content marketing

How to Create a Sales Funnel That Converts

how to create a sales funnel

By Austin Miller, founder of The Daily Hash—THE newsletter for foodies.

"Sales funnel" might just be a fancy way to say customer experience, but the metaphoric nature of the term provides us an incredibly helpful visualization and marketing strategy. Based off this idea, we've created a simple and non-fluff filled guide to teach you how to create a sales funnel the right way.

Via  Giphy

Via Giphy

Cast Your Net

Traffic. In order to drive traffic you will need to cast your net and double down on the most profitable channels. This will include both paid ads and content marketing: images, how to articles, interviews, tips and tricks and whatever else can help get you in front of your ideal audience. 

                                                                                                Create Beautiful and (Highly Targeted) Landing Pages

marketing sales funnel

Paid Traffic

You'll want to direct paid traffic to a place where they can learn more about your products. The homepage isn't a terrible place to send them, after all it should be a sort of catch-all landing page for anyone who stumbles upon it. But if you're running ads, you should do your best to target a specific demographic. 

For example:

  • You know fantasy authors usually love your product

  • You create an ad campaign using imagery and text that will appeal to that vertical

  • Rather than sending them to your website's homepage (which is meant to appeal to a broad range of potential clients), you send them to a specially created landing page that is custom tailored to the needs and wants of writers. This might include highlighting value adds specific to that industry, and exhibiting testimonials given by other novelists who love your company.

Content Marketing

When sharing blog articles your approach will and should be different. There will be no landing page, since what you are sharing is the article itself. However, that doesn't mean your blog articles can't also act as landing pages—they'll just have to have more subtle calls to action.

There are dozens of tools to help the novice create killer landing pages, here are a few of the most popular choices:

Create a Successful Email Funnel

The key to a good email funnel to is to create a logical progression that leads subscribers from ice cold unknown, to satisfied client. 

Phase 1: Introduction

This is the phase where you'll want to efficiently let people know who you are and what you do. People will be quick to decide if they want to hear more from you or not. Your branding will to be eye catching and easy to digest. 

Phase 2: Education

Once people have decided they're interested (you'll know this because they haven't unsubscribed yet) it's your duty its to give potential clients a more in-depth picture of what it is you do. What sets you apart from others? Do you have any case studies? What are clients saying about your service? Do you have a white paper, demo, or in-depth explainer video? This is the time where you'll want to share this type of information.

Phase 3: Offer

After you've had the chance to introduce your brand, what you do, how you do and finally why you're better than everyone else doing it (Phase 2)—you'll want to give your potential client a hard sell. Give them a CTA that includes making a purchase or scheduling a phone call. If that doesn't work, consider sending a special offer or discount to entice them. 

A/B Test the BLEEP out of Everything

sales funnel examples

Each part of your funnel (advertisements, content marketing, landing pages, emails, social media) needs to be constantly reevaluated. Double down on the things bringing you the most success, and drop the things that aren't. Test colors, copy, fonts, placement, and anything else that can be changed.

Make sure to set a reoccurring time where you and your marketing team can reevaluate these things. It's important to read case studies and find where others have found success, but don't be afraid to try something that might go against conventional wisdom. After all, the beauty of A/B testing is that you can always drop what's not working.

Nurture, Nurture, Nurture!

Via  Giphy

Via Giphy

Part of knowing how to create a sales funnel is knowing how to be tastefully persistent. Not everyone is ready to make a purchase when they visit your site, but that doesn't mean they won't do so later. Maybe they just need more time to research or for a paycheck to come through. Whatever the case, you've got to keep reminding these targeted visitors about who you are, and why they visited your site in the first place!

Retargeting Ads

Retargeting ads, target visitors to your site after they leave. Have you ever looked at a product on Amazon and then seen that very product pop up later as your browsing the web? That's not coincidence, that's retargeting!

Using tools such as AdRoll will help you target the people who have visited your site. Those who have visited your site are often easier to convert, as they already know a bit about your product and have shown interest.

Drip Campaigns

Another way you can keep reminding visitors of your value is through drip campaigns. When someone visits your site, you'll want to offer a value add that entices them to give you their information so you can contact them once again. 

Examples of Value Adds:

  • Get a copy of our E-Book "How to XYZ"

  • Get 20% off your first purchase

  • Sign up for our monthly digest to stay up to date each month's best blog posts

Of course, before you offer these things, you need to create a way to capture these targeted traffic leads. One way is by using SumoMe, a tool we've lauded before for being simple to use and giving marketers lots of customizable options.

