The No-Fluff Guide To Getting Customers On Autopilot.
Do you have customers queuing up around the block to get your products?
In the first part of this Sales Funnel 101 series I explained the three reasons you’re missing out if you don’t have one.
When I worked in my corporate job we always had queues of people lining up to buy, and it was here that I learnt the secret marketing concepts that small businesses often miss.
In Part 1 I showed you why you need a sales funnel to get your passion project noticed, loved and bought by your dream customers online. I showed you the system that you can set up to lead someone who has just become aware of you, to liking you through your great and useful content – onto eventually trusting you enough to buy from you.
Sales Funnels 101: How To Create An Automatic Funnel
Now we are ready to start building your system – oh yay!
Hold your horses though, because first you should see it in action.
Polite note: I like to call this a sales journey rather than a funnel (which reminds me of chemistry lessons ugh) because I believe we should think about every single person who gets to know us as an important individual.
Let’s look at this simple sales journey step-by-step from the perspective of your customer, which starts when they read a blog post:
Simple enough, but where do you start?
With your value proposition.
Remember the foundations I talked about in Part 1? At this stage it’s vital that you are crystal clear on whom you serve, you understand their problems, and you have the ideal solution. For the purpose of this post I’m going to assume you are clear on your value proposition already, so without further ado.
Step 1: Free Content
Did you know that most people who visit your blog or website will never ever return.
To get around this little problem all you need is an ‘opt-in’ incentive or ‘freebie’.
This is a piece of free content that is so juicy and desirable to your ideal customers that they will gladly give you their email address in exchange for it.
But, how do you know what will work for your market?
Before you start creating your free content, have a specific offer in mind. Now’s the time to articulate fully how your offer helps people solve a real problem or struggle. What result will you get people ultimately?
- We help you to support your child’s learning so he or she reaches their full potential at primary school. (Primary school learning resources)
- We help you to loose a stone of post-baby weight in just 60 days. (Weight loss training and eating plan for new mums)
- We help you to live a more harmonious life with your challenging teens. (Positive parenting membership resources)
Hopefully you are already blogging about topics related to your product, and your content is good quality and helpful. Now’s the time to produce an opt-in incentive (sometimes known as a lead magnet) to persuade people to willingly give you their email address.
Stuck on what to create? If you already have a decent sized following on social media or you know exactly where they hang out online, then you can simply ask them.
But if you don’t have that luxury, try to think about a real person who comes across your blog post and loves what you do.
How will you ultimately help them? How will you get them just one step closer to a solution at every touch point you have with them? Try to think of this as a journey towards becoming your ideal customer. Your opt-in freebie is the first step on that path.
When it comes to brainstorming ideas for your opt-in content, focus on the results that you will get people.
What that means is you are not thinking about yourself and what you offer. Rather, you’re firstly thinking about them and the benefits your lead magnet will give them.
Design the freebie from the start with specific objectives for what people will be ‘able to do’. If you keep the mindset of what they can ‘do’ vs. ‘understand’ or learn, and let that guide everything. What action will they be able to take after consuming your content?
Think “how can I teach them, through a tool or system for doing something?” Connect the dots between where they are right now and where they want to be. (And the first dot is your freebie).
Don’t forget about the product or service you ultimately want to sell – as capturing an email address is the first step on the path towards that goal.
6 Essentials for irresistible opt-in incentives:
#1 Is your opt-in incentive relevant to your ideal client? Not just your existing clients or customers, but your ideal clients?
#2 Is it specific to one of their problems?
#3 Is it related to your end product/service? Does it showcase your talents and expertise?
#4 Does it solve their specific problem? Will they get a tangible result?
#5 Will it create instant action, will they physically DO something as a result of seeing your freebie?
#6 Is it great quality – as good as your paid-for offers.
Now lets think about the format. The format you deliver your content in should reflect the way you work with paying clients. Here are some ideas, graded by the amount of effort it takes to create them.
20 Types of opt-in freebies to attract dream customers:
What will your ideal client love? It’s lazy and lame to say ‘Get Free Weekly Updates’ or assume an eBook will work.
If you’re a coach, maybe a short video series where you teach some specific technique would work – they get to see you and also understand your style.
If they are looking for a quick solution, a cheat sheet will work well – make it one page, nice looking so they can print out and refer to it. Outline top-level concepts in a clear concise format.
Decide what you want to be known for.
If your ideal client needs inspiration you can provide that in the form of nuggets of expert info that will fast track them to a result.
E.g. three Crucial Habits of Top Students For sustained energy from dusk till dawn.
Another tip is to include a time period that will make it feel more tangible and real. Can you say they’ll get a result in the next 24 hours, 7 days, or 30 days? Be realistic but be bold so it grabs their attention.
Remember “People pay to make problems go away”
This exercise is a great one to inspire you with ideas when you are struggling for inspiration. Sit down and go back over all your old blog posts and articles. Find the ones that got shared or commented on the most. If you don’t have much content then look at your competitors or others in your industry to see what people share of theirs.
So now you have a valuable piece of content packaged up into a ‘lead magnate’ that is irresistible to your dream customers. (But if you’re still struggling, get the free 3-part video course on how to create irresistible opt-in freebies).
You’re still here…yippee! You are well on your way to creating your first working sales funnel.
