You’ve probably heard the term “marketing funnel” before – but what is it?
A marketing funnel is the process of introducing someone to your biz… warming up that new relationship… and then having that person start buying from or working with you.
With a funnel, you get to automate this entire relationship-building process.
AKA: set it up ONE TIME.
And let technology do ALLLLLLLL the rest.
If you don’t have a marketing funnel, you are literally working way too damn hard to get clients or customers.
Not to mention, you’re limited by the amount of time you’re awake and working. Which means your biz is limited too.
In this podcast episode
, I share all of my personal experience + tips about how to create a marketing funnel that works for you… and how to avoid the mistakes I’ve made so you can be successful way faster than I was.
Why You Need a Marketing Funnel in Your Biz
The fact is… most people want to automate a lot of their biz building with a funnel, but they don’t take the time to.
So it’s practically impossible to measure whether you ARE relationship-building or not.
Without a marketing funnel, you’re dropping your prospective buyers (AKA: relationships) at the point where they’re actually the MOST interested in working with you.
It’s the same as asking someone to call you… and they do… you have a great conversation with them and then you never follow through. #ghosted
This isn’t gonna help you get where you wanna go, right? Not gonna build the kind of prosperous relationship where you BOTH win.
IRL, I often see biz owners do things like:
- Throwing a Story up on IG…
- Posting on Facebook…
- Collecting an email address…(if they’re lucky)
And that’s it.
One email is NOT enough to build a relationship.
How to Automate Your Relationship-Building
A marketing funnel is important because it automates multiple touchpoints – which is how you keep your biz running for you 24/7… while building that relationship over time.
With an automated marketing funnel, you get to:
- Attract the person you wanna work with online.
- Nurture that relationship via email over the period of a few days or weeks (sometimes more).
- Warm them up and help them know, like, and trust you… at which time you are QUALIFIED to ask for a sale.
Which means your chances of getting them to say YES to working with you skyrocket.
And you're not dropping the ball.
The best part about funnels is… you set this up ONCE.
And let the automation run via simple technology over and over for you… every time someone joins your email list or otherwise enters your world.
There are only 3 parts to a marketing funnel: the top, the middle, and the bottom.
What is Top of the Funnel?
At the top of the funnel, your focus is trying to get in front of as many of the RIGHT people as possible.
Tactics associated with the top of your funnel include things like:
- Social media.
- Publishing a blog.
- Attending a networking event,
- Being a guest on someone else’s podcast
- Speaking at an event.
- Paid advertising online.
At the top of the funnel, you’re focused on creating awareness.
About who you are. What your offer is. And why it’s perfect for the exact kind of person you wish to work with.
You’re not focused on selling here – that comes later.
I learned this the hard way when I first started.
I was sooooo stoked about my holistic wellness biz that I was like “Open for business please!”
Finally someone told me, “Hey Hayley, slow your roll. You need to build a relationship.”
I mean, I had NO idea – but it totally makes sense.
When you try to sell immediately, you’re essentially being like “Hey, wanna get married?” – before you’ve even met.
Think about the times someone has come at you hard about buying something the second you walk in the door.
You’re totally turned off, right? So when you come up with your own marketing funnel, keep your own reaction to this sort of thing in mind.
At the top of the funnel, you’re introducing yourself.
Letting people know you exist. What you’re all about. And how you can help them.
It’s like a handshake. Or a first date.
A swipe right.
(I think that’s what happens on a dating app when you like someone, right? #itsbeenaminute)
So anyway, your goal at the top of funnel stage is to get someone to like you… and to take action.
Usually to slide into your IG or FB DMs – in a profesh way, obviously. LOL
Or join your email list via a simple webpage and form.
Now before your brain throws up a red flag at hearing this, I wanna let you in on something.
Getting a professional email system is critical if you’re creating an automated marketing funnel with email as part of your side hustle or biz.
And there are tons of great options…
- Even if you think you’re not techy.
- Even if you have a small (or zero) budget.
- Even if you don’t consider yourself to be a “biz owner” or entrepreneur yet.
Why You Need Email Marketing Tools For A Funnel
You need email marketing tools ‘cause you absolutely CANNOT send out marketing messages from your Google or Yahoo email account (or ANY personal email account).
There are many laws in place now – the biggest of which is you must give the people you are emailing for your business a way to opt out from receiving messages from you.
Your personal or biz gmail account does NOT have this option.
So if you are still sending emails this way, it’s illegal. And it CAN come back to bite ya in the butt.
In the form of getting blacklisted and unable to email anyone at ALL… or even to the tune of THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS in fines – PER violating email! So just don’t do it, my friend.
Not only that, but it’s actually way more work to send emails out from a personal email account vs using a legit, automated provider.
So yeah, it IS critical to get professional email marketing software.
There are even free options, like Mailchimp, but those DO have greater limits on what you can do with a free plan.
The awesome thing is… most of the time, there are automated features already in whatever software platform you choose. Even at the free level.
These systems are drag and drop easy. And will do all the work for you once you’re set up.
One big reason you want to set up an automated funnel system like this is because it’s how you deepen your relationship.
And start a 1:1 conversation. Which, depending on your biz, is pretty much a required step.
Because it’s super rare that someone’s gonna hand you money when they just meet you.
Does Everyone Move Down Your Funnel?
No. Not everyone is gonna move to the next stage.
And that’s ok. Good even.
