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85. Sales Funnels Equal Small Business Survival

Creating an optimized sales funnel = survival for your small business.

It breaks my heart seeing so many small businesses closing their doors or laying off employees because of the Covid19 pandemic.  This is why in this week’s podcast episode I am sharing the power that a simple sales funnel can have to help you not only overcome unforeseen obstacles in your business now but also in the future.  There are 9 things to consider when setting up a sales funnel that works, in this week’s episode I dive into each one.

A few weeks ago, I got chosen as a coach for the 1st StoryBrand Livestream event . . .

Donald Miller, the creator, and author of StoryBrand opened a session by saying sales funnels = survival. This is why I am passionate about sharing with you the lessons, observations and what works in this week’s episode. I want you thriving, not just surviving.  So let’s dive in!

1 – Create a strategy.

Now let’s be clear, strategy is a big word for plan. Just like you wouldn’t hike Mount Kilimanjaro without a plan and the right equipment, you don’t want to jump into marketing with no plan. This eats up your time, energy and money and in the end, you have no idea what’s working and what’s not. (more on how to fix that later) Throwing out marketing because you had the last minute idea will lead to frustration, overwhelm and ultimately you giving up on marketing altogether. How do I know? (raising hand) Because I’ve been there. I get it! So figure out a plan and for some tips, tune into this week’s episode here.

2 – Solve a problem.

I see SO many examples of people throwing together a business because they love to do something. For example, opening up a pottery shop because they love to make pottery. That’s all fine and good, but if you don’t have an audience who wants to paint pottery and will come and pay to do so, you won’t make it in business very long. (Hence the 85%+ failure rate of so many small businesses.) In episode 85 I give you three reasons that solving a problem will help you thrive as a small business.  As well as three reasons not solving a problem will not only keep you from growing an audience but will have them looking elsewhere to do business. Be sure to head on over and give it a listen.

3 – Don’t ghost your audience.

The fastest way to lose and disappoint your audience is by sending them one email and then disappear.  The goal of a sales funnel is to attract and connect (nurture) with your audience so much that they can’t wait to buy from you. When you disappear and then reappear after six months, they don’t remember who you are, let alone what you do and then the big unsubscribe surge happens.   Don’t treat your audience like a transaction, treat them like people, because they ARE people. This is the FASTEST way to grow engaged fans and followers.

4 – Track what you are doing.

This is the #1 thing that nearly every business owner struggles with. If you are investing in marketing, time or money, track it. Because if you don’t have a way to track whether or not your emails are being opened, a coupon code is being used by whom, a purchase was made, then you will NEVER know which piece of your marketing is working. The good news, it doesn’t have to be that hard to track your marketing efforts. Give this week’s episode a listen for a ton of ideas on how to track what you are doing so that you know whether or not to keep doing it or let it go. Because there is NO sense in continuing to invest in marketing that isn’t growing your audience or bringing you customers.

5- Get focused.

When you start throwing marketing together and slinging posts up on Instagram or going live on Facebook without a strategy or funnel you look unfocused. Your audience doesn’t know what you want them to do and you come across as scattered.  Giving you nearly zero possibility of gaining traction with your audience or moving them toward the end goal of purchasing from you. Clarity = cash. When you are clear your audience will follow the breadcrumbs of your sales funnel. (need some clarity on the breadcrumb analogy, listen in I explain it in depth). The next cash killer is lack of consistency.  If I could give you only two pieces of marketing advice they would be #1 clarity and #2 consistency. When you show up, your audience pays attention (even if they are just lurking). When you disappear and then reappear people have stopped paying attention. It can be hard to be consistent without a plan (read strategy) and easy to lose track of what you’re working toward. So in order to be clear and consistent, create a plan and then follow it.

6- A free download is NOT a sales funnel.

Somewhere along the way, marketers sold the idea that If you had a free download that the sales would come pouring in. Like there were some magical funnel fairy that would sprinkle new customers into your world just because you put that new download out onto the interwebs. Unfortunately, you’ve been lied to. If you don’t have a connection between your download, you and your products and services, you will be waiting A LONG time for your cash register to ring. So ensure that you have a plan that includes that new freebie you are proud of that leads your people to where you want them to go next. Ending of course with them either purchasing or moving out of the funnel. (the latter is ok as well because when they leave they make room for someone else.)

7- Don’t try to sell too soon.

We have all had or heard about the experience of the used car salesman stalking you as soon as you drive into the parking lot. It feels icky. But, have you thought about how your audience could be living that same experience going through your marketing system? When we provide something of value to our audience free of charge and then try to sell them into something quickly – like within the same transaction or the next email, we haven’t earned the right to have their business yet. Meaning we are being slimy even if we don’t mean to be. It’s important to take into consideration your customer experience and also how long your sales funnel (warm-up) should be. Typically lower-priced products have a shorter sales funnel. But if you are going from a free video series into a $2000 course with no one buying – you’re asking too much too soon! This is all determined by knowing your audience and your product suite.

8- Don’t forget to sell.

The opposite scenario from the above is those who give everything away for free and never present an offer. Or, they make it impossible for their customers to know how to buy from them. (Guilty as charged – but I’m getting better!) Giving away everything for free is not only detrimental to paying your bills, but it is also a sure way that you are robbing your audience from results.  They don’t have any skin in the game when they don’t invest. It’s an energetic transaction to exchange money. They are invested both monetarily and emotionally when they pay you money just as you are more invested because they have paid you than you would be if you were helping them for free.  Sell your stuff, stand up confidently in what you can do and change the lives of those that are waiting on you to do so. In the meantime, build a sales funnel so that you have a plan when you start to falter.

9- Build your sales funnel first.

Before you start that YouTube channel, have the Facebook Live, build your audience, invest in a marketing agency or spend tons of time and energy figuring out the best way to grow an Instagram following – figure out where you want them to ultimately end up.  What will they buy? Why will they buy it? And how can you make their journey to get there so easy that they can’t think of saying anything besides YES YES YES all along their journey to get there? When you start with the funnel, it becomes easy to know how to promote, where to promote and what your next steps are. So start with your endpoint and work backward.

There you have it, 9 specific things you need to build an optimized sales funnel that works.  Sales funnels assure success even in times of uncertainty and crisis.  There are definitely specific components in your funnel that you can be and should be building right now.

Which will you be focusing on next?  Head on over to the Facebook Group and tell us what piece of this episode resonated most with you.

Listen to the entire episode here:

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