Ever thought about earning money even while you are on a vacation? Yes, we all often tend to think about that. The term we are looking for that is passive income. Passive income lets you earn money at any place and at any time. That’s because by then you’ll already have established a successful and functioning working process that will make your business automated.
This will allow you to even earn money while you are busy with something else. We are talking about a powerful and effective ‘Online Sales Funnel’ that will streamline the entire sales and marketing process of your business. A basic textbook definition of sales funnel would be a step-by-step process of a customer’s journey from discovering a business to the purchase of the product.
It’s extremely important for an online business whether they are selling physical or digital products and services. A successful sales funnel will always increase the prospect to customer conversion. It helps a brand to be more recognizable and helps the customers find what they want without disrupting their user experience
A sales funnel will guide the customers from entering the website to the sales page without causing irrelevant distractions in the website. That’s why it’s so successful and used by so many businesses on the internet. The model of a sales funnel is always shaped like an inverse pyramid.
The top of the funnel is the broadest part of the funnel because that’s when the prospects start their journey and only the more interested customers move down the funnel. As they progress through the funnel, it becomes much narrower. There are mainly 4 core stages of a sales funnel that we will discuss further below. However, before that, we need something important!
What do we Need Beforehand?
The very first thing any brand needs is something to sell, therefore a product. The whole purpose of the funnel is to help sell the product. The entire funnel will be structured according to the type of product. So, it’s important to have decent products.
In order for the funnel to work efficiently, the product has to be something that will be sold even if you are not directly present during the sales process and it also must have the capability to be delivered automatically. Generally, these are digital products like a course, membership program, or software.
It can also be a service that your team is providing. You don’t necessarily need to be present for that. Your team members can provide the service to the customer. A physical product will work as well. In that case, it’ll work if you have a fulfillment partner/company or someone from your team who can deliver the product.
All you need is something that can be purchased by your customers. That being said, the quality of the product matters as well. Whatever product or service your company is offering must maintain standard if not high quality. You can determine the quality of the product from your customer’s perspective based on how they respond or give feedback for the product.
If your customers don’t like your product, the chances of generating sales will fall. Even the best funnel in the market will become ineffective. Therefore, your product must have decent quality and you must have a team of acquaintances who will monitor the sales analytics even if you are not directly present.
Everything you build through the sales funnel will ultimately connect to the bottom of the funnel where the customers purchase the product. Therefore, you need a product to sell. Now lets head back to on how to set up a successful sales funnel.
We have seen above what we have at the bottom of the funnel i.e., the product. Now we will start from the top of the funnel. This is the beginning of the funnel and the broadest part of the funnel as well and that’s traffic. Traffic is extremely important for any type of brand. It can also be alternatively called as brand visibility or brand exposure.
If people don’t know that your product exists, they won’t certainly know that your brand exists as well. Therefore, they will not enter the funnel and move down. They will not be able to purchase the product then because they do not know it exists. That’s where traffic comes. It helps you to increase the visibility of your brand and ultimately helps to increase sales.
Now there are a couple of ways to get traffic for your business. I will be mentioning the most effective two ways to get a large amount of traffic for your business. The first one is YouTube and the second one is being a “Guest” on someone else’s platform. These are the best ways primarily because a large number of people are active on these platforms.
Therefore, we can get a large amount of traffic from the platforms. The algorithm of YouTube is incredible as it is designed to match the viewers with videos that they want to watch. So, if your brand creates helpful videos your product/brand itself, or if you share your expertise or helpful information regarding something, YouTube will suggest these videos to the interested viewers.
YouTube is a great platform for the first stage of funneling because you can easily share content across thousands of people instead of going one by one. It’s more efficient and productive. Another great way to drive traffic is to become a guest on someone else’s platform. By guest, I mean you can either become a guest blogger or an actual guest in someone’s podcast.
It’s a smart way to drive traffic because you are being found by someone else’s audience. Your brand or product is being exposed to a brand-new audience base who can become potential customers. It’s smart because most of the work is already done by the owner of the respective platform. They have already built a community with hundreds or thousands of people.
However, make sure that the platform you are becoming a guest is suitable for your business. It’s pointless to spread information on your brand to a community that has nothing to gain from your brand/product. Therefore, if their audience is your potential target customers, then you can easily reach those groups of individuals by simply becoming a guest and sharing information.
That being said, there are countless other ways to drive traffic to your funnel. There are social media platforms, there are various types of ads, there are other forms of visibility strategies. Research and find what other strategies are suitable for your business. The mentioned two visibility and traffic strategies are great at driving traffic from a platform with a massive audience base.
2. Lead Generation
As we go down the funnel, we will come across our next stage and that is called lead generation. This is where you take the individuals who have learned about your business and slowly start to build a relationship with them. In this part, you encourage these people to perform a call-to-action such as opting into your email list or opting into following your social media.
