There are many different ways to complete each step of the sales funnel process. For instance, you can use online ads to attract attention to your blog. You may decide to make videos and place them on YouTube, Vimeo and other video sharing sites to get the attention of your prospects. Let’s look at each stage of the 4 step sales process in order, and discuss a few simple and effective ways to help fill that part of the funnel.
This is the phase that is so important, because it fills your funnel at the top. You need to attract attention to your blog. The following free and paid methods for letting people know your business is out there have proven effective for beginning the sales funnel process.
- Blog Content
Blog posts, your About Us page, and any other content on your blog can attract attention to your business. This is why optimizing your content for search engines is so important. When your blog content is structured and written properly, search engines like Google will send you lots of free traffic.
This begins filling your sales funnel at the top. When your content really makes a positive difference in the lives of your prospects, they move further in the sales funnel by developing a desire to know more, and hopefully end up making a purchase.
- Offline and Internet Ads
Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising is a common online method for letting people know about your blog. You can also contact business owners with large email lists in your market, and pay them for a solo ad. An ad goes out to their list and tells their followers about your blog, business or offer. This is a great way to build your list as well while also getting the word out about your business, and you can target the exact prospect pool you are looking for.
You can advertise in forums, on social media sites like YouTube and Facebook, and anywhere online that your target audience hangs out.
Don’t ignore off-line, “real world” advertising methods. You may be able to reach an entirely different group of eyeballs for your offer when you advertise off-line rather than on. You can use free advertising services like Craigslist, or pay for traditional ads in print magazines and newspapers. Slap a car magnet on your vehicle letting everyone know about your blog, and any time you drive anywhere, you are attracting attention to your business.
You can pay for banner ads and display ads on the top blogs in your niche. As mentioned earlier, really good blog content will draw you free search engine traffic. You could also pay the search engines for traffic, do free advertising on popular social networks by posting frequent updates, Tweets and messages, and create content for article directories.
The time to jump all over video for getting the word out about your business is right now. Video has absolutely exploded as an inexpensive or free, super-effective way to create attention online. This means placing videos not just on YouTube and the other video sharing sites, but also on your blog. Consider the following statistics.
- In 2017, online video accounts for an incredible 74% of all online traffic. (KPCB)
- 4 out of 5 consumers say demo videos are helpful in making buying decisions. (Animoto)
- Snapchatters view 10 billion videos each and every day. (AdWeek)
- As many as 500 million people watch videos on Facebook each day. (TubularInsights)
- YouTube claims more than 1 billion users, 1/3 of everyone on the Internet, and 1 in every 7 people on the planet. (YouTube)
Video is powerful. Video content is processed by the human brain 60,000 times faster than text-based content. In a world where people are continually receiving more and more marketing messages daily, and are extremely pressed for free time, this means you can quickly get a message across about your business and make a real impression.
- Press Releases
Press releases still work well online. There are free press release sites which will publish your PR without charging a penny. However, the best way to harness the power of PRs is to use the paid options offered by the following top press release distribution services.
- 24-7 Press Release
- PR Newswire
Attracting attention means letting people know you exist. Tell them about your blog, whether you use offline or online advertising methods, SEO tactics, frequent social media posting or other proven attention-getting methods. Once someone knows about your blog or business, there is no guarantee their attention will lead anywhere. That is why you have to get your audience interested in what you have to say. The following methods do that effectively.
- Great Headlines
Once you have attracted someone to your blog, how do you keep them hanging around? You do this with click-magnet headlines that absolutely guarantee your visitors read your content. Don’t underestimate the power of a great headline. You may have the best content in the world and a great offer, but if your headline doesn’t get people reading what you have to say, your business is sunk.
- A Unique Hook
What makes your business different from everyone else in your market? There is no better way to create interest than by being interesting! Do things differently. Look for a new slant on an old problem. You can be handing out pretty much the same information as your competition, but when you are unique and memorable, you stand out from the crowd.
- Problem-Solving, Question-Answering Content
Figure out what the top 5 or 10 problems are that plague your target audience. Dig down deep and create outstanding pieces of content that answer those questions. Make this information free and available on your blog.
Use the attention-getting methods listed above to drive traffic to these valuable and content rich web pages. Whenever you create text or video content that answers nagging questions and solves big problems in the minds of your target audience, you are going to keep those people interested.
- Your Main Landing Page
When a fish hears or sees your bait or lure “plunk” into the water nearby, you have attracted its attention. Depending on whether the fish is hungry or not, the water temperature, and whether or not it is breeding season, that interest may be mild, strong or neutral. It is your job to create interest, by using the right bait and fishing techniques. Your main landing page is where you should be sending everyone you attracted at the top of your sales funnel.
