There’s two little words I know that many service-based businesses hate to hear and I’m hoping that when you read them in this post you won’t immediately slam your laptop shut!
These two little words can be the making or breaking point for many businesses. They’re the difference between a steady income stream or feeling like it’s a desert between client enquiries.
Are you ready to hear them?
I’m talking about SALES FUNNELS.
Now before you decide that you don’t need a sales funnel, or that you’re not that type of pushy salesman that needs to bring business in by sleuth-style marketing tactics, I’d love you to look at your client schedule.
How many new enquiries have you had in the past week, month, quarter?
How many of these enquiries have gone on to work with you?
How many of the people who have worked with you are coming back for a second or third dose of magic with you?
If your answers to the above bring up any sort of feelings that there’s less clients (which means less income) coming your way than you’d like, then I encourage you to keep on reading. In the post below, I’m breaking down three simple ways to solve each of these problems so you can win the hearts of more dream clients and keep them coming back for more. You guessed it - using sales funnels!
Let’s start though with what exactly a Sales Funnel is, shall we?
The Secret Sauce of Sales Funnels
Sales Funnels can feel like a bit of an enigma. They’re that thing that you’ve heard almost every internet marketer talk about, but still, you’re a little hazy on the ins and outs of what makes a sales funnel and why you need one.
Simply put a sales funnel is a series of steps, that ideally you’ve mapped out with logic and strategy, that takes people from not really knowing who you are and what you do to, to ultimately hiring you. I break this process down further in my blog post ‘Developing a nurturing customer funnel’ - because that’s what I believe a sales funnel to be. It should nurture your new tribe member and ultimately lead people to purchasing from you (that’s where the ‘sales’ part comes in!).
It all starts with your customers journey. There’s always going to be a large group of people that know nothing about you, your business and what you do.
These people may stumble upon your business via social media, or maybe they’ve heard a friend talk about you. Only some of these people will go on to engage with your brand - they’ll like your social media posts, hopefully read some of your great blog content and if you’ve captured their attention enough they’ll go on to be part of your newsletter tribe. If you’re engaging with them through these means a handful of engaged people will check out your prices and enquire about working with you. Of course, some of these people won’t end up working with you - that’s just the nature of business, but of course others will. Finally, once you’ve worked with these clients, ideally they’ll come back for more because they just love what you do!
Sales funnels come in at every step of this process. They begin with transitioning complete strangers into brand advocates, and eventually clients. To date, this process might’ve been naturally happening for you - you’ve seen steady growth in your social media numbers, people are downloading your free opt-in, you’re getting client enquiries and you’ve got some amazing clients. But if you’re really honest, the entire process could be easier and you’d love if there were just a few more people booked in your calendar over the next few months. That’s where the below 3 sales funnels come in! They’ll help you identify the systems you need to setup in your business that will have new clients flowing to you with ease, whether you’re selling your first book, 1:1 coaching, spots in your e-course or even physical/digital products. Trust me, sales funnels work!
Transitioning Strangers to Subscribers
The first sales funnel we’re going to breakdown is important for anyone who’s trying to build their email list. You’ve developed a great opt-in (and if you haven’t, you can read our blog post on what makes a great opt-in over here), but it’s no good just sitting there hiding behind your homepage hoping and praying that someone, someday will come along and find it!
You’ve got to be sharing it - mostly with strangers!
If you take a look at the graphic above, this first sales funnel is all about transitioning people who have never heard of you into people that have heard of you, and then into people that regularly engage with your brand.
Now you might be thinking that that’s what social media is for. Social media is a great tool for widening your audience and letting complete strangers know a little bit about your business. But it’s not the whole deal.
We need to transition these strangers into subscribers so that you can keep the conversation going, keep delivering them amazing content and then start sharing your services with them (but that part’s up next).
Each sales funnel we’re talking about here has a beginning-phase, a middle and an end-goal. So let’s look at how we can transition those strangers into subscribers.
Beginning Phase: Outreach
This is where you’re sharing your free opt-in with potential people that might be interested. Ideally, you’ve identify some ways to engage with existing audiences that would easily fit right into your community and are looking for (even if they don’t know it yet!) someone just like you!!!
Some ideas for this phase include:
- Connecting in targeted Facebook groups your dream clients are hanging out in and sharing your opt-in
- Promoting your opt-in regularly on your own social media channels
- Guest blogging for like-minded publications you know your dream clients love to read (we’ve got a whole post on pitching for guest posts over here) and directing your link to your sign-up page
- Paid Facebook/Instagram ads using audience targeting to ensure you’re reaching the right people
Now there’s a whole heap of data, technology and analytics that the nerd in me wants to talk about when it comes to maximising your efforts in this phase - but to be honest, I’d rather you just pick one and start it. There’s always room for tweaking your process down the track.
Middle Phase: Sign Ups
The middle phase is your actual landing page or website where your subscriber will sign-up. Even if you’re yet to have a website you can easily build a landing page for your opt-in using Mailchimp or ConvertKit. There’s more technical options like Instapage, ClickFunnels or LeadPages that come with more design options and analytics. Again - just start with the basics to get your opt-in OUT THERE!