They discovered you but they need to follow you otherwise you won’t be able to share information about brand/product with them. And you won’t be able to let them know how your product can benefit them. Thus, not getting the opportunity to build a relationship with them.
Lead generation is basically the whole process of converting the people who have passed the traffic stage to prospective customers. In this stage, your brand attracts potential customers and guides them towards your offers and promotional deals. It is the way how you find unique ways to attract people to your brand.
Through lead generation, your brand gets awareness in the minds of the customers. Lead generation is very important for the progress and sustainability of any business. If people show interest in your business when you communicate with them about your product or services; then they are no longer strangers.
They become your prospective customers or in terms of marketing, they become your ‘lead’. Now there are various ways how you can generate leads for your business. Now there are various ways on how you can efficiently generate leads. PDF used to be a great method to generate leads.
Brands used to give away valuable eBooks or PDFs in exchange for some information like your email address. However, PDF has sort of become a commodity now instead of a valuable product due to so many brands using the same technique and so much information available on the internet.
Therefore, I’m suggesting 3 more valuable options that your website visitors will prefer more.
1.) Online Workshop,
2.) Online Course,
The reason why these options are better is that they will get you results for your leads. A PDF may offer information but these options will give results to an issue maybe they were looking for.
And at the end of the day, results will always seem more valuable than information to the visitors. This will build credibility and relationship with your prospective leads as they will be surer about your product (which is what you want to truly sell) and they will develop a stronger sense of trust in your brand.
None of these options will seem complicated to the prospective leads because an online workshop is simply a short to medium session webinars. A free online course is always valuable to anyone and the checklist is basically a short 1- or 2-page guide on how to deal with some problems or issues. These are great methods to get your prospects on following you somewhere so that you can easily share more information and guide them towards the final stage of the funnel.
This is the final stage of the funnel, after which the prospects will move towards purchasing the products. This is the narrowest part of the funnel because only people who are genuinely invested in your brand and products regardless if they purchase or not. It’s a process where it warms the customers up and shares more information on the product.
It portrays a problem or an issue among potential customers and offers the product as a solution. This is most commonly done with emails as it is one of the best methods to convince a potential customer on a more personal method. There are other ways like placing ads on the internet that are targeted towards your potential customers.
This is the stage where the potential customers are prepared to purchase your product. In this stage, you give your most exclusive offers like discount coupons, giveaways, etc. or you can portray your product as a great problem solver. The reason why we have to make our customers go through stages 1 and 2 is that by the time they reach the final part of the funnel, they are well aware of your brand.
It’s where you can offer your products because they are warm traffic now. If you offer the same deal to cold traffic, the conversion rate will be very low because they do not know about your product or brand. They are unfamiliar with it and so they will not trust you easily.
Since we know all 3 stages of the funnel and have the basic funnel outline established, now we have to make each of these parts into a single automated funnel so that you don’t have to physically go and tell people about your brand or tell them to sign to your email. Your funnel will do that for you.
Why will these Methods Earn you Success?
Let’s start at the top of the funnel. The strategies I have talked about in the traffic stage is YouTube and being a guest in someone else’s platform as a guest blogger or podcast guest. These are considered evergreen strategies because once you make a YouTube video, it’s going to stay in the platform for quite a long time if you don’t remove it.
Your audience can search the videos themselves or YouTube will recommend them to watch it. Once you create the video, you will continue to get the traffic and exposure for a long period of time. It’s the same case as being a guest because once you write a guest blog or join someone’s podcast, people can continue to find the contents.
Therefore, they will continue to find your business. Now the strategies I have talked about in the second stage which is lead generation is evergreen as well. Any common lead generation strategy is to put some form of value in the website so that people can continuously visit the website and download it in exchange for some information.
The options I talked about works the same way as well but it offers more value to the customers and it comes in the form of a result. So, more customers will be eager to download the content provided. Now coming to the type of content, we talked about online workshops, courses, and checklists.
In order to make your workshop evergreen, you will need to use an automated webinar software so that people can sign up for it anytime and watch it at any time. You can integrate the online course option with your email marketing strategy so that you can send the course contents over a period of time instead of just sending them all together.
This will help you build a relationship with those people as they will be expecting the course contents at a given specific day. They will be able to learn more about your brand as you can incorporate any promotional deals or offers inside the mail. Everything is automated and your online course will stay evergreen.
In terms of the nurture sequence, an email will be a very effective automated way how you can nurture prospective customers towards the sale. If you’re running ads, it’s not so much automated unless you are outsourcing to an ads manager who is managing the ads of your brand. If you manage it yourself, you will have to keep track of it regularly like every week or month.
To summarize properly, a sales funnel is defined by the step customers take starting from getting to know the brand until their purchase. Creating and optimizing the sales funnel takes time and effort. A sales funnel is more than just planning. The execution of the plan matters the most. It’s tied in with giving the prospective customers the treatment they need. Once you establish a proper funnel and produce quality products, you will be able to make it even a passive form of income.