I was having a discussion today with a client who is beginning to delve into passive income, and is working on her “funnels”. During the course of the discussion, there seemed to be a bit of speed-bump around what a “Sales Funnel” is, as opposed to a “Content Funnel”. This post (hopefully) helps better clarify (not only for you – You know who you are), but also to helps the rest of us.
So… Here’s the scoop below…
Have you been struggling a bit with your sales funnel? You’ve possibly created your website in a less optimal way or maybe you’re just publishing content in the hopes, some way, readers would click links in your blog posts – And in some way that would generate bags of money?
Regrettably, the romantic “in some way, somehow” mindset is not really going to be your train ride to becoming Mr. or Mrs. Moneybags! If you’re seriously committed to creating any type of revenue from the Internet, you must pay close attention to developing the right funnels. The issue at hand, a lot of folks are puzzled as to the type of funnels they should be developing. In many cases, we exacerbate the issue because we don’t approach the process in an organized and methodical way. Truth be known, I’ve been just as guilty myself (I’ve messed this up a lot in the past)! It’s very easy to get caught up in the minutiae, instead of standing back, looking at the big picture, and then creating specific, targeted action plans.
What is a “Content Funnel”?
Content (blog posts, etc.) funnels relate to converting traffic, readers who are looking for certain kinds of articles, and filtering those individuals in a productive manner, who, at some point, will transform into customers. Content “likers” (enthusiasts, fans) are all about creating reliability, influence, authority, credibility, etc. When they travel through a content funnel, their queries get answered, there’s a dialogue, there’s sharing, which leads to better quality content (that over time, becomes more focused and targeted). Before you realize it, they develop, increasingly, more trust in whatever it is you happen to be promoting.
This can then result, for example, in a quality email list, which you can lead to increased conversions, later by way of a future updates. This (naturally) results in the growth of genuine sales right then and there, each time. Compare this from simply tugging, and dragging visitors from the Web, any which way, by dropping URLs (hyperlinks to web pages), or buying visitors (don’t do this, really… don’t) to attempt increasing sales page visibility. Those visitors will very quickly recognize they are not engaged (or even interested) and then they bounce out (so the bounce rates of your sales pages go way up). As a result, there’s really not much opportunity to grow credibility, or authority. Again, it becomes quite important to know that revenue (sales) funnels quite different from content funnels (and they both have their own, different, uses).
How Do I Create my “Sales Funnels”?
In a nutshell… A complete revenue (sales) funnel can be built in a single web page (I’d argue that’s the most common). Pages like this are often called a “Conversion Page”, or “Squeeze Page”.
In general, organic traffic arrives at your “page”. They read, watch, and listen to your message. It’s important to not only provide effective CTAs (Calls to action), but also ensure there’s something to do – Something to engage. This builds trust. The longer your audience is engaged, those that interact (reading to the end of the page for example), are the ones most likely to act – Clicking a “buy now” or “subscribe” button, and so on… The rest of them? The ones that didn’t – The bounce (out).
Bouncing out!? Is that Good or bad?
Your “conversion page” (your sales funnel) did its job – Right then and there – BAM! That’s right… Those visitors realized the content on your sales page was not of interest to them. Maybe it was that the value of the service or product didn’t hold much appeal. Nevertheless, those visitors were “filtered”, leaving you with bonafide conversions. Here’s the rub… Content funnels, instead, “qualify” your potential conversions (customers) over a period of time. Your sales funnel does it right away.
Personally, I’m a bigger fan of content funnels, because they (in my opinion) are a much more effective tool to quickly build trust in your audience – But they are a long term approach. For the most part, people who read your content, are looking for information – They are looking for answers to solve their pain points. If you can address them (answering their questions), and in turn provide, or demonstrate solutions, this, hands-down, is a sure fire way to build trust!
But, here’s the caveat to be aware of: Most visitors who get their questions answered, will likely bounce (out) of your website. So… It becomes paramount, to ensure you provide the good value! This means ensuring other good quality content (on other web pages), to answer deeper questions, or related issues and solutions. This draws visitor deeper – And builds greater trust (as well as authority). Are you starting to see how content funnels work?
The longer visitors remain on your website, and the deeper they read through it, the more likely they are to complete a CTA (such as subscribing to your mailing list).
When you have set up an effective content funnel, those visitors then reach your sales funnel page (remember – because you built trust, enough that they clicked or tapped through to your sales page). Awesome huh?!
So there we have it! It’s important to realize that your content funnel build trust, authority, etc. (all that good stuff), and “funnels” visitors to your conversion page (that your single page sales funnel).
In my next post, I’ll talk about “why” the two types of funnels are often confused, and how better to use them to your advantage, improving your revenue. Stay tuned!
If you’re really interested in improving your online initiatives, and want to make more money. I do have a very effective video course, that will give you an in-depth advantage. It also includes some bonus resources to download. Feel free to check it out here: Sales Funnel Optimization Strategies.