Once you have these emails, create an email drip campaign that starts with value driven content, and progressively makes a harder sale. 

5 Business Trends to Look Out For in 2017

business trends 2016

By Austin Miller, Content Marketing Manager

1. Native Advertising Will Become More Popular

The popularity of ad-blockers is steadily increasing. The end result is hard to predict. Powerful companies like Facebook and Google drive major revenues from their advertising platforms and will not want to let go easily. But with the recent announcement of Apple, things are beginning to change.

Writing on the impact of ad-blockers on Facebook, Biz Carson of the Business Insider writes:

The threat to its mobile advertising market comes directly from a September Apple software update that introduced ad-blocking apps to iOS 9. Ad blockers became some of the top-selling downloads in the app store, although some have since been removed over privacy concerns.

iOS will also automatically be including an ad-blocker with Safari on their mobile devices—a shrewd move against some of their biggest competition in the tech space like Google. 

The increase of ad-blockers will most likely force companies to look for alternative methods to get their brand's voice heard. Native advertising is a likely candidate to fill the gap. This will allow products to appear in casual settings where they don’t appear as outward advertisement—for example, a picture of Kylie Jenner drinking Coca-Cola. When it comes to native advertisements, ad-blockers will not be able to properly distinguish between an honest photo and a sponsorship.

2. Subscription Based Services Will Increase in Number

Netflix, Hulu, Audible—millennials have spoken. Consumers don’t like hourly fees, and subscription services are an effective way to do away with them. In fact, it’s one of the reasons Bookly has adopted such a model—we don’t want our customers to feel as if they should be afraid to ask their accountant questions. A monthly subscription model gives our clients unlimited access to a CPA without having to worry about each passing minute costing them money. 

Equally important with subscription based services, is the removal of friction at the point of purchase. When a client can make automated recurring payments—there is little pain associated with the purchase or hassle of paying each time. Harvard Scientists have studied this phenomenon with brain scans and have discovered that humans experience physiological pain at the point of purchase, but that this pain can be mitigated through various marketing techniques. (Read our article about neuromarketing for further reference.)

Michal Lev-Ram of Fortune writes: 

Subscriptions should certainly be an option for consumers, regardless of the product type. Consumer behavior, especially among younger people, is changing, and the need to own and house goods—from music to cars to physical documents—is waning. While Wall Street grapples with how to evaluate some of the subscription-only companies (à la Box), it has clearly worked up an appetite for a recurring revenue model that gives companies all sorts of new ways to engage with old and new customers. But transitioning isn’t easy, and each company needs to evaluate the needs of its customer base—and how subscriptions could potentially open the door to new users.

3. Content Marketing Will Become Essential

Another result of ad-blockers will be the increased importance of content marketing. As services move to block traditional advertising, value-based content will become more and more relevant. Articles, photos, and videos that can organically drive traffic will become essential components of running a proper ad campaign. 

John Miller of B2C writes: 

While many of the skills of content marketing and traditional digital marketing overlap, the intent is very different. While digital advertising can clearly play a role in marketing the content, the key is to start with awesome, audience-focused content rather than traditional in-your-face promotional copy. Your audience – almost regardless of who they are – wants content that helps them do their job better or live their life more enjoyably; telling them how fabulous your products or services are doesn’t accomplish that.

4. Increased Focus on Workplace Culture

More and more businesses are ditching suits and ties for t-shirts and ping pong tables. Simple gestures such as these are effective ways to boost morale and generate good will amongst employees. Upgrades such as these are often inexpensive and go a long way to ensure a happy workforce. With articles all over the internet touting the fun vibe found in startup hubs like San Fransisco and Austin, look for this trend to continue in 2016 as companies attempt to attract top talent. 

5. The Rise of the Solopreneur

With an increase in tools available (many of them free and inexpensive), look out for the rise of the solopreneur. iPhones are able to produce great photos, instructional YouTube videos and articles are widely available , and services like Canva put the power of graphic design into the novice’s hands. With services like these, technology is creating a generation of Renaissance men and women. 

Not only are companies giving the power to the consumer, they’re also allowing them to outsource their business needs at prices that sometimes make it more convenient than hiring in-house employees. Bookly for example offers accounting services that most often outpace more traditional methods in terms of cost and efficiency. This gives the consumer the ability to spend more time doing the parts of business they enjoy, and get quicker updates on their financials without ever having to leave their office.