As a conscious entrepreneur, I know that many of my counterparts detest “marketing” speak. I mentioned the word ‘funnels’ the other day in a conversation and got the collective eye roll from the group.

While I want to acknowledge the importance of using the correct languaging with your target audience, I am using the term funnels for a reason here.

So What Are Funnels?

Sometimes also known as sales funnels, they are merely automated systems for follow-up, typically done via email. These important business systems are critical to your business because, without them, it is difficult to nurture your community.

While some of the marketing systems have gotten very complicated, they really can be very simple. Remember that a funnel is a way to build relationships. You need to build relationships and then make offers to those people – if you don’t, your business will die a slow death.

How Sales Systems Work

Let’s look at a typical offline sales funnel: Let’s say you attend a conference or meeting to meet prospective clients. You are introduced to an interesting person and they express an interest in your work. What do you do? Do you force your business card in his hand and demand that he buy your product on the spot? Of course not – you would typically book a meeting with the person at your office (or wherever your meeting place is) This follow-up appointment is normally where you would build rapport with the person and it may even take more meetings for them to become a client.

In an online sales funnel, things function quite similar: In this case, let’s say you are on social media to bring prospects into your business. You’ve seen the person that sends you unsolicited messages on Facebook or Linkedin solely for the purpose of selling you something. It’s super annoying and it’s the same as our offline example of someone hitting up a prospect at the initial in-person meeting.

Instead, you could be giving away a helpful tool that your audience finds valuable in return for their name and email. This could be done in a regular post or through paid advertising. Once the person opts-in, the automation sequence of emails then starts.

Because you could potentially have dozens or even thousands of people downloading your gift, it isn’t feasible to send each person a personalized email. If all you do is send them the free gift and then have no other contact with them, there would not be any way to sell them anything. The email series serves to follow up and build the relationship.

The Payoff

Eventually, you will have a nice database of clients and potential clients. Not everyone that comes across your path will be ready to buy immediately. For this reason, funnels become an important part of your sales strategy. I’ve had people on my list contact me 2 years later that weren’t ready when they first found me. They liked the content that I posted so they stayed and got to know my work. One day, they were ready to work with me.

If you don’t have a follow-up system in place in your business, it’s time to get set up so that your business doesn’t end up in the graveyard.

Debbie Peck Digital