7 Graces co-director Nancy Goodyear explores the journey your clients take through your marketing funnel and asks: does everyone have to take the same path?
When you have a product or service to sell, it’s all too easy to think that’s it. You have your ‘thing’; all you need to do now is find people who want to buy it from you. But that is the route to a lot of hard work trying to sell, sell, sell to lots of different people. Once those people have bought your ‘thing’ they no longer need it. They already have it (or they’ve learned what you have to teach) and you don’t have anything else to offer. The relationship is over almost as soon as it’s begun and you need to find yet more people to sell to.
The result is that most of your workload is unpaid – you spend an inordinate amount of time connecting with more and more people in the hope that one or two of them will buy what you have to offer. What a slog! This isn’t why most of us went into business in the first place. We wanted freedom and flexibility. We wanted to escape our old bosses who stood over us, cracking the whip. We wanted to drive our own destiny, but instead, we’re working more than twice as hard for less than half the money – we’re being driven by our businesses. We’re not free!
So what’s the solution?
If you’ve read any marketing books or done any marketing courses, you may have heard of the marketing funnel. Essentially, it’s a model that explains your client’s relationship with your business. It says that once you have a potential customer or client, you develop a relationship with them, moving them closer and closer to you until they know and trust you enough that they are ready to buy your product or service.
At the top of the funnel are your social media contacts and network connections – your Twitter followers, your Facebook and LinkedIn connections, people you know from business networks. This is where you have the largest number of people.
Some of these people will visit your blog, thus getting to know you a bit better, learning about your area of expertise, getting to know what you do and whether they like you (and it).
Some of these people will subscribe to your mailing list or become loyal readers of your blog (becoming regular visitors to your blog).
Some of your loyal readers will want a bit more of what you have to offer and will sign up for your free offer.
Some of them will decide they really like what you’re saying and want to learn more, so they will buy your entry level product (this is the scary/exciting bit for lots of people – the point at which money starts to change hands).
If they like your cheapest, lowest commitment product or service, they might move down to the next layer of the funnel and buy something a bit more expensive from you – something that requires a bit more of a commitment from them – your mid-point product.
Finally, a handful of the many, many people in your social media cloud will like you and your offering so much that they will invest in your most expensive all-singing, all-dancing, snazziest top-end product.
Here’s a concrete example:
A Twitter follower reads your coaching blog. They like what they read, so they subscribe and sign up for your free offer, a lifestyle self-assessment. They really like the freebie because it teaches them something about themselves they weren’t aware of before. Wanting to learn more, they buy your cheapest offer (entry-level), an ebook that expands on the self-assessment and provides simple exercises they can do by themselves. They love it; it makes a big difference to their outlook on life, which inspires them to book a consultation with you for 1:1 coaching (mid-level). The consultation blows their mind because they get your undivided attention for half an hour and come away feeling inspired by your insight and understanding. As a result, they hire you as their coach (top-end) and get to meet with you once a week.
From this example, you can see how, as they travel the path through the funnel, your clients get closer and closer to you, getting more and more individual time and attention from you. As they get to know you better, they are more likely to tell their friends about you (if you do a good job), which might bring them further down the funnel – straight to your blog, for example, or even straight in at the mid-point for a consultation.
This is how the funnel can work for you – making your life easier and reducing the amount of work you need to do to bring in new clients. Notice too how the higher up the funnel, the less personal input you give people and the less time and effort you have to put in. You tweet and blog (blogging does take time, but it has the potential to reach a lot of people) but the free offer is something you prepare once (a simple self-assessment, in this example). It sits on your website for people to download. Likewise, your entry-level product (the ebook) requires preparation, but once it’s done it’s done, it’s there on your website for people to buy for a pound or two forever (or until you take it down).
It’s also worth pointing out that if you have a nice entry-level product but, say, no mid-level product, the jump for your audience might be too great. They paid a couple of quid for your ebook, but if the next step up is 1:1 coaching at £100 an hour or a weekend retreat for £1,000, well, why would they spend so much money on something delivered by someone they don’t know, someone untested? If, however, there were an intermediate product, something for about £50 – an online course, for example – it’s a manageable amount of money. It’s another opportunity for them to get to know you and your product a bit better and another step closer to that magical top-end product.
Here’s the secret to a successful marketing funnel: there’s no point having random, unconnected products at each layer of the funnel. There needs to be a relationship from one to the next, to draw your audience through; there needs to be a natural flow. In fact, it works best if all your products are variations of the same product. Let’s take a more lavish example of a top-end product:
A residential weekend retreat all about building a relationship with your Self, held at a luxury spa, including lots of practical exercises and pampering treats. They may even get a 1:1 coaching session with you as part of the package.
