Congratulations, you're ready to build a sales funnel and start generating leads for your new product or service. Now what? How do you start, what do you do, what do you need? First off, let's back track a little bit and I'll explain what a sales funnel is before we dwelve into tools.
What is a Sales Funnel?
In simple terms, it's like a roadmap to get you from point A to point B. Point A being the starting point, where you are now, and Point B being your destination.
Think of an upside down triangle, a funnel. Like the funnel you use to put oil in your car or fill up your window washer fluid.
Point A is the top of the funnel. This is the interest point where would be customers enter your funnel. The further they go down, the closer they get to Point B. Point B is the very bottom of the funnel , where only 2-3% of people are ready to buy.
Let that sink in for a little bit. Only 2-3% of people are ready to buy right now. The point of the funnel is to filter out the people that are not ready to buy, and nurture the ones who are so that when they get to the bottom, they are 100% ready to buy.
Crystal clear? Good. Now let's move on to the next step. What do you need to make all this online marketing magic happen?
Online Marketing Tools
A sales funnels doesn't just happen on its own, as much as you sometimes wish you could just snap your fingers and voila! Nope, sorry to burst your bubble, that's not how it works (unless you hire someone to do it then that's basically like snapping your fingers). You have to build it and as overwhelming as it might seem when you're just getting started, it's actually not that hard to build. There are many online marketing tools that help you build your sales funnel easily.
When I provide my free consultation, I usually walk a client through two options:
1) using an all-in-one marketing tool or
2) stack your own software by integrating different tools together. All-in-one tools such as Kartra or Kajabi provide everything you need in one platform. You can create your website and landing pages, build and nurture your list and manage membership and online courses.
MailChimp, Mailerlite, and ClickFunnels are also considered all-in-one except for the ability to manage memberships and online courses. Technically they are not a true all-in-one, but if you don't need the membership or online course feature, then you can consider them all-in-one. I will discuss the pros and cons of each of these tools in another blog.
So what are the tools you need to get started? Basically the two main sales funnel tools you need are:
1. Landing page builder
2. Email marketing platform
If you are selling an online course, you'll also need an online course platform. And if the tools you choose don't directly integrate with each other, you need another tool to bridge them together.
Let's take a look at each of these in a little more detail.
Landing Page Builders
Are you still following? Good. Go take a sip of your coffee and let's continue.
The first thing you need is a landing page. But what is a landing page and why do you need it? To keep it simple, a landing page is a web page that takes your web visitors (a.k.a. your leads) to.
It is the page where you introduce your offering, whether it's something free or something paid.
Without going into too much detail, the landing page builders that I recommend are:
Email Marketing Tools
The second tool you need is an email marketing tool. Remember how the point of a sales funnel is to nurture your leads to get them to the bottom of the funnel, where the magic happens? In an online sales funnel, that nurture process occurs through a series of emails. They're known as a drip campaign, a nurture campaign, drip emails or nurture emails. To do this, you need an email marketing tool and just like landing page platforms, there are many email marketing tools out there.
There's also MailChimp which you've probably heard of. probably. It's one of the first email marketing tools available but I don't generally recommend this for various reasons. You can check out my other post comparing MailerLite and MailChimp.
In addition to sending emails, an email marketing platform is also needed to create your form, one that needs to be integrated with your landing page. Unless you're using an all-in-one tool, the opt-in form that you add on your landing page is usually not hosted in the landing page platform itself.
If you don't connect your form to your landing page, you will lose that lead. This is one of the main mistakes that I see business owners make. They assume that by adding the opt-in form element on the landing page, they are automatically capturing the leads. Wrong! Again, unless you are using an all-in-one tool, even though on the front end it looks like the form is being submitted (so to the person submitting the form they see nothing wrong), on the back-end, the leads don't get captured.
For the price and functionality, I absolutely love MailerLite. The downside is that it doesn't integrate with Leadpages directly. But all is not lost. It's very possible to integrate the two together using a third-party bridge app called Zapier, which brings me to the next point.
Zapier is the last tool you need if your landing page and your email marketing tools don't directly integrate with one another. Zapier is such an awesome tool. It basically acts as a bridge between two programs that otherwise wouldn't connect to each other. And it's not just used to integrate landing pages and email marketing platforms. It's used to integrate many different tools together.
Final Word about Sales Funnels
Just to reiterate, you need
1) a landing page builder and
2) an email marketing platform to get started.
Add Zapier and online course/membership management if necessary.
Phew 😅, that was like a 5k marathon, wasn't it? If you got this far, congratulations for making it to the end! This is only the beginning. Keep checking back as I share more tips and info about sales funnels and online marketing.
And hey, if after reading this you feel like this isn't how you want to spend your time, because you'd rather spend your time overseeing the bigger picture and you just feel like snapping your fingers, that's what we are here for. We can be your online marketing partner. We will sprinkle some pixie dust and make it all happen for you.
If magical pixie dust is what you're looking for, schedule a free 30-minute discovery consultation with our chief pixie (that's me 😊).