A Simple Way for Personal Brands to Build Sales Funnels
Let’s not make this complicated.
Seriously. Humans are great at many things. We built the Empire State Building, invented peanut butter, and sent a Tesla into outer space.
But we’re also great at overcomplicating things. Especially when it comes to sales.
So, instead of this “sales funnel” business, I’d like you to think of this as more of a “customer journey” than anything. The two terms aren’t exactly synonymous, but taking a customer-centric view makes this a much simpler process.
You really just need to ask one question:
What must my customer understand/believe before she is willing to buy from me?
An easy way to think of this is by working through the different levels of customer awareness:
Unaware: Your customer doesn’t realize she has a problem
Problem-Aware: She realizes she has a problem, but doesn’t know how to solve it
Solution-Aware: She knows of a solution to the problem
Product-Aware: She knows what you offer is a solution to the problem
Most-Aware: She has seen your specific offer before
Your sales funnel is simply the process of meeting your reader at her level of awareness and educating her about her situation until she realizes your offer is the best possible solution to her problem and (ideally) buys it.
For the sake of illustration…
Let’s say you’re a personal brand who helps people quit their current job and replace their salary by freelancing.
In this case, your customer is already aware he has a problem —
His job sucks. And he knows it.
He also knows that there is a solution — quitting.
However, he probably doesn’t recognize that you offer a better solution — transitioning to a freelance career so he can earn the same amount of money (or more) without hating every second between the hours of 9AM and 5PM.
So then, your first order of business is to…
Meet this guy where he’s at and show him a better way.
At this stage in the funnel, one of the best ways you can do that is with a lead magnet.
Right now, your relationship with this guy — let’s call him Martin — is tenuous. He’s meeting you for the first time, and you’re not sure if he’ll stick around.
A lead magnet gives you the opportunity to provide Martin with massive value in exchange for his email address.
That way, he gets helpful information and you get a way to stay in contact with him and move him further through the funnel.
There are multiple ways you could get Martin to your lead magnet.
Two common practices are:
1. Through your content
In this case, Martin would probably Google something like “how to quit your job and not go broke.”
He’d see your blog post, wisely titled, “How to Quit Your Job and Not Go Broke” in the Google search results, click it, and read it.
At the end of the post, Martin would see a popup or sidebar for your lead magnet, titled “3 Foolproof Strategies to Quit Your Job and Replace Your Income Within 90 Days Flat.”
That sounds pretty appealing to Martin, so he gives you his email address and downloads the lead magnet.
2. Through an ad
One day, while procrastinating on a work assignment, Martin is scrolling through Facebook and sees an ad in his feed with a testimonial from one of your customers:
“I quit my job 63 days ago and I’m now earning DOUBLE my previous salary.”
The ad goes on to share your customer’s story, along with some info about your lead magnet.
Martin clicks the ad and is taken to your landing page, where you give him some more details about the lead magnet and invite him to download it.
Again, it sounds pretty appealing, so Martin gives you his email address and downloads the lead magnet.
In both of these situations…
We’ve met Martin where he’s at by addressing his pain:
He wants to quit his job, but needs a safe way to do it.
We’ve shown him that he can do exactly that and that you have the information to make it possible.
We’ve then given him the ability to get that information by providing his email address and downloading your lead magnet.
In your lead magnet, you’ve educated Martin on his problem. You’ve shown him that you understand it’s difficult to leave a salaried position and confirmed that, yes, there is a risk in doing so.
But you’ve also educated him on the solution.
You’ve shown him that, by using the same skills from his salaried position, he can start taking freelance clients on the side and, if he plays his cards right, replace his income from his salary within 90 days.
At this point, Martin has moved from Problem-Aware to Solution-Aware.
He now knows the solution to his problem.
So, what’s next?
Martin knows freelancing is an option, but it still seems like too big a risk at this point. He doesn’t have enough information to confidently make the leap.
This is where the beauty of email marketing comes in.
Over the next few weeks, you’ll be sending Martin an automated email every few days as part of your Welcome Email Sequence.
In each email, you’ll educate Martin a little bit more about his situation.
You’ll tell him stories about people you’ve worked with who have quit their jobs and successfully transitioned to freelancing.
You’ll meet his objections and concerns head-on, showing him how to solve them.
And you’ll begin to show Martin that a different future is possible for him and that you can help him get there.
The goal at the end of this email sequence is for Martin to know, like, and trust you. (This is very important for the next part of the funnel.)
Because once Martin knows, likes, and trusts you…
You can make him an offer.
Let’s say you have an online course titled:
Full-Time to Freelance: Everything You Need to Quit Your Job in the Next 90 Days and 2x Your Income.
After your Welcome Email Sequence, you can send Martin a series of emails promoting this course as part of an Evergreen Launch Sequence.
This will generally be at least 7–10 emails over a 5–7 day period, showing Martin why he should buy your course and how it’s the best solution to his problem.
At this point, Martin will have gone from Solution-Aware to Product-Aware (because he now knows there’s a product that can solve his problem) and then moved on to the Most-Aware stage (because he has seen your specific offer).
In those emails, you will link to a sales page where you give Martin all the information he needs to know about your course: the problems it solves, the things it will give him, the person he will be after he completes it.
At this point, Martin fully understands his situation, and he realizes that your course is the best possible solution to his problem. So he decides to pull out his credit card and give you some money.
Congratulations! Martin has completed your sales funnel…
But don’t forget about him.
You’ll want to continue to nurture your relationship with Martin through email, but that’s a topic for another day.
At this point, you’ve taken Martin through your sales funnel. And you did it by thinking about exactly what he would need at each step of that journey, educating him, and showing him how you can help him get what he wants.
While there are undoubtedly formulas and templates out there that can help you construct a sales funnel, the simplest way to do it is to think like we’ve laid out here:
Who is your customer? And what does he or she need to understand/believe before buying?
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