What is a Funnel? How does it help my Online Business?
What is a Funnel? How does it help my Online Business?
Beginners Guide to Today’s Online Marketing & Strategies
You’ve more than likely come across the word ‘Funnel’ in your online business journey, but just What is a ‘Funnel’? & How does it benefit your online business? It’s used in so many scenarios that understandably it can feel confusing. In this beginners guide we’ll lift that confusion fog, plus how to plan & implement your funnel.
I was confused, ignored it & didn’t understand how beneficial it could be. Until I decided to analyse what I kept coming across & delve a bit more. I mean it keeps coming up so there had to be something about it, right?
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Let’s begin …
The ‘Funnel Concept’
I initially thought it was just about another tool / app / software marketers were trying to sell me, & yes there are many. But ultimately I realised it’s a concept used in online business.
‘Funnel’ is an interesting choice of word for this concept that marketers have coined. Yet I now understand why.
It’s not the word as much as what its’ shape represents.
We’re all familiar with the funnel in our physical world that helps us pour something into a narrower opening of another container. If we pour a litre of water into a big enough container with the narrower opening we get a litre of water in that container.
However in online business the ‘Funnel Concept’ doesn’t give us a litre for a litre. It’s a marketing strategy to hone in, no matter what you’re honing in on. The benefit is it saves you time as you’re more focused to achieve your goal as opposed to being all over the place.
The Core Definition
‘Funnel Concept’ is creating an automated Marketing Strategy designed to
♦ Raise awareness of your business
♦ Attract a large pool of potential customers to your business
♦ Take them on a journey to take action to your desired goal
♦ On the journey that large pool of potential customers will thin out so you are left with only those that are truly interested in what you have to offer
Ultimately it helps you
♦ Identify & understand your true ideal customers
♦ Helps with your research in how & where to attract more ideal customers
♦ Helps you create more offers that serves them which they want
♦ If they’re not quite who you expected, it helps you fine tune your offers
♦ Quicker route to achieving your business goals (Audience, Traffic, Sales, …)
Why Do You Need An Offer Funnel?
As a successful business owner your job is to create the right information and content to lead your audience from awareness to purchase. A great way to do that is through creating an offer funnel as opposed to randomly setting up pages & links online where you hope to capture the trust of the reader and make a sale.
You’ll match each stage of your audience’s buying cycle to the content that helps them become a paying customer or to move through your funnel, buying more expensive products or services.
So it is important to learn about offer funnels so that you can automate this process of creating awareness, gathering leads, and following up with prospects so that you can seamlessly increase sales.
Stages of an Offer Funnel
At the top of the funnel is awareness. This is done by the freely available content you put out online using internet marketing techniques such as blogging, social media, branding, advertisements, organic search, and SEO.
These things will bring your audience to your website. All you have to do is describe their problems, educate them about them, and yourself (your business), and the solutions you can provide to them while maintaining a consistent brand using different types of content.
At some point during the awareness phase a percentage of your audience will take up your offer(s). By completing an opt-in form giving you their email address to receive the offer, this will get them on your list. These people are considered leads.
You can offer anything of value to your audience which they will use and trade their email address for. By offering a helpful solution that solves one of their problems in the form of a checklist, eBook, short report, webinar, is valuable.
At this point… Once they are on your list you will start sending information to your leads via email to get them to become prospects.
A prospect is someone who has already proven to want what you have to offer because they signed up for your opt-in above. You’ll send them email follow-ups with ‘know, like & trust’ content that nurtures the prospect so that they become a paying customer.
Each entry point to your list is usually associated with a freebie or product. Choosing that item puts the customer on a specific path and email list according to the item he or she chooses. But the products, paths, and lists should change, somewhat, with each decision made.
You can segment your prospects depending on the action they take into separate lists to better serve & direct them. This is a useful beneficial automating feature used in email marketing.
For example: if a woman and a man choose the same freebie, each chooses it for a slightly different reason or motivation. If with the next choice, the man picks the “Dad” item and the woman chooses the “Mom” item, the list can be segmented or divided into two additional paths – one for “Mom” and one for “Dad”. This makes it easier for you to market to Moms’ needs as well as to Dads’ because each is added to a different list, specifically to meet that groups’ needs.
In amongst the email follow-ups mentioned above periodically include content that encourages sales. This could be in the form of small reports, case studies, how-to articles, videos, and webinars with links to the product you are promoting / selling.
Eventually, a percentage of your prospects will move all the way through your various offer funnels buying what you’re recommending.
The content you provide to your audience needs to be designed to encourage them to buy more of what you offer due to the solutions you provide. This content will make your customers feel loyal, part of the group, and special.
As you see, an offer funnel is a very powerful way to weed out unqualified leads, get the attention of your ideal audience, and gently encourage your prospects to become customers. It doesn’t need to be pushy, or even sales like. You can simply use content, and solutions, to help your audience achieve their goals.
So What does a basic ‘Funnel’ look like?
Let’s take a look…
Basically you’d create a marketing strategy to drive traffic to your lead capture page and opt-in offer. You then send your new leads email messages and drive them to your sales page. It’s basic but it demonstrates the point and if you only have one product this is what your funnel would likely look like.