My Humble Definition Of A True Sales Funnel
A sales funnel is simply put the series of marketing creatives that your end users experience during the buying process.
In other words, what pages do your end users see (and experience) when they first visit your sales page?
What do they see on the checkout page?
What do they see immediately after they purchase the first product?
What type of experience do they have when they are accessing your product, and then what type of followup do they receive after their initial purchase?
All of these variables that make up the sales funnel can help you to enhance the experience that your customers receive, while also providing more value and enabling you to track your conversions.
Since sales funnels allow you to creatively craft the experience of your customers, while also promoting your products and services, I think that learning more about sales funnels can be an excellent idea if your business sells products and/or services.
The Real Reason Why Sales Funnels Rock…
I honestly think that sales funnels rock. It doesn’t matter what type of expert, author, coach, teacher, e-commerce seller, service provider, freelancer or small business owner that you are.
If you are selling something, either product that you yourself create or even if you’re advertising products as an affiliate, then sales funnels are tremendously powerful and I’m going to reveal a case for why this is true.
Because the more I study the art and science of online marketing and advertising, the more I realize the importance of having a sales funnel. (Or, a marketing funnel).
The Biggest Tech Companies In The World Make Money By Selling Advertising.
Companies like Facebook, Google, Twitter, Microsoft (Bing, LinkedIn), Pinterest, Quora, even Amazon are all willing to sell you advertisements.
The very reason the many of the aforementioned social networks are free, is because they are selling advertisements to you, the end user. You are, arguably, the product of many social networks and search engines, because you are the product that is being sold! (Advertisers are literally paying billions of dollars to show their ads to you, on TV, on digital platforms, and everywhere else that they can reach you). Source: https://www.cnbc.com/2017/12/04/global-advertising-spend-2020-online-and-offline-ad-spend-to-be-equal.html
The main reason I point this out, is because the world of advertising, especially digital advertising is utterly massive, and it keeps getting bigger, and the targeting options are getting more advanced. (I actually believe that in the future more regulation will occur, and the large tech companies will become more highly scrutinized for selling and profiting from their end user data arguably without the express consent of the user, however, that’s a projection for a totally separate blog post).
The point is that, the world of advertising is massive; some of the largest companies on the planet turn your information (and the information of their end users) into profit by showing you their advertisements.
The Huge Problem With Advertising, And How Sales Funnels Can Help.
The truth of the matter is that advertising can be ridiculously expensive! Especially if you’re a relatively new marketer, or totally loathe the idea of writing sales copy, or selling.
Purchasing an advertisement can be one of the most frightening things in the world, especially if your marketing budget is tiny, and even more so if you’re a tiny one-person-team (like me and many of my readers).
That’s why I love sales funnels; a properly engineered sales funnel can help you to not only promote nearly any product or service that you have in mind, but they’re also designed specifically to help you measure your results.
Obviously, a sales funnel isn’t some type of “guaranteed marker of success”, and there’s no way that I can offer you magic pixie dust, unicorns, a mountain of gold or faeries; however, in my opinion a proper sales funnel can definitely help you to at the very least track and split test your marketing creatives, and in my opinion every little advantage you can give yourself is worthy of consideration.
Sales Funnels Allow You To Scientifically Track And Measure Your Marketing Creatives.
The main reason sales funnels rock, is because they allow you to accurately and reliably track your sales and marketing data, so you can constantly strive to improve your conversions and also potentially increase the amount of revenue per sale. At the very least, a proper sales funnel can better allow you to statistically measure your marketing campaigns in a neat and controlled fashion.
In other words, sales funnels can be an excellent way to test for, and measure the potential profitability of your products and services. Therefore, and in my opinion, deploying and testing sales funnels can be a great way to put your business ideas to the ultimate test to see if there is any chance of economic feasibility.
There are a ton of additional reasons why sales funnels rock. However, in my opinion, the number one reason why sales funnels rock is because they can help you answer the following fundamental question that is so easy to overlook; is it economically viable for you to acquire a customer by means of paid advertising?
