This is the second post in a series on how to power-monetize your blog, internet marketing or social networking. If you’d like to start from the beginning, you can visit the first post here.
Whether you operate an offline business and are using blogging, internet marketing and social networking as a way of expanding your reach and effectiveness, or whether your online presence is your primary activity, using a sales funnel is mandatory if you want to truly maximize your results. Yet, most people don’t even know what a sales funnel is! And what’s more…even those who have an idea of what a sales funnel is, don’t know how to use one effectively. So, here’s the rundown:
What is a Sales Funnel?
A sales funnel is a tool that guides you on how to optimize your sales. It’s something you come up with through the process of developing a good business plan for your site. This is something I’m going to be covering in depth in future posts, but for now let’s look at the funnel itself. It looks simple enough, no?
Now this graphic is just a representation of a sales funnel; you can make yours look however you prefer. The point is to have one. A sales funnel is the process you take your buyers through that leads to a sale. Simple concept wouldn’t you say? But how many of us neglect to implement on this concept? Answer a few questions to see where you stand:
- Where do most of your buyers come from?
- What pages do they land on most often?
- Where do they go from there?
- What steps are you taking to monetize each page of your site?
- How are you providing maximum value to each buyer on every page of your site?
- What stage in the buying process do you suppose is each of your visitors in, and what steps are you taking to guide them to a sale?
If you do not have immediate and simple answers to each of these questions, your sales funnel needs work. The good news is that by developing a well-designed sales funnel, you will be able to truly maximize sales on your site.
Obviously, you can tell by looking at my sales funnel (which I took from a real estate site I run), not everyone who visits my site signs up for what I offer. Imagine that! I expect you’re running on less than 100% conversion as well, and the trick is to really dig in and make sure you’re getting every conversion you can get.
The point of this post is not to go in depth on how to use a sales funnel. That is coming in future posts. I’m really going to dig in for this series and show you not only how to use a sales funnel but also how to maximize sales every step along the way. Make sure to bookmark this post and come back for the future posts as well!
For this post, I want to show you what a sales funnel is and illustrate how powerful it is.
The Power of a Sales Funnel
Buyers visit your site. Some of them bounce right off to another site. Some of them stick around for a minute. Some of them hang out for a while and read several things and then leave. Some of them actually sign up for what you’re offering. This is good stuff. It’s how you make money online! But the problem is that most people take a very scatterbrain approach to all this. The idea is that you put up some good content, drive traffic, offer a product or service for sale and hope for the best. I don’t really need to tell you that’s not a very good approach, do I? We need to do way better than that!
Deliberately designing a sales funnel forces you to think about the process a buyer needs to move through in order for you to make a sale. What process does YOUR buyer need to go through in order to buy from you? Have you thought about this?
Let’s use the sales funnel I pictured above as an example. As I mentioned, it’s from a real estate site I run. The goal is for me to get contact information from as many buyers on this site as possible. Perhaps your goal is to take orders for an ebook. Maybe you want to build a list of email subscribers. You have your own goals. My goal for this particular site is to build a list of buyers and their contact information.
Look at the Numbers…
Do the math and you’ll see I’m pulling a little over 17% conversion from this site. This doesn’t happen automatically! Many internet marketers shoot for 2%. They brag their faces off when they get 7-10%. This site is pulling 17%. I hope this serves as a testament to how powerful a sales funnel can be 🙂
But I don’t just have the total number of visitors and how many leads that came in, do I? There’s more. I have an intermediate step in the middle. I track how many people view the sign up form. Out of all the visitors to this particular site, I am successful at getting about 46% of them to the opt-in page, where they give me their contact information. Not all buyers fill out the form of course. In fact I lose most of them, but I do get an overall 17% conversion from this site.
It’s important to understand that 17% conversion is very rare in internet marketing, BUT it’s very achievable for you as well if you implement the same systems. Like I said, I cannot go into huge detail on the implementation of the sales funnel in this post. I will be doing that in future posts here. Please bookmark this page to return for the future articles as they go live. I will link up all the content here, so it’s very easy to find.
How to Make a Sales Funnel
Of course, this is a simple enough thing to do. Creating a sales funnel is merely a process of accessing your goal and then deciding how to best achieve it. Many people just want to “make money online”. Of course, you need more than that. You need a plan. A sales funnel is an essential part of that plan.
- What is your main goal?
- What things need to happen in order to turn your visitor into a buyer?
- What steps can you take to ensure that every page on your site functions to convert a potential buyer from one step to the next?
Of course if your sales funnel is very simple, such as the one I’ve pictured as an example, there are really only a few steps. It doesn’t have to be complicated. It just needs to be something you’re mindful of when tweaking your site for maximum efficiency.
So You’ve Put Together a Sales Funnel. Now What?
Having a sales funnel is the first step. A defined and laid out step-by-step process you lead every buyer through that results in a sale. As you can see by the example I provided, it doesn’t need to be complicated. In fact, it can be very simple! But it’s essential to write it up as part of your plan and most people skip this.
Having a process in place, you now have the real work cut out for you: how to maximize results at each stop along the way to the sale!
In future posts, I will take you through each step of the sales funnel and how to maximize results each step of the way. Suffice to say for now, your sales funnel is the process you lead your buyers through in order to make a sale. It’s essential to understand where each of your buyers is within your sales funnel. If you know where they are, you can take them and guide them to a sale. Or you can use the scattershot approach, put up good content and hope for the best. I hope you’ll keep reading and learn to use your sales funnel for maximum success in your blogging and internet marketing 🙂
BTW…let me know if you have any questions!
Make sure to visit the next post in this series also…