When I launched Your First Shop earlier this year, I thought a lot about how I would attract people to my website nd the turn them into customers. Initially, I spent a lot of time on social media reading, liking, and retweeting...but not a lot was happening traffic-wise. Everyone I was meeting in Facebook groups seemed to be obsessed with how many followers they had and how many email subscribers were on their list. When I’d reach out to fellow bloggers and business owners to collaborate with them, I kept getting shut down because my list was “too small”. I started to wonder if I was being realistic about my goals, considering what a tiny audience I had.
The more I thought about this, the more frustrated I got. I know that I know my shit! Every time I get on a call with someone, it goes INSANELY well. The couple clients I was working with gave me awesome feedback and were telling me I was helping them gain new perspectives on their business, grow, and improve.
Besides, I don't need 1,000 newsletter subscribers and 23,000 followers on Twitter. To build a business that could sustain my lifestyle and pay my bills, I need just a few really engaged clients who my message resonates with, and who needed help growing their business.
Sooooooo anyway, when I started hearing about how other online business consultants were using “sales funnels” in their business to sell their products + services, I cringed a little. “Not for me”, I thought. That’s only important if you are running a six or seven figure business, have tons of followers, or are trying to sell thousands of units of your product. I just wanted a few clients!
And then … something clicked for me as I was reading through a web design blog, and the concept of the “customer journey” was mentioned. Even though they meant that in a different context, that helped me re-frame the concept of sales funnels in my mind. A funnel doesn’t have to be about the sale … it's about the customer, their business journey, and how I can help them along the way.
Not so cringey or sleazy anymore!
" Your focus should be on the customer and their transformation, and not on your sale ... Your sale will happen if the right customer comes along, and you’re focused on helping them on their journey. "
At the end of the day, a funnel is a funnel. But as a small business owner or someone just starting out, your focus should be on the customer and their transformation/journey, and not on your sale.
Your sale will happen if the right customer comes along, and you’re focused on helping them on their journey. Your job is to listen to your customers, figure out what their problems are, and present the right offer, at the right time.
And that ^^^^ is where “funnels” come in.
What is a funnel?
If you think about a funnel in its most basic terms, the idea is simple.
Generally, followers "enter" your funnel when they opt-in to your email list. Then you'll send them a series of emails (usually automated) and a smaller subset of those followers comes out the other end achieving some outcome...a sale, a follow, a signup, you name it.
Buuuuut, a successful funnel is about more than just collecting someone’s email address, then dropping a series of sales emails on them hoping they’ll buy. Successful funnels are part art, part science...and you’ll probably perfect yours over time as you learn about your audience and evolve your business. It’ll never be “done” or “perfect”.
What are the benefits of using a funnel?
A funnel is meant to keep your customers engaged and excited about your business, but a great funnel can also teach you a lot about your customers. If you’re doing it right, your funnel will prepare your customer for some end goal...whether that’s buying your product, signing up for your webinar, joining your Facebook group, requesting a consultation with you, or whatever your end-game is for them.
A funnel can also guide your audience or customers into a totally different direction...maybe to a different funnel you have set up, or maybe you (or they) will decide they’re not the right fit for what you're offering, and remove themselves from the process altogether by unsubscribing.
A note on unsubscribes:
There’s no point in having a HUGE email list of fans who don’t resonate with your message, so that’s a path that is totally legit for some people who make their way into your funnel!
Ideally, your funnel will make sure that by the time your ideal customer/client/follower gets to the END of your funnel, they are totally prepped and ready for your “sell” (whatever that looks like). Even if they don’t end up buying/signing up/joining/enrolling now, the point is your message resonated with them. They’ll either be in a position to move forward and accept your offer, or they’ll move into a different funnel so you can continue adding value and serving them.
--- QUICK TIP >>>
Another great feature to take advantage of in your email marketing system is to segment your list based on who is opening/clicking in your emails. This will let you further target your audience with relevant offers based on how they are responding to the content you’re sharing! For example, if you know someone opened every one of your emails promoting a new service you’re launching BUT they never purchased, you might re-target them with a lower priced offering or related freebie to serve them at a lower price point.
This is a lot of info on funnels! If you want to learn more and ask some questions, I'm hosting a free training on how to setup & feed your first funnel this coming Tuesday evening! Sign up here!
Who should use a funnel?
Hopefully by now, you understand that funnels aren’t just for people with HUGE audiences or big companies who have products to sell. Anyone can use funnels to connect with their audience and map a meaningful customer journey that serves their needs and keeps them engaged.
If you feel like you don’t know what to say to your audience, or you don’t have time to connect with your audience, setting up an automated funnel/customer journey is the perfect way to reframe this and connect with your customers in a meaningful way while also saving you time and getting you more of the outcomes you’re looking for!