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.
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
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.
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.
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
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!
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, 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.
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:
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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.