As a marketer, you’ve got a lot of different options when it comes to marketing tactics. In fact, you might even be baffled by all the choices out there.
And every new marketing product launch is suggesting that you focus on their method, because that is the one that will get you across the finish line.
The fact is, you could be using every ‘system’ out there, be on every social media channel, be blogging or vlogging daily, and still not make any money.
Instead of grasping at the latest method and trying to make it fit into some semblance of a marketing plan, it makes more sense to start with the plan itself.
You need a marketing strategy that will work no matter what happens online, one that is flexible enough to adapt to any new traffic strategy, and one that has already stood the test of time.
I’m talking, of course, about building a marketing funnel.
A ‘funnel’ is simply a funny name for a marketing system that guides your prospect from first hearing about you or your website, to eventually becoming a paying customer, and possibly even an advocate for your business.
When you have a marketing funnel in place, you can send traffic to your funnel from any place you choose, knowing that a certain percentage of that traffic will become profitable for you over time.
Here’s how, step by step, you can build your own marketing funnel for consistent, long term income.
Step #1: Do Your Research
You’re probably anxious to get started and would like to dive right in.
This is what most marketers do, but it’s also why most marketers fail, too.
It’s important to understand who your customers are and what they really want.
Doing your research takes time, but it pays off. When you understand the emotions of your target audience, you can create the right content for them at each step in your funnel.
When you can give the right message to the right people at the right time, you will succeed.
Understanding Customer Demographics
Demographics are things like your target market’s age, gender, income, occupation, location and so forth. This gives you first level insight into how they might make their purchasing decisions.
You might be targeting executive women over 40 who vacation alone, for example, or 20-something men who live and breathe martial arts.
You’re looking for that small core of people who are your ideal customers. When you know who they are, you can find out where they hang out, what they read and watch, and so forth.
And when you know exactly who you are targeting, you can get inside their head and use their language, too.
Everyone believes they are unique, and so are their problems. If your marketing language is tailored directly to your market, then your audience will feel that you are speaking just to them, and your conversions will increase.
You might want to use FollowerWonk to learn the language of your prospects. Just type in what their profession is and where they live to find people on Twitter who fit the profile.
Make a list of these Twitter accounts, follow them to monitor what they share and send, and find out what they’re talking about.
Also, go to Amazon and find the recently published books in your niche. Read the reviews and you’ll find the common objections to what’s already out there.
Be sure to read the reviews that are 2 to 4 stars.
These are the folks who tend to write out a more thoughtful review, with one or more objections, and they’ll say what they thought was missing about the book as well as what was right about it.
Using Buyer Psychology
If you can discover the psychology of your buyers, then you can use that to craft messages that resonate with them and make them think you really know them.
You want to understand their personality, attitudes, viewpoints and so forth.
For example, you might notice that people in your target market tend to be on social media in the evening. This tells you that the right time to send them messages is during this time.
Or maybe your target market favors one particular social media site. Adopting the style of communication used on that site, as well as using the site itself, will work wonders to connect with your audience.
To really get to know your audience, use a tool like Qualaroo to ask your website visitors a question when they get to a certain page on your website. When they answer the question, you can ask them for their email address and follow up to schedule a phone call to learn more.
You’re not trying to sell them at this point. You’re just trying to gather information on the problems they deal with, the words they use to describe their challenges and so forth.
Any chance you get, interact with your prospects and customers to find out what’s on their minds, how they speak, what words they use, what keeps them awake at night and so forth.
The better you know your customer, the better able you can serve them.
Now that you’ve got your research done, let’s build the funnel itself:
Step #2: Attract Your Tribe
After doing all the research, you now know who it is that you’re trying to attract, so it’s time to get busy.
Your job is to get the attention of your potential customers.
Use the words they use to describe their problems and the things they care about, and start writing some great content.
Write 2 or 3 excellent blogposts to get started, and plan on adding at least one more post each week.
And create a lead magnet, too. A lead magnet is something you offer your visitors in exchange for their email address. Since your ultimate goal is to capture your visitors’ information so you can market to them time and time again, offering a lead magnet is imperative.
Choose a topic that is certain to resonate with your future readers. It should solve a problem or provide a key piece of information not readily available elsewhere.
Use a headline that employs at least three of these elements, to make it irresistible:
- Emotions (For example: Surprising, Inspiring, Shocking, etc.)
- Type of Content (For example: (Video, Book, Infographic, etc.)
- Topic Element (This is your actual topic, such as dog training, driving traffic, treating diabetes, etc.)
- Format Element (Is this a list? A story? A quiz? Etc. If it’s a list, simply use a number, such as, “7 Ways to ___”
- A Promise (How to ___, Latest News, Complete Guide to ___, Improve Your ___, Reduce Your ___, Increase Your ___, Etc.)