Your landing page is how you build your email list, which is where you will create desire and hopefully a call to action that leads to a sale. Your landing page is your bait to move someone from interest to desire. Your landing page copy, how it is optimized for the search engines and how it is structured, as well as the opt-in freebie you are offering, are the techniques you use to get someone to sign up to your email list.
Your landing page is far and away the most important interest-builder in any online business.
This should be simple, short and straightforward. Mention a a few reasons why someone should sign up to your email list, and offer them a high-value product in return for doing so. Here is where you are moving uninterested or mildly interested people out of the sales process, and funneling interested web surfers closer to making a buying decision.
Attention and interest are two different things. Of course, you have to attract attention to your blog before you can develop interest. Once you develop interest, someone actually wonders what it is you have to say or offer, you need to appeal to their emotions, especially desire. You can do that with the following marketing methods.
- Case Studies, Testimonials, Social Proof
Social proof is extremely powerful. Some effective sales techniques include simply showing an interested prospect lots of happy customer stories, testimonials and case studies. People receive more marketing messages now than ever before. Because of this, they are much more likely to believe a customer they can identify with rather than your salespeople or sales page.
In the B2B (business-to-business) environment, case studies are extremely powerful. They interview a customer in depth, revealing how a product or service that you offered solved some huge problem. In the B2C (business-to-consumer) world of marketing, where many bloggers exist, case studies are known as testimonials or happy customer stories. These can be text-based, video or audio, and they create desire by showing you exactly how your offerings work in a real-world environment for a “real” person.
- Email Autoresponder Series
If you spend all your efforts driving free and paid traffic to a landing page, and then send those who sign up to your list an email autoresponder series, you can build an effective, set-and-forget sales funnel for little or no money. The best way to take someone from attention to desire is to constantly interact with them. Ask them questions. Send out surveys. Continue to send exceptional content through your email autoresponder series, asking for nothing in return.
Would you believe that it is easier to develop desire if you are able as a marketer to talk to someone 7 times rather than just once?
I hope you agree with that statement. It has been shown that on average, across all markets and niches, it takes approximately 7 communications with a prospect before he or she makes a buying decision. This is very easy to do with an email series that automatically goes out on a previously set schedule, automating your sales funnel experience.
- Stop Pain, Create Pleasure
Did you know there are only 2 major desires upon which almost all buying decisions are made? People want to stop pain, or receive a pleasure. Of these two, sales and marketing professionals understand that relieving pain is the most powerful motivator. If you can develop content that stops pain and simultaneously offers pleasure, whether it be videos or blog posts, emails or articles, you will never lack for customers.
Sometimes it pays to get a professional involved.
This means hiring a copywriter that understands proven techniques and strategies, ways of writing and structuring content, that create high levels of desire. If you don’t have the means to hire a copywriter, just make sure the content you create tells a story and involves emotions. Emotional storytelling will always be the easiest way for the low-budget blogger to develop desire in his or her audience.
Every sales funnel needs a call to action. You have to tell your prospects exactly what to do, how to buy your service or product. Keep the following thoughts in mind when your sales funnel narrows to the point where you want to turn a prospect into a customer.
- Ask for the Sale
There are a couple of major schools of thought regarding email advertising as far as when you should ask for a sale. Many believe that you should make an inexpensive offer the first time someone joins your email list. When you think about it, this makes a lot of sense. That person is interested in what you have to say. You have created enough desire so that trading an email address for your opt-in freebie and future content looks attractive to the prospect.
After your “Thank You for Joining My Newsletter” email, offer a product or service that solves a big problem, and charge very little for it. This creates trust and respect on the part of your subscriber.
The second school of thought is to wait before you make an offer of any kind. In this process, you send out 5 or 7 emails in a row with valuable, free content. In each one of them you may hint that you have created a product or service that is just what your audience has been looking for. However, you never ask for a sale until you have developed a real relationship with your list. After several emails, you send your list members to your sales page, which we will talk about next.
- A Great Sales Page
Like a high-converting opt-in box, an efficient sales page should not be one word longer than it needs to be. However, there is a lot of work to do on a sales page. You have to overcome objections, mention benefits instead of features and have a truly killer headline, frequently testing and tweaking to get the best possible conversions.
If you have done a really good job creating desire, you may need to do nothing more than literally ask for the sale in an email. In most cases, however, you will want an influential and persuasive sales page in place. This is because if someone has already decided to buy from you, they will simply scroll down your sales page and hit the buy button. On the other hand, if someone is on the fence, a well-written sales page can turn the person from a simple tire-kicker to a happy customer.