There’s a new phrase floating around the Internet concerning a “new” technology called “Smart Sales Funnels”.
This post aims to tell you what they are, how they work, how they can help your business, and a strategy for setting them up.
What Are Smart Sales Funnels?
A smart sales funnel is a website, seamlessly integrated with an email autoresponder, that adjusts per each visitor depending upon where they are in the sales process.
A visitor lands on your website for the first time ever. The goal at this point would be to get the person to join your email list so you can begin building a relationship.
In order to accomplish this goal, you’ll display opt-in forms and lead magnets, trying to entice the visitor to give you their contact information.
So, let’s say you’re successful and collect the contact information. Now, the next time the individual visits your site, you won’t show them opt-in forms and lead magnets, instead you may show them information about your company and/or attempt to get them to make an initial purchase.
Now, let’s say, they looked at one of your products, but didn't make a purchase. You’ll now be able to use the email portion of the smart sales funnel to “remind” them they were checking out the product. You can include some extra helpful information that would persuade them to make a purchase.
You would also be able to change the website to display more information on the particular product – like, more links to it, more reviews, more information – to help drive the visitor back.
Or, you could work on an up-sell or down-sell – show them similar, but different products in order to get them to convert.
I want to take a moment to point out that this isn't really a “new” concept or strategy.
Websites have always done their best to display unique content per each visitor. For example; depending on how you landed on a site – the website may be able to tell if you’re a male or a female and adjust its content based on what it concludes.
Or, it may adjust the content based on your geographic location. For example; if you’re in the USA – it may display one image; whereas, if you’re in the UK – it may display another image.
Think about “big” sites like Amazon – if you simply glance at a product – you’re probably going to receive an email about it. They’ll also recommend similar products in order to try and get you to make a purchase.
For example; I recently searched for an Adidas shirt and didn't make a purchase … now I see this on my Amazon homepage … a smart funnel in action!
Again, this isn't a “new” idea – everyone knows you want to make the visitor experience great and tailored to that individual, yet – not everyone has millions of dollars, like Amazon, to spend to make it all happen.
Needless to say, the concept and technology have “existed” for a while now; however, not at an “affordable” price point … until now! (we think*)
How Do Smart Sales Funnels Work?
Unfortunately, none of the plugins have been released yet – they’re that new. So, we don’t know exactly how they work, nor their pricing*; however, we can make an educated guess and describe how we would approach this concept.
First, you’ll download and install a plugin into a WordPress website.
If you don't have a WordPress website, we can set one up for you via 3 Step Sites.
Second, you’ll connect your email autoresponder service. Most quality email autoresponders have some sort of goal tracking [MailChimp's Goal Tracking | Active Campaign's URL Visited] that keeps track of what URLs people visit. This will help setup the email automation.
Third, you’ll have different shortcodes based on visitor information.
For a new visitor you’ll have something like:
[new_visitor]Hello new visitor! Enter your email address below for exclusive offer![/new_visitor]
This will only display what’s between the two shortcodes to only those who meet the requirement, ie. New Visitor
Now, let’s say the person signs up for the exclusive offer and re-visits the site – for which you have a shortcode like:
[second_visit_email]Welcome back! We wanted to show you our flagship product because we really think it’ll be helpful to you![/second_visit_email]
Now, let’s say they click the product, but don’t make a purchase. This would send a signal to our email autoresponder that would send them an email about the product with more, exclusive information – maybe even a coupon?!
We could also setup another shortcode for this individual:
[clicked_flagship_product_no_purchase]Hi again! Here are a few other products you may be interested in – up-sell, down-sell[/clicked_flagship_product_no_purchase]
And so on, and so on – I think you get the gist.
Of course, there would be shortcodes for every type of scenario you could think of – no stone would be left un-turned!
Fourth, sit back and collect all the extra cash from your smart sales funnel!
Fifth, the fourth one was “kind of” a joke – yes, ideally, you’ll collect a lot more cash; however, there’s a lot of optimization that can, and should, be done. So, the “sitting” part – isn't too accurate.
How Would It Keep Track?
All of this information would probably be stored in a cookie and/or via IP – I can see some room for error here, because – what if the person opts-in the the email list while on their phone, and then comes back to the site via their work computer, and then again via their home computer. I don’t know how/if they’ll be able to keep everything properly coordinated – time will tell.
Again, this is just our “best guess” as to how these plugins will work. Once we get our hands on them, we’ll test drive them and I’m sure – implement them into our services.
The Problem With Smart Sales Funnels
The biggest problem I can see, is that when you create multiple levels and scenarios like this – it’s a lot of work.
What if they click this and not that?
What if they click both things?
What if they click this, that, and the other thing … but not this one thing?
Not to mention, you’ll still need to spend time optimizing each level.
As you can tell, it can get real messy, real fast … if you don’t have a plan in place before you get started!
Have a plan before you dive into creating smart sales funnels.
Break your strategy into levels for specific goals – For example:
- Level 1: Join email list
- Level 2: Click on at least one of our three flagship products
- Level 3: Make a purchase
- Level 4: Recommend complementary products and services
Trust me on this one (because I've been there with a few of my membership sites) – if you don’t keep it simple – you will become overwhelmed. Having a bunch of – “What if they clicked this, that, and the other thing … but not this one thing” shortcodes lying around gets VERY confusing after a while, and it can become very hard to keep track of it all.
Final Thoughts On Smart Sales Funnels
While the smart sales funnel technology hasn't “officially” been released yet, we have a pretty good idea of how it will work.
We’re also very excited to get our hands on it and we're sure, when used properly, it will boost conversions!
Alas, this is more of a “nice to have” feature as opposed to a “need to have” feature … like a basic sales funnel.
So, start small – if you don’t have any sales funnel in place – start with a simple one like the Straight Line Sales Funnel. You can always make it more advanced later.