A successful online sales funnel has several parts.
The best way to plan out your sales funnel, as with building most things, is to start from the bottom up.
The bottom of a sales funnel, the foundation, is your website.
This is where most businesses start establishing their legitimacy.
Let’s face it, without a website most people won’t take your business seriously.
The worst part is that many business owners treat their website like an online business card instead of a money making lead machine.
Your website should deliver like your best salesperson.
When someone comes to your website, it’s your chance to build authority by educating them & convincing them that you’re the one they’re looking for.
It has to SELL THEM! Because let’s face it, if you don’t convince them here to either pick up the phone or join your mailing list, you’ve lost the sale to a competitor.
If they pick up the phone & call, or fill out a lead form, GREAT!
If they join the mailing list, you’re halfway there.
That means they have an interest and entered into your sales funnel.
The big point is, your website has to be razor sharp to convert those precious leads to sales.
Nothings sucks worse than paying money to send traffic to a website that’s not convincing, or professional, enough to convert that precious traffic into a hot lead or sale.
A lead is a lead. A visitor to your website is as much a lead as someone that walks through the door.
Don’t blow the opportunity by having an ugly or broken website.
Unfortunately, cheap websites fail to achieve these goals because most of the time they won’t be sales focused with good call-to-actions or be setup with Analytics & Conversion Tracking, which does nothing to improve your funnel.
So if your cheap website isn’t delivering the leads you hoped for, this may be why.
Just remember, your website should always be growing… just like your business because content is KING of building authority with search engines & prospects.
Search Engine Optimization
Some people may certainly disagree with what I am about to say.
Some may even try to convince you that it isn’t true… so they can sell you something.
Search engine optimization is not an overnight thing.
For most industries it requires a long term content strategy.
Yes, there’s a whole list of things that need to be done that don’t even have to do with your website and most of those things can be done pretty quick.
However, like I said before, content is KING of search engine optimization.
In other words, there has to be content to optimize in the first place.
I hate to break it to you, but you are NOT going to rise to the top of Google with a 3 page website.
Google is looking for sites with authority on a topic or search term.
Authority is pretty much equivalent to the number of pages.
Authority equals knowledge about a topic or search term.
It means that you could ramble on for days about the topic.
Of course in SEO there’s inbound links, anchor links, tags, meta tags, etc, but without content to optimize those are just words… an afterthought.
So, in short, get started writing it down… get it out there.
Inform & educate your online prospect the exact same way you would someone on the phone or a walk in.
All that incredibly, informative content that you created for your blog or landing pages will be used as fuel for your social media profiles & campaigns… it all ties together… it’s not just fluff!
Social Media Profiles & Business Pages
Once you have legitimized your business with a website, you will want social profiles, or a business page, on social networks that fit your advertising strategy.
Obviously, these add to your web presence & also provide a familiar platform to engage users with your content.
The content you share on these platforms should do more to help educate your prospect rather than try to sell them immediately.
This is called the 80/20 rule.
80% helpful tips & information, 20% sales pitch for specials etc.
This is the general formula that works on the internet.
You don’t want to come off pushy or like you’re ALWAYS trolling for sales.
Just try to be useful & informative and those leads will funnel right to your website.
Social Media Campaigns
In order to get more reach with your social posts, you have to promote those incredibly informative posts.
This allows you to reach farther, get more followers… more leads.
What’s great about social media campaigns is that you can target prospects by their Likes, Interests, Groups they belong to.
This is a huge advantage over the ‘spray & pray’ approach of search engine PPC.
The cost-per-lead is much less than search engine PPC and the ads get viewed without the person actually searching for it.
This is the fastest approach to getting pre-qualified leads into your sales funnel.
Search Engine PPC Campaigns
Search engine pay-per-click campaigns are another way to get leads into your sales funnel… if you have the budget.
Paying for raw leads from the search engines can be expensive.
You’re bidding for the impressions… to show up for a specific search term.
Depending on which industry you’re in, this can really drain an advertising budget fast.
Keep in mind, right now we’re talking about paying for raw leads from the search engine, however, there’s a different type of search engine PPC campaign that yields much better results for the money.
That type of campaign is called Re-Targeting.
You’ve probably experienced this yourself.
You visited a website and after that, everywhere you went, you saw that website’s ads EVERYWHERE.
Sometimes even 2 or 3 times on the same page?
When you visited that website you got a cookie in your browser cache.
Now everywhere you go with Google Ad Network banners on it shows ads for that site you visited.
The counterpart to Google Ads is their ad network where website owners get paid-per-click to have Google’s ad network banners on their website.
This re-targeting approach is obviously huge for generating some top of mind awareness with people that have visited your website.
Not to mention that it’s a more cost-effective approach to search engine PPC campaigns.
We always recommend splitting a budget between a social campaign & a re-targeting campaign to get the absolute most bang for your buck.
This technique will keep fresh leads flowing to your website.
Believe it or not, & oddly enough, this is the most valuable piece of the puzzle.
Your list is quite literally tied directly to the value of your business.
This is how you inform new prospects & stay connected to existing clients.
It helps you make sales, up-sells, cross-sells, repeat sales.
Remember, these are people that want to hear from you & what’s going on with your business.
They either already bought from you or put themselves on a list to hear more about what you do.
Growing this list is the most valuable thing you can do for your business.
This is why I said if your website hasn’t made the sale, then hopefully they joined your list to stay informed & in your sales funnel.
Analytics & Conversion Tracking
This is where you see what works.
Using analytics & conversion tracking codes on ‘Thank You’ pages, you can see where your traffic is coming from & what percentage becomes a lead.
This helps with A/B testing so you can see if one sales copy works better than another.
It helps you understand which search terms you’re being found for & where you rank.
Most of all, it helps quantify the results of your efforts.
Not knowing your conversion ratios is similar to having a retail store & not knowing the percentage of people that purchase something or just come in, walk around & not buy anything.
It helps you understand what works so you can keep improving in that direction.
So… KNOW YOUR #S!
A single point of failure can dry up your funnel.
It ALL works together!
Thank you for taking the time to read this article.
Hopefully it helped you better understand the nature of a sales funnel & how it feeds your pipeline.
If you have any questions, please feel free to give us a call to talk about your project.