A sales funnel is the visual representation of how businesses acquire leads, convert them into customers, and increase customer lifetime value.
As you’re well aware, these three areas are complex.
There are a million ways to acquire leads.
A million ways to convert leads into customers.
And a million ways to increase customer lifetime value.
Thus, a sales funnel is an incredibly complex system.
This blog series is my best attempt to provide you with a strategic framework to reference when building your sales funnels.
How I “See” A Sales Funnel
The phrase “sales funnel” gets thrown around a lot.
Everyone calls everything a sales funnel.
There’s a funnel for this and a funnel for that.
There are pre-built funnels and tools to help you build funnels in less than 10 minutes.
This is all fine and dandy.
I find myself calling everything a funnel as well because every time you’re doing these three things …
- Capturing leads
- Converting leads into customers
- Increasing customer lifetime value
… you’re essentially making a sales funnel.
However, on a macro level …
I see a sales funnel AS your business.
It’s not some random “thing” you have sitting over there in the corner.
It’s not something you just kinda “do” when you feel like it.
It’s not just sending emails.
It’s not just editing the order flow.
It encompasses all your products and services and how they’re connected so you can increase customer lifetime value via up-sells, down-sells, and cross-sells.
It encompasses all your ads, pages, emails, direct mailings, text messages, videos, content, etc.
It’s a lot.
I don’t say all this to scare you or make you feel overwhelmed (that would be bad if I scared you away in the first couple sentences!).
I say this to give you a frame of reference.
I want you to “see” the sales funnel from a 30,000-foot view.
I want you to think bigger than simply setting up a “book funnel” that sells your book, a course, and coaching.
Or a webinar funnel that sells your high-end coaching service with a down-sell of a self-guided course.
Think about everything you offer.
Think about what you can offer to fill any gaps.
Think about how it’s all connected.
What’s a good up-sell? Down-sell? Cross-sell?
How do you, and can you, deliver more value to your audience?
Speaking of your audience, think about them … all of them … they’re all different.
They all have different motivators, personalities, hobbies, and interests.
Now, how are you going to connect everything you offer to the specific interests and requirements of your audience?
The Interest Driven Sales Funnel.
Macro vs. Micro Sales Funnels
Before I get into the Interest Driven Sales Funnel strategy, I want to explain something real quick…
There are two levels of sales funnels:
- Macro Sales Funnels
- Micro Sales Funnels
Let's start with the Macro level…
^^ This is a Macro level sales funnel ^^
It essentially represents your whole business…
You've gotta attract leads and prospects…
You've gotta build some sort of relationship with them to convert them into paying customers…
Then, you have to maintain that relationship in order to increase customer lifetime value.
Macro sales funnels are held together with marketing automation and retargeting. (the glue)
Inside the Macro sales funnel are Micro sales funnels.
Micro sales funnels are specifically designed to sell your stuff.
Micro sales funnels can look very different depending on what you're trying to sell and we'll get into them throughout this blog series.
So, just keep this in the back of your mind…
There are two levels of sales funnels…
- A Macro sales funnel IS your business and…
- Micro sales funnels SELL your stuff!
The Interest Driven Sales Funnel
The Interest Driven Sales Funnel is a Macro level sales funnel concept – ie. It IS your business.
You’re going to engage your audience many times, from many angles, with many offers; this is the general concept of the Interest Driven Sales Funnel.
This is represented on the left hand side of the diagram by the Straight Line Sales Funnel or “Main Series”.
Whenever one of our engagements resonates with an audience member (an interest is shown), we move them into one of our Micro Sales Funnels or Product/Service Sales Funnels.
The Micro Sales Funnels are what you likely think of when you hear the phrase “sales funnel”.
The Micro Sales Funnels are the up-sell funnels, book funnels, webinar funnels, product launch funnels, etc. you always hear about.
The goal of the Micro Sales Funnel is to sell a product or service the individual has shown interest in.
We’ll delve into much greater detail of these funnels later in this blog series, but first I want to give you a few examples.
The first benefit of the Interest Driven Sales Funnel is that it allows your audience to self-segment.
You don’t have to place individuals into different segments you “think” are right. Instead, you know what segments people need to be in because they put themselves in the appropriate segment(s) based on their actions.
Picture it “adapting” to each individual subscriber. It automatically figures out what they like and proceeds to only show them what they want to see.
The second massive benefit of the Interest Driven Sales Funnel is that it’s modular (plug & play).
This means each Micro Sales Funnel can be plugged in wherever, whenever.
For example, let’s say you’re launching a new product and you want to build out a Product Launch Micro Sales Funnel. You simply build that funnel, run your audience through it, and end it by returning them to the Main Series where more interests can be identified and more products sold.
This also means it will grow with your business. As you add new products and services to your line with their corresponding Micro Sales Funnels, they plug right into your existing Interest Driven Sales Funnel.
It will grow and expand as you grow and expand.
Ultimately, this makes it incredibly flexible and doesn’t bind you in any way.
The Interest Driven Sales Funnel concept is timeless. Meaning, it’s not dependent upon a certain piece of technology working a certain way.
