Do you already own and operate an online business, or if you have spent any time studying and learning how to establish one, then you invariably hear about the concept of ‘sales funnels’ and using them to generate business.
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What Are Sales Funnels?
So what are sales funnels why do you need to know what they are?
What you basically want is for people to come to your website and then perform certain actions, be it signing up for your newsletter, liking you on Facebook, or buying something.
You know you can not just beat clients over the head with calls-to-action right out of the gate (although that would be nice). They need to have their interest hooked, guided towards something they need or want, and then convinced to cross a finish line.
Funnels do this, as they are a sequence of steps consumers can take to get to something that might make their life better.
Internet auction pioneer eBay is a simple example of a funnel marketing system. A consumer looking for something goes to eBay.com. They then search for auctions of the item they want. After that, they choose a particular auction to watch or participate in, placing at least one bid. If they win, they pay and the item is shipped.
The term ‘funnel’ is used because it starts with a broad opening of all visitors coming from many directions, often as a result of many different marketing campaigns, be it Internet ads, television commercials, or search engine results, and narrows down the traffic to specific actions, focusing in on one final action.
Consider too that eBay has more than one funnel, as consumers might lose auctions and search again, but they can also use Buy It Now options, or buy multiple items from one seller for shipping discounts.
7 Quick And Easy Funnel Marketing Tips
Now that you know the basic concept of funneling, keep reading to learn 7 quick and easy funnel marketing secrets your online business can use.
#1 Don’t Nap When There Are Leads In Your Funnel
If anyone visits your site or contacts your business expressing any level of interest in your products or services, move on that contact as soon as you possibly can.
Consumers are used to getting what they want rather quickly, if not immediately, so your response time tells them how much you value their potential business.
Besides, if they contacted you or entered your funnel, chances are they are in someone else’s too or will be if you drag your feet with them.
Concrete steps and best practices you can implement here include email autoresponders, clear indicators in your content regarding response time, and a dedicated employee or virtual assistant who handles customer communication when you aren’t available on your own.
Make sure that those who enter or touch your funnel come into it.
#2 Don’t Neglect Mobile Users
Your websites need to have mobile versions of every page.
An increasing amount of Internet activity is happening on tablets and smartphones, and if you don’t make your funnels accessible to such users, then you’re missing out on potentially half of those looking to enter your funnels.
#3 Always Have Someone Testing Your Website, Services, and Products
If you do not have someone inside your company or business doing the testing, hire a third-party professional to do it. Whenever possible, have clients do it.
Even things that you have already rolled out to the market have room for improvement. Since your competitors are always upping their game, if you’re not getting your offerings better, they’re getting worse over time.
This is a prime area to learn from your customers what needs and desires they have that aren’t yet answered. Create new funnels to fulfill those holes in their lives.
#4 Support Your Products And Services
Do not be the kind of business that focuses on getting as many people as you can through your funnels and then abandons them once you have their money.
If you offer your own products and services, make sure there is support easily and freely available to your customers.
If you choose to go the affiliate route, go with a partner that has a demonstrated history of taking care of its clients. ClickBank and Commission Junction are safe choices, which is why they are among the biggest players in the industry.
Amazon Affiliates is another common choice, but make sure you read the specific product reviews very carefully before associating yourself with individual items.
#5 Remember That It Takes Money To Make Money
This is especially true of hiring copywriters.
You don’t just want words about your products and services, you want words that sell consumers on things.
Not every page on your website has to get someone to open their wallet, but considering how many steps within online business funnels are just automatic parts of your website, you at least need the content to be strong enough to get people to click on the Next button or add something to a cart for future thought.
#6 Don’t Ignore Your Refund Rates
Funnel marketers love to look at positive metrics, anything ranging from conversions to click-through rates.
However, one metric you should keep an eye on is how often your business gets a request for a refund.
These are unhappy clients, and while there will always be some unhappy people for whatever reason, if your refund request rate is 5 percent or higher, then you’re doing worse than ClickBank and need to fix something.
It might be a substandard product or just a failure to manage customer expectations, but whatever it is, you need to find it and fix it.
Anyone sorry they rode through your funnel will tell the rest of the world to stay out of it.
#7 Have Multiple Funnels In Operation As A Hedge Against One Or Two Failing You
Consider a real estate example. A property owner who leases to only one store might have a simple setup, but if that store goes out of business, his or her income is gone overnight.
On the other hand, a property owner of a strip mall with five units can have one renter go under, have an empty unit, and still have three streams of income.
If only two or three cover the overhead, the rest are pure profit. The same goes for online funnels. Focus on having individual funnels that cover the obvious starting points: organic traffic, email marketing, affiliate traffic, and social traffic.
If one of your competitors only relies on social traffic, a sudden Facebook change might drop their visitation by 90 percent, but you might only get hit 22.5 percent of your traffic since you covered all four bases.
Ready To Create A Funnel?
Now that you know what funnel marketing is and how to grow your online business, it’s time to create an effective funnel.