I always provide a quick summary at the beginning of my blog post so that you can decide if this article is for you or not.
Follow these steps in this particular order to build the best sales funnel ever ..
1) Write a blog post, which is highly related to your paid product/service.
2) Promote this blog post with a couple of promotion techniques (which I explain below) to get people to read it.
3) Convert readers into email subscribers through content upgrades.
4) Retarget everyone with Facebook Ads who don’t convert through your content upgrade. Offer a lead magnet (like an ebook)
5) Use a Relationship Builder Sequence (RBS) to send 7-10 free lessons to new email subscribers. The goal of the RBS is to build trust and establish a relationship with new leads.
6) Once trust & relationship is created, send them to your sales page and sell your online course.
7) Include upsells to increase your customer lifetime value.
8) Use Facebook ads to retarget email subscribers who read your sales page but haven’t purchased yet.
Do you want the step-by-step instructions to implement this funnel? Cool 🙂 Let’s jump right into the good stuff. This is for three kinds of entrepreneurs ..
- For people who run online businesses
- For people who already sell their own online course.
- For people who want to sell their own online course in the near future.
Is that you? Good. Because you’re at the right place, my friend ..
The Relationship Funnel
The Relationship Funnel is the sales funnel I’m going to walk you through today ..
It’s the funnel I personally use to pull new leads into my sphere of influence and sell my products.
After you’re done reading this article, you’ll have new inspiration & instructions on how to replicate a Relationship Funnel for your own online business.
Sound like a good deal?
Here we go ..
Do you know what the cool thing about this funnel is ..?
It’s evergreen. You set it up once. You make sure everything works. And it runs on autopilot.
I’ll now zoom in and dive into the details of this 4-system (& 7 step) funnel and show you how you can build the same sales funnel for your own online course.
1) Write a Blog Post to Pull new Leads into your Sales Funnel
Promise me something first ..
Your goal is to provide value right up front. Before money has changed hands. Before the reader has opted-in with her email address .. Just pure educational awesomeness ..
This is called the Strategy of Preeminence by Jay Abraham. It’s how I run my entire business 🙂 I tell you more about it and why this is important a bit later.
Let’s talk about content marketing now .. Why not use Facebook ads, Google Ads and other promotion techniques to drive tons of traffic to your landing page and make sales from there?
You could do that. But it might be expensive.
The mistake most advertisers make is to target one audience that doesn’t know you to build leads or sell stuff. – Jon Loomer
That is why I always provide value right up front through educational content (like this blog post). My goal is to start a relationship with people who don’t know me yet.
If you have a small relationship with new readers, it’s much easier (& cheaper) to convert them into email subscribers later on ..
This is how I do it ..
I write a blog post (which is super duper related to my online course) to pull the right people into my sphere of influence. My blog post serves as a filter to attract only the best kind of people into my funnel.
If someone clicks on my article and reads it, I know that this person is interested in what I have to offer (since the blog post is pretty much a very light version of my paid online course).
My blog posts are usually between 3,000 – 7,000 words long and are packed with awesomeness. It’s always about actionable advice and step-by-step instructions. And I always include screenshots, graphics and content upgrades (more about this later).
I follow the 80/20 rule of content promotion by Derek Halpern. I spend 20% of my time creating new content and 80% of my time promoting it. I go for quality than quantity. This results in about one new blog post every 3 weeks.
2) Promote your Blog Post to Attract Readers
I call this part Promotion Madness 🙂 In this blog post, I will walk you through 3 strategies I am going to use to promote the blog post you are reading right now.
2.1) Facebook Groups
As you know there is paid and earned traffic. To promote this blog post, I will use one paid traffic strategy (Facebook ads) and two earned traffic strategies (read below ..).
I like Facebook groups for two reasons ..
- You can receive super helpful feedback from fellow group members.
- The obvious one: Get people to read your blog article.
In 2016 I joined a group called “The Content Marketing Lounge” by Nathan Collier. It’s my favorite group 🙂 When I posted into Nathan’s group, people were super helpful and provided feedback. Nathan, who is an expert content writer, provided extremely detailed feedback (if you read this Nathan – thanks a lot!). Benji from Grow & Convert really took the time to draft a super helpful answer too. I benefited a lot from these guy’s feedback.
As of traffic, Facebook groups are currently in position 5 on my Google Analytics dashboard .. I recently promoted one of my blog posts through Facebook groups and got 47 people to signup within 1 month. I worked 6 hours on it in total. How do you get traffic from Facebook groups? Never just join a group and drop a link to your blog post. You won’t get much engagement. But instead, follow these 12 steps ..
- Get your hands on my Google Spreadsheet below (to manage your FB groups outreach ..)
- Research 1 FB group in your niche
- Join the group
- Use the “Related Groups” feature in Facebook to find more groups
- Find another 10 groups and join them
- Wait until you get approved to join the groups
- Research the FB group admin (you’ll find him/her under members)
- Reach out to the admin and ask for approval to share your blog post in the group
- If yes, post your blog post link + educational text
- If no, move on
- Repeat the process until you reach around 100 groups on your spreadsheet
- Focus on the best-performing groups (top 15) in the future (once you have figured out which work and which don’t ..)
