The Blogger’s Guide to Funnels
What is a funnel and why would I want one?
Every business has a sales funnel — whether they realize it or not! A “funnel” is simply what we call the path a customer follows from the time they first become aware of a company to eventually making a purchase. This happens in every business — therefore, every business has a funnel.
For example: you see an ad on a billboard which prompts you to visit a company’s website, learn more about their product, and eventually make a purchase. You might not realize it, but you just got “funneled.”
It’s called a “funnel” for two reasons:
- You are directing people down an ever-narrowing path, into your pool of clients.
- If you graph the customers’ path (as you see in the image at right), you’ll find that you start with a large group of potential customers and gradually are dealing with smaller and smaller numbers as those who won’t buy remove themselves.
So, as a blogger, if you have any interest in selling something or making money then you somehow need to guide people towards the purchase. However you accomplish this is your “funnel.”
(Just to be completely clear: What we’re discussing here is the complete “marketing sales funnel” that addresses the entire journey each customer takes. Marketing leads into sales. A “sales funnel,” therefore, only refers to the latter part of the process, where you are closing a lead. )
What makes a good funnel?
If you sell anything via your blog (services, physical products, digital products, affiliate products, etc.) then you already have some sort of funnel. However, if your current funnel wasn’t designed with intention then it likely isn’t producing optimal results.
With a strategic funnel, you can have a lot more influence over people who are considering making a purchase from your blog.
It’s like the difference between randomly hitting on someone at a bar, hoping you meet someone and it turns into “something,” and noticing someone you find interesting, asking them out, dating them exclusively, and proposing. We all know that the latter scenario is much more likely to result in marriage.
If you want your customers to seriously commit (i.e. hire you) then you need to woo them with focus. 😉If you want your customers to seriously commit, then you need to woo them with focus. Click To Tweet
Creating Automatic Sales
Whenever someone refers to “making money while they sleep” or “making money on autopilot” they’re almost certainly doing this with an automated funnel.
An automated funnel is a system that guides potential customers towards sales (or sales calls) without your direct interaction. Set up correctly, this is an amazing asset for your blog or business to have!
An example of a funnel that is NOT automated is you, personally, going to networking events, handing out business cards, calling leads, telling them about your product and its benefits, and hoping you eventually call enough people that you find someone who is actually a qualified buyer.
Alternatively, here’s an example of an automatic funnel: first, an advertising campaign that generates leads, followed by automatic emails to educate and persuade those leads.
For most bloggers, an automatic funnel is the most efficient and powerful way to make sales and increase the income they earn from their website. Even if you offer an expensive service that sells best via personal sales calls, you can still automate lead generation and the initial education about your product.
How to Set Up a Funnel for Your Blog
What path do people currently take to become your customers? In order to intentionally design a strategic funnel, you’ll want to answer the following questions. (First, answer them about your existing “funnel,” and then answer them again, deciding how you would ideally like your funnel to work.)
- How do they first hear about you?
- How do you entice them to desire to learn more?
- How do you initiate a relationship with them?
- How do you develop your relationship with them?
- How do you introduce them to your product?
- How do you educate them about your product?
- How do you persuade them to purchase?
There are many different ways to set up a funnel for your blog (here’s a look at five of the my favorites), but the simplest is:
Traffic Generation >> Landing Page >> Email Opt-In >> Email Sequence >> Sale
The first phase of any funnel is generating traffic — all those potential customers have to come from somewhere!
If you already have a popular blog, then you’ve got this covered. However, if your blog is still small, don’t worry — funnels are actually an amazing tool you can use to help grow your audience!
Why is this? Because when you have a system that generates automatic sales, you can then actually afford to spend money on advertising — advertising that will boost your traffic and grow your email list!
There are plenty of free ways to generate traffic: guest blogging, Pinterest marketing, social media marketing, etc. (I go into detail on three great ways in this post.) However, one of my favorite strategies for driving traffic into funnels is Facebook advertising.
There’s a beautiful relationship between a strategic funnel that consistently produces sales and the power of FB ads. Facebook has amazing audience targeting tools, but obviously, you can only use them to reach potential customers if you’re willing to pay for advertising. However, this is a non-issue if you have an automatic funnel set up that funds your ads!
(To learn more about how to effectively use FB ads to generate traffic for FREE check out this article.)
All that traffic you generate has to be sent somewhere! For optimal results, direct it to a dedicated landing page that is designed to entice your ideal customer to connect with you.
A landing page is simply a single page of your website with a single offer. Most commonly, this offer is a free “lead magnet,” such as a mini e-course, downloadable workbook, or checklist.
The goal here is to offer something (for free) that will entice them to opt into your list. Done right, it will interest and impress them enough that they will be delighted to stay on your list and learn more about what you offer/teach.
Email Marketing Service
In order to have a successful automatic funnel, you’ll definitely need an email marketing service (such as Convertkit, Aweber, or Mailchimp) to collect, organize, and make communicating with your leads as easy as possible.
With a simple funnel, the rest of the work will be done by an engaging, automatic email sequence.
Once your customer opts in, they will receive a series of emails that introduce you and your message, educate them about your product, and eventually pitch an offer.
Done right, these emails are engaging, personable, and persuasive. The best email marketing campaigns aren’t necessarily “super persuasive” but rather simply interesting and even entertaining. It’s more important to make a positive, lasting impression on your lead than it is to try to “force” them to buy.
If your customers like and trust you, they WILL buy when you offer them something that aligns with their desires.If your customers like and trust you, they WILL buy. Click To Tweet
Five Types of Sales Funnels
For best results, use a funnel structure that is well suited to the type of product you are selling. For example, low-priced, simple products tend to do best with short, simple funnels. Complex, expensive products, on the other hand, require much longer, more involved funnels.
Most professional bloggers sell one of these five types of products:
- low-price physical product
- high-price physical product
- low-price digital product (ebook or intro course)
- high price digital product (premium course)
- high-price service / coaching
This article is already pretty long, so I’ve separately compiled a guide that explains five different funnels that work best for these five types of products. You can download this free “Visual Funnel Playbook” by clicking here.
Inside the playbook, you’ll find visual diagrams of each of the five types of funnels that I’ve found produce the best results for each type of product. You can use the diagram that fits your product as a roadmap to build your own funnel!
What does your funnel currently look like? Did you even realize you had one? Leave a comment below to let me know!