you go through this process, it’ll become a lot clearer.
- Develop Customer Personas Based on the Buying Journey – You should have a customer persona or client avatar for each type of audience member you want to attract. Base it on their intent at the time, which is determined by their place in the buying journey.
- Create a List of All Your Products and Services – All your products and services should have their own individual landing pages. Every landing page you have is known as a potential customer entry point or touchpoint. Create a spreadsheet that allows you to quickly grab the links for each of your product or service landing pages—note who the product or service is meant for and the problems it solves.
- Create a List of All Your Freebies and Lead Magnets – You will also have several freebies or lead magnets. These also need their own landing pages, which qualifies them as entry points or customer touchpoints too. Note who each of these freebies is meant for, the problems they solve, and the goal you had for creating it.
- Create a List of All Your Content Marketing Materials – Match the content you’ve created to the various categories above. Note what stage in the funnel the content is meant for and where it’s being used, such as email nurturing, blog posts, guest posts, email sequences, social media memes, and posts, or other types of content. Within the spreadsheet, add links to the content if it’s public-facing. If it’s an email autoresponder series or other content that is not public-facing, link to it in your file storage system so you can find the content for easily updating or sharing when needed.
- Use Tools to Create and Visualize Your Funnel – It’s always easier to map your funnel with a visual aid. Funnels really do need a visual mechanism to make it more clear in your mind. Thankfully, you can use software like Canva.com, or you can use software like Mindmeister.com to help you draw it out visually.
Once you have this information collected, you’ll be able to ensure that all your links work, that the content you’re using to market fits the situation, and visualize any missing components needed within your funnel to meet your goals.
Branching Out – How Can You Reach More People And Get Them Into Your Funnel
Once you’ve mapped your funnel, you should now know exactly how many entry points or customer touchpoints you offer. By mapping each of those touchpoints to the exact ideal customer you want to attract, you can start to notice where you can create even more entry points for your customers. Here are a few ideas for creating more entry points. Remember, an entry point is a way of attracting leads and turning them into prospects or customers.
For example, if you publish a blog post meant for creating awareness. Within that blog post, you offer a PDF download in exchange for an email address to a website visitor who is a stranger to you, you’ve turned that lead into a prospect that you can nurture via email, social media, and other methods by merely getting them to sign up for your email list even though they’ve never paid for anything you’ve recommended.
Likewise, the stranger may have come to the blog post, and then decided to click through to your paid product offer and purchase it. Now they’re a customer. Both are valid entry points into your funnel, but they’ll be treated differently based on how they entered your funnel.
The prospect will be nurtured and encouraged to buy a product or use a service depending on the entry point they used. At the same time, the customer will be welcomed and nurtured to encourage brand loyalty and advocacy, also based on the product they purchased, but will also be encouraged to buy more products and tell their friends about you.
Creating more entry points to your funnel will result in higher sales and more customer satisfaction. Add these entry points to your funnel to create more opportunities for your audience to get in your funnel.
- In-Content PDF Downloads – This is a great way to add an entry point to your funnel almost anyplace that you publish content, whether it’s a blog post, a syndicated article, a guest post, or a private email. An in-content download that requires an email address to download can be a simple eBook, report, article, chart, whitepaper, or other downloadable types of content that solves a problem and tickles their curiosity.
- Lead Magnets – You’re likely familiar with the handy freebie that is designed to transform your site visitor into a member of your email list. You can promote this type of freebie through a landing page, but also add it as a downloadable link within the content.
- Entry-Level Low-Cost Products – Some people don’t consider paid products to be useful as list builders, but they really are. A low-cost product can make a big difference in some types of buyers. Some people trust low-cost products more than freebies. These can be offered via landing page right on a blog post that explains the problem.
- Gated Content and Information – Anytime you add content that requires an email address to consume it, that is “gated content.” The types of information you can gate is literally any content you create if you choose. You can offer a sneak peek then require every person who wants to consume your content to sign in free. Conversely, you can select some content for the gate and leave some open.
- Sales Pages – A sales page is used to sell a visitor on a product or service. Usually, the sales page assumes that the visitor is a stranger and works toward educating and persuading the visitor to buy the item recommended. Every product you create needs a sales page. This type of page usually includes long-form copy and tons of information.
- Landing Pages – These types of pages can promote a product, a freebie, a service, or just give guidance to the visitor about the website they’re visiting and help send them in the right direction, but it also always offers a way to sign up for the newsletter either through a freebie download or simply by promoting how to find out more. You should create a new landing page, for example, for every single place you guest post or publish content so that the visitors from that place feel welcomed and heard.
- Squeeze Page – This is sort of like a sales page, but it’s concise and assumes that the person going to the page already understands why they’re going to it. It’s short and to the point and only contains information about the offer toward the prospects who visit the page.
- Opt-in Page – Every single page that we’ve mentioned here is an opt-in page. Whether it’s a sales page, webinar signs up, or other, it’s considered an opt-in page if it has a way to “opt-in” for information, services, products, or solutions.
As you create more entry points into your funnel, placement will make a big difference too. You’ll want entry points on your sidebar, in headers of posts, at the end of posts, within posts, on triggered pop ups or pop unders, and more. The form of the entry point or opt-in page will be determined by the audience you’re targeting and where they came from to find you. If you ensure that each entry point is offered at the right place within the buying journey based on the goals you’ve set, you’ll be successful.
This is a post that I’m getting together with other material for a challenge and a new Course offer. “Fine tuning your marketing”