Your Client Attraction Roadmap: Why “Marketing Funnels” Shouldn’t Be A Scary Term

Sales funnels, lead magnets, list-building, brand awareness, the money is in the list…

I bet you’ve heard those terms before…but how do you actually DO it? You know, plan AND create your own marketing funnel?

This is part one of a series all about creating an online marketing strategy that attracts your ideal client and turns them into customers!

This post is more informational, and the next ones will be more actionable. Here’s what’s in store:

  • thinking in terms of your customer’s journey (so you can build a plan that hits a homerun with your audience)
  • to your goals for using a funnel (it’s not just about building your email list!)
  • choosing the right tools (which depends on your budget, skills, and goals)
  • to setting up your first simple list-building funnel
  • and giving you ideas of where you can expand your system and add even more automation.

Let’s start with one concept that will really help you to put the idea of a funnel into a different perspective, that will put you in your customer’s shoes and make it easy for you to visualize what THEY need (their pain points), and how YOU can be the one to provide the solution for them, in a non-sleezy, non-icky salesy way.

I call this the Client Attraction Roadmap.

What is a Customer Journey and why is it important to creating a your hustle-free client-attraction system?

According to Salesforce, a sales funnel is the visual representation of the customer journey, depicting the sales process from awareness to action.

Marketing today is much less one-directional, where the communication from a company was essentially blasted out, via billboards, newspaper ads, advertorials in magazines, direct mailers and flyers, TV and radio ads.

With the increase of social media as a business tool (remember that Facebook, Instagram, Periscope, Pinterest and other sites were all created for personal use, until the marketers took over ) it has given the customer a voice.

Now communication is a two-way street, and it’s given great power to those businesses who use education-based marketing to create a relationship and help their clients make a buying decision.

And really, it’s a good thing!

Notice how I phrased it? Selling easily and authentically is not just about “making sales” and making money.

It is a about creating a relationship where both parties win!

By helping your clients, you’re more likely to get repeat business, referrals, and if you’ve understood their needs, then you’re also going to help them to get better results.

The customer gets something they need (your solution to their problem), and the seller (that’s you) gets something in return (money, credibility, testimonials). It’s a win-win situation.

I love this idea that our customers are much more than a subscriber on our email list, and that there is a necessary and valuable relationship between a seller and a buyer. It makes “asking for the sale” so much easier because it really is the next logical step.

So if we can put ourselves in out customer’s shoes, and imagine their process of discovering they have a problem, searching for a solution (hello Google), browsing through information for not only answers but to decide who they want to reach out to for help. It isn’t always the cheapest solution mind you…the relationship building and “courting” process online is even more important with so much noise and so many choices, as well as the ability to instantly compare prices and view customer reviews.

As illogical as it is, people buy with their hearts more than their heads. Why else would someone pay hundreds of dollars for a pair of sunglasses or jeans with a designer label, for essentially the same product that they could find for a fraction of the price?

If we can make that sales funnel process from discovery to action more enjoyable, meaningful and relatable, then our businesses will grow and flourish, and provide repeat business or customer advocates who act as ambassadors for our brand.

Customer Journey

A typical customer journey starts with an awareness, both of the problem and then exploring who might be a good fit to provide the solution. As their interest in finding a solution becomes stronger, customers narrow down their choices by digging deeper – reading blog posts and articles, watching videos, checking for positive reviews, asking others for referrals, and then taking steps to engage with the shortlisted businesses.

In an online world, those first touchpoints are usually your website or social media, which could even include videos or Facebook Live broadcasts, and culminates when a potential client further engages – by downloading an ebook or scheduling an appointment to book a free discovery call or registering for a webinar for instance.

And eventually, the customer will buy something.

Whether it’s from you or a competitor depends on how well you have succeeded in persuading them to trust you, and that you are the best solution for their probelm.

If you have created enough desire, or demonstrated that you are indeed the best person to solve their problem, and then provide an exceptional solution (and perhaps even built a community or tribe that your client feels a part of) you might now have attracted a customer for life, who also raves about your products or services.

In order to grow your business successfully, your role is to know and understand your potential customers intimately, and create a customer journey roadmap that helps them discover you in a sea of possible solution providers, develop the grow, like and trust factor, and flow naturally towards your products or services when they are ready to make a purchase. It is the basis of education-based marketing, or content marketing through education.

