When you run your own business, it’s not the day-to-day stuff that’s difficult.
What’s hard is making the move from working in your own business to working on it.
But what if you could develop some kind of automated function that will do all the work for you to actually find leads for your business, and convert them into customers so that your business continues to grow without you needing to do the work at each step of the process?
Sales funnels do exactly that and in this article, I’ll take you through the initial steps so you know how to set this up for your practice and create your own sales funnel.
BUT WHAT IS A SALES FUNNEL?
First of all, we need to define what a sales funnel is.
A sales funnel is simply a process broken down into the steps that guide prospects towards making a decision to buy.
Using specific marketing tools assists these stages, such as emails and landing pages that automatically do the selling for you.
Even before the Internet, sales funnels existed but businesses had to manually come up with methods that would regularly bring buyers to their business.
So right now, you actually already have a sales funnel, even if you think you don’t.
Since marketing went online, there are a huge number of tools available on the internet that make it so much easier to not only build and run the sales funnels but also measure how effective the buying process is in your business and improve and optimise it automatically.
It’s an amazing tool. It’s out there and available for you to use and all you need to do is understand how you can use it for your business.
I’ll get into the 5 steps soon, but before I do we need to look at the current buying process for your business.
ANALYSING YOUR EXISITING SALES FUNNEL
Have a go at answering these questions to build up your start-to-finish picture of the sales process:
- How do customers find you?
- What does the customer do after they have found you?
- How do these customers then buy from you?
Start from when they first heard about your business, then to when they make an enquiry, booking the consultation through to the point when they book a procedure.
You might like to draw it out as a flow chart to make it more visual.
To help define the steps, have a think about:
- How you attract your customers to book consultations and procedures?
- What has to happen before customers reach their decision to buy from you?
There will probably be more steps than you might think. Each one of those stages in the process that you have identified will be one of the stages in your own sales funnel.
This is important because although it is quite basic, it should highlight any ‘gaps’ in your existing process. These gaps are where customers are falling away and not buying.
Plug these gaps and you’ll get more customers.
The biggest gap in most sales funnels is not following up on leads. I’ll address that later but for now we’ll start the 5 steps:
STEP #1 DEFINE THE PURPOSE OF YOUR FUNNEL
Every funnel needs to have an objective. And it isn’t always sales. In fact, in the aesthetics industry, the goal is mostly to get people to book a consultation.
You need to have the end goal clearly defined in order to set up your system so that you will achieve your goal repetitively and predictably.
The goal is important as your destination but without a system to get you there it remains a distant dream.
STEP #2 MAP OUT THE BASIC STRUCTURE OF YOUR SALES FUNNEL
Just in the same way you laid out the existing sales process, do the same thing for mapping out what the sales funnel of the future should be.
The best place to start here is on your own website to see where gaps might be. Look at:
- What is the purpose of your homepage?
- Where on the website might you be losing potential customers?
- Where do your prospects get lead to?
- How much has your website been designed to move customers to the next stage in the buying process?
Next, we need to look at how we ‘on-board’ or acquire customers:
- How does each page ‘flow’ into the next one?
- What happens when people actually click on the ‘Book A Consultation’ button?
- Where does it take them?
- If you were the customer, would you be clear about what’s happening and why?
- Is this process hitting the goal you defined earlier?
This part is where you define what the customer conversion process looks like. It needs things like building lists, designing follow-up emails, creating ads, writing copy, building out the buttons for your Call To Action (CTA). I’ll be honest – this takes time and isn’t easy to do by yourself.
Which is why the next step is important.
STEP #3 – FIRST WORK THROUGH THE TOP PRIORITY ITEMS
If you want fast results, work on the higher priority tasks before the others.
But how do you do that? This should help:
- The Basics – get the correct content on your website, make sure there is an obvious flow that moves your prospects through the process, set up a clear CTA
- Following Up – now set up things like your email auto responder, sequencing the emails, defining the segments of your list and your re-targeting strategy
- Drive traffic – with the basics set up and a follow up strategy in place, now you need to drive traffic to the site. Paid advertising such as Google Adwords and Facebook Ads can really help here
There are many tools that can help you with all of this, from Active Campaign and Mailchimp for your email marketing and automation, Click Funnels to help design the landing pages and funnel process and WordPress for developing a website that you can enhance yourself as you progress using their plug-ins (productivity apps).
STEP #4 TRACKING AND OPTIMISING
There’s little point in setting all this up and advertising for people to visit your site if you don’t know if it’s working or not.
Setting up tracking is essential otherwise you won’t know if the money you’ve spent has been worth it or wasted.
To do this you will need to:
- Set up the goal for your funnel in Google Analytics – this will provide you with tons of data and detail about how well your funnel is converting
- Act upon the results – some of this isn’t obvious. For example, you might find that your conversions improve just because you made the “Book Your Consultation Now” button bigger and brighter. It comes with experience and testing.
STEP #5 GO LIVE
With your site set up, the follow-up systems and tracking in place, all you need to do is start pushing people to your site. Here are 2 ways you can do this:
- Content Marketing: This could be writing articles or blogs that offer value to the reader. Over time you develop an audience and customer base that trusts and values your information. This takes time.
- Paid Advertising: The most common of these is Pay-Per-Click (PPC), which is Google Adwords and Facebook Ads. You also have display advertising. This will get you leads immediately but will obviously cost more than preparing and marketing content on your own site
Both work. It just depends on how quickly you need results and your budget. But whichever one you choose you must have the tracking set up to measure effectiveness.
Keep looking at the numbers to analyse how things are going and make changes as you go.
Any gaps you have in your process will become obvious when you look at your results in Google Analytics.
Don’t worry too much if things look awful to start with. You have to start somewhere and test what works and weed out what doesn’t. So don’t expect miracles overnight – a well-functioning funnel can take several months to work effectively.
But once it is, your only involvement in getting customers is to check the results in Analytics and make tweaks here and there to keep plugging the gaps.
WHAT ARE THE OPTIONS WHEN IT COMES TO PHYSICALLY CREATING A SALES FUNNEL?
- You can set one up yourself. It isn’t easy and will take you a long time, as there are a lot of moving parts to put together. I’ve summarised the steps here but each stage can take several weeks to set up.
- You could hire professionals individually such as designers, copywriters, programmers etc. This becomes expensive and you need to co-ordinate the activity and give clear direction yourself. Not easy if you haven’t been through the process before
- Or you can speak with people who do it professionally and have the experience of working with the aesthetics industry who can manage the whole process for you.