To a lot of independent professionals, such as consultants and service providers, sales funnels may appear to be unnecessary and overly complicated. They may seem impersonal or cold. This may be true in some cases, but you can implement a simple online marketing sales funnel that allows your personality to shine through while guiding your prospects toward your goal.
WHY IS A SALES FUNNEL NECESSARY?
Sales funnels guide prospects towards a sale. In the B2B world, it’s unlikely that a prospect will make an immediate decision to work with you. Usually it takes several phone calls or meetings and emails back and forth.
A prospect needs more interaction before they can make a decision. A sales funnel helps reduce the amount of time you spend on this process because your funnel helps answer questions and introduce your services.
The goal of the sales funnel is to make your prospect feel at ease and comfortable with working with you. It increases their trust in your knowledge and abilities.
WHAT DO I NEED TO GET STARTED?
To implement a simple online marketing sales funnel, you need three main things:
- Email marketing software
- Opt-in offer
- Email content
Your email marketing software will be used to deliver a series of emails. Be sure to choose a software platform that allows for automations. I recommend ActiveCampaign.
To get people to opt-in for your email messages, you’ll need a strong free offer. This could be an ebook, a video series, or other resources. This is something valuable that you will give away for free.
Finally, you’ll need content for your series of emails that prospects will receive after they sign up for your free offer.
WHAT IS YOUR MAIN GOAL?
Start with your goal in mind to create an effective sales funnel. For some people, the goal might be a free consultation, or for others the goal could be membership sign-ups.
Work backwards from your goal to put the rest of the funnel in place. Consider how your opt-in offer relates to your goal. It should give your prospects the first step in achieving their desired result and lead them down the path to hiring you.
HOW DO I PUT IT ALL TOGETHER?
Step 1: Set up your email marketing software
Use a system such as ActiveCampaign to create the form that will deliver your free opt-in offer when someone signs up. Create the automated sequence that will follow after the opt-in offer is delivered. Here’s a sample sequence you can use:
- (Day 1) Welcome Email: Let your new subscriber know that you are here to help, and ask them what they are currently struggling with.
- (Day 2) Mission Statement: Tell your prospects about yourself and why you want to help them.
- (Days 3–7) Additional Content: Send several pieces of your best content that will help your prospects with their goals. (This can be spread over several emails.)
- (Day 8) Pitch Your Introductory Service: Make an offer for your introductory service such as a free consultation.
Step 2: Add your opt-in offer to your website
Once the logistical side is set up, you’re ready to publish your opt-in offer. Place it prominently on your website. Make sure people know exactly what value they’ll receive by signing up.
Step 3: Attract visitors to your website.
There are many methods to drive traffic to your website. Here are few main ways to consider: social media, advertising, direct outreach, guest blogging, and content syndication.
Step 4: Follow up with prospects who reach out to you directly
The goal of your funnel is to bring qualified prospects to you. A small portion of the people who sign up will be ready to accept your introductory offer and become a client.
Step 5: Continue to engage with your list of potential prospects
Not everyone will be ready immediately. This is to be expected. However, you still have their email address, so you can continue to send valuable information on a regular basis. Send them new or curated content to stay top-of-mind.
Here’s what the funnel looks like when it’s all set up:
Using a simple online marketing sales funnel will help you deliver value to your prospects and turn them into warmer leads. People buy from people they trust, and your sales funnel helps to build that trust with prospects.
Go deeper into this process with The Essential Guide to Online Marketing for B2B Professionals.