The Phases in a Sales Process:

 Visibility (through Facebook ads, organic traffic from google, guest posts/fb lives/webinars, being active in fb group, and offline through networking groups, live events, mailouts, books, interviews, podcasts, etc)

 Traffic/visitors  (organic visitors through Google search and sharing posts on social media, Facebook ads)

 Leads (through opt-in and lead magnets/freebies, call me forms)

 Sales (by making offers, moving customers from a discovery call into one of your aligned services or training programs)

 Advocates/brand ambassadors (through quality products including blog posts, webinars, emails; customer service; answering questions; building a community such as within a Facebook group)

Creating a Customer-Focused Funnel Through Education-Based Marketing

The best way to create a marketing funnel that is more than just “growing your email list” is to truly understand your customer, and provide the logical next steps that help them to determine that YOU are the right solution. This is true no matter what product or service you provide.

From a customer perspective the process would be:

 Awareness of the problem (That’s right, sometimes people don’t even realize they have a specific, solvable problem – they only know they have X, Y, and Z symptoms that are frustrating or hurting them).

 Research solutions  (Not only defining the problem, but discovering a solution, which also means finding you!)

 Evaluate solutions (This is where overwhelm can happen, as well as obsessive research between the final choices)

 Decision/purchase (The need to justify and validate a decision after purchase; buyers’ remorse can kick in.)

 Continued relationship/brand ambassadors (Often finding a solution to one problem, brings up a totally new question or problem that needs a new solution and once you’ve earned their trust, they know where to go next time so you’re not starting with brand new customers every time. And brand ambassadors are the ones who sing your praises. Not all will be your biggest customer, but they might just be your biggest advocate and connect you to others.)

Education-based marketing and content-marketing are terms that describe the process of providing useful information such blog posts, podcast episodes, YouTube videos, infographics, webinars that can keep you not only top-of-mind but also demonstrate that you are an expert in your niche.

{Surprise! In reading this blog post, you are taking part in education-based marketing.}

From a customer perspective, content marketing helps them to feel positive about their upcoming decision and move them towards a buying decision.

By adding in some automation and systems to the process, you are making sure that you can grow your business in a more sustainable way, and that potential clients can find exactly what they need when they need it.

The Simplest Funnel and What You Need to Create It:

When starting out, it’s important to keep things as simple as possible.

Start with ONE way that you can take your customer on a journey towards your services.

Ideally that first step, whether reading your blog, watching your video, signing up for your freebie (an ebook, checklist, script, template) will give them a quick win and help them achieve a result… FAST!

(A 78-page ebook, 5 video series, or 2 hour masterclass is practically useless if it clutters up their desktop and they don’t take any action!)

You can add more funnels, or more elaborate systems, later.

You are probably already on Facebook, and might even be using an email service provider to send out newsletters or e-blasts…then you are halfway there.

Let’s look at an example online.

  1. A vision of your client’s need
  2. A way to get in front of them (blog post, video, podcast, webinar)
  3. A way for them to “test you out”  (lead magnet – ideally provides a quick win)
  4. A way to keep building relationship (email marketing, your Facebook group)
  5. Offer your services (paid product or service)
  6. They buy your thing (way to buy)
  7. Continue the relationship (testimonials, reviews, and continue to send valuable info)

So you would need:

  • A compelling, actionable freebie / lead magnet
  • Opt-in page
  • Email marketing service
  • A way to deliver the “test you out” freebie

Benefits of creating a Customer Journey system:

  • Your brand becomes well-known and you are known as the go-to expert in your industry.
  • You can go from cold calling and 1:1 calls to a 1:many model.
  • You can use your gifts and work in your zone of genius to create deeper relationships when you do offer 1:1 or small group services, and ensure that the transformation is able to unfold.
  • Once the system is in place, it is easy to leave it running on autopilot to attract the clients who are the right fit for you AND them.
  • You have the time and head-space to be able to create even more valuable information and programs, instead of spending all your time posting on social media or trying to market your business.
  • You have more time and freedom to create a life you enjoy AND a business that you love.

In the next post in this series, I’ll be sharing how you can start that win-win customer journey, (that is a simple funnel) with an beautiful opt-in freebie

… even if you are not super techie and have the graphic design skills of a 5 year old!

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