scenarios, selling is pretty straightforward. You’re there to buy something,
the staff is there to help you. How on earth, though, do you as a marketer sell
a web hosting membership to someone who was Googling cute puppy pictures five
minutes ago? Online sales funnels are a completely different animal, and they
deserve a different approach. First things first, what is a sales funnel?
You’ve likely heard the
term before, but if you’re not crystal clear on what it means, sales funnels
are simply a series of web pages designed to sell products and services and/or
drive opt-ins to email lists. There are hundreds of ways to set them up, but
the overall gist is the same: build a rapport, introduce your
brand/product/service, and close the sale (or sign-up). It’s like a funnel
because a lot of people “go in,” which is to say that they commit to that first
click, but the seller’s job is to whittle prospects into buyers using a number
Example: This is how a typical sales funnel might be
Ad – Landing Page –
Thank You Page – Upsell
The visitor clicks on
the ad. They are directed to the landing page, which contains a video and/or
some copy, possibly a lead magnet and a CTA button. The visitor buys the
product or opts in to the list. They are directed to a thank you page that may
focus on webinar sign-ups or additional products.
I said “typical,” but
there are so many variations of the sales funnel, it’s ridiculous. Instead of
trying to count to infinity, let’s focus on quality. What makes a great sales
1. Settle on a Structure
Many affiliates when
they are first starting out get absolutely paralyzed when researching sales
funnels. It’s okay to research, but pick a structure (or hopefully two, if you’re
split-testing) and go with it. You can absolutely make changes to your funnel
while you are directing traffic to it, but if you go to crazy with
restructuring, you will lose your ability to gauge the effectiveness of each
change. So, pick a structure and keep a small list of items that you might change
based on results. The funnel mentioned above is a solid choice for beginners.
2. Define Your Niche
I’m not saying you have
to “niche down” to a super obscure level, because both approaches (niche and
general) have their merits, but the point is that you pick a message
surrounding your product or service and stick with it. Even if you are in a
broad field, like men’s jogging shoes, find your own approach to the brand(s)
and differentiate yourself. How? Content, my friend. Remember content?
3. Prioritize Content
It’s easy to be excited,
stressed and even a little obsessed with all the fancy web design, analytics
and ad targeting you’ll be doing, so sometimes content takes the back burner.
This simply cannot happen. The fact that you’re presenting a short video and/or
a few lines of copy versus a dissertation doesn’t mean that you can slap up
some generic, spammy, error-riddled dribble.
If you want compelling
copy, you will need to address your visitors’ pain points and provide value.
Even if you don’t have a lead magnet, just be helpful with your content. Give
them something for free – a helpful tip, a new approach to their problem, and
4. Test and
I won’t go super in depth here, because I recently dedicated an entire post to split-testing and link tracking, but the point is this: you have to monitor your sales funnel’s results and tweak accordingly if you want to increase conversions. The more accurately you can interpret visitor activity, the more relevant and effective your changes will be. If your click-through from ad to landing page is great, for example, but your conversion stinks, it’s time to check your landing page copy.
By the way, it’s not
cheating to simply ask your audience when appropriate. If you have an email
list, you can poll them on what they would like you to offer content-wise
and/or ask for constructive criticism on existing content.
5. Build Your Toolkit
Thankfully, you don’t have to be a web coding savant to establish an online presence anymore. It can still take weeks or months, however, to manually create web pages, track your metrics, post to social media and so forth. Every affiliate marketer has their “go-to” set of online tools. When it comes to designing and tracking sales funnels, for example, ClickFunnels leads the field in terms of popularity and hands-off functionality. That’s what affiliate marketing is all about, right? Perfect it, automate it, and move on to the next adventure.
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