Now I’m going to show you how it is possible to get your sales funnel up and running ….in just ten days.
The 10-Day System To Create An Automatic Sales Funnel:
Looks easy right? Trust me anyone can do this. Now that you have created your ‘freebie’ the next part is simple, a little technical – but stay with me here, it will be worth it.
Step 2: Landing page & email server
Look at the blueprint above, you see you’re already on day 3 of getting your sales funnel live – good news eh! Now to capture email addresses you need to place your opt-in freebie either into a blog post or onto a landing page.
Note: A landing page is not the same as a blog post or an article page on your site.
This should be a page that has the singular focus of capturing the email address of the person reading it. No distractions, adverts or other links advised.
There are a lot of landing page builders out there and I’ve found leadpages.net to be a good solution with a broad range of template to chose from. You can integrate it easily with wordpress and other website builders. Here’s an example of a specific landing page for my 3-part video training:
If you are already writing tons of great content, adding a content upgrade to your blog posts that readers have to enter their email address to download, works extremely well and brings you new subscribers who already have a burning desire for your help.
Like this grey box:
You will need an email service provider to automatically capture email addresses. A good place to start is with Mailchimp or Aweber, ConvertKit and GetResponse take the features a little further and if you are looking for a fully-fledged CRM management tool then other end of the spectrum is Infusionsoft or Ontraport.
Now you’ve done most of the tech work. You have an awesome opt-in incentive. You’ve created a landing page, or you’ve added a content upgrade link to your blog post, plus you’ve connected your email service provider to your opt-in incentive.
Congrats! Next part? Writing your automatic email sequence…
Step 3: Email sequence
Now create a series of emails that deliver your freebie and continue to deliver great value content automatically over the coming weeks.
Now you are in control of the communication. You decide what they see, when they see it and how they feel after reading each email.
Through your content aim to get them…“just one step closer to a solution to their problem in every single message”
Try to not only deliver great value in your messages, but also show that you are The Authority, the go-to person in your field. Include stories that shows what gives you that authority. You might mention your reputation or some qualifications & awards or published material you have that are relevant
People love hearing stories – makes you feel more ‘real’ so you could include your journey from A to Z….
In order to persuade your new subscriber that they can trust you, you should tell them why. Write about what you can do, and show the proof through results that others have got through your products and services. Testimonials and case studies are a great way to explain why they should trust you. If you can create anticipation by turning your lessons, tips and advice into stories this makes a compelling email sequence.
Here’s a tried and tested formula for a simple email sequence that will take your subscribers from ‘meh’ to ‘mwah!’
Step 4: Sales page
OK, now you’ve got to convince your subscribers to take up your offer.
But if you’ve created a brilliant, compelling and valuable email sequence, then most of the hard work has already been done.
Within the email sequence you will have delivered some insane value, some entertainment and some fascinating stories about your brand. Now is the time to introduce your ‘no-brainer’ offer. You make it so enticing that your new fans cannot resist and you send them through to your sales page.
I keep a swipe file in Evernote of brilliant sales pages. You know, the ones that have me reaching for my credit card with no attention to the fact that I was not actively seeking an x, y or z. Here are two beautifully branded and designed pages, some seriously compelling copy here, a brilliant combo of great design and copy here, and a classic long-form sales page here.
But remember! People need to see something many times before they buy. So you need to mention your offer throughout your email sequence without being overly spammy.
With this simple funnel we’ll start with a low priced product or service – an offer that they can’t refuse.
Over time you can move customers up your product plan. From a low priced offer to a mid price offer and then ultimately some will end up on your high priced offer.
For example – if you’re selling low cost membership packages you might start with a 30-day trial offer for under $5. Then up-sell to a monthly subscription for under $50, followed by a one-time offer for lifetime access for under $200.
Or for a service business – you could start with an interactive eBook for $19, then lead them to a one-off call for around $100. Followed by a short 4-session results package for under $500 that leads clients into a 12-week premium program.
One crucial thing to remember is that not everyone will go through your sales journey in the exact same way.
Some will lurk on your email list of many months or even years. Then out of the blue will sign up for your premium product without having bought any of your low cost offers.
Or even better – something I’ve done before – is discover someone online, check out their website, social media pages, download their freebie and know instantly that I want their offer. I’ve then signed up on the spot – it happens.
They may jump around between offers. Which is why having several is totally acceptable and will increase your revenues. Sometimes called up-sells, down-sells or cross-sells, like the most famous upsell by McDonald’s: ‘would you like fries with that?’
These are real people we’re interacting with after all.
Now you’ve completed the first 4 steps (days 1-7 below) towards getting customers on autopilot:
- Step 1: You’ve created your free optin incentive
- Step 2: Your landing page & email server are connected and working
- Step 3: You’ve written your compelling sequence of emails
- Step 4: You’ve created your sales page
(Have you managed this in 7-days?)
Now comes the fun bit! It’s time to kick off your targeted advertising campaign that will send dream customers to your new sign-up page or blog post.
Ready to get started?
Click the link below and enter your email to get access to the PDF sales funnel checklist.
And once you’ve created your simple sales funnel, head over to part-3 of Sales Funnels 101. This is the minimalist’s guide to scaling your funnel, so you can make more sales on autopilot…whilst you sleep.