I’m doing my best to make the majority of this blog series timeless so whether you're reading it in 2016, when it’s written, or 2026, you’ll still glean a tremendous amount of value.
Having said that, in most of the later examples, I’ll primarily reference email marketing and automation.
While email marketing is far from dying, it will someday.
The good news is, there will always be a way to reach out and engage your audience:
- Direct Mail
- Ads & Retargeting
- Facebook Messenger
- Whatever method the future holds!
The strategy and concepts you’re learning in this guidebook will ring true far into the future.
Entering The Interest Driven Sales Funnel (The Start)
There are many ways an individual can enter an Interest Driven Sales Funnel and a lot is dependent upon how you’re engaging your audience.
For example, if you’re primarily engaging through email, the person can subscribe to your email list in exchange for a Lead Magnet or after they make a purchase.
Depending on the type of Lead Magnet and/or the product or service they purchased, you may want the individual to go straight into a Micro Sales Funnel where you’ll try and sell more.
In other instances, you may want to subscribe the individual directly to the Main Series. For example, if they sign up for a Lead Magnet called, “How To Start A Blog” – you know they’re interested in blogging; however, it’s a very complex topic.
Maybe they’re only struggling with the technical aspects, or maybe they’re not sure how to write content, or they’re trying to monetize their blog.
In this instance, use the Main Series to figure out where they’re struggling and when they show interest in a particular topic, move them into a Micro Sales Funnel that sells a product or service specific to that issue.
If you’re primarily engaging your audience through Facebook Ads, you may run six different ads on six different topics to the same audience. People in your audience will click on the ads that interest them and will then be moved into a Micro Sales Funnel.
To illustrate the Interest Driven Sales Funnel, here are a couple timeless examples.
Let’s pretend we sell products that improve the quality of life for old folks.
I’m talking about 75+ years old, living in assisted living communities, where anything that makes their life a tad easier is greatly appreciated.
We can’t really email, text, or run ads to these folks because this demographic doesn’t typically use computers or cell phones.
So, we’ll settle with direct mail and phone calls.
We acquire a list of 10,000 old folks’ addresses and begin our “Main Series” (the left hand, interest gauging side of the diagram above) by sending a postcard about our $100 chair riser (Engagement 1) with the call-to-action (CTA) to give us a call if they want one.
If someone calls, great! They enter into the Micro Sales Funnel that presents several cross-sells.
Our sales rep takes the order for the chair riser, then recommends a $20 E-Z Reacher, a $30 chair attachment to help them stand, and a $150 heated massage pad to ease pain.
After these offers, the customer jumps down to Engagement 4 where we offer our next product.
If the individual doesn’t call from Engagement 1, we send a letter with a customer’s success story (Engagement 2). It talks about their life before and after the chair riser: how much easier it is to get out of their chair and how their knees feel much better.
The CTA of the letter will again be to give us a call. Of course, our sales rep will take the order and offer the cross-sells of our Micro Sales Funnel.
If the individual doesn’t call from Engagement 2, we send a postcard to receive free chair riser blocks (Engagement 3). These free chair riser blocks are nowhere near as good as our $100 chair riser; however, they pique interest and get the individual on the phone, where we can up-sell our nice riser plus all the cross-sells.
If all three engagements for our chair riser fall short, it’s no problem. Maybe that person doesn’t have trouble getting out of their chair.
They’re not interested.
Engagement 4 will recommend another product that solves a completely different problem and so on.
Makes sense, right?
Do you see how it’s all pre-planned and thought out?
We send 3 pieces of direct mail about one product that solves a particular problem. If the person calls (shows interest), our sales rep takes them through a pre-established cross-sell series of complementary products we know sell well.
Whether they buy our product or not, they move down to our next offer that solves an entirely different problem, and has its own Micro Sales Funnel with up-sells, down-sells, and cross-sells.
McDonalds does a lot of advertising (engaging); however, for this example, I’m only talking about TV ads.
Let’s say, for their Main Series, every three months they launch a TV commercial featuring a new product.
The first new product they launch is an ice cream sundae. You don’t really like ice cream, so you ignore it. (no interest)
The next product they launch is the McRib!
“Woo!” You say to yourself, “I’m going to McDonalds!” (interest shown)
You show up at the register, ask for a McRib when they hit you with, “Would you like fries with that?”
Of course you do and a drink to wash it down.
You might as well get the large size, you don’t want to be hungry in a few hours.
And, even though you don’t really like ice cream, they do have that new sundae; since you’re already there, you might as well add it to your order.
Finally, you donate your change to charity.
Before you realize it, instead of spending $4 on a sandwich, you’ve spent $20 on a meal.
You go back home, feeling nauseous because you shouldn’t eat that much McDonalds ever, and wait until another engagement resonates with you.
Do you now understand why I see a sales funnel AS your business?
You have different products and services that solve different problems.
You have an audience that consists of many different people with many different interests and many different problems.
The goal, then, is to sync your offerings with your audience in the most efficient and effective way humanly possible.
The best way I know how to do this is with the timeless, but true, Interest Driven Sales Funnel.
Continue to WTF #2!
Click here to continue to WTF #2: The “Main Series” Segmentation Strategy!