There are lots of comments right now in Facebook groups, particularly for women in business, focusing on the lack of traction from social media platforms such as Instagram and Facebook. The frustration is that the Instagram algorithms have been changing and all of a sudden posts are not getting as much interaction or as many likes as they used to. The same thing with Facebook, you’ve accumulated all of these likers and you were getting interaction but things have changed and your posts aren’t being seen anymore.
So what is the big deal with relying on social media posts to drive sales?
Relying on social media is a problem and it’s not a problem because social media platforms are changing, it’s a problem because there is a number of women who are 100% reliant on social media for their marketing and as the driver of sales in their businesses. I want to show you why relying on just social media channels is a huge problem for women in business and how it’s incredibly detrimental to sales and your ability to scale your business in the future.
If you don’t know what a sales funnel is, you’re pretty sure you don’t have sales funnel in place for your business and you are relying just on social media traction then this mini training is a MUST for you and your business.
Are you in a dangerous position?
Many women have businesses in a dangerous position thanks to relying on nothing more than an Instagram, a Facebook business page or group to market their products or services.
Don’t assume that ” it can’t be that bad because everyone is doing it”. There are some businesses that are not only doing it they’re doing it really well, social media alone is incredibly profitable for them but here is the problem... at any moment your social media platform could disappear, be hacked or removed for no good reason. Instagram or Facebook may simply shut your account down with no explanation.
And then what? Where is your business then? You are going to be starting from scratch and if you’ve got a business that’s been running for a couple of years and you have amassed a big following there is no way to download those followers or to protect them in any way. Something less disastrous but just as frustrating is the platform changes its algorithm and your posts are no longer seen by the people who like your Instagram feed or are following you on Facebook.
Repeat after me... Instagram and Facebook are NOT a marketing strategy on their own
These platforms are not a marketing strategy on their own. The algorithms change all of the time. The purpose behind that is Facebook and Instagram (and others like Pinterest and Youtube) want you to pay to play. If you’re making money from the platform running a business then why shouldn’t they make money from you? So they change up the algorithms to place more free content to the front or the top of the newsfeed and they push down business posts.
Let me show you what many women in business are relying on as a complete marketing plan. They have social media and Instagram which drives traffic to a website, that features their products and services. They also have those plugins that click-throughs back to social media. How distracting is that!
You drive someone from an image of your product or service on Instagram to your website, they get over to your website to look at a product or service but then are distracted by your Instagram, Pinterest or Facebook feed. They click on it and before you know it they’re off your website and back onto social media where the distraction is huge. Now, not only are they seeing your posts, they’re seeing everyone else’s posts too! People have very short attention spans! This is why you need a sales funnel!
But sales funnels are just for online businesses right?
Sales funnels are spoken about by a lot of online marketers as something that is very new, very cool and very online business orientated, but they’re not. Sales funnels have been around forever. The difference is they’ve gone online and you can automate so much more of the process, but they aren’t just for online businesses or for online products. All businesses should have sales funnels.
I want to show you a nonexistent sales funnel. This is a sales funnel that a lot of women are relying on to make money from their businesses. They have two parts to the sales funnel; an ‘attract’ phase and a ‘sell’ phase.
They are attracting new people to their website and then they’re hoping to make a sale immediately. A potential customer sees a product or service advertised on social media, they click on that product or service image link, they click through to the website and that is where the funnel stops.
If that visitor clicks off the website they have lost them. When you rely on this type of sales interaction what you’re saying is “I don’t care if you’re not ready to buy right now, I am not going to engage you further”, “I don’t care if you buy again, I’ll attract you and I will sell you something but you’ll never hear from me again” (unless you follow me on social media).
This is exhausting for a business owner, you’re continually trying to attract new people to your Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, Youtube, Snapchat etc.. The algorithms are constantly changing, the techniques that were working are failing and the only way you can increase sales in your business is to get more followers. That is not the way it should be! That is not what marketing is! With a sales funnel in place you can avoid this kind of marketing frustration and madness.
If you're spending money on ads not having a sales funnel is a HUGE mistake
It is costly to have a sales funnel that is just an ‘attract’ and ‘sell’ phase. When you’re promoting a product or service using Facebook ads, Instagram ads, Google or any other paid method if customers don’t buy on their first visit that is the end of the relationship. You’re going to waste a lot of money on people who are just window shopping.