Here’s an example headline: 7 Shocking Secrets to Reducing Belly Fat Fast.
Type of Content: Secrets
Topic: Belly Fat
Format: 7 (list)
Promise: Reduce Fast
The headline on your lead magnet has got to be great. The better the headline, the more subscribers you will get – it’s that simple.
And of course, your lead magnet must deliver on whatever it is that you’ve promised.
Here are a few headline templates of the “How to” and “List” types to get you started:
- How to do [topic] In Under X Minutes
- How to Make People Line Up to [topic]
- How to Get [benefit] In Under X Minutes
- How to Skyrocket Your [benefit] With [topic]
- How to Avoid Looking Stupid When Asked About [topic]
- How to Turn [topic] Into [benefit] Every Time
- How to [benefit] Like [case study or example]
- How to Master [topic] In X Steps
- X Ways to Avoid [negative outcome]
- X [benefit] Techniques That You Didn’t Know About
- X Examples of [benefit] from [case study or example]
- X Experts Reveal How to [benefit]
- X Little Known Ways to [topic]
- X Questions Answered About [topic]
- X Underground Tips On Achieving [benefit]
- X Tips on How to Avoid [negative outcome]
- X Shocking Mistakes Killing Your [topic]
Create a simple squeeze page with dynamite bullet points advertising your lead magnet and insert your autoresponder form.
If possible, use the two-step sign up method. In a normal one-step sign up, people insert their email address and click “Gimme the Report Now!” or whatever your button says.
In a two-step, people click a button that says, “Gimme the Report Now!”. This takes them to the next page, where there is a bar across the top indicating they are 50% done in getting their report. All they need to do now is fill in their email address and press the button.
Yes, I know the two-step is MORE work. But oddly enough, thanks to human psychology, it almost always converts BETTER than the one-step.
In the two-step, people initially think all they have to do is press a button, and so they do it.
Then and only then are they told to enter their best email address. But they’re already halfway done, so why not?
It might seem quirky, but it works.
From your research, you know where your future customers hang out, so it’s time to find ways to get your content in front of them, where they live on the net.
I’ll cover a few to get you started, starting with…
If you’re good at SEO, or willing to learn, then getting the number one spot on a search engine for one of your keywords can earn you 33% of traffic for that keyword. Depending on which keyword or key phrase you’re using, that could be a massive number.
Anytime someone is searching for related content, they can find your website there at the top of the search engine.
You’ll probably find that SEO tends to be easier for business to business sites, than for business to customer.
But again, it depends on the keywords and your ability to rank high.
If you’re not an SEO person, that’s okay. Social media can be a great place to get traffic.
Did you know that social media now drives 31% of all referral traffic?
By now you should know which social media platforms your audience prefers. There’s no need to be on every social media platform – just the two or three your future customers favorite the most.
Fill out your social media profiles with information about you and your business. And make sure there’s a link to your website’s homepage or squeeze page.
Post frequently and start discussions with your followers. Be the go-to person to answer questions or provide help and direct people back to your website where they can find things to help them.
Promote Your Blog
It’s great to write blog posts and have the world see them. It’s not so fun to put all that time and effort into posts, and then nobody shows up.
If you’re creating great content that your tribe of people like, then the easiest solution is to promote your posts on social media.
Studies show that if you create 15 blog posts per month, and then share that content through social media, you’ll average 1200 new leads per month.
Of course, however many posts you make, you should still be sharing your content on social media.
And don’t be afraid to promote posts from a month or two ago, either. New followers probably haven’t seen those posts. You can start a social media schedule that promotes your content automatically by using a tool such as Buffer, Hootsuite or Social Jukebox.
You can also repurpose your content to get more use out of it.
Quote different snippets from one post in another post. Ask your target audience questions that are relevant to the post. Put several posts together into one big authority piece that you use as another lead magnet, and so forth.
Get Your Readers to Share Your Content
By making it easy for readers to share your blog posts, you can get more people seeing your stuff.
Think of the last time you were on Facebook and clicked on something a friend shared. That’s how simple it is!
Allow and encourage your visitors to share your blog posts by embedding a social sharing tool on your website.
Note: Do NOT activate the “Show number of shares” on the tool until you are getting plenty of shares. No one likes to think they are the only one sharing your posts.
Step #3: Build Relationships with Your Readers
Once you’ve got people coming to your site, your email list should start growing. And once you’ve got a person’s email address, you can really start to build a relationship with them.
It’s not about selling to them straight out of the gate.
Instead, introduce yourself, send a few emails that help them get the most out of the lead magnet and even expand upon the lead magnet, and gradually begin offering relevant products.
The key here is to focus on relationship building, not on selling.
Send your readers emails with content that is entertaining as well informative, and that aligns with the topic of your lead magnet.
It doesn’t have to be the exact same topic, but it does have to be the same niche.
