One of the biggest mistakes I see young or inexperienced entrepreneurs make is not having a defined sales process. Specifically, there is no funnel in place to guide people from awareness to purchase. This is very problematic and usually prevents a business from reaching a remarkable level of success.
In this article, I want to show you some of the art and science behind how you can design a sales funnel and ultimately fill it with more leads who become qualified leads and eventually convert. into customers. If that sounds good, keep reading.
A Basic Sales Funnel Breakdown
There are many different creative funnel acronyms and illustrations, but it’s easiest to think of your funnel in three main stages:
- Leads (top of funnel)
- Insights (middle of the funnel)
- Customers (bottom of funnel)
The goal is obviously to turn leads into prospects and prospects into customers. But to do that, you need to understand each prospect’s emotional state at every stage.
When a track is in the top of the funnel, the goal is to move them from awareness to interest. That’s it. You are not trying to make a sale.
Once a prospect becomes interested, they become a prospect. At this point, they slide into the middle of the funnel where they are actively evaluating options. Your goal is to engage them and show them why your solutions are right for their problem, pain, or desire.
Finally, when a prospect is sufficiently engaged, they become a customer. This is the bottom of the funnel. The goal is to nurture, satisfy and build loyalty.
Entire courses have been developed on the architecture of sales funnels, but that is not the purpose of this article. The purpose of this article is to show you how to fill your funnel with more leads. In other words, how do you fill the top of the funnel and get the word out about your business and your products? (Because if you can do that, you have a good chance of eventually turning a percentage of those leads into leads that will become paying customers.)
Powerful ways to fill your lead funnel
When it comes to filling your lead funnel, there are thousands of different tactics you can use. I want to discuss what I think are some of the easiest and most effective in 2022 and beyond. Let’s take a look:
Write guest blog content
Depending on how you approach this first strategy, it may take some time. However, it is almost always worth it.
The idea behind guest blogging is simple: write content for someone else’s blog and get exposure to their audience. (As a bonus, you also get SEO “juice” back in the form of backlinks to your own domain.)
To be successful with guest blogging, you need to do your research and be persistent. To get started, look for blogs that have high domain authority and have a site readership/audience that overlaps with your own audience. In other words, if you’re selling fitness coaching services, you want blogs that focus on healthy eating, natural medicine, weight loss, and positive self-image. However, you probably don’t want to blog on someone else’s fitness coaching blog. (Or rather, they won’t let you.) There should be some overlap, but it shouldn’t be a direct competitor.
When writing guest blog content, it is important to have bylines and/or include links to your website. This helps you get maximum exposure.
Does the guest blog seem too time-consuming? Luckily, you don’t have to guest blog and link build on your own.
There are content writing services who will do all this on your behalf.
Developing Sticky Lead Magnets
Generally speaking, the easiest way to add a prospect to your funnel is to collect their contact information. This usually means their name and email address. But here’s the thing: people don’t just hand out this information for free. They expect something in return. And that’s where lead magnets come in.
A lead magnet is a piece of free content that you give away in exchange for a lead’s email address. This is usually a PDF file, report, e-book, checklist, video, or demo. When creating lead magnets, you want them to be sticky. In other words, you want your ideal customer to feel like they can’t say no.
Lead magnets are usually delivered through a simple acceptance process. You direct traffic from a source to a landing page. On this landing page, the prospect is represented by a simple opt-in with one or two fields. They enter their information and automatically receive the resource. In the back, you send them an automated drip email sequence that sells them your products and services.
One of the most popular lead generation methods involves the use of quizzes. However, most marketers miss this option because they mistakenly think it’s too complex. (Hint: it doesn’t.)
As ConvertFlow.com explains“The right quiz can grab someone’s attention and keep them highly engaged. Not only that, but it gives marketers a chance to listen to people’s issues and prescribe a product or piece of content. particular as a solution, all on autopilot.
When we use the term “quiz”, we’re not talking about a test you took in high school. We’re talking Buzzfeed-style quizzes that are fun and engaging. The most popular include:
- What character/person are you?
- What is your personality?
- What are your strengths/weaknesses?
- How competent are you?
- Which solution suits you?
Obviously, the specific quiz name and question types are highly dependent on your brand, audience, and conversion goals. However, it gives you an idea of the approaches that work.
Get invited to podcasts
Podcast hosts are always on the lookout for good guests. Yet most business owners aren’t willing to put in the effort to reach out and seek out opportunities. This makes it a powerful and sneaky way to generate hungry leads.
Guest podcasting is much like guest blogging. The same hearing rules apply. The key here is to negotiate with the podcast host to make sure you’re able to include a call to action during your interview.
The best way to do this is to send listeners to a targeted landing page and give them a free resource that was talked about on the podcast in exchange for their email address. The great thing about this is that you can create custom tracking codes for each podcast you’re on. This will show you how many tracks came from each podcast (so you know which ones to come back to in the future).
Form joint ventures
Maybe you see a bit of a theme here. One of the best ways to fill your own funnel is to tap into someone else’s funnel in a totally ethical way by adding value to their audience. Joint ventures are another way to do this.
With joint ventures, you find other entrepreneurs and business owners and partner with them to create a joint product, project, or partnership where you both bring valuable resources to the table. In this case, they might contribute the leads and you might contribute the content or the value.
Online events are a great example. You can organize a free masterclass, a live webinar or a virtual summit. Your joint venture partner (or partners) brings the enrollments, while you create the actual education and configure the back-end. Online courses are another example.
Boost your sales funnel
If you want to elevate your sales funnel, increase your sales, and build a self-sustaining business that continues to grow over time, you need to fill your funnel with more leads – and more qualified leads! I hope this article has inspired you with some ideas. However, you don’t need to use all of them. I would recommend picking one up and implementing it this week. Then, once you feel like you’ve mastered that strategy, choose another one (and so on). When combined, these techniques can have a compound result at the top of your funnel, resulting in an exponential increase in bottom-of-funnel revenue.