In other words, can you actually afford to advertise? A sales funnel can help you to answer that question.
If the answer is yes, then you can potentially skyrocket the results that your business is getting, due to the fact that these days there’s an endless abundance of advertising options, so if you know your sales funnel is converting phonemically, then it’s really just an issue of acquiring the right advertising.
For Example, Let’s Pretend That You Want To Sell A Brand New Digital Product.
If you’re going to sell a course, a book, a digital product, or even an e-commerce product, then it might be a genius idea to have some type of sales funnel in place. (If you’re selling a product, then a tripwire funnel, an automated webinar funnel, or even a product launch funnel could be a cool idea worth experimenting with).
Why is this so important? Well, in my opinion, if you don’t have a sales funnel in place, then you’ll never really reach your utmost potential. There are a few reasons I believe this to be true, but the most obvious reason is that a sales funnel can allow you to integrate an upsell, also known as a one time offer.
So, if you intend on building a sales funnel, it would, in my opinion, behoove you to brainstorm and plan an awesome upsell sequence with different types of products in place as “one time offers”.
My Strong Case For Upsells And One Time Offers.
I know a lot of entrepreneurs loathe the idea of having any type of one-time offer, and they view it as scammy, spammy, unethical, or otherwise lame.
I obviously disagree, and think that upsells can definitely be user friendly, helpful, practical, and highly economical. One thing that comes to mind, is that some of the largest companies on the planet love to offer upsells. If you’ve ever bought any type of web hosting for example, you’ve probably been offered tons of upsells. (SSL Certificates, Dedicated Hosting, Domain Registration, URL Privacy, Advertising Options, among others).
Another popular example of upselling can be found in just about any fast food restaurant in the world; If you’ve ever been to McDonald’s and upgraded your order with Fries or an Apple Pie, then you can see how upsells might be cool.
The truth is that if done right, you can make your one time offer absolutely complementary and helpful, and there are other tremendous benefits to offering an upsell that I hope to convey to you properly in a moment.
Let’s Pretend That You Don’t Have Any Upsells Or One Time Offers.
The best way that I can prove the power of a sales funnel, and the power of upsells and one time offers specifically, is to simply pretend that we don’t have any in place. Let’s pretend for a moment that you are selling a digital product (or any product) on ClickBank.
Let’s also pretend that you DO NOT have any upsells at all. Let’s pretend in this situation, you sell 1,000 copies of your product. Let’s pretend that it’s an epic recipe book. AWESOME! Pretend that you got super lucky and that your readers love your book; the reviews rock and it was easy for you to sell the 1,000 copies. (Obviously, this would be an example of a tremendously (and ridiculously) successful launch, which is totally atypical lol, but nevertheless hear me out.)
So, what happens in that situation if you don’t have upsells in place? Well, you’re pretty much guaranteed to never increase the amount per transaction above the cost of your reciple book, because you never really sold your readers anything else after they made the initial purchase. In other words, each customer who buys the book will never pay you more than $10.
So let’s pretend that your recipe book cost $10. If you had 1,000 buyers, then your book launch will have earned $10,000 revenue. (Obviously, you have to subtract the cut for transaction fees that ClickBank would take, and any cut that affiliates get, taxes, et cetera).
Now Let’s Build An Imaginary Upsell That Rocks.
What if on the other hand, when someone purchased your product, you immediately offered them something else to buy? Maybe you could offer an entire bundle of recipe books at a hugely discounted rate, or you could otherwise promote your entire library of recipe books, or other products or services that your business offers.
Let’s pretend that you’re selling some type of book bundle containing ALL of your recipe books, plus they get a special autographed copy of your latest book. Let’s also pretend that you offered a hugely discounted $97 pricetag on that upsell. You’re also offering an awesome bonus: all new readers who buy the upsell also get an awesome 7-day email course from you that showcases your top 7 recipes that are NOT in the book! (This could be a sweet bonus to an upsell).
Let’s Look At The Numbers If You Have A $97 One Time Offer Upsell.
