Even if a website makes your business look good, it won’t necessarily work to convert your visitors into clients. Which is why I always tell my clients it is important to have more than a pretty website. If you want your website to work better than a glorified business card, you need a way to attract people to your site, a mechanism to capture leads and a system for nurturing those leads until a percentage of them are ready to buy from you. That is called a sales funnel. I know it sounds complicated so I’m going to give you an example of the steps involved in building a simple online sales funnel. This is the same technique I’ve used to build my business at New Tricks.
What Exactly is a Sales Funnel?
A Sales Funnel is a marketing system where you map out the process you want your ideal client to take that is designed to guide them along from visitor to a lead, to a customer and even a repeat buyer and raving fan.
Hypothetical Simple Sales Funnel
Let’s say I’m in the local tour business. I will definitely have a website where we offer the information about our great tours where visitors can book them online.
That’s great. But what if they are coming to Atlanta later in the summer so they aren’t quite ready to book the tour yet. How many people will remember to come back closer to the time and book a tour? I could be losing a lot of business.
Develop a Lead Magnet
Instead of waiting for them to get closer to the time and maybe remember to go back to our website, which they may or may not, I will create a free PDF report that I’ll make available to my website visitors in exchange for their first name and email address.
My report will be called, “The Ten Coolest Things To Do In Atlanta That Tourists Don’t Hear About”. This report is an example of what is called a LEAD MAGNET. (This is one of the most important things any website should have on their site.)
When the person who is planning a trip to Atlanta visits my site, and sees my offer, they will be compelled to sign-up to receive it right then and there. It comes to them in the confirmation welcome email that they automatically receive from signing up for my mailing list.
Blogging to Generate Interest and Visitors and Authority
In order to attract people to the site from Google searches and social media posts, I have to write content in the form of blog posts. I could just put this info on Facebook but then I am relying on people finding it only on Facebook and there is no reason they need to come to my website where they can book a tour. So, I create an editorial calendar with a list of topics that I can write about to each week. To make it easy maybe I have a system of what type of post to write each of the weeks of the month.
Maybe the first week each month, I will write about the events that are coming up during that month. Now, I have to come up with three more topics.
The next week’s post can be about the interesting places we go on our tours. For example, since we go to the Oakland Cemetery, I will write a post about Margaret Mitchell’s grave. This is interesting to tourists and gives them a flavor of the types of things they might see on our tour and they will also see how much we know about our city.
We see lots of great outdoor art on our tours so the third week of the month, we can feature a particular wall mural. And the fourth week, we can general info about bicycle riding. This might include bike safety, bike comfort, bicycle tourism, and things like that.
This calendar even allows me to write up some of these posts in advance and get them scheduled.
Social Media Updates
After I publish my blog post, I need to post social media updates about it on Facebook and Twitter and Google + Local Business that link back to my website.
This will grow my traffic since people will see the updates and go back to the site. Also each one of these posts can come up in a Google search on the particular topic. If someone is searching about Margaret Mitchell’s grave then maybe they will see my post and want to go on a tour with my company.
Once a week, I will also send out a newsletter to all of the people on my mailing list with the blog post content or excerpt of the post. (This is also essential for everyone to do since people may not see the social media updates and most will not remember to go back to your site if you don’t keep in touch). I take this invitation into a person’s inbox seriously and only send them content I think they would like to get.
At the bottom of the newsletter, I also include a list of our latest tours that links back to our website. This makes it easy for my customers to book a tour when they are ready.
Periodically, I can also send out special updates on new tours, limited offer coupons, and other such things to prompt them to take action but I don’t want to go crazy with discounts or they will learn to wait for sales.
In this example, my main topic is tours, so my ultimate goal with this simple funnel is to attract website visitors and get them to subscribe to my newsletter and then convert newsletter subscribers into tour bookings.
You can see how one of the most critical parts of the process in all sales funnels is content.
You know, I am always harping on the need for blogging and newsletters and this is why. Creating public content that is not salesy but instead offers great information of interest to your ideal clients will bring more visitors/prospects to your website from Google search and social media shares.
In order to turn prospects into leads, you need to create content in the form of a free report or e-course. These free offers “exclusive content” allow you to capture names and email addresses.
Since you want to turn these leads into customers, you need to take that great content you are adding to your website and repurpose it into a newsletter and also into social media updates. Use the regularly sent newsletter and social media updates to build a relationship with your prospects and customers. Do not just send out discounts. Everyone likes a discount but you do not want to train people to wait for sales. This is about developing a relationship and connection with people that care about what you are doing.
Today, we have the ability to create and share great content with our prospects wherever they are and this builds “know like and trust”. Do this right and your right people will be ready to work with you right from your website.
Think of what that could mean to your business.