That was the quick run down .. To make this outreach as efficient as possible, feel free to get access to my Google Sheet below. If there would exist a CRM for Facebook Groups .. This spreadsheet would be it .. lol.And to make it really easy for you, open this Google document (no email signup required!) to get my pre-written templates. You can use them to reach out to admins and to post into Fb groups .. Pay attention to how I structure my Facebook group post ..
- Mention the admin
- Always (always, always) focus on value (education)
- Share lessons learned, actionable advice, results
I hope this helps 🙂
2.2) Community Platforms
All the traffic came from only one post on InboundOrg. I’m talking about this post. It was the most upvoted & commented post of the day and stayed in the trending section for around 1 week! My lessons learned – How do you post in Community Platforms?
I don’t think there is a one-solution-fits-all approach .. And there all kind of community platforms out there for every industry. Since I happen to play my game in the marketing industry, I’m going to share my experience with marketing community platforms like InboundOrg.
This is how I did it..
After I signed up for InboundOrg, I joined the conversation. I answered questions and made sure I got upvotes.
Here’s an example..
Someone asked “How do you segment your email list?” in this InboundOrg post ..
Since I’m mega passionate about advanced email automation, I knew a thing or two about email segmentation. I provided value by sharing a few of my tips and I managed to get the most upvoted & commented answer.
When I say “I made sure I got upvotes” .. I actually invited 1-2 of my email marketing friends to also comment on this question & upvote my answer.
- I posted my blog post on a Monday morning EST.
- I asked 1-2 of my marketing friends to join the conversation.
- I researched a similar submission (topic overlap) on InboundOrg and found this one. This post received 73 comments.
- I went through each comment and looked for the person on twitter.
- I sent the person a tweet with a question + a link to my InboundOrg submission.
Here’s the tweet .. And after someone upvoted, I showed my appreciation and thanked them .. That was my whole process 🙂 If you’re not in the marketing industry like I am, just use this approach for your industry community platform.
2.3) Facebook Ads
I’m using Facebook ads to drive cold traffic to this blog post. I’ll first show you the math behind my paid acquisition and then share a screenshot of the actual ad and some of my settings with you.
Sound good? 🙂
I’ll use myself and my paid training as an example..
To make the math easy, I’ll only calculate the costs & profit for people who sign up straight through my content upgrade (and not through a second Facebook ad).
Let’s assume, I offer a paid training program for $200. Let’s say I spend $300 in one week for Facebook ads. And for the $300 I spend for Facebook ads, let’s say I get 100 people to sign up through my content upgrade. This means I spend $3 to get a new lead on board ($300/100 leads = $3).
Still with me?
Let’s assume 10 out of 100 people buy my paid training for $200 (conversion rate would be 10% in this case).
10 sales at $200 each = $2000. Because I spend $300 in Facebook ads, my profit is $1700.
This is the math behind my Facebook ads. Nothing too complicated.
Now, onto something else ..
Let’s look behind the scenes of my Facebook ads to drive traffic to this blog post. I’ll also share the targeting settings with you ..
Ready. Set. Go.
Let’s start off by creating a new campaign in the Facebook Power Editor. I use a Link objective. Why?
Well, I want to send people from my Facebook ad to my blog post. My primary goal is NOT to get them to sign up. I want them to read my blog post first. Why?
This has two benefits ..
- It acts as a filter to filter out low-quality leads, which will decrease my ad spend later on (more about this in a bit)
- I build my custom audience (more about this in a bit)
Some people, who read my blog post, will sign up through my content upgrade. But the majority will not. That’s just how it is..
But this is an opportunity for me to get these people to sign up for less money.
Well, they already read my blog post. They are kind of familiar with my content, my business and myself (they are not cold anymore ..). This will decrease the costs when I show them another Facebook ad later on.
Anyhow, let’s move on..
The next step is to create an Ad Set and define the audience I would like to attract. I always exclude my email list, my customers and the people who already signed up in the last 180 days (180 days is the maximum you can go back in time). By excluding these custom audiences, I can decrease waste (waste = show ads to people who are email subscribers already). If you’re just starting out with Facebook ads, choose a first world country to begin with (to test the waters ..). I leave gender, language settings and age blank.
Let’s talk about targeting now..
There are a few different ways how you can target the right people with Facebook ads. I’m going to explain how to do it, if you’re pretty new to Facebook advertising.
If you’re new, you need to start with interest targeting. If you have around 30 email signups tracked by your Facebook pixel, you can move away from interest targeting. To explain why this is the case, I would need to write a whole new blog article ..
When I first started out with Facebook ads, it took me a whole weekend to really understand which interests I would like to target on Facebook. Make sure you use Facebook Audience Insights to find the right interests for your own online course. After hours of research, I decided to show my ads to people who are interested in “Amy Porterfield” and “Russell Brunson”. These are two successful marketers with similar audiences.
