You want to own a market. You want to grow a business or product into a brand. Many of you have or are creating a lifestyle business. The term “Sales Funnels” crossed paths with your research and journey. That landed you here…
Building content, measuring analytics, and growing an email list are standard operating procedure.
Along this path you ran into online marketing. It seemed cool. It seemed like there could be some real potential in selling product using it.
Then you went through terms and education. Content Marketing, SEO, Traffic, Conversion, Optimization, etc…
Somewhere along that path you wanted to know… How do I build a Sales Funnel. You wanted high converting automated machines that made money. That is the myth, the legend.
This article is going to break down how you can get that sales funnel. The converting and always working sales funnel that can transform your business. The sales funnel that can “4X” your revenue. Let’s start with understanding what a sales funnel is and isn’t.
What Is a Sales Funnel?
A sales funnel is the buying process that you lead a prospect through. It’s an educational process that transforms a prospect to a customer. This comes from being aware that your customer has a problem and you educate them on the pain of that problem. Your prospect then becomes aware that a solution exists.
The sales funnel starts with an opt-in page. The next and final phase is marketing. Marketing is where you show that your product is the solution.
If that is confusing, don’t worry, this guide will break it all down so you become an expert.
Why Are Sales Funnels a Big Deal?
In the last few years, the immersion of sales funnels has increased. The understanding and analysis of what a sales funnel is, how it works, and how to build one have all been huge topics.
Content Marketing and Sales Funnels: A Love Story
This started with the content marketing movement where everyone started analyzing their market. They wanted to write better content and answer questions their audience had. They wanted to understand their buyer persona. This was all to grow their audience through content.
Clickfunnels Made Sales Funnels Easy to Build
Then came Clickfunnels. Clickfunnels builds sales funnels with a few clicks.
Russell Brunson has done an amazing job of training his affiliates and marketers. He focuses on sales funnels. When the “Profit” hired him, it showcased what he does so well: sales funnels and how powerful they were.
Growth Hacking Made Sales Funnels Even More Popular
Sales funnels have been around. They are now mainstream and talked about in every marketing blog. Growth hacking helped solidify this. Growth hacking took marketing on a restricted budget and made it cool. It made it into a community.
Startups have profited and utilized growth hacking the most. Growth hacking has helped a lot of product owners and service based businesses as well.
Companies pay people like me a lot of money to analyze and create their perfect sales funnel. This is because we only focus on sales funnels. We growth hack and funnel hack. We find what works and model it, then recreate it and execute.
Where to Learn More About Sales Funnels
Throughout this series, I will be utilizing training that I have had from various sources. I will do my best to cite those sources with a link. To make sure I cover a few let me tell you about them up front.
Network Empire was my original training. Their in-depth market analysis and training is the best in the industry. They focus on marketing through SEO. That makes the seminars and training I went through on their site more in-depth for keywords.
Sue Bell from NE focuses on finding out what “buying” terms your business or website should rank for. This increases your conversions because of the focus. The most exceptional part of their training is the amazing software they have built.
Their software can take apart your market and analyze every piece of it. You can then categorize which keywords you can rank for. You can actually build the structure of your site in their software. This is all done on WordPress using a simple-to-install plugin.
The entire concept takes a few weeks of study to understand and become an expert in. It is worth every penny and more. While their core business is helping affiliate marketers, it helps any business. The complexity of the subject becomes simple because they are great teachers.
Clickfunnels and Russell Brunson
Clickfunnels has an in-depth and awesome training experience. You can find a lot of Russell Brunson’s training through YouTube or his free webinars.
Russell has a super power. He is able to take the hardest concepts to understand and makes them simple to take action on. The concepts are powerful. Like worth millions when applied powerful. They become applicable in the form of a simple picture. That is why I love listening and learning from him so much.
Russell has a new book called Expert Secrets. If you are wanting to start somewhere in learning, this book and his previous one are perfect for you. If you buy the new book you get an option to get both on audio. Buy both.
I have read or listened to his old book, Dotcom Secrets, at least thirty times. The craziest part is I still learn something new every time I read or hear it.
Russell shows how to use his software throughout the training. More than that, he teaches you why you should have a sales funnel. He also shows his personal case studies in his advanced training.
Clickfunnels and Russell are one of the best resources on Earth for sales funnels. I appreciate how accessible his information is. It has helped me become the expert I am today.
Digital Marketer and Ryan Deiss
Digital Marketer is the organized resource from Ryan Deiss. He has easy-to-use marketing tactics and training courses throughout his website. His training sessions are video-driven and easy to follow.
I learned the most about email marketing from this source and Ryan’s book. He also breaks down starting points on making opt-in funnels. His overview of Facebook traffic is one of the best I have read.
It isn’t Ryan writing every article. His entire team chips in.
I would start with his book, Invisible Selling Machine. I haven’t found the audio for that book yet. I bought it on Kindle and had Kindle read it to me.
Why Am I Telling You About These Sources?
“When a thing has been said and said well, have no scruple. Take it and copy it.” ~ Anatole France
The real power about all three of these resources is the fact that they have real business sites. They are not selling their software — software they built as they needed for their business and sites — as their main business. I love looking for people who are successful and mimicking them, modeling their business and mindset.
They needed training for their internal people. They needed the training for their business. That training is what they built the videos and checklist for.
Take advantage of modeling your business after million-dollar companies. These companies have internal processes available for you. Take those processes and apply them. Understand how to maximize them.
