What is a Marketing Funnel?
If you’ve been hanging around the internet and studying or listening to information about marketing online, you have probably heard the term “marketing funnel,” and perhaps have not gotten a good explanation of what, exactly, that is and how do you get one.
A marketing funnel is simply a structured, planned out method of gathering leads and introducing them to your product or service, then building a relationship with them. At some point, some of those leads will buy something from you if you have a good funnel.
The “funnel” will gather more leads than are actually ready or qualified to buy your product or service, then they will sift down through the stages of the funnel, until what comes out at the end is a customer. You start your funnel with a strategy to attract leads. You can use any marketing method to “fill your funnel.” You can network, rub elbows with people, schmooze and collect contact information whenever possible. You can advertise offline, like in newspapers, with flyers, with direct mail, etc. and have people contact you by phone, or by email, or you can send then to your website. Or, you can market online and have websites that interested people can “opt into” to get additional information.
The first thing you need to consider is, who is your target market? Who would be interested, and who would you be interested in doing business with? Where do they hang out? What do they read? What do they search for on the Internet? What catches their attention? What do they have in common with you? It’s always best to narrow down a target rather than try to appeal to everybody in the world—this is called “niche marketing.” Figure out what your niche is, or what you want it to be. Then start to make plans on how you can attract your ideal prospects.
Whatever method(s) you choose to fill your funnel, you need to give people some reason for them to give you their contact information. The best way to do this is to offer them something. It could be a free report, a sample, an e-book, a DVD—use your imagination! You always want to offer something that will either be free, or cost very little, because it’s only then that you can start to build a relationship with your prospects.
So the first part of your funnel is to fill it with the contact information of people who might be interested. That’s a key word: “might.” Not everybody who shows some interest in what you are offering will become a customer, so you need to collect many more leads than you expect will actually become customers.
Now that you have a bunch of people at the top of your funnel… what do you do with them? Well, you connect with them, of course! Your whole object with your funnel is to connect with people so that you can give them the information they need in order to make a decision about what you have to offer. You can call them directly if you have their phone numbers, or you can mail them something if you have their addresses, or you can email them if you have their email addresses. Obviously, email is much less time consuming. Probably the best strategy is to “drip” emails to them by using an autoresponder service. This is a service that will allow you to set up an entire series of messages that you can order and space as you see fit, and then have those go out automatically to the leads you have collected. The way you would be collecting those leads would be through a website where they have to put in their contact information to get to the next level of information or to get what it is that you are offering them. This website can be called a “lead-capture page,” a “splash-page,” or an “opt-in page.” You don’t want to just send somebody to a website where they poke around and then have to call you if they want more information. You want to make it irresistible for them to offer up their contact information.
This is also where a good “call to action” comes in. It’s important to tell people what they need to do, like, “Just put in your name and email address, and your free sample will be shipped to you within 24 hours.” Or, “Click on the link in this email, fill out the form on that page, and a confirmation email will be sent out to you with your free report.”
Maybe after they enter your “funnel” you give your leads a brief call to introduce yourself, and ask them a little bit about themselves and what they are looking for. You don’t even need to talk to them about your service or product– you can simply send them to a webpage for more information– another part of your sales funnel. Now you let your autoresponder take over and send them your series of messages. Your messages should be designed with compelling subject lines that elicits curiosity or appear to fill a need or a want. They should also offer some valuable content. You do not want to be “salesy.” What your goal should be is to give your prospects something that will help them begin to like, know, and trust you. You can put a link to your actual product(s) in the messages, but do it in a very relaxed and easy manner.
As your autoresponder messages go out, and you perhaps offer products that you are an affiliate for, something that your target market needs or wants, your prospects begin to know and trust you, and perhaps they purchase something. The prospects that do not really fit your target drop off your list by unsubscribing. And so the process goes. If you call your leads once in a while you can ask them questions about themselves, and what they are looking for. You might have an invitation to some training or something else to offer them.
Before you know it, you have customers coming out of the end of your funnel!
I use a system that has most of the funnel all ready built, and I can customize it for my needs without having to start from scratch.
Check out what I use: My Sales Funnel System
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