There’s a good reason sales funnels are the most talked about marketing trend in the online coaching business industry.
This is because when done correctly they can help you consistently gain the right types of clients for your business while preventing you from burnout with social media.
But if you’re new to all of this you might be scratching your head as to what exactly a sales funnel includes and how do you create one for your business. The good news is that they really aren’t that complicated, and you can set one up in a weekend.
Before you get started though, I want to be very clear about what a sales funnel is not:
What Is A Sales Funnel?
A sales funnel represents the stages that your ideal client goes through before they decide to work with you, this is also known as the ”buyer journey” in marketing lingo.
Each stage of the funnel corresponds with a stage of the buyer journey:
Attract = Top of Funnel
Nurture = Middle of Funnel
Convert = Bottom of Funnel
You use various types of content (educational, social media, email, video) to move your ideal client through the different stages.
This content is designed to build trust while answering questions and helping them overcome objections they may have about working with you.
Stages of the Buyer Journey
Awareness -Attraction content is usually core educational such as a Blog, Podcast, or YouTube Channel.
This is the first contact that they may have with your brand and makes them aware of a potential solution to a problem they are having.
Example: Sally hates her job. She googles, “How to switch careers” and comes across a blog post you’ve written on this exact topic.
Consideration – Nurture content will further solidify that you are a trusted resource and it further deepens trust by providing a quick win.
Example: At the end of your Blog Post, you offer a free workbook to help Sally figure out what type of new career she should have.
She provides her email address and you send her the workbook along with a series of other emails to help that give her more insight into her journey.
Decision – Finally, conversion content will help your ideal client make a decision by helping them overcome any objections they may have about working with you.
Example: You host a Live Webinar about “Courage To Make A Career Switch” and at the end of your 45-Min Training you offer your 12-Week Career Switch Coaching Program and spend 15-Minutes answering questions for your audience.
Now that you have a good understanding of the buyer journey and the sales funnel process in general, let’s talk about what a Sales Funnel is not.
What a sales funnel is not
- A get rich-quick scheme – The ultimate goals of aa sales funnel is consistent lead generation. This can take time to build up in some cases.
- Limbo for non-ideal clients – Marketing is about attracting the right people and repelling the wrong people. It’s a funnel for a reason. Expect people who are not your ideal clients to opt-out.
- The only way to sell – Until otherwise forced, social media should still have it’s place in your online marketing arsenal. Clients can enter your funnel from here as well and can move through the buyer journey with just social media as well.
Creating Your First Funnel
Step 1: Keep it simple
There are tons of different funnels out there and they can get very complicated (i.e. tiny offers, value ladders, ‘upsells/down sells’ and more) but all of this jargon is why some people shy away from sales funnels entirely.
But, if you’re just getting started and still only offering private coaching your sales funnel can be as simple as: Educational Content (i.e. Blog or Social Media Post) → Lead Magnet → Welcome Email Series → Invite to Free Session
That’s it! Keep it simple at first and as you generate revenue for advertising, you can start implementing more advanced sales funnels like SLOs (Tiny Offers).
Step 2: Lead Magnet
A lead magnet is a free piece of content you give away in exchange for your ideal client’s email address (i.e. a workbook, template, checklist, guidebook, audio or video file, etc.).
Consider these tips when designing your lead magnet:
- Relevant – Ultimately you are leading them to your final offer. So your lead magnet should align. Consider the first few steps they need to take or questions you’re often asked.
- Branded – This is the first impression they will have of your business so don’t skimp on design. Use a graphic design tool like Canva to make something people will feel was worth signing up to get.
- Consumable – Don’t create a 100 page workbook. Let it be easily consumable and get to the point. This is not about you but rather your customers’ journey.
- Evergreen – Try to make your lead magnet something that you only have to create once. Perhaps you’ll update it to keep up with current trends, but you don’t want to design a completely new lead magnet every year.
Step 3: Email Series
This is a series of 3 – 5 emails sent over several days (usually 5 – 7 days). As with each of your previous steps, your goal is to continue building trust and overcome any objections to working with you.
Your email series might include:
- Welcome Email – your new subscriber, re-introduce yourself, deliver your lead magnet, and tell them what to expect next.
- Frequently Asked Questions – that you know keeps your many people from taking the steps in the right direction.
- Case studies or testimonials – from your current clients or beta-testers are perfect for easing doubts about your abilities to get results.
- Urgency – If you are running a special promotion or the doors will be closing for your coaching program then a Last Call email is perfect for creating a sense of urgency and prompting people to take action.
Step 4: Post Funnel – Creating Lifetime Customer Value
The biggest question I had when I started to implement sales funnels was, “Okay, what if they don’t buy?”
What we do with leads that aren’t ready to work with us, is just as important as when they are.
This is called creating Lifetime Customer Value and it involves both a great customer experience for those that work with us, and continuing to educate and build community for those that don’t.
To do this effectively:
- Move all non first-time buyers from your funnel to your weekly email newsletter so they can continue to get encouragement and updates.
- If your primary offer involves coursework, be sure to send progress check emails to see how people are doing and offer to answer any questions if they’re stuck.
- Keep another list of those who have purchased and when you launch new products be sure to give them a special offer.
Now that you’re clear on what a sales funnel is and how to create your first one, get to work and be sure to drop a comment below to let me know how you’re doing!