From here, the mid-point product could be:
The entry level product could be:
A self-guided course covering the same points as the online taught course. Participants are given a workbook and access to recordings of the taught course sessions.
The free gift could be:
A self-assessment quiz that tells them what their relationship with themselves is currently like and some tips on what issues they might need to address.
Notice how each of the steps on this path builds on the previous step. They are all variations on the same model. At each stage, the client gets a bit more of you and goes a bit more in-depth into the same subject. They get to know your model well and see the difference it can make to them.
But what if you had more than one path through to your top-end product? What if you had another mid-level product? For example:
An online course taught to a larger group that uses the same model you teach on the retreat, but it’s spread over a few weeks. Participants get to explore their relationship, mostly on their own, although some of them might get the chance to work with you on in-call demonstrations.
And another entry-level product:
An ebook about how your relationship with your Self colours your relationships with others.
Or you could write an actual book and that could be an entry-level product, too.
I’m freewheeling on this, but you see the point. You can have a lot of entry points to your funnel and multiple paths through it. The more paths you have, the more your potential clients can find a path that suits them. Some people like watching videos, some like doing courses, some love self-assessment quizzes, some people prefer reading. But all paths lead to the same prize: your top-end product (i.e. more personal time and input from you). And the more paths there are, the less you have to do to bring people through. It takes a bit of work to get to this point but, once you have it all in place, you will be able to reap the rewards of self-employment and finally taste the freedom and flexibility you were looking for in the first place.
If you want to develop your own marketing funnel but aren’t sure how to go about it, in the New Year Lynn Serafinn and I are launching a brand new package that will combine the Platform Building package with Business Development Mentoring. This 13-week package will not only help build your social media network and develop your blog but will also include 1:1 mentoring sessions with both Lynn and me. These sessions are designed to guide you through developing a coherent, cohesive marketing funnel for your business. To find out more, please drop us a line using the ‘Contact’ page on this site.
12th December 2014
Nancy V Goodyear is a Business Mentor and Coach who loves to help social entrepreneurs and small business owners cultivate their relationship with self , their business and their audience. With a BA (Hons) in Learning Disability Nursing, she has extensive professional experience working in health & social care within the non-profit sector. She is fluent in French having lived in France for some time. She is a graduate of the Coaches Training Institute and the Co-Active Leadership programme. She is also a director of The 7 Graces Project CIC .
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Find out more about how changing the paradigm can help make the world a better place:
The 7 Graces of Marketing: how to heal humanity and the planet by changing the way we sell, by Lynn Serafinn, where you can learn how the 7 Deadly Sins and the 7 Graces impact the world through media and marketing. Brit Writers Awards Finalist eLit Book Awards Silver Medal in Humanitarian & Ecological Social Issues
Tweep-e-licious: 158 Twitter Tips & Strategies for Writers, Social Entrepreneurs & Changemakers Who Want to Market Their Business Ethically by Lynn Serafinn, which can help you learn how to create meaningful collaborations through Twitter and other social media. eLit Book Awards Bronze Medal in Business and Sales.
Get instant access to a free 90-minute Twitter marketing class at http://tweepelicious.com
The Social Entrepreneur’s Guide to Successful Blogging: An Effective, Creative & Ethical Way of Marketing for Visionaries & New Paradigm Business Leaders. To receive an update when that book is available, just click here. As a thank-you gift for showing your interest, you’ll get instant access to an exclusive, free 5-page PDF revealing the exact same blogging template we use with our clients and we teach to participants on the ethical marketing training courses at the 7 Graces Project .
LYNN SERAFINN, MAED, CPCC is a certified, award-winning coach, teacher, marketer, social media expert, radio host, speaker and author of the number one bestseller The 7 Graces of Marketing — How to Heal Humanity and the Planet by Changing the Way We Sell and Tweep-e-licious! 158 Twitter Tips & Strategies for Writers, Social Entrepreneurs & Changemakers Who Want to Market their Business Ethically. She is listed in the Top 20 of the Top Marketing Authors on Twitter by Social Media Magazine and was a finalist for the prestigious Brit Writers Awards. She also received the eLit Book Awards Silver Medal in Humanitarian and Ecological Social Affairs, as well as the Bronze Medal in Business and Sales. Lynn’s eclectic approach to marketing incorporates her vast professional experience in the music industry and the educational sector along with more than two decades of study and practice of the spirituality of India. Her innovative marketing campaigns have produced a long list of bestselling non-fiction authors through her company Spirit Authors.
Lynn is also the Founder of the 7 Graces Project CIC, a not-for-profit social enterprise created to train, support, mentor and inspire independent business owners to market their business ethically, serve society and planet, and restore all that is best about humanity.