The term funnel is thrown around quite a lot in the online space and it is the process by which businesses gain trust and earn clients.
The top of the funnel is a geared towards a large pool of potential clients and each step of the funnel moves some potential clients into your paid client sphere or allows them to drop off.
Let’s consider each step in a funnel as a conversion. The first step of the funnel, before anyone ever enters is awareness – this could be in the form of referrals, interviews, content marketing, articles, social media or paid advertising to name a few.
Once someone is aware of your business they may enter the top of the funnel by signing up for your email list in exchange for
- a checklist or
- a worksheet or
- a challenge or
- a webinar link or
- a virtual summit ticket or
- anything else that has value and is easy to distribute
The top of your funnel could even be
- subscribing to your podcast or
- joining your Facebook group, LinkedIn group,
- conversing with your Facebook page via messenger or
- Slack channel.
These methods will be discussed in a future episode. Later in today’s episode we’ll discuss the top of funnel tech that is based around email address exchange.
Near the top of your funnel are also small products or one time services, booking a consultation or limited or trial access to a membership site.
People who “convert” at the earlier stages are more likely to see all that your business can offer and then invest in more products and services with you.
Marketing specialists and strategists focus on helping businesses get more people into the top of the funnel and guide them swiftly towards a product or service.
Next week’s episode of the Tech of Business podcast is with Mikael Dia who started funnelytics.io which is a software tool to visually map and understand funnels in your business… which is part of the reason we’re doing a deep dive into funnels today (I kinda wanted to make sure that next week’s episode had relevance for you!)
The power of a funnel is to nudge your audience to the next level.
I know that this works because I’ve seen it work on myself.
Let’s take my friend Amber De La Garza and her podcast Productivity Straight Talk. I was listening to episode 59: Email Inbox Insanity: How to Tame it Then Maintain It – anyway, I was listening to her episode where she shared her 5 simple email decisions and mentioned that on the shownotes there is a download called “5 Simple Email Decisions Desktop Sign” that I could actually print out and put on my desk – so that every time I head into my inbox I will know exactly how to tackle the new items.
She hooked me on that one, and I went to her shownotes, downloaded and printed out the sign and posted it on my desk.
Amber’s freebie is the top of a funnel. From there, I could decide that I need a productivity coach or to purchase something else from her. While I already trusted her insight, the download renewed my trust and puts her top of mind. Every day when I sit down to tackle my inbox, I have a reminder of that trust.
At present, I’m sitting in Amber’s funnel – excited to see where she takes me next.
OK, so now it’s time to talk about the technology that goes into the top of the funnel.
As I said before, for today, we’re going to focus on email address exchange for top of funnel and it consists of three facets:
- Opt-in or Landing page
- Email marketing system
The opt-in or landing page is simply the name provided to the page that describes the value exchange. It includes the email collection form which ties it to the email marketing system.
This page can be created using a dedicated landing page system like LeadPages, ClickFunnels, Kartra, Instapage or any number of page builders for WordPress. This page looks different than a regular website page to the visitor because it only has one action (to take advantage of the offer) and it doesn’t include navigation or other distracting elements.
When building your opt-in pages, you’ll want to make sure that they work well on all screen sizes.
While you may not be ready to jump into Facebook ads or understanding the analytics and conversion of this page, I highly recommend adding the Facebook pixel and Google analytics code to this page.
[I told myself that I wasn’t going to go all technical, and that might have been a bit technical. So, if you’re using a dedicated landing page system, there is likely a location within the dashboard to add these snippets. It’s important, but don’t let this stop you from creating the top of your funnel. If you would like to get this setup, head over https://techofbusiness.com/work-with-me/ to schedule a one time tech strategy session to get you on the right track.]
Once someone completes the form on your opt-in page, their email address is entered into your email marketing system. For the user, you’ll want to direct them to the next page of the funnel, which is often a thank you page that lists next steps. Sometimes the freebie will be delivered right on the thank you page, other times it will be delivered via email.
In the email marketing system, we’ll set it up to send that new user a series of one or more emails that deliver the freebie and provide additional value. This may include a full on automatic sequence, if you’ve flushed out your funnel already, or it might just be the gift and then adding them to your general distribution email
Please note: there are different laws and rules regarding sending promotional, informational and marketing emails. Be sure that you’re crossing your T’s and dotting your I’s in the eyes of the law. And if you need a lawyer, my guest from Episode #2, Jamie Lieberman is fantastic – you can connect with her at https://hashtag-legal.com.
I usually recommend delivering the freebie via email, rather than on the thank you page. This is because the more information we have about a user the better – by delivering the freebie via email, we can make sure that they open the email with the download in it and also see that they’ve clicked on the link to receive the item.
Regardless of the size of your freebie, from a one-page PDF to a multi-week summit, email will be the main vehicle for guiding your new lead in your funnel.
In the virtual summit space, the funnel is guiding the attendee to purchase the extended summit series.
The opt-in page for a virtual summit is often a longer form invitation with multiple opportunities to opt-in for a free ticket to the summit. These are positioned strategically down the page, so that as soon as the website visitor is on board with the summit concept, they don’t have to hunt for the sign up form.
The thank you page for a virtual summit will provide instructions to check your inbox for important summit information and may include a number of links – ranging from sharing the summit on social media to purchasing the summit series at a deep discount. Because the user has multiple options for what to do at this point, this page is not generally considered part of the funnel.
The time between signup for the summit and the summit kick-off date is called the pre-summit series. And this series has one goal: to entice the lead to purchase the summit series.
It’s important to mix in valuable content with the purchase opportunity or you might turn off your lead before they even get to day 1. This is why Facebook groups and content rich emails are also important elements to the funnel.
And good tracking is important too – because we don’t want to be selling to someone who has already bought.
Let’s bring this back to the funnel – to know if a funnel is working, we want to understand the numbers.
- How many people are landing on our opt-in page.
- How many people are signing up
- How many people are opening our email
- How many people are taking the next step (and the next, and the next, and purchasing something from us.)
If you’re running ads, then the Facebook Ads manager will be a great place to grab these numbers. Your email marketing system will provide hints. And regardless of the source of your traffic, Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager are great tools to help gain insight into how people are interacting with the funnel.
Today is the best day to setup the tech side of tracking systems. This will start collecting data for you, even if you’re not looking at it yet. Your future marketing department will thank you!
And come back next week when we talk with Mikael of Funnelytics who has a marketing background. The week after I sit down and talk marketing technology with Eli Natoli who is a growth mentor for coaches and entrepreneurs.
We’re in this together – I’d love to know what tech you’re rocking or exploring for your funnels. Come join us in the Tech of Business Community on Facebook at https://techofbusiness.com/community/
If you would like to email me, I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org