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Sales funnels: what are they and why are they important?


Marketing funnels are becoming more and more popular for business owners and entrepreneurs. Even if you don’t really know what a marketing funnel is, chances are that you’ve probably been through one.

A marketing or sales funnel is a series of landing pages strung together with an end goal in mind: to get the user to take specific actions. These funnels are tools to capture leads and drive user experience.

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Unlike a website where there are many options and chances of users jumping around is high, funnels offer set options.

In an opt-in page, for example, you offer a freebie (something of value) in exchange for information like an email address.

The only options the user has is to put an email address in to receive the freebie or back out. If they are interested and enter their email address, you capture a lead.

It’s called a funnel because like an actual funnel, a lot of users will come in through organic or paid traffic sources. However, as potential customers go through the funnel, click on pages and select items, not all convert into buyers. Some will drop off, and the number of potential customers that continue through towards the shopping cart narrows.

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If you’ve read any marketing book or taken a basic class about it, you know that most customers don’t buy at first sight or contact.

It takes multiple messages and “touches” to get your message to them and many people will argue that you shouldn’t even have a website, just funnels.

I personally use WordPress for my website with funnels in conjunction. ClickFunnels. ClickFunnels allows you to build landing pages easily with drag and drop functionality. My mom could probably figure it out.

Here’s an example of a funnel. Let’s say you saw an ad on Facebook and clicked on it. You then see a single page with an informative video and a few fields to fill in your info.  

The only options you have are to leave the page, or to plug in your name and email to get a “free ebook” or whatever is promised on the other side.

Something that is very popular lately is offering a free book where you just pay for shipping (this is referred to as the free + shipping book funnel).

I’ve seen a TON of successful entrepreneurs doing this. Dean Graziosi with Millionaire Success Habits, Ed Mylett with #MAXOUT, and Brendon Burchard with High Performance Habits all offer free + shipping.

Some people have their entire website based off of simple funnels with high quality copywriting, or sales writing, which is basically powerful sales scripts.

Really good copywriters can run you thousands of dollars apparently, although I have done my own copy for funnels I’ve built up to this point.

These people are trained sales script pros… they write in a way that invokes user emotion and really strikes the chords of pain that cause people to want to buy to solve whatever problem it is that you have a solution to.

It is easy to put funnels together using software like ClickFunnels. I’m talking, VERY easy. You can literally have a decent, basic funnel up and running in 15-20 minutes if you have the copy and images ready to go.

You can add upsells and downsells, host membership courses, or even just offer a free gift such as an ebook in exchange for an email address to build your list.

An example of an upsell is when you go to McDonald’s… let’s say you go through the drive through with the intention of getting just a Big Mac. Then the drive thru employee asks if you want fries and a drink with that.

You say yes. In this case, they upsold you and made EVEN more money without having to spend any extra on marketing.

This is similar on many websites (which are really landing pages). Say you visit a landing page and opt-in for a free ebook. You then you see a one-time upsell trying to sell a product to you for 50% off, but only if you buy now.

You may be convinced to buy that product NOW because of this offer. You get a discount and the business owner gets additional sales.

You probably are starting to see why funnels are so powerful at this point.

Another cool thing with funnels is that you have to really refine your message and get specific about the outcome you want.

If a user on your page wants a free ebook or whatever result you are promising, they have to click through to the next page and provide an email address or additional contact info.

This is how you can grow your email list of people who are passionate about you and your offer. It also helps you weed out anyone who isn’t serious enough to even provide an email.

One thing about the “free book + shipping” is that there’s a 2 step order form… you can have interested traffic enter their contact info so that even if they choose to not pay for the 5 or 6 bucks in shipping, you’ve already captured the email address and lead to retarget them with ads like “hey, I noticed you were looking at ____ but didn’t quite pull the trigger, how about checking it out again?”

Also, when someone has to pull out their credit card even just to pay $5, they are more serious than the person just coming in for the free ebook.

You can literally use funnels for any business… I’ve mentioned that I joined a wholesaling company in Houston to learn from the pros… well, guess what? I’ve built a funnel for it :).

I drive traffic to that funnel and get my own leads, separate from the team’s website. I’ve even gone so far as to order a sticker of the domain name to put on the back of my car and generate more leads.

I really urge you to consider automating your business and technology if you aren’t already. There’s so many things you can do with funnels.

You can integrate them with autoresponders to have messages send once someone opts-in. You can even integrate with Zapier to automatically have a Google Sheet updated with the lead’s contact information.

Check out this link to get a 2 week free trial of ClickFunnels if you want to see if it fits for your business or lead generation.

If you’re still not sure what funnels are, how to create them, or if you need them, it might make more sense to start with Russell Brunson’s free book, Dot Com Secrets.

Surprise, surprise… the book is free, but you just have to pay shipping :). It really is a great book though and will teach you about funnels as well as a ton of marketing knowledge in general.

Getting the free Dot Com Secrets book will show you a perfect example of a funnel done the right way. When you order yours, pay close attention to each step of the process and every bit of valuable content Russell sends your way.

Questions, comments, concerns? Post them below!





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