I try to narrow down my audience as targeted as possible. That is why I only show my ad to people who are interested in BOTH marketers. This can be done with the “Narrow Audience” option. My personal experiments showed that targeting mobile devices is cheaper than desktop. But you need to test this for yourself.
Create one campaign with two ad sets. One for mobile only. Then just duplicate this ad set and target desktop devices. Let both ad sets run for at least 3 days and then drop the worse performing one .. And how does my ad look like ..? Voila .. I don’t want to come across as some corporate company. Or marketer. Or business person.
But like a friend.
Why? Because people on Facebook check out what their friends and family are up to. No business suit. Not much fancy marketing language. Just as I would post on my own Facebook profile..
I use UTM parameters to see the visits/conversions of this Facebook ad campaign in my Google Analytics dashboard (just to double check the numbers ..).
That’s it 🙂
This is the ad I use to pull new readers into my sales funnel. Once in my funnel..
Read on to see what’s happening next 🙂
3) Convert Readers into Email Subscribers with Content Upgrades
This is a key paragraph. Why is it important to get people onto your email list?
Everyone who puts themselves on your email list is part of your tribe. And your email list is like the home of your tribe. That’s the place where everyone hangs out. 🙂 And that’s the place where you can create trust with new leads and establish a relationship.
That’s your only focus before you make a sale. Your job is to become the trusted advisor of your tribe. And once someone is on your email list, you get the chance to become this trusted advisor.
How do you get readers on your email list? I use two strategies to convert people from readers into email subscribers.
- First: Content Upgrades.
- Second: Everyone who doesn’t become an email subscriber through the content upgrade, will be retargeted with a Facebook ad.
Let me explain ..
How does a Content Upgrade work?
You can check out this blog article of mine on audience-first strategies (444 shares as I write this) where I use two content upgrades (look for the 2 black rectangles ..).
A content upgrade in a sales funnel acts like a bonus. If you write a blog post about “How to do SEO Keyword Research”, you could offer your own Keyword Research, which you did for your own blog, as a content upgrade (that’s super helpful & actionable stuff!).
A content upgrade is 100% related to the content of your blog post. A content upgrade is an extension of your blog post. And only the people who are interested in the topic of your blog article will take advantage of the content upgrade.
And since your blog post & content upgrade are highly related to your paid product or service, you have a hyper-targeted potential customer on your email list 🙂
Make sense, right?
But here is the thing ..
Not everyone who reads your blog post will sign up to get the bonuses. This is a problem. But I have a solution, my friend .. 🙂
4) Retarget Everyone with Facebook Ads who don’t Convert through your Content Upgrade
In this chapter, I’ll discuss how to convert everyone who reads your blog post but doesn’t become an email subscriber. I retarget these people with a Conversion FB ad.
Why? Because my goal is to get them to sign up (convert ..). Here’s how I do that for this blog post..
Why do I want a Facebook custom audience?
Because I want to track who reads my blog post but doesn’t sign up through my content upgrade. Why is that important? Because I would like to show a Facebook conversion ad to exactly these people.
Let me walk you through how to create a custom audience.. Go to your Facebook Power Editor and select “Audiences” in the top left corner. Hit “Create Audience”, choose “Custom Audience” and select “Website Traffic” .. Remember: I want to track who reads my blog post but doesn’t sign up through my content upgrade. Follow the instructions of the next two screenshots to achieve exactly that .. I’d suggest choosing “URL contains” (rather than “URL equals”) in this case because you might use UTM parameters for tracking purposes and then the whole thing doesn’t work.
I put the URL of this blog post in the first box and the URL of the bonus area or thank-you page (example: /your-bonus) in the second box. The second URL is the place where people arrive after they sign up with their email address.
I want to exclude the people, who arrive on the second URL, from my Facebook ad. Because they already signed up.
Does that make sense?
You now have your custom audience on Facebook. Great job! Let’s move on ..
I use a Facebook conversion ad to talk to people who ALREADY read my blog post but DIDN’T sign up through the content upgrade. Every time someone reads my blog post but doesn’t sign up via my content upgrade, the person will be added to my custom audience on Facebook. Once the person is added to my custom audience (this happens automatically), Facebook will show this person my ad.
Pretty cool, huh?
Why is this so powerful?
To attract cold leads with Facebook ads may get expensive. It’s cheaper to get people onto your email list with Facebook ads, who already know you and your brand. They already read your blog post.. Right? So they know you.
Which means it’s much easier to get that person to give you their email address in exchange for an ebook, a 7-day challenge, email course or boot camp.
Do you agree? Cool.
What kind of Facebook ad could you create? This is up to you. The ad needs to be related to your blog post .. I’ll give you an example.
For the blog post you’re reading right now there will be an opportunity for you to take advantage of my bonus (content upgrade) and enter your email address.
A lot of people will do this 🙂 But some won’t. That’s the way it is..
And all the readers with a Facebook profile, who don’t sign up, will see an ad on their Facebook Newsfeed. The ad could say something like this .. “Download my free ebook to learn how to build a Sales Funnels