In this case, obviously, not EVERYONE is going to buy your upsell. But, what happens if just 1%, 5%, 10%, or even 20% of your readers buy the upsell?
If 1% of 1,000 customers bought your $97 upsell = $ 970
If 5% of 1,000 customers bought your $97 upsell = $ 4,850
If 10% of 1,000 customers bought your $97 upsell = $ 9,700
If 20% of 1,000 customers bought your $97 upsell = $ 19,400
Obviously, if it would be VERY difficult to get 20% of your customers to buy your upsell (lol), however, until you actually test your campaigns, it’s impossible to know how your upsell is going to convert, which is why I’m whackily fanatic about sales funnels!
Because even if 5% of your customers bought your upsell, you’d still have a massive $ 4,850 extra, that you would NOT have been able to earn otherwise if you did not offer the upsell.
Therefore, while your customers are never guaranteed to buy an upsell, if you never offer that upsell in the first place, your buyers are certainly guaranteed not to get it, because you never made the offer. So, make the offer! What do you have to lose? As long as your offer is congruent, helpful, and as long as it serves your customer well, it can be a great idea.
(In this imaginary example — even if only 5 customers out of 1,000 original buyers purchased your upsell, then that would still be $485 in revenue that you would not generate without an upsell sequence of some type).
Now Imagine If You Had An Additional Upsell Such As An Online Video Course, A Mega Collection Of Books, Templates, Coaching, Or Some Type Of Service?
Well, in that case, your potential earnings per transaction could statistically increase dramatically! As a result, your affiliates are happier, you’re happier, and hopefully, if your content is awesome, your buyers are happier as well.
This is why I’m such a huge fan of sales funnels, tripwire funnels, product launch funnels, automated webinar funnels, and all other types of funnel. Because they allow you to scientifically measure your results, and any proper sales funnel software these days can help you to easily integrate different types of upsells and downsells.
The Power Of Your Thank You Page.
One thing that all authors, teachers, e-commerce sellers, or just about any entrepreneur can do is try to promote some type of offer right on the thank you page (or confirmation page, download page et cetera).
The thank you page is tremendously powerful because usually, this is the page that your customers see when they access their purchase. So, in other words, nearly 100% of the people who see this page are actual BUYERS! So, therefore, and in my opinion, any clicks that you generate from this page are probably going to be worth more than mere tire-kickers, right?
There are countless strategies that you might consider for monetizing your thank you page, but I think the main thing is to ask yourself how can you help your new buyer the most?
Do you offer any premium offers, services, or products? If so, then promoting this right on the thank you page might be a super powerful idea.
Do you have any webinars that you promote? Your thank you page can be one of the coolest places to accomplish that.
Also, ask yourself, are there any products or services that you could potentially promote on your thank you page as an affiliate?
For example, if you’re teaching a course on email marketing, then maybe you could promote your favorite email marketing service as an affiliate. Or if you’re writing a book about sales funnels, then you could promote your favorite sales funnel software as an affiliate.
In this case, as a recipe book author, there must be some cool food appliances, food items, or other recipe books that you could promote as an affiliate. I’ll even bet massive course marketplaces such as Udemy have some cool online courses that you could promote as an affiliate.
These days, there are so many awesome tools, products, and services that you can promote as an affiliate, so the sky is the limit.
Another huge and powerful idea is to promote an EMAIL COURSE right on your thank you page. An email course can be an awesome bonus to help complement your original offer, email courses are relatively easy to create, and they can serve as an awesome bonus for your customers.
An email course is also awesome because they allow you to build your email list, so if you are concerned about automatically adding your customers to your email list (due to GDPR) then adding some type of lead magnet to your thank you page might be a really cool strategy to consider.
The Importance Of Having An Awesome Email Marketing Followup Campaign!
If you indeed decide to promote your lead magnet on your thank you page, then it can definitely be a smart idea to plan your email followups well in advance!
Failing to plan your email followups is a mistake that can make a devastating impact, and unfortunately failing to email and follow up with your email subscribers is a very easy trap to fall into.
One of the worst things in the world that email marketers can do is to devote countless hours (or months and even years) generating awesome leads, and then never emailing them!
