Assuming you have a blog, and want to make money from said blog, you will need a blog sales funnel. So, what exactly is it and how you do create one?
A blog sales funnel is a carefully thought out system which leads visitors through your website and converts them from visitors (leads), to subscribers, to prospects, to customers (the ultimate goal) and then on up the value chain.
Why a funnel?
The concept of a funnel is that the top is the widest part. Here you’ll use a blend of marketing strategies to entice, or “sweep”, as many people to your site or blog as possible. As you will only convert a certain percentage of visitors (leads) into subscribers (or prospects) the funnel narrows as you qualify your potential customers.
A typical blog sales funnel would start with visitors opt-ing in to your list in exchange for a free gift. Then, when they feel comfortable that you deliver good quality content that meets their needs, they may buy a low priced product or sign up for a 30-day trial. As the relationship develops, a certain percentage of your customers will sign up for high ticket priced items, such as a training course or coaching. As the trust builds, so does your income!
So, for example, you may have 1,000 visitors to your site, which means 100 subscribers opt-in to your email list, of which 20 or 30 become customers and, of these, 2 or 3 buy your mega training course or one to one coaching
How to create a sales funnel for your blog
The starting point for any sales funnel is to be clear on the goals for your business or blog. Are you looking to make quick money online from a niche site or are you building an authority site? Is it all about making money or do you have a bigger picture view?
For me, my goal is to build community. My efforts are focussed on building my opt-in email list and Facebook Group to at least 1,000 members and developing quality communications with my list. I do monetize my list but in a low key way and I won’t hit the monetization button any harder until I’ve earned the respect and trust of my list.
Next, make a list of the products and services you have to offer and their prices. To have an effective sales funnel you will need a mixture of free products, low and high-end products and perhaps products in different media.
Now write each of the following categories on a piece of paper and see if you can fill each one with some products and services:
- A Freebie or $1 Guide (1 or 2 page pdf or “cheatsheet”)
Let’s look at some examples:
For the top of your funnel (to get people to opt-in to your email list) you need a freebie or $1 Guide. There are different trains of thought on which is better (free or “pay a minimal amount”) and I could argue both ways. The point is to offer your visitors something of value (i.e. relevant to their needs) in exchange for them giving your their email.
Other items in this category could include a free trial, 7-day e-course, or a newsletter. Pick what suits your market best and is relevant to your business. Always offer something of real value (not just some rehashed PLR product), and keep your personal brand in mind because for most of your visitors this will be their first interaction with you so you want to make a good impression.
Moving through the funnel, you need some low priced products in the $20 range such as an e-book, report, podcast or video. “How to” products are good in this price range so think about a How To book or video showcasing your expertise in your niche.
Now that you’ve converted your subscribers to customers (ta da!) you are going to move them up the value chain with higher value, higher priced items. These could include products and services such as a teleseminar series, 30 minutes of free coaching, an ebook (more in-depth than the lower priced one), or package a group of lower priced products together.
Another way to increase value is to use membership or “continuity” programs. You can use the sales funnel to start people off at the base level (maybe a free trial), and then offer a tiered membership moving from bronze at $9.99pcm to silver at $19.99pcm to gold at $999 one-off annual payment for example.
Next, look at products or services in the $500 bracket. Think about teleseminars, webinars and workshops. Also coaching, or some bespoke services you can offer.
At the bottom of the funnel (top of the value chain), come up with one service that someone will pay $10,000 for. You may not be able to imagine anyone paying you $10,000 but having an ambitious goal like this will inspire you to keep improving the products and services you offer.
I could only come up with one idea for my $10,000 level, and that is a year’s worth of coaching, twice a month, with one to one meetings every quarter. You can probably think of many others.
So, jot down all the ways you can monetize your blog or business. Think about books, videos, audios, DVD’s, training courses, membership programmes, webinars, workshops, coaching, mentoring, consulting. Also check out fellow bloggers in your niche and see how they’re monetizing their sites and which products and services they’re offering.
Now for the exciting part. Based on your traffic and your conversion rates you can calculate your potential income, or work back and see how many visitors you need to your site to meet your income goals. So, for example, if you want to make an additional $2,000 a month, and you have a range of $47 ebooks and videos, then you need to sell $2,000/$47 = 42 copies per month. Assuming a 1% conversion rate, you’ll need to generate 4,200 visitors a month to your site.
If you have a $99 product, you only need to sell 20 per month to meet your goals, or generate 2000 visitors.
So, now you’ve created a sales funnel for your blog and maybe even have a business development plan for new products and services.
All of your content and communication is now going to focus on moving customers from the low end/freebie products to the higher priced products. Think about the benefits your customers will get from each product and sell those benefits.
If you provide excellent quality content and products, and have a clear plan for your sales funnel and how to move customers through it, you’ll find maximising your monetization is rewarding, and fun.