If you’re in the beginning phases of your business, this is a great way to kick-start your subscriber list. The beautiful thing is, you don’t even need to invest in a brand or a website yet! Just make sure your opt-in page is simple to read and understand so that your audience is enticed to download and use your freebie asap!
The end-goal is of course, subscribers! Again, you’re going to need the mailing list technology from ConvertKit or Mailchimp to help you collect this info. You’ve promoted your opt-in, they’ve loved the idea of it and popped their email address into your landing page and voila, they’re now a fully-fledged member of your inner-circle! You’ve successfully transitioned a complete stranger into a subscriber. It wasn’t that hard after all, right?
Showcasing Your Services
Now that you’re riding high on seeing your subscriber numbers rise your job is done! They’ll just keep on rolling in and eventually one day someone will stumble across the services page and book you immediately!
Ummmmmm….. I hate to break it to you, but that’s not really how it happens. Sure, you might get a couple that find you that way. But when we’ve got such busy lives, it’s easy to forget about that free webinar you signed up for or that e-book you downloaded. That’s why it’s so important that you develop this second sales funnel - I like to call it the follow-up!
Beginning Phase: Initial Contact
When should you first contact someone that’s signed up to your email list? Well if you answered ‘immediately’ you’d be completely correct.
There is a sense of urgency when it comes to staying in contact with your new subscriber. We in the marketing biz call this ‘recency’. The more recent you are in someones mind the more likely they are to buy from/hire you.
That’s why it’s so important to develop an automated welcome series that showcases your best attributes. Through this welcome series you’ll be educating your new subscriber about you, your business and how you can serve their needs. We’ve got an entire post dedicated creating a welcome series over here.
Middle Phase: Consistent Contact
Whilst it’s important to note that a person can buy from you at any stage in the sales funnels we're outlining (or may not even go through these particular ones), setting these sales funnels up will dramatically increase your chances of capturing the attention and engaging your dream clients.
Once you’ve got your welcome series sorted, it’s time to actively engage with your tribe - they’ve shared their email address with you, downloaded your freebie so it’s rude to just leave them to fend for themselves.
This is your opportunity to continue the conversation by sharing great tips and tricks through blog posts and newsletters. The things you’re talking about should always relate back to the products and services you offer.
But there’s one big thing that most people forget. They don’t ask for the sale. This comes in many forms. They bury the link to buy from them deep within a blog post or they don’t include the price. Or they don’t ever talk about the fact that they are open for business.
You’ve got to stay in communication with your subscribers and keep telling them about the work you’re doing. Make it easy for them to buy from/hire you.
End-Goal: You’ve got a new client!
Yay, go-you! I’m a proud mama-bear over here. You’ve put in all the effort getting your sales funnel sorted, deciding what products/services you’ll offer and finally it’s starting to pay off - people are finding (and loving) the work you’re doing!!!
This part of the funnel is all about making it easy for your client to purchase from you. So take it as an opportunity to setup some systems that streamline getting contracts signed, invoicing your clients and getting paid, sending pre-coaching questionnaires or providing access to an online course. It’s all part of the client’s experience and should be as easy as possible for you and them!
Finding Forever Clients
Any big-business marketer will tell you that it’s easier (and cheaper) to keep a current client, than it is to gain a new one. That’s why it’s so important once you’ve started working with clients to develop a system (aka sales funnel) that keeps your clients coming back for more.
You might think it’s fairly straight forward - that if they’ve worked with you before and loved it, they’ll automatically reach out to you! Like I’ve said above, we all live busy lives and I’m sure you can think of a few things that you’ve been interested in but never pursued because you couldn’t find the time or you forgot about the sale etc. Well the same goes for your previous clients. Turning your clients into forever clients is as simple as setting up a system and offering that caters to their needs and guides them to how they can work with you further.
Beginning Phase: Feedback & Testimonials
After working with clients, this is a great time to get a little bit of feedback from them and ask them for a testimonial. Not only do testimonials look great on your website/social media for future clients checking you out, but it’s a great opportunity for your current clients to reflect on the process of working with you.
You might like to put together a few questions in a form, or setup a 10-minute Skype chat to get this feedback from your clients.
Middle Phase: The Offer
Crafting an offer for your current clients is a little different to developing your first products and services. You need to be aware that the problem your clients were first facing might not be the same as what they’re now facing after working with you. So looking at your products and services through the lens of what your client is now experiencing should help you create an offer that meets them where they’re at currently.
It’s also great to reward loyalty in your clients. Rather than just asking them ‘would you like to sign up for another 3-month coaching series’, perhaps you could think of an added extra you could offer them that shows them your appreciation for them returning to work with you.
End Goal: Forever Clients
Just like I mentioned above when gaining a new client, sharing and delivering your on-going offer to your forever client should be streamlined and easy. Make sure you’re looking after the clients that continue to return to you by setting up some systems and processes that support both them and you.
With a strategically setup sales funnel not only does finding new dream clients become sooooooo much easier for you, it also supports your clients throughout the entire process. If you're ready to get serious about reaching new dream clients, I'd love for you to check out my 1:1 coaching services. Together, we'll map out your sales funnel so that you're meeting your dream clients with ease and selling out your services!