That’s a million times truer if you’re actually spending money on paid advertising.
So, don’t let this costly error sabotage your efforts to build massive authority with your end users. Devote time to brainstorming how you can help your end users! Turn those thoughts and strategies into an awesome email marketing campaign that you configure to deploy to your email subscribers automatically after they subscribe.
Always remember that if your end users subscribe to your email list, it’s probably because they really like you and they want to hear more from you.
They like the content that you create, they like the messages that you espouse, and they appreciate the training that you provide.
Therefore, the worst thing you can do is FORGET about them, neglect them, or otherwise fail to share awesome content with them.
So, ask yourself, how often are you going to email your subscribers?
The best advice I can give you on that front, is to simply ask yourself how frequently can you commit yourself to create awesome content?
These days, I’m epically lazy and don’t like to write many email newsletters (lol), and I only mail once per week, or maybe once per 10 days or so.
The most important thing (in my opinion), is to be totally transparent on your lead capture page as to how often you send emails, so your subscribers know exactly what to expect and are never saddened, or enraged as a result of the frequency of your emails.
How To Know Which Sales Funnel Idea Will Work?
I’ve spent countless hours brainstorming and testing different marketing strategies on this tiny and humble blog. I’ve also interacted with a bunch of readers, colleagues, and friends who love marketing.
One question that colleagues (and others) are always wondering and stressing about, is how their marketing creatives are going to convert.
They wonder how their lead capture page, their sales funnel, their landing page, or sales pages are going to convert.
The truth of the matter is that the only way to know for sure what works is to test it.
Before We Test, All We Have Is A Guess, Or A Hypothesis.
That’s precisely why I absolutely love the art and science of sales funnels, and split testing marketing creatives.
If you have a business idea that you want to test, the best way to accomplish that goal, is to test! Brainstorm and develop an amazing sales funnel! Try your best to study your end user and ideal prospect enough so you can put together an amazing offer, and then put your hard work to the test.
In my opinion — putting your sales funnel in front of your ideal audience, can be one of the best ways to test the economic feasibility of your ideas.
Create an awesome sales funnel, be it a tripwire funnel, a product launch funnel, an automated webinar funnel, and then build variations so you can see which ideas are feasible, and which are not.
Of course, all of this requires an abundance of skills, luck, effort, passion, work, and determinism. And, even if you try your best to deliver awesome products, there’s no guarantee that your marketing creatives will work. Therefore, ample quantities of luck are also required.
What Happens If Your Sales Funnel Totally Flops And Fails Dismally?
Make no mistake. Creating any type of sales creative that succeeds can seem impossible unless you’ve studied the world of copywriting and advertising extensively! And even then, advertising can be a chore, and it’s never a guarantee.
The good news is that, even if your funnel flops dismally and totally, at the very least, you can figure out rather quickly if there isn’t sufficient demand for your offerings, or maybe your sales creative isn’t doing a proper job. That’s why, in my opinion, testing different creatives is so essential.
The bad news is that, in my opinion and in the opinion of others, you should always remember that roughly 90% of startups fail. Source: https://www.forbes.com/sites/neilpatel/2015/01/16/90-of-startups-will-fail-heres-what-you-need-to-know-about-the-10/#434efcf16679
The best advice I can give to anyone in this case, is to try your best to test different creatives, so at the very least, you can attempt to unravel what types of marketing creatives work. Testing will also allow you to discover what ideas probably won’t work for you.
If your marketing creatives totally bomb and flop, at the very least, you know that it didn’t work. In my opinion, even that data on advertising failure can be worth something.
Thank You So Much For Reading This! You Rock!
I want to thank you so much for reading this document.
I honestly think that sales funnels can be a tremendously powerful asset for just about any small business owner, and throughout this document, I tried to reveal my thoughts clearly and vibrantly.
I truly hope that this document finds you well, and as always I invite you to contact me in the event that you wish to brainstorm.
Until next time, please have a beautiful day!
Mike “Funnel Experimentation” DeVincent