The Digital Strategists Newsletter-sm

Sales Funnel Frustrations

Hi Subscriber,
Just about every businessperson today is familiar with sales funnels. At the very least they’ve heard the term. Sales funnels are arguably the most popular business growth strategy that’s out there today. You can break the sales funnel strategy down into four steps. First, you have to get more traffic to your website/offers.

That’s the first objective. There are many ways to do this – both free and paid.
Second, you need to convert more of this traffic into subscribers, customers, and cash. Improving your sales copy and crafting a more compelling offer are the first two things that come to mind here.

Third, you need the customers acquired in step two to become loyal, repeat buyers. In other words, customers for life.

And fourth, you need to create ongoing offers that put more money in your pocket for every sale you make. For example, upsells and additional offers.

Keep in mind, this is just one strategy. There are others. Most people start out by promoting and advertising their product organically (think referrals, friends, social networks, etc.). That’s the source of their website traffic more often than not.

They also use social media. From there, their website delivers the sales message (usually a combination of text and images) and a call to action (call to make an appointment, fill out a contact form, etc.).

Both methods work. The first method relies upon a more structured, traditional sales funnel. I’m sure you’re familiar with those if you’ve been online for longer than a few years. First, you download something free. Then, there’s an immediate, low-ticket offer.

Next, you’re added to a mailing list. Three or four emails later, you’re presented with a core offer. Finally, there’s a premium offer down the line (coaching, consulting, done-for-you, etc.).

Think in terms of low, medium, and high. It’s like a stairstep method where you start off buying a low-ticket item and end up (eventually) spending more money.

The problem with this method (at least as of 2022) is that most people see it coming.

What do I mean? When done correctly, the entire process is seamless. In other words, it doesn’t feel like you’re being marketed to. It’s like a natural, ongoing conversation. Unfortunately, if it’s not done correctly, it comes across as a cheap marketing tactic.

Unless you’re a product creator, you can end up creating a very forgettable freebie or front-end product. The idea here is that you’re supposed to build trust and with the increase in trust comes an increase in purchases.

And hey, that’s fine if you have several proven products ready to go. But what if you just sell a basic service? Do you have to create several new, low-priced products just to have your “sales funnel” in place?

The whole idea behind this strategy is to build what marketers refer to as – Know, Like, and Trust. Once you have those three, you can make the big-ticket sale much easier.

Or at least, that’s what has been preached in marketing circles for decades.

There’s another way to look at this, though. You can build all three by being active on social media and being seen by others who are active on social media. You can build all three by having a YouTube Channel. Or, you can do what I did and do the same thing through a podcast.

You may be thinking, “Yes, but what about building a mailing list?”

This is another area where you have multiple options. For example, a webinar is one way to tick all the boxes. Not a live one, but an evergreen one. You can create a short video to talk about your product and why you believe you’re the best fit for your viewers. Then, you insert it into a webinar system like this one. The evergreen element eliminates the need for you to be on video live – which is something many aren’t comfortable with.

The webinar registration page captures the person’s name and email address. There’s your list-building component.

The point is, if you’re struggling to follow the popular sales funnel strategy, you’re not alone. I’ve seen solopreneurs and freelancers invest countless hours putting a traditional sales funnel together only to be disappointed by the results.

Why? Because consumers are inundated with this kind of marketing. Creating a memorable PDF download isn’t easy. Oftentimes, people don’t even get around the reading it. Most will just skim it. The truth is, depending on your market, this method may or may not be as effective as it was in the past.

The good news is that you have options.

I create a weekly podcast. This gives me multiple opportunities to create value for my listeners. If I had to do it through a single, downloadable PDF, and a follow-sequence, I don’t think I could create the same connection.

It’s not going to be any different for you when you’re behind the microphone. We’re really talking about the process of creating familiarity. Others will come to know you, even though they’ve never met you in person once you start “showing up” regularly.

The showing up part can take many forms. You can start a podcast, create video tutorials, write blog posts, or participate regularly on social media. All these methods can help you create real connections that can last a lifetime.

From there, creating an offer or selling a solution becomes a natural extension of an ongoing dialog.

So, don’t let the technicalities of sales funnel marketing discourage you, overwhelm you, or hold you back with your online marketing. If the traditional method seems to be a poor fit for your business, that may be because it is! There are many ways to build visibility and establish trust online.

There are many ways to present a call to action and make sales, too. Go ahead and experiment. This topic is as much art as it is science – so give yourself a little bit of freedom to test out your ideas. Unlike a technical topic, not everything in digital marketing has to be done “by the book.”

- Jim Galiano

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