You only want to invest your time and energy into the people who are IN with you.
If someone hits your social account or website and decides to bounce out – you WANT that.
So you don’t spend your energy trying to convince them how awesome you are. It’s a waste of time.
You aren’t for everyone. IRL or in the online biz world. You don’t wanna be.
Trying to appeal to everyone makes you average. And average is NOT gonna get you where you wanna go.
But there ARE ways you can increase the likelihood that someone will move down your funnel… all the way to an eventual sale.
Which is where multiple touches, creating a relationship, and being authentic
come into play.
What is Middle of the Funnel?
Middle of the funnel is where you nurture and warm up a relationship.
It’s what happens after someone has said yes, in some way, to getting to know more about you and what you have to offer.
Which usually is something like sliding into your DMs. Or giving you their email address.
This is where you get to connect authentically. Sharing more about your story and what you do – specifically from the perspective of how you can help THEM achieve THEIR goals and desires.
In terms of tactics, this is where you have an automated email series. Which you write and set up ONCE.
And use an email software system to send out the emails for you.
“How many emails?” I hear you asking.
Well, it really depends.
(And yes, I know this is you right now 👇)
And I know it’s not the answer you wanted. But it’s a realistic one.
Best practice says between 1 and 10 emails in your marketing funnel.
But you get to test out what works for you – ‘cause what works for me may not work the same for you. And vice versa.
We have different businesses. Offers. Communities. Personalities. Relationships.
So duh, it’s not gonna be exactly the same.
I’d suggest you start with between 3 and 5 emails in your automated series – and then pay attention to how they perform.
Right now in my biz, I have 4 automated emails set up to go out anytime someone downloads a free biz guide. They also receive my weekly newsletter.
Down the line, as I get more data, this may change.
The key is to use data to your advantage.
Once you choose an email software, you’ll have access to an easy-to-understand visual dashboard that shows you which emails are being opened and clicked… and which ones aren’t.
So you can optimize this whole automated email series. Tweaking the ones that aren’t working and testing new ideas out.
A lot of people don’t bother to look at this information. Which means you actually have no idea what’s working. Or what your actual results are.
But when you DO make this part of your process, you’ll quickly see areas for opportunity and improvement.
As well as what’s driving results – and how you can double down on that.
What is Bottom of the Funnel?
Warming up a relationship takes time – and consistency.
Once you do this well, you arrive at the bottom of the funnel.
This is where you have finally earned the right to ask for a sale.
Because yes, you do have to earn the right.
A lot of people get the “icks” when it comes to thinking about sales.
So instead, I’d like for you to think about this as what you can GIVE… instead of what you can GET.
This mindset helps take the ick factor out of the idea of sales.
Making sales isn’t bad.
Think about all the wonderful things you have no problem buying.
What if your fav coffee shop had a hangup about selling you your spicy cacao latte?
You’d be deprived of caffeine. And that’s no way to live, my friend.
Anyway, bottom of the funnel is where you’ve warmed up the relationship and you’re like, “Hey let’s work together!”
NOW is when you can put a paid offer in front of them.
If you don’t have an automated funnel, you’re trying to build these relationships and eventual sales one at a time.
Which is working pretty damn hard in my book.
It’s not scalable because:
- Your growth is limited by YOU.
- It’s even MORE limited to the time you’re awake and actually working on your biz.
What Can You Offer At Bottom of the Funnel?
There are tons of things you can offer at the bottom of the funnel.
It could be something simple and no brainer-ish, like an affiliate link you’ve got to your fav wellness company. I do this all the time with the offers I put in front of people for lifestyle, personal care and essential oil products.
It could be something big – like getting a ticket to your in-person weekend retreat (worth thousands of dollars).
Or even something small – like a $20 mini product. Or something in the middle (obviously.)
I’ve personally found success using funnels to make money online, not only by inviting people into my network marketing business (as either a side hustle or as a customer) but also in creating offers for my online course and mini-courses.
Adding products and offers like these to my business has helped bring in about $250,000 in additional income EACH YEAR.
This is in addition to my core network marketing biz.
It’s also added tens of thousands of new people to my email database.
Which, yep, you guessed it… warms up those relationships and leads to those sales via an automated marketing funnel.
The person who taught me how to not just create an online mini-course well… but actually launch it and sell it well… is Amy Porterfield.
And she’s just announced a new training series where she’ll teach you how to do this too – FREE.
She’s calling it, How to Recession-Proof Your Business with One Digital Course: 5 Strategies to Create & Launch a Profitable Digital Course From Scratch.
It’s different from the class I just hosted with her… it actually builds on the themes and gives you even more practical tips to get started now.
And there are multiple class times to choose from between September 7-11. Pick the one that works best for you and your schedule.
I’m tellin’ ya, if you’re starting a new side hustle (or even thinking about it)...
Or you have a biz you’d like to make resilient to economic turbulence…
Creating a mini-course is a super smart idea.
And it’s why you’re gonna want to be at Amy’s training.
‘Cause not only is she showing you exactly how to do this… she’s also giving you all the info about what’s flying off the virtual shelves RIGHT NOW.
I’ll tell ya from my own experience… we’re in the Wild Wild West ATM. What crushed it for me a year ago isn’t working the same anymore.
And it’s why I personally signed up for Amy’s training.
She invests tons of time, money, and energy into research. And she’s sharing it all with us FREE in her Recession-proof Your Business event.
I’ll see ya online…