For example, if the lead magnet is how to grow roses organically, don’t send information on how to cure arthritis. Yes, some of your rose growers might have that problem, but that is NOT why they joined your list. However, it’s probably fine to offer organic growing tips for other perennials, too, since that is still close to the original topic.
In your emails, use social proof to build credibility whenever possible. You can use case studies, testimonials, interviews and so forth. This works especially well if you are offering your own products or services, although you can do it for affiliate products, as well.
Build trust by telling stories about your brand, your products and even about yourself. Show that you are a normal, trustworthy person they can believe in, and not some fly-by-night jockey out to take their money and run.
To build even more trust, you might offer email courses. These can teach anything in your niche, and they’re the perfect excuse to continue to show up in your reader’s inbox day after day.
Plus, they train your reader to open and read your emails, too.
Make sure that each email teaches only one thing. You don’t want to overwhelm them with so much information, they decide to read your emails “later.” Later never comes. Ever.
And use the cliffhanger close whenever possible. At the end of each email, give them a clue of what’s going to happen in the next email – sort of a tease.
For example, “P.S. Tomorrow I’m going to give you the 11-word Facebook ad that earned $194,753 in 4 days. Stay tuned and watch for my email!”
Step #4: Sell Nicely. And Effectively.
You’re building a relationship with your readers. You’re giving them some good info, your emails are entertaining and fun to read, and you remind them each time you have a new blogpost.
When do you get to sell?
Really, you can do it every day, if you like.
Here’s what I recommend – and mind you, there are marketers who will disagree. But this is what I’ve found works best for me:
Send out one email each day. Yup… email DAILY. Yes, some marketers will tell you to email once or twice a week, because they don’t want to annoy people.
Do you know what happens when you only email once or twice a week? Your subscribers only see an email from you once or twice a month. Remember, inboxes receive a LOT of emails these days. Most people never click on most of the emails they receive. They’re going to miss some of yours, guaranteed. Don’t take it personally.
When you email only once or twice a week and they finally do see an email from you, they’re going to wonder who the heck you are, because they have FORGOTTEN you.
When you only appear in their email every now and then, you get lost in the crowd. Yes, they loved your report, but that was a month ago, and now they can’t even place your name.
You’ve got to be in their inbox every day just to be seen every other day or so, and to be remembered.
“But won’t people unsubscribe if I email too often?”
People will unsubscribe even more if they can’t remember who you are.
And do you know how much relationship building you can do in a day when you don’t email? None. Do you know how much selling you can do in a day when you don’t email? None.
Just like Wayne Gretsky, you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.
So yes, email daily.
For your first few emails after they subscribe, don’t sell unless it’s from the P.S.
A P.S. sell is one in which you send an email with a story or tip or something of value to them, like maybe you share a golfing story if they are golfers. And then in the P.S. – almost like an after-thought – you suggest they go check out the so-in-so product that will take 10 strokes off their game.
No one minds that kind of selling, and you can do it every time.
Send out the same email again in the evening to everyone who didn’t open it in the morning. This will increase your opens and your clicks.
Step #5: Ramping Things Up
You’ve heard of upsells, downsells, front ends and back ends.
But what is all that stuff, anyway?
So far, I’ve talked about a simple funnel that takes you from being completely unknown to someone your new subscriber knows, likes and trusts, and hopefully buys from, too.
And I’ve done it without buying traffic, although that is certainly an option.
If and when you are ready to put your funnel on steroids, so to speak, here is what you might do:
In addition to a lead magnet, create an actual product you’re going to sell. This will be a low priced entry level product, maybe about $7 to $17.
Your goal is to optimize this offer until you know that when you send 100 people to the offer, enough people will buy the offer to pay for your advertising. You want to break even so that you can continue to do this over and over again and build your list of buyers quickly.
This low-cost offer is called your front end offer. It gets buyers in the door.
You might wonder why you would bother getting buyers if you only break even – why not get free subscribers?
Because one buyer is worth somewhere between 10 and 100 free subscribers, depending on many different factors.
If you can get yourself a list of 1000 buyers and you play your cards right, you can likely quit your job.
But if your list consists of only people who opted in to get your free report, you’ll more likely need 100,000 subscribers to quit your job.
See the difference?
Now then, on your front end offer, you can make it even more lucrative by making them a second offer, called an upsell.
And if they don’t take the front end offer, you can also offer a downsell, so to speak, which is simply to get your lead magnet in exchange for their best email address.
Building a funnel the way I described here is a great way to get started.
But… it’s also the slow way.
It takes time to build a profitable list using this method. And it takes a good deal of work, too.
If you can create an inexpensive front end product that you can promote with paid advertising and break even, believe it or not, you’ve got a profitable business.
And if you can then sell them more expensive products on the backend, such as higher ticket items and recurring memberships, you’ll have a business that you can continue to grow and profit from for as long as you choose.