Build a sales funnel with all the steps in place and you will capture those window shoppers details so they can be used to market to in the future.
The ATTRACT Phase
You should not be reliant just on social media to drive all of the traffic to your business because once again we know algorithms change, social media accounts disappear, and when that happens your business will lose momentum immediately. There will be now way to drive traffic to your website or business.
You need multiple different ways to ‘attract’ potential customers. There are so many options available but for some reason many people have become super lazy marketers, relying just on free and fun platforms.
The ENGAGE Phase
Hopefully when someone first lands on your site it will be so awesome they will want to buy immediately. But what if they don’t?
If they choose not to become a customer immediately then you should be moving them into the ‘engage‘ phase by using an opt-in box or form on your website. Offer some sort of incentive to hand over their email address, their phone number, or their mailing details so that you can continue the relationship with them, even though they haven’t bought anything.
The ‘engage’ phase isn’t just about having a pop-up box on your website that says “join our newsletter” because nobody wants to join a newsletter list. It needs to be something of value, it needs to be something enticing.
So I have their details, what next?
The next phase of the sales funnel is the ‘educate‘ phase. This is about you staying in contact with your prospects. It doesn’t matter if they’ve bought from you or not. You might sell candles and think well how am I going to educate someone on candles? The educate phase isn’t about educating someone specifically on candles. It’s about educating them on why your business is the best solution for them. You can send out emails showing off your latest ranges, your Summer collection or your newest fragrance. There are so many ways to educate people on why they should stick around and see what you have to offer next.
When a prospective customer comes to your website they have two options; they can either buy or they can leave. Either you have a customer or a non-customer. There is nothing in between. If they don’t become a customer you want to make sure that you’re re-engaging them with an exciting offer to turn them into a subscriber then a customer. If they do become a customer and you’ve got them on your mailing list you can resell, cross-sell, and upsell to them. You can continue the selling relationship further. If you’re not already doing this you’re missing out sales.
You need to have the Engage + Educate phases because this is where the majority of the money is generated. It isn’t in the first person who comes to your website and purchases something from you that generates the biggest chunk of profit. It’s the back end of the funnel.
Let’s use the example of a business selling yoga pants for $99. At the ‘attract’ phase, we get 1000 people hitting our website every single month.
If we sell to 1% *of people who hit your website that will result in 10 sales totaling $990 in sales.
If we include an ‘engage’ phase to our sales funnel where we take the time to get prospective buyers to enter their details if they choose not to make a purchase the first visit then you should convert 100 (or 10%) of those visitors to subscribers. This is an industry standard number. I have seen it as high as 30% though!
*The conversion percentage of 1% might seem really small but that is actually an industry average for online businesses. I see a lot of women posting in Facebook groups asking for other women to go to their website and critique it, and to give them advice on why their website isn’t converting. But they don’t even know how many people have hit their website and how many of those people bought. I have seen women complaining about a lack of sales on a website that it converting at 5% or more! Their websites are working really, really well. The problem is they’re not sending enough traffic. So they get a heap of unqualified advice, go change up their website and kill their 5% sales conversion.
What if no one "opts in" to my mailing list?
If you have less than 10% conversion on your ‘engage’ offer (opt-in) you probably have the wrong offer. It’s just not enticing enough for someone to hand their details over. Of those 1000 visitors, you want to convert at least 10 percent or 100 visitors to your mailing list. You can then start the education phase where you can share information about yoga, correct alignment, different poses, healthy eating, and your new products being released. When you re-engage those people who didn’t purchase the first time and you educate them you have a very good chance of converting them into a customer when they’re ready to buy.
Not everybody who comes to your website is going to be ready to purchase on the first visit. This is why you see women complaining about everybody loving their product or service, but being frustrated that nobody actually pulls out their credit card and buys. It’s probably just not the right time for that potential customer. We know that out of every 1000 people who visit your website it’s only going to be the right time for probably around 1 percent or 10 of them.
You want to make sure that you collect their information using an awesome ‘engage’ offer so you can continue to place your marketing message in front of them. When it is the right time for them to buy, they have some extra cash in the budget, they just re-enrolled in yoga classes, they received their tax refund, or whatever it might be your message is right in front of their face at the right time. When they see your message they’re going to be excited to purchase your product because you took the time to stay engaged with them.
Turning $990 in sales into $1287!
Now you might be looking at the re-engage green arrow on the image below and thinking well if only 1% of people are going to purchase if they’re on my subscriber list it seems like a lot of work. Why bother?
