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What Science Class & Passive Profit Have in Common: Intro to Sales Funnels

If you can’t tell yet, I’m quite a creative visual gal. Creating beautiful things is my happy place. Art class? Mini Megan was all over that. Science? Well… you can imagine eyes completely glazed over as Ms. Stumph tried to teach me the laws of chemistry. Not much from that class has stuck around the ole noggin, but I do remember those days when we actually got to experiment.

Mini Megan thought science class was a total bore, but Mega Megan thinks passive profit is pretty fun! True to form, I can’t recall a single experiment we did in Chem 101, but I can remember the equipment we used (those visuals stick with me!). So everytime I go to create a new product, I can’t help but remember my trusty lab friend, the funnel.

We aren’t dealing with cones and flasks here, but spend all of 30 minutes exploring the land of passive profit and you’ll quickly start seeing funnels everywhere. Sales Funnels.

“What is a funnel?” “How to write your first sales funnel.” “Funnel Hacking Live.” “Funnel. Funnel. FUNNEL!” Drama intended. 😉

The concept of sales funnels isn’t exclusive to passive profit, but it is widely talked about and studied for e-based businesses.

An introduction to sales funnels and the customer journey in plain English!

What is a sales funnel?

A sales funnel works similarly to its chemistry cousin. In the lab, funnels are used to guide liquid or powder into a small opening with a wide top and narrow bottom. In business, sales funnels are used to guide potential customers to a sale.

Imagine the shape of a funnel. At the top, you have a wide array of people coming in from various traffic sources like your blog, social media, Google searches, paid advertising, and so on. Once they enter the funnel, you have the opportunity to intentionally craft a journey of steps for them to come to know you and your brand, understand what you do, let them decide if they are your ideal customers and need what you have to offer, and eventually make the ask for the sale. Upon purchasing, your customer has effectively exited the sales funnel!

The sales funnel visual: Awareness, Interest, Decision, and Purchase

The funnel visual helps you understand that:

1) You need traffic to your business to begin the funnel

and

2) There are different phases of a customer journey that takes them from the wide top all the way through the narrow bottom of making a sale.

They sound super complicated. Let’s simplify it!

Funnel Prep: Traffic Plan

If you wanna sell passive products, you need a traffic plan. There are no ifs ands or buts about it. Content marketing is a part of the game. And since we’re at the top of the funnel, it is a rather big part. You can build traffic through free or relatively low-cost marketing like blogging, social media, Pinterest, SEO, and more. While effective, these marketing methods can take time to build and see traction. You can also build traffic through paid marketing like social media advertising, Google Adwords, and other ad opportunities.

I personally advise you start with the low-cost marketing options before jumping into paid ones. Even after you’ve validated your passive product idea, you’ll still probably find room to refine your product and your customer’s needs, wants, fears, desires, and motivating factors in the traffic building phase. As people enter the funnel, you’ll be busy optimizing each step to make sure it resonates and converts. Once you know your sales funnel is optimized and actually converting into product sales, then you can scale it with advertising!

One of the most important concepts you need to understand about traffic is that it isn’t all created equally. There are two very different types of traffic, warm and cold, that come to your door and you’ll want to craft your funnels intentionally with each group in mind.

Warm Traffic: Aka “warm leads” or a “warm audience.” When we are talking about traffic being warm, we mean they already have a sense of awareness about you or your brand. Warm traffic are your followers on Instagram, your email subscribers, and anyone who is keyed into what your business is doing. They’ve already warmed up to what you are selling and are easier to sell to because you can skip the awkward first date.

Cold Traffic: What’s the opposite of warm traffic? You guessed it. Cold Traffic. Unlike your warm leads who are already tapped into your offerings, cold traffic knows nothing about who you are or what you sell. They take longer to sell to because you have to warm them up! You have to do a little extra leg work to move them through the awareness phase of your sales funnel and convert them to a warm lead.

This is why I suggest starting small with free or low-cost traffic generators so you can take your time in figuring out how to effectively sell to your warmest leads (the people already following and loving your brand!) and then add in advertising later to widen your reach and invite cold leads in. At that point, you’ll be able to focus your efforts on optimizing the steps it takes to warm up those cold leads while your warm leads are consistently buying!

Phase 1: Awareness

So you’ve got a traffic plan. Check!

Now that you’ve got people in the top of the funnel, you’ve got to move them through the next step: Awareness. Although aware of who you are and what you do, you still want to move your warm leads through this step. It just doesn’t have to be as long and drawn out as those cold ones.

Awareness building happens through introducing who you are, what you’re about, and what you sell and through connecting with your leads through your content and social media.

This phase is often where biz owners get shy and feel awkward. Especially if you don’t like talking about yourself/your brand. But in order for someone to buy from you they have to be aware of who you are and what you can do for them!

Phase 2: Interest

As you shift from the initial introduction of your company and your expertise (awareness) and start talking through what you have to offer, your warm lead moves into the interest phase. You’re working to build interest in your product and position yourself for the pitch.

Once a lead is in my newsletter, a warm lead will get consistent touch points in the form of weekly emails. I don’t always sell sell sell. Sometimes I will announce new products or introduce a special promotion, but more often than not, I’m sharing valuable content and heartfelt stories about motherhood and business-hood. But those weekly touchpoints help to build interest in what I offer so when the time comes that my potential customers may need a new website or maybe a coach to help them hone in on their brand, launch that big idea, and grow their business, they know they can turn to MMC to get it!

Phase 3 + 4: Decision & Purchase

This step is pretty straight forward! When a want becomes a need right now, a warm lead officially moves into the decision phase and becomes a hot lead (aka sell it time!). This is the phase where sales psychology really kicks into high gear in order to continue to move a hot lead through to the final step, purchasing!

Your goal in the decision phase is to get your hot lead to yes!

Many times people need a little extra nudge to get to the purchase. A high-authority testimonial or mention that the product will only be sold to a limited number of people or only on sale for a limited time can be the extra bit of oomph your customer needs to purchase!

What happens after the funnel?

People who buy from you are much more inclined to buy again. So the best thing you can do for your long term sales is to take care of your paying customers. Go the extra mile. Give them more value. Follow up with a personal note. Share their successes and celebrate with them!

And for those that don’t buy, don’t give up on them just yet! They may need more warming up to get to know and like you a little bit better or they might not be in a season of need for what you have to offer. Keep connecting with them through email marketing or social media and you just might be surprised when the sale does come in!

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