As someone who teaches how to run a profitable online business, one of the hardest concepts for my readers to grasp is understanding how a sales funnel works.
Basically, a sales funnel (assuming it’s well-structured) is a system that allows you to make money through a streamlined process.
And although funnels are talked about like a new online biz craze, sales funnels have been around for a looooong time and even started OFFLINE. I’ll tell you more about that in a minute…
Here’s a high level approach of how I break down and leverage sales funnels in my online business:
Traffic Generation (where people find you)
Any platform that helps you build buzz in front of a new audience. Your goal is to build traffic from someone else’s trustworthy environment and send them to your environment.
Note: This is the stage where people don’t yet know you enough to trust you so they need to trust the SOURCE in which they found you. The source determines the level of trust for the initial contact. #FirstImpression
Lead Generation (where people trust you)
Any platform with content that builds enough trust & value for them to want to join a subscription list. Your goal is to get their information so you can continue offering [free and paid] value to them.
Prospect Generation (where people buy small from you)
A platform where a lead can invest more time to consume your content or even invest money into a smaller product. Your goal is to get them to become a long-term customer.
Customer Generation (where they buy big/more from you)
This is the highest level in which people want to buy from you until you run out of things that no longer serve them. Your goal is to keep people here because it’s more cost-effective to retain a customer than it is to find a new one.
Note: The only way to get people moving through your funnel is by building a trustworthy relationship at each and every stage.
Like I mentioned, sales funnels have been around FOR A LONG TIME and started offline.
I personally learned about funnels back in 2010 when I was “20-Year-Old Party Girl Club Flyer Designer Maya”.
In 2008, I was a new high school grad who had enrolled in a community college during my first year living in Charlotte, NC. I didn’t know many people so I stuck to myself, played around on the computer, and designed custom Myspace pages.
The way I generally tell the story is “somebody offered me $50 for a Myspace page and the rest is history…”
And while that’s true, there are few important details that I don’t share often.
I met one of my closest friends on Twitter in 2009. During the time we began our friendship, she was also newly dating one of the biggest promoters in Charlotte. Sport E. Odie.
Thanks to all the relationship building, I designed all of Sport’s flyers for YEARS. Being able to see the behind the scenes of how Sport ran his business taught me A LOT. He was (and still is) an excellent marketer and I learned exactly how to run sales funnels before I even understood what a sales funnels was.
If you were a partier like me, you’ve probably been funneled through a good promoter’s sales strategy.
At stage one — traffic generation — the promoter is working on building buzz. Sport was VERY good at being visible. He was doing radio interviews, TV commercials, and he even used to drive around in a truck that was wrapped with his face and branding on it. #DoingTheMost
If you attended college within a 90 mile radius of Charlotte, there was NO WAY you wouldn’t know about Sport E. Odie events. His flyers were all over college campus student unions and car windshields.
|Club promoter traffic generation:
||Online business traffic generation:
Now during the stage that you’re generating traffic, you have to create a compelling reason for people to go to the next step.
For an online business, it’s usually a landing page that offers a free resource like an email course, checklist, guide, webinar, etc…
I was responsible for designing Sport’s physical “landing page” which were his club flyers. Like I mentioned, his club flyers were seen all over the student union, on car windshields, on social media where you were tagged on the graphic, Facebook events…
But on that club flyer was in the incentive to “opt-in” the next step of his funnel (lead generation aka “the freebie”).
Can you guess what it is for a club promoter?
LADIES FREE BEFORE 11.
So guess where all of the [frugal] party girls were? In the club line before 11. And all of the guys showed up because they knew ladies had an incentive to be there.
|Club promoter lead generation:
||Online business lead generation:
Now Sport has all these “free” people at his party. How did he turn those “free subscribers” into paying customers?
Well let me tell you something. When it’s 25 degrees outside, the best logical thing to do (outside of just staying your little behind at home) is paying $10 to skip the line.
While I was able to get into the club for free before 11, I could also opt into getting in the club before catching pneumonia… for just $10.
Club promote tripwire = VIP SKIP LINE FOR $10
Boom. So now I’m inside the club. This is what I want. A good time with my girl friends. The flyer told me it was gonna be the hottest party in Charlotte on Friday night. And the best way for Sport (or any good promoter) to deliver on that promise is to have good music, good drinks, fun people, etc.
Basically, if the flyer said it, the club better have it.
It doesn’t matter if you have an offer for free or for $10. You better deliver on a promise or else the trust is lost.
As usual, Sport delivered on his promise. I enjoyed myself at his events which prompted me and my friends to attend his parties week after week. (Similar to how people will visit your blog or YouTube channel consistently.)
And every week, even though we would attend because we could get in “free before 11” he was still making sales through the “tripwire” or “smaller products”.
|Club promoter prospect generation:
||Online business prospect generation:
Now every good marketer knows where they ultimately want people to land in their sales funnel. They also know that realistically there will only be a small level of people to access the bottom of the sales funnel.
Although Sport was making consistent sales from drinks and party tickets, the real money was made from VIP sections.
When it comes time for a birthday or a celebration, getting a VIP section with bottle service is the coolest thing in your early 20s. While getting $10-30 each week from party-goers was cool for Sport, getting ONE person to pay $450 – $1,000+ for a section was the ultimate goal.
|Club promoter customer generation:
||Online business customer generation:
I’d love to say I had been swindled by this Genius-Salesman-Party-Promoter. But the truth is, I was happy at every single stage, and THAT’s what good sales and marketing is all about.
So now it’s your turn to build out a funnel that builds a relationship and creates an experience in each stage.
How are you gaining visibility? What is your traffic source?? Where are you being seen outside of your OWN platforms???
Next, decide what you’re going to offer this new audience.
[Tweet “There’s no sense in being visible without being valuable.”]
What’s your free offer? Webinar? Email Course? Checklist? Challenge?
Remember: The value of your offer is in the RESULTS not the platform. A checklist on how to create a 7-minute morning routine is more valuable that a free 5-day email course that teaches you how to watch paint dry. Make sense?
Then consider what you’ll offer as a tripwire (small no-brainer product that gets people from free subscriber to paying customer instantly.).
What will pair really well with the free resource they opted in for?
Lastly, be clear about where you want to ultimately want to lead people.
I can’t WAIT to see what you come up with!
Hop inside my FB group and tell me what your strategy is for each stage! I’ll be sure to share them with Sport!