I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the concept of marketing / sales funnels. Funnels are not new concepts, but I think they remain greatly under-utilized by most businesses these days. Part of the problem is that many business owners are very qualified to sell a particular service or type of product, but they are not necessarily skilled or educated in business / marketing concepts. So they just don’t know about sales funnels.
And to those who are aware of the concept, many of them probably think the idea would not work or does not apply to their business. I myself, an experienced Internet marketer with 20 years’ experience in all facets of Internet commerce, have not done a great job of implementing funnels in my own businesses over the years. But it is something I am beginning to take much more seriously.
So let’s break it down.
What is a sales funnel? The reason this marketing concept is called a “funnel” is that if you diagram it, it actually does look like a funnel. A funnel has a wide mouth at the top and a narrow opening at the bottom. So in marketing terms, what we are talking about is starting with a large number of potential customers and feeding them into a marketing system that turns them into customers. We are going to extend that idea and approach it from the standpoint of also selling progressively higher products the lower you go into the funnel. That is the reason the funnel narrows – as your prices go up, the number of customers goes down. This is a twist on the traditional marketing view of a funnel, and my thinking here is based on the work of Mr. Russell Brunson, author of the book DotCom Secrets, which goes into great detail about this concept.
This is different from the way most businesses do marketing, which is more of a flat plane. The typical business has a set of services or products, and it markets to all potential customers the same. There is no free or low cost entry point, and there is no gradual escalation of prices. Again, the typical business owner, regardless of the industry, is of the impression that this concept would not apply to his business. But he would be wrong.
The guys who have this marketing concept mastered are the sellers of information products and expensive coaching programs. They will typically do something like host free webinars or give away free reports to collect email addresses. Those reports and those webinars (or whatever the medium is) will provide good information, but a sales pitch will be made for more intensive training, a software package, or whatever the next level of service is. Of their prospects who purchase the next level of product, they will promote an even more expensive item. This is often a group coaching session that costs multiple thousands of dollars. Sometime that stuff runs into the hundreds of thousands of dollars. But there is nothing wrong with that. As long as the customer is satisfied and feels he has received good value, then the price is irrelevant.
But back to the real world now. How does this apply to your business? Let’s imagine a couple of examples so we can take this mysterious marketing idea and lay it on top of something tangible.
Let’s say you own an automotive repair shop in your town. This may seem like the exact wrong kind of business for a marketing funnel, but in fact it makes a lot of sense. It might go something like this.
At the top level, just about everybody in your town old enough to drive is a potential customer (if you are more specialized, such as only working on certain makes of vehicles, that is even better from a marketing standpoint). So the top of your funnel is very wide. To fill that funnel, you could have a contest to give away some kind of interesting prize or a couple hundred bucks. The contest would be a random drawing in which you have to provide your email address to enter. Facebook would be a good way to promote the contest. You could even do something where people get entered twice if they share your Facebook post.
Everyone who enters gets added to your email list. Then you need some reason to send them emails – something like a newsletter with tips about taking better care of your automobile or extending its longevity makes sense there. You can also mix in promotional messages, although the majority of the content sent in your newsletters should just be informational.
If you want to do this “Nashville SEO style,” what you will do is publish extremely informative content to your website, and then cycle pretty much that same material through your social media channels as well as your newsletter. Combining a content repurposing cycle with a sales funnel will save you a ton of time and increase the potency of the whole thing.
As you build that list up, you could promote something like a low cost annual maintenance plan. For $199 per year, or whatever, your customers can come in for regular tune-ups, oil changes, or whatever service makes economic sense. As you build up your customer base this way, those will become your customers when they need more extensive (and expensive) work. Thus, they move down the funnel.
Maybe you’re a CPA. In that case, a funnel would be something like a free newsletter with tax/accounting tips, a low cost tax filing service, and of course more expensive, specialized services. The starting point is filling that funnel, and having an array of services with higher prices that you can offer your customers.
To build a marketing funnel of your own, first you have to have something to offer for free or low cost that will entice people to give you their contact info. You’ve got to build a list. What I have done in my career for the most part is write books. That has helped me build credibility and given me something to give away. That may or may not be something that will work for you because, in all honesty, writing books is hard work. And I’m actually pretty good at it. So maybe for you it’s a free oil change, or free inspection of whatever it is you inspect. Or maybe it’s just a straight up bribe, like a contest with a cool prize or cash. Whatever works for your market.
This is how you build your list, which is a powerful step in building a successful business. People who voluntarily join your list already know you, which makes them much warmer prospects than someone who has never heard of you. If you regularly send them valuable information without being too salesy, and provide a quality, fairly priced product or service, over time you will gain their trust.
The whole system breaks down if you’re not systematic. And man, that can be tough. I do this stuff for a living. It’s 6:25 PM at the time I’m typing this. I’ve been up since about 4:00 in the morning. I’m tired. I don’t feel like creating content. But this type of marketing system does not work if you don’t DO IT.
With that, I will insert the self-promotional part of this article, which is that my company, Work Media, is available to help you however you need. We can arrange a low cost, ongoing content creation/marketing plan, or we can go heavy and basically be your whole marketing department. Get in touch with us at https://www.workmedia.net, or call 615-375-8793. We also publish an email newsletter (the top of our funnel!) where we give away all of our secrets – everything we’ve learned in our 12 years of existence about promoting a business online. You can sign up for free at our website.
Contact: Jerry Work
Work Media LLC / Nashville SEO Company
615-375-8793, x. 702