If you see a great idea through this series it more than likely came from one of those sources. I am smart. I give credit where credit is due.
Where to Start When Building a Sales Funnel
One critical piece of information is the beginning of a sales funnel. All three companies tell you to start at the same point: market research and analysis.
While this sounds super boring and not actionable at all, it is the single most important step in the entire sales funnel process. It is what we will cover in-depth in part one of this guide.
What Is Market Research and Analysis?
Market research is an organized effort to gather information about target markets. If you are selling a product then you need to first determine who you are going to sell that product to.
The person ready to make a decision to buy your product is the person you want to analyze — your ideal customer. Make sure you think long and hard about who that is because this is the key ingredient to market research and analysis.
People call this niche marketing. We are not niching down. We are aiming our research for this one funnel to a group of people.
Are your current sales funnels already converting customers? Great. You need opt-in or educational sales funnels.
There are always more sales funnels you can create. Jason Miller focused on building one major sales funnel every quarter. This is what helped him grow Marketo and LinkedIn into content behemoths.
Look up Funnel Hacking by Russell Brunson. Also look up Market Research by Network Empire. YouTube is full of great resources on understanding this step.
What Market Research Has to Do With Sales Funnels
If you have not looked up your competition yet then what have you been doing?
Your competition is your most valuable piece of information. They show you:
- Where they are getting traffic from
- Their offers and upsells
- The type of content that is working
- What questions they are answering about their product
- Their online following on social media
If you “hack” the funnel of your competitor and their website you can unravel a business plan.
Think about it. If you know the traffic source to get traffic from and the type of offer that is converting from that traffic, what is the missing piece of the puzzle?
Make a better product. Position your product better. Find a way to showcase more credibility. Find niche affiliate products and sell those. There are tons of painkillers that people have already developed and didn’t know how to sell.
Improving Traffic and Sales Because of Marketing Research
Now you can improve on what your competitor is doing. This is when it gets even more fun. You can go “troll forums” and gain traffic sources. You can start a YouTube channel and build an audience. You can take over a Reddit or Facebook group and gain massive traffic.
Traffic plus a great offer in a proven market makes you money. Market research can tell you if a market is worth going after. It can also show you how you are thinking wrong.
Russell talks about Funnel Hacking a lot in his training. The basic flow is like this:
- Find a Hot Market
- Ask Them What They Want
- Give It To Them
Russell walks through his “potato gun” market. It is actually amazing when he breaks it down. It makes you want to go buy a potato gun. The magic in the entire process is coming up with the “table of contents” for your product.
Sales Funnel Products via Table of Contents
As you are performing market research, you should be locating your ideal client. That ideal client has questions. Those questions are the basis for your product.
If your current offering doesn’t answer them then you have to redevelop. If you are creating a product then take the questions as a table of contents.
Market Research Scripts From Clickfunnels
Make a simple landing page or post the questions in a group. Simple say:
I thought it would be a fun project to put together a manual about potato guns. I want to make sure it is real good.
I am putting together a few questions to make sure I answer. They are the normal questions people have about potato guns.
So would you do me a favor and I will give you a gift.
1. What is your number one question about potato guns?
The rest is where you ask them to post the question on your site in a specific place. You tell them that if they post the question you will send them a free copy of the manual.
You then take their info and ask them for a review of the manual. Then do the same thing with another gift. This gets you early adopters and early reviews.
Why is this step so critical? Let’s look at what market research is to find out.
Market Research and Sales Funnels Customer Life Cycle
Look at your customers in groups. Think through where they are at in your buying stages.
Think of your business in a few stages. This will help you group who you are talking to.
- Stage 1 is Problem Aware
- Stage 2 is Solution Aware
- Stage 3 is Product Aware
Stage 1: Problem Aware
This stage is where your prospect realizes he has a problem. He has started to feel the pain. He is researching to understand the solution.
We have all had that conversation where someone says they need a website. We all understand that a website is not actually going to do anything.
Then they think they need traffic. We all understand that traffic isn’t doing anything either.
That leads them to one day realizing they need an offer that focuses around an audience. That audience then becomes their targeted ideal client. They can then market to them in the form of sales funnels.
Problem aware is where most business owners understand they need more sells. They need revenue. It takes education to understand why that can come from an online sales funnel. That education gap is where your sales funnel would fit in.
Stage 2: Solution Aware
This stage is where your prospect knows the results they want. They don’t understand that your product provides it. You have to educate them on the product and market fit.
You need credibility indicators. You have to gain trust. This is where testimonials and knowing the “elephants in the room” come in. When you can overcome every objection that is mentally in play then you can move the needle.
The problem with mass market is that you don’t have enough educational resources. Mass market is completely unaware. If you can learn to segment your mass market into sales funnels then you can win there.
That is why so many people fail at marketing online. They want to educate everyone. That is great. You have to start with the closest people to buying your product first. These are the Product Aware.
Stage 3: Product Aware
These customers already understand that they have pain. They understand that they can fix that pain by buying something. They also understand you have a product that fits into that category.
You want to take that prospect and educate them so that they are most aware. They understand the product and the outcome it provides. They want to deal with their pain.
They just need to know “the deal.”
How to Start Your Sales Funnels Today
As you start to build your sales funnels, make sure you are targeting your ideal client. This should be the best potential outcome for your product.
I learned that I focus on venture capital firms, marketing co-ops, and product owners. My marketing started taking off when I came to that realization.
Next week we will dive into how to use this market research more and how to start crafting offers.