According to Hubspot, a whopping 65% of businesses admit that generating traffic and leads is their biggest marketing challenge. Enter the elusive “sales funnel.” Every entrepreneur conceptually knows what a sales funnel is, why it’s important to have one and they definitely want one, but when it comes to actually building one out – the majority of us are stuck.
“So many people believe sales funnels are extremely fancy web pages that magically convert leads into customers,” says Julie Stoian, digital marketing expert and co-founder of Funnel Gorgeous. Stoian and her business partner are heavyweights in the funnel building space and have helped hundreds of clients build successful, converting sales funnels. Clients of theirs have gone from zero, to pulling in a million and beyond, thanks to their funnels. “There’s no magic and it doesn’t have to be fancy,” says Julie. “But a sales funnel does have to be a series of web pages telling a compelling story, one key action point at a time.”
As basic as that sounds, there are also some very basic mistakes that entrepreneurs make when attempting to create high-converting funnels. Follow Stoian’s advice to overcome your frustration in building out a successful funnel for your business.
1. Solve The Problem Your Ideal Client Thinks They Have
“At the base of every funnel is an offer,” says Stoian, referring to whatever product you’re trying to sell. “You’ve got to make sure that your offer targets the problem your customer thinks they have—not the one you know they have. For example, if you need to make some extra money to make ends meet, you may be on the search for weekend jobs. You may not be interested in convincing your boss to give you a higher compensation to cover your bills without giving up your weekends, even though that makes more sense for your lifestyle.”
All of this sounds simple, but research shows there’s a shocking disconnect between sellers and customers when it comes to needs. According to Hubspot research, 83% of sellers say they are listening to their customers’ needs, but 68% of unsatisfied buyers say that they’re not.
“You can give your ideal client what they want and what they need by positioning your funnel so that it highlights the pieces of your offer that they’re naturally looking for,’” explains Stoian, who is a former VP of marketing at ClickFunnels that left to start her own company, Funnel Gorgeous. There are many techniques for doing this but she says one of the most important is sounding aspirational. “The solution can’t sound boring, it has to sound exciting,” says Stoian. “Selling life insurance, for example, is boring. But selling someone the chance to build their own bank with whole life insurance sounds exciting! Selling allergy meds is boring, but selling headache-free fun at a loud outdoor concert or sporting event is exciting!”
2. Write Copy That Sounds Like Your Customer (Not You)
“If you’re a sleep consultant writing copy for your sales funnel, you want to make sure you’re using the lingo and terminology that your customers use,” explains Stoian. “To do this, spend some time with potential customers—online or in person—and write down how they speak about their problems. Then use it in your copy.”
For example, a client might post: “I can’t believe my DH is not okay with co-sleeping. Doesn’t he know that AP is the best way to build trust. UGH. He’s so obnoxious.” “DH stands for ‘Dear Husband’ and AP is ‘Attachment Parenting,’” says Stoian. “Those are key phrases you’ll want to use in your funnel copy.
Another technique Stoian suggests for making sure you’re using the right lingo is to create a worry list. First, write down all your customers’ worries. Second, write the opposite of each worry. Third, turn the opposite into a bullet statement to use on your sales page incorporating the phrase “even if” or “so that.”
“For example, if your ideal client is worried they can’t get their partner on board with co-sleeping, the opposite would be that their partner is supportive and encouraging of the plan,” says Stoian. “So your bullet point is: ‘Sleep well at night knowing your partner is fully supportive of your co-sleeping plans, even if your mother-in-law thinks you’ve become a hippie.’ Most sales funnels don’t address a client’s biggest concerns because they’re so focused on the offer.”
3. Design The Funnel The Way We Speak
“A lot of people think good design means good decoration. But your funnel doesn’t need the latest graphics and design elements,” reveals Stoian. “The point of good design is to make reading the copy effortless.” That means using spacing, font size and color to help people read and absorb the copy without it feeling like work, she says.
“If your potential customer sees a big block of text on a page with only periods separating sentences, they will bounce,” says Stoian. She suggests that if you have a big block of text on your site, read it aloud and notice where you put emphasis and when you pause. If you are using commas in a sentence, she suggests turning them into bullets. If you want to emphasize a word, she says your best choice is a bold font. And if you want someone to take a pause, leave a space.
“Good design is creating the same intonations and pauses you would if you were talking to your ideal customer,” says Stoian. If you focus on these three tips now, you’ll bring in more customers and have a stronger business than ever.