You may have noticed that I use the word maximize a lot. That’s because it’s what can turn a failing business into a profitable one. CVO (customer value optimization) is a concept I explained on Tuesday (see two posts below); today my focus is on one of the best, if not the absolute best, tool at your disposal for CVO. That tool is a sales funnel.
What’s a sales funnel? A sales funnel is simply a process that you create to lead potential customers into a relationship with you in your business. A good way to visualize a sales funnel is to think about your basic funnel gadget. A funnel has a large opening that leads down to a smaller opening, like this:
A sales funnel works on the same principle. With your website, social media, advertising, or other means, you seek to get a large number of people to see what you’ve got to offer. A sales funnel has a number of steps that lead to sales, like this:
The process from initial awareness to purchasing action could be long or short, depending on the sales prospect. Trust can take a while, and sometimes a long while, to grow. Through your website, social media, and email contacts, you can build trust that will help others understand how you can help them. Here are twelve steps to maximize your sales funnel:
- Understand that first of all, before any other consideration, a sales funnel is about building relationships with potential customers. As your business grows, prospects may enter your sales funnel at different points. That’s fine as long as you are managing the process so that you’re not unduly pulling prospects through your sales funnel at a speed that makes them feel uncomfortable. You might find some people who will purchase one of your most expensive products right off, but if that’s where you start with everyone you are encouraging a high number of dropouts.
- The number one reason for having a sales funnel is for selling more products to existing customers. So, build your sales funnel with this in mind. Start with your lowest priced items and work up to your highest priced items. The real money is in up-sells and cross-sales. Having a pipeline of products, whether you’re an affiliate marketer or selling your own products is essential for maximizing your sales and profits.
- Make sure that you’re putting adequate time and energy into selling to your customers. Hunting for new customers is expensive; marketing to your existing customer base is much more cost-effective. You need both, but once you’re making sales, double down on your customers.
- Do you have a lead magnet and a tripwire? A lead magnet is something valuable that you can offer for free in exchange for an email address or other information. A tripwire is a low-priced item that starts the customer experience within your sales funnel. Both are powerful items for drawing prospects into your sales funnel. According to internet marketing guru Frank Kern, a tripwire can convert better than a free offer because people can be more skeptical about what they are offered for free. Why not use both?
- Make sure you’ve got a solid system in place to capture leads. Opt-in forms and landing pages are the basics – make sure they all work properly.
- Use your lead magnet and tripwire to draw people into the top of your funnel and then introduce them to your core product or products. Good followup is essential at this point, which is why email automation is so important.
- Make sure that your email list (or lists) know about the full range of your products. Do not do this through vomit marketing! Vomit marketing is hitting prospective customers with everything you’ve got in one shot. Have a strategy in mind for how to introduce your products to your potential and existing customers.
- Make is really easy for your leads to buy from you. Any glitches or difficulties in the sales process will cost you money. Make sure everything works before going public with a new offer. This includes affiliate marketing, by the way. If you are considering offering a product to your email list, walk through the buying process yourself to make sure that it works. If it doesn’t, you could lose credibility with your subscribers and you will lose sales (it’s happened to me and I don’t want it to happen to you).
- Understand the difference between soft leads and hard leads. Soft leads are those who join your email list in exchange for your lead magnet or tripwire. Hard leads are solid customers. Soft leads will join your email list where you have the opportunity to into hard leads through your sales funnel process. If you provide valuable content to your soft leads, they will learn to know, like and trust you. Once they know they can trust you, then maybe you’ll make a sale (or two, or three, or more).
- Get people to know, like, and trust you with social media and your blog. Post valuable and interesting content for your niche and people will find you. You can and probably will need to advertise to accelerate the process. Time is money and it can take a long time to fill the top of your funnel without advertising. The key to a sales funnel is having as much traffic as possible coming through the top end. Use all means necessary to accomplish this objective.
- Are you using YouTube for your business? Most of my videos on YouTube are private, but video is a powerful way to move your business forward. Whether you create a channel with lots of public videos or use it to market to your email subscribers, video can give you a leg up on the marketers who aren’t using it.
- Make sure that there is a call to action on every page of your website. Your website can be your 24/7/365 lead producer, or just a nice place for people to visit.
Those are my 12 tips – what would you add? Do so in the comments section and if you found this helpful click “like” and use the share buttons to pass this on to others.