Let’s look at the bottom second half of the funnel where we have customers who had already purchased. Somebody who has already becomes a customer, who has purchased from you in the past is 20 percent more likely to purchase again. A lot of women in the business end their sales funnel at the point where somebody makes their first purchase, but the majority of the profit is made when you engage that person and sell them additional products or services.
So now we have converted 10 visitors into customers, 20 percent of or 2 customers are likely to purchase again when you continue to educate and ask for the sale (from your mailing list). Now we have two additional sales for $99 equaling $198 in sales and we’ve got a $99 sale from our new subscriber list. So now you are probably thinking “Great I’ve got three additional sales but this is a lot of extra work to put into my business”.
Incrementally your list is going to grow and grow, month in and month out. Your database, the backend of your funnel, is going to become more and more valuable to you. You might only have 100 subscribers to start with but think about how many sales you will be able to generate in 10 months time when you’ve got 1000 subscribers. Now your database is getting incredibly valuable and profitable! Instead of relying solely on social media clicks you will have two avenues working for you. You have the attract phase (social media) and you will have the educate and resell for both non-buyers and existing customers.
The more people you feed into the front end of your funnel the faster your database will grow. This is where women are making such a big mistake with their businesses and their marketing. They’re just not capitalizing on these opportunities. They’re leaving big piles of money on the table.
Sales funnels don’t just make you money they help you identify problems with your branding, marketing, product positioning, pricing etc as you’ll be able to identify where in your sales funnel you’re losing engagement with your customers. I’ll talk more about that in the moment. Sales funnels also help you predict how much money you can expect to make in the future. If you know that 1000 visits to your website results in 10 sales guess what’s going to happen when you have 2000 visits to your website? You’re going to make 20 sales. When you attract 3000 people you should see 30 sales at a minimum.
If you’re selling a $100 item and your goal is to sell 100 of those $100 items you can start to work your funnel backward and figure out how much traffic you need to reach your sales goals.
How to figure out what is WRONG with your business by using a sales funnel
As I just mentioned you can also trouble shoot your business issues with a good sales funnel. How you may ask? You add trackable numbers to each step within your sales funnel. You can then check the numbers regularly to see what’s happening. At the ‘attract‘ phase you can use Google Analytics to track how many visitors are hitting your website, you can split this into traffic sources and you can also see how many customers are returning customers and how many customers are new to your site. That information is gold to your business. If you have 1000 people visiting your website and you’re not making any sales there is likely a problem with your website functionality, usability or images, and product descriptions. If you have 1000 people coming to your website and 10 add your product to a cart but don’t continue through the cart process you may have a problem with your car functionality or postage pricing.
If you attract 1000 people to your website 10 people add to cart, and 10 people continue and finalize their purchase but then nobody ever comes back to purchase again you may have a problem with the quality of your product or service.
With this process you can figure out where you’re losing people and where you’re gaining people. You can also play around with pricing to test different offers and see what people are responding to. This takes so much of the guesswork out of business and it means you don’t have to go into Facebook groups and ask people who know less about business than you do to advise you on what’s right or wrong with your website or your business.
A few final words of advice
I’m hoping that I’ve convinced you that you must have sales funnel in your business because not all customers are at the right point to purchase right now, and you want a way of capturing them and keeping them engaged with your business. You want to expand your interaction with them so that you’re not reliant on them randomly seeing your Instagram or Facebook posts to keep them excited about buying your product or service.
Don’t discard people who aren’t ready to make an immediate decision because 99% of them won’t be ready. They’ve landed on your website and they may have absolutely loved what they have seen but right now they’ve got kids in the background, they’re at work, or it’s just the not the right time for them to purchase.
By the time they shut down your website they will have forgotten about you and your product and service because our focus and attention span is so limited. It is your job as a business owner to continually remind people that you exists. It is not your customer’s job to remember that you exist and come searching for you. That is not how business works.
Don’t discard people who aren’t ready to make an immediate buying decision, they are an absolute goldmine to your business. Don’t ignore those people who have already purchased from you because they likely to come back and purchase from you again if you give them a good experience and them engaged.
And finally in the sales funnel process make sure that you are tracking each and every step and work on improving each step until you create a great funnel. Be patient and persistent. It could take months to get working, but this could also be the difference between you having a business that struggles along and you having an amazing business that absolutely thrives.