Let me ask you a question:
Do you want to get a steady flow of traffic and sales to your business?
Do you find things like lead magnets, opt-ins, and conversions confusing?
Would you like a simple, predictable, profitable way to attract more business, build a following, and generate more sales?
Check! Check! Check!
The solution is a sales funnel.
Before you run off screaming it already sounds complicated – your sales funnel can be as simple as 4 steps.
Before we get into the mechanics of your new sales funnel (I promise to keep it simple), let’s talk about problems. Your customer’s problems.
You solve problems
The reason people are attracted to you and your business is that they have a problem. Even common services like restaurants, ride-sharing services, and bike rentals solve some kind of problem.
And here’s the million-dollar secret to all sales:
The better you help prospects become customers the more problems you can solve and the more problems you can solve the more you profit.
Duh! That should be obvious. Right?
Well, here’s a test…
Go to your website right now and ask yourself how easy is it to become a customer? Most sites I see are confusing (long drop-down menus might be the first thing to fix), overly passive, and don’t offer a single first step.
It’s like going to a store, seeing what you want but there’s no counter to pay for it. It’s also like getting on a call with a potential customer, doing all the talking, and not asking for the sale (sound familiar?)
The first step to building your perfect sales funnel is to answer 2 questions:
- What is the most important problem I solve? Make all the other solutions secondary.
- What is the single, first step I want everyone to take? More on this later…
At BlogWorks we want to know these answers. Our clients solve problems ranging from legal issues to medical solutions to pet therapy. And in all cases, they want readers of their blog to take one first step. Learn more about how we design blog articles to move readers into action here. These are some of the same questions we ask them.
With those answers, let’s move onto building your perfect sales funnel.
Your 4-part sales funnel
When I attended my first workshop about sales funnels I fell asleep.
Well, not really, but it was too long, overly complicated, and impossible to replicate. That won’t work.
A sales funnel is actually very simple. Ryan Deiss, the co-founder of Digital Marketer, describes a sales funnel as a multi-step process that moves prospective browsers into buyers.
It’s like going to a conference, a booth catches your attention, you spend a few minutes learning about their solutions and you buy their product or service. We all understand that process. The only difference with your website is that it’s passive – you can’t shout across the room or wave your arms to get someone’s attention – and it usually takes multiple visits to your site before a buying decision is made.
On the other hand, the great thing about your website is it is working 24/7 attracting, influencing, and converting those prospective browsers into buyers.
In my experience, we over complicate our websites and actually make it difficult for a prospective browser to get closer to a sale. The simple, 4-part sales funnel I teach is all about moving a prospect from first discovering you to their first action.
Here’s how to build a simple sales funnel for your business:
Step one is to build a simple process for attracting new leads. At BlogWorks we use a combination of social media, blogging (of course), advertising, and webinars. I have a team to help with all this, so we can pile on more layers. For most small businesses I recommend 2-3 places that you should do your promotion on such as LinkedIn and your blog.
The trick here is to have a system you repeat and to not keep reinventing your promotion with crazy ideas that send you down a rabbit hole and likely get you little in return (I’ve been there all too often).
You solve problems, so it makes sense that a part of your sales process is to demonstrate how you do that. Just like buying a car, your clients want to ‘test drive’ your solutions before they buy. This is a big step up from a brochure or static (nothing changes) website – you are proving your value and influencing the prospect to learn more.
Your blog is the perfect way to educate your prospects. Every article solves a problem. Of course, there are thousands of topics you can write about, from puppy training to finding the perfect partner.
When you boil all the topics down, there are 4 types of blogs that work the best in a sales funnel:
1. Solve a problem
These are the ‘how to’ blog articles that help prospects overcome one barrier or hurdle in their life, marriage, business, health, or whatever topic they have a problem with. ‘How to’ articles are the most popular style of blog articles.
2. Supply resources
When you pull together resources for your readers you increase your value and make it more likely they bookmark your site or join your list.
3. Share expert solutions
Your blog is the perfect place to share your unique solutions to sticky problems. I used my blog to field-test most of the models that would eventually go into my online courses or training programs. Frankly, your blog audience is a lot more forgiving than a paying audience!
4. Save reader’s time
Use your blog articles to summarize complex solutions (like the concept of consistency I wrote about in this post), or pull together solutions from multiple sources (like a comparison of software, resort locations, or best places to find free photos).
Do you really want to spend your time writing blogs? The team at BlogWorks can write original blog articles, update old published articles – even turn your book into blog articles. Learn more about solutions for your business.
Now that you have readers coming to your blog (great!) you need to engage them to take one action. The true test of your sales funnel is if readers take one step closer to a sale.
This is where the psychological principle of consistency comes in (cue the music)…
A sales funnel invites your prospect to say “yes” – first in a small way – and then eventually say “yes” to the sale. It’s the small, seemingly insignificant, “yes’s” that build your sale.
In his classic book about persuasion theory, Influence, Robert Cialdini explains how we all want to be consistent with our previous decisions.
For example, if before bringing you the bill, your waiter asks if you enjoyed your meal and you said you did, then you are more likely to be generous with your tip. You said you enjoyed your meal so it’s consistent that you would be a generous tipper of the person who served you.
The same principle is at play on your website—get your reader to say “yes” to one decision and they are more likely to say “yes” to the next decision.
Here are the next steps you can ask them to take:
- Read another blog article.
- Download a guide or cheat sheet related to the article they are reading.
- Visit your product, consulting, speaking, services page.
- Complete a questionnaire.
- Take a free test.
- Watch a video.
- Contact you.
Here’s a simple test you should do right now…
Go to your latest blog post and ask yourself what first steps are you asking readers to take? In other words, are they moving down a sales funnel, or are you simply entertaining them?
And now we move to the sale (finally!). If you have a blog and you have traffic to that blog then you have interested buyers. Now you need to ask for the sale.
In the classic movie Glengarry Glen Ross, Alec Baldwin’s character Blake teaches his sales team the indelible message “ABC – Always Be Closing.” Your website also needs to always be closing—moving readers closer to a sale.
The good news is you can always be closing without putting everything on sale or bludgeoning your reader to buy, buy, buy.
The most natural conversion is to join your list – the opt-in. The prospect has enjoyed one or more of your articles so it’s natural that they will want to join your list to receive more helpful advice from you, and, if you have a ‘lead magnet’ they will benefit from your checklist, guide, resources or whatever you tempt them with.
Other conversion options are:
- Buy the product or service.
- Complete an enquiry form.
- Contact you for more information.
- Book a call – at BlogWorks we embed our booking form tool on our site to make it easy for prospects to find time for a call without leaving our site.
Where are the sales?
When I first got into business, most of our selling was done at tourism trade shows. We would stand behind our booth, talk about our tours, answer questions, and book tours.
It was pretty straightforward: attract the right person, do a good job answering their questions, get the sale.
Your website is not like that—a website is more like a net you throw out in the ocean. You bait your net (lead magnet), position it in the right place (social media and emails), and wait for the catch to come in. But, that’s not all.
Just like any good fisherman/fisherwoman you need to keep trying new strategies if you want to fill your net. In other words, if it’s not working don’t keep paying for advertising or wasting your time posting on social media…fix your net!
At BlogWorks we take care of the Education layer in your sales funnel. Our team of local writers publish brilliant blog articles crafted to attract your perfect audience. If you’ve been writing a blog for a while there is a good chance that your old articles are perfect for updates. Our updated and republished articles will give you a boost in traffic (on average 200% more traffic within 90 days), and save you time and money.
Want to learn more about putting your blog to work? Here are 3 of our most popular articles: