For a business owner with a solid funnel in place, it’s easy to take a look at the number of subscribers at each level of the funnel and predict pretty accurately what the sales are going to be from day to day or week to week.
If you’ve got a funnel in place, though, and your numbers aren’t looking great, chances are you have a leak somewhere. Your funnel has a hole (or two or three) where subscribers are falling through. There are four common causes for funnel leaks, and once you spot them, they’re pretty easy to fix.
Not enough traffic. The very heart of your sales funnel is the traffic you bring in. Without visitors to your blog or opt-in pages, you’ll have no subscribers. Without subscribers, you’ll have no (or very few) sales. Without sales, you’ll have no business. Yet this is where a lot of people struggle. How can you get more eyes on your content and more subscribers into your funnel?
How to fix it: Traffic generation is an entire industry of its own, but here are some tips: Use good SEO to encourage search engines to rank your content well. Be present and active in the places where your ideal reader hangs out, whether that’s on social media, in niche forums, or at live events. Use paid ads to drive targeted traffic to highly relevant pages. Recruit JV partners and affiliates to promote your offers. Buy solo ads in related email newsletters.
No follow-up. This is a leaky funnel mistake that a lot of new entrepreneurs make. They spend a lot of time and energy setting up a great squeeze page and driving traffic to it, then they deliver the goods to their subscribers, and then…nothing. No follow-up emails. No offers to buy more. No related services or products. Nothing.
How to fix it: Before you spend time building that opt-in page or offer, be sure you have a back-end to promote, or those subscribers you so carefully collected will end up costing you money instead of earning it back.
No call-to-action. This happens most typically at the top of the funnel. Your blog posts, social media content, podcasts, YouTube videos—everything you offer for free—must have some kind of call-to-action, or it’s all just wasted energy. Your call-to-action can be as simple as “Subscribe to my YouTube channel” or “Follow me on Facebook for more tips,” but it must be there.
How to fix it: Every time you write a blog post or an email, as yourself, “What do I want my readers to do when they’re done reading/listening/watching this?” That becomes your call to action.
No product offers. When you’re just starting out, this can be a problem. You know you need to be building a mailing list, but with nothing to offer them, what’s the point? The truth is, there are lots of ways to make money in your funnel even if you don’t have a product to sell.
How to fix it: Promote affiliate offers. No matter what industry you’re in, there are a variety of tools and products your readers need. Find those tools, sign up for the affiliate programs, and recommend them to your readers. Not only will your readers thank you for pointing them in the right direction, but you’ll earn a little cash, too.
Got a leaky funnel? With a few tweaks and some attention paid to your follow-up sequences, chances are you can fix those holes and increase your profits in no time.
Leave your comments and suggestions below, Coach Deb
Confused about how exactly sales funnels work? You’re not alone. In fact, that’s the number one reason small business owners say they can’t get their funnels set up—they simply don’t know what to include where.
Here’s the easy answer: At the very least, your sales funnel needs three pages.
This one obviously comes first. You might call it a landing page, or in the case of a free opt-in, a squeeze page. It serves one purpose—to get the reader to take action. Whether that’s to buy a product or offer up their email address in exchange for a free gift, this is the gateway into your funnel. Everything that follows depends on this page, so you want to be sure you:
Include a clear call to action—“Buy Now” or “Click here to download this report for free”
Eliminate distractions—that means no links to other websites or even a navigation bar
Address the readers’ pain points and how your offer provides the solution
Here’s where we ask the reader to confirm their intent. For a sales funnel, this confirmation page might actually be your checkout page. It’s where they enter their payment details. For a free offer, it’s simply the page your email management system directs them to next. It’s a holding page, if you will, while you wait for them to confirm their email address.
If you’re setting up a free funnel, this page has great power—and you don’t want to waste it!
Here is where you can offer an upset, remind people to follow you on social media, and give them a peak at your other products and services.
Remember, though, that they will only see this page once, so don’t put anything here that they will need to refer back to. That’s what the thank you page is for.
Thank You Page
This is where they actually collect their downloadable item, or get information about how your product will be delivered.
Like the confirmation page, this is valuable real estate, so you want to be sure you use it wisely. In addition to the downloadable item your customer just purchased (or opted in for) you also want to showcase your other offers—especially those at a slightly higher price point. Here’s why: the person looking at this page is a hot prospect. He or she is in a buying mood. You want to be sure to take advantage of that by putting your most relevant offers on this page. To encourage buying, consider including:
A limited time offer—scarcity sells, so if you can legitimately limit sales to a few hours/days or number of units, then this is the place to do so.
A “no brainer” coupon offer—an insider’s only deal can be a powerful motivator, especially if it’s a fantastic price.
Extra bonuses--give them access to additional products/services if they buy through your link on that page. These should be bonuses that aren’t advertised on the public sales page for that product. Again—insider’s deals are motivating!
Putting together a sales funnel isn’t complicated—or at least it doesn’t have to be. As your business grows and you have more products to offer, you can expand your funnel to include more up-sells and down-sells, but for now, this simple setup is really all you need.
What's your favorite sales funnel tip? Coach Deb
Your website is your storefront. In many cases it provides a prospect’s first impression of your company. You know what they say about first impressions; you can only make one and it better count. The good news is that keeping in mind a few fundamentals and making a few simple tweaks to your website can take it from bland to brilliant. You can create a website that attracts visitors, converts clients, and helps you build a prosperous and exciting business.
1. Top Quality Free Downloads
Freebies are appreciated by just about everyone. However, they can’t be the average run of the mill freebies. Your free content needs to provide unique value to each prospect. It should solve a problem in an organized and efficient manner. Some of the best freebie downloads are simple.
For example, you might create a calendar, checklist, or even a downloadable worksheet for your prospects to fill out. Remember to brand your free downloads and use them to gently drive traffic to a sales page or the next item in your sales funnel.
2. Relationships With Relevant Industry Professionals
Relationships are what build business. You have relationships with your customers and prospects, your vendors, contractors and much more. Each relationship is an opportunity to leverage, grow, and prosper. Relationships with relevant industry professionals can be significant.
For example, imagine if you have a pet blog and you forge a relationship with Cesar Millan (the “Dog Whisperer”) who links to your site or mentions you on Facebook. That would be huge for your business. And you don’t have to forge relationships with industry celebrities to make an impact. Connecting with others builds your community, one person at a time.
3. Contributor Content
Let other people create content for you. Each guest blogger, interview, or contributing author brings their audience with them. You’ll gain traffic and followers. You’ll also gain credibility by providing your prospects with a variety of valuable content.
4. Community Involvement
What are you doing to make the world a better place? Getting involved in your community is great for business. It not only promotes you locally, it provides you with content to share online as well. And you can invite your prospects to get involved in your community causes.
For example, if you have a pet related business you might get involved in a fundraiser for your local humane society and invite others to donate or get involved themselves.
5. A Newsletter
Email marketing is still one of the most powerful means to connect with your prospects, build relationships and make sales. However, your email newsletter has to be valuable. Make sure it provides different value than your website content. And separate that content so that newsletter subscribers receive unique value.
Find these tips helpful? Check out our previous blog series on taking your website from bland to brilliant.
Leave your favorite website tips below in the comments, Coach Deb
Taking your website from bland to brilliant Part 3 of 3
7.Fresh and Catchy Content
The single most important thing you can do to transform from bland to brilliant is to create the best content possible. Fresh content means that your content is recent and it’s topical.
You’re not creating content about something that happened five years ago or even five months ago. You’re creating content about what’s going on right now. And catchy content varies depending on your niche and your audience.
The most important thing to remember when contemplating what makes something catchy is what voice and style you want to communicate to your readers. Are you serious? Funny? Controversial? What makes your content interesting, different, and valuable to your reader?
8.Archives With Clearly Distinguishable Keywords
This function is particularly important if you have a blog or other WordPress based website. Make finding information easy for your visitors by creating archives. Archives are essentially directories for old content.
No one wants to search through page after page of old content just to find something they’re looking for. They want to be able to find what they need with a few clicks of their mouse. Use keywords that accurately describe the subject of the content to organize your archives.
It doesn’t matter what the foundation is for your website – Joomla or WordPress or anything in between – it is important to make it fully usable by anyone who visits. One of the simple tools you can use to make this happen is a simple search field. It was briefly mentioned in Item #3 above, where navigation was discussed. There are different search tools you can use.
For example, Custom Search Plugin is a WordPress plugin that allows you to create custom searches. Maybe you want people to be able to search for quotes or tips on your site. You can use this tool to add functionality to your website and to help separate your business site from your competition.
10. Competition – Get People Involved
Competition has the tendency to ignite a fire of attention and sales. There are many ways you can use competition to add fun and flare to your business. For example, you might use it to build awareness of your Facebook page.
For example, anyone who “likes” your page could be automatically entered into a drawing to win a prize. Another type of competition gets your prospects involved and contributing, so you might have them share a story that’s relevant to your niche and readers can vote on whose is the best story. They could create videos too.
As always, I look forward to reading and responding to your comments Coach Deb
When is the last time you changed the theme on your website? Changed your head-shots? Rewrote your “About” page?
If the answer to any of those is more than a year ago, listen up, because big consulting paychecks require more than a fancy sales page and an email pitch. If you want to attract high-end clients, you have to look and act the part.
Head-shots Done Right
We all looked better ten years ago, but that’s no excuse for using old, outdated or—heaven forbid—amateur head-shots.
When you are selling consulting programs that range into the five figures, looking professional is critical, and that starts with great head-shots. Hire a photographer who specializes in portraits for speakers, consultants, and coaches. Expect to spend a few hundred dollars for a selection of high-resolution images you can use in all your marketing materials, including on your website.
Get Your Website Redone
Speaking of websites, if you are still using the same theme you designed yourself, it is time for a fresh look. While you can say that potential clients should not judge you by the way your site looks, they will. A clean, modern website will work wonders to improve your credibility and start attracting the right clients.
While you are at it, take some time to solicit new testimonials. Don’t just load them all up on a single page though. Take the best ones and add them to your sales page, put them in your email newsletters, and include them in your lead-generation materials as well.
Don’t forget your “About” page, either. This one is hard for most people, so it’s a good idea to have someone else write this, or at least have a writer revise the one you wrote. Remember to include your most recent accomplishments, any awards or accolades, your speaking engagements, and anything else that lets people know you have got what it takes to help them grow. Include a few personal details as well, so readers will feel as if they know you just little better for having read it.
Lastly, remember to update your social media profiles as well. LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and others have a long reach, so you want to ensure that no matter where potential clients find you, the information is consistent and professional.
Getting new head-shots and making over your website might feel like a waste of time, but the truth is, people do judge a book by its cover, and you often only have a second or two to make an impression. Make sure it is the best one you can make.
As always looking forward to your thoughts and insights, comment below, Coach Deb
No one can know—and do—it all. Although some of us try. And if you’re in business, then you know there are a lot of moving parts that all have to be managed. Websites, shopping carts, email managers, video editing, copy writing, and file storage…the list goes on.
And here’s where many new (and even some established) business owners fall down. They try to bootstrap everything. Need a new website? They build it. Starting an affiliate program? They install it. Creating a video training series? They buy Camtasia; spend weeks learning it, and more weeks recording and editing video.
While there’s much to be said for self-sufficiency, there comes a point where you simply have to decide which tasks are giving you the best ROI, and let go of the rest.
As Nicole Dean says, “If you’re a fish, stop trying to fly. Do what you’re good at, and let others handle the rest.”
And here’s why. You’re wasting valuable time and energy trying to do it all yourself. Take a quick look at this calculator to find out what your time is really worth, and you’ll very quickly discover that paying someone to edit your videos or update your website is a worthwhile investment.
Now that’s not to say that you shouldn’t know anything about the techy stuff that runs your business. You absolutely should. It’s nearly impossible to outsource work if you don’t have some idea of the work that needs to be done.
What that means is, you need to have an overview. You need to know where you’re going and have a basic idea of the steps that will get you there. You need to know that these things are possible, but you don’t necessarily need to know how to do them. For example, if you’re using Infusionsoft, and you want to send an email with a link that, when clicked, will automatically add the reader to a new campaign, then all you need to know is that it can be done. You don’t have to understand the mechanics behind it or be able to set it up yourself.
That’s what your VA is for.
And if you’re really thinking ahead (and I know you are) then you’ll also have your VA document the steps she’s using to complete the task. As part of her job, she should be helping to build your operations manual. That will make it easier for everyone on the team to get more done in less time, which in turn will save you money.
So stop fighting with technology. Learn only what you must know to do your job, and hand the rest off to someone who can do it faster and better. Then you can spend your time bringing in the money.
Leave us a comment with your favorite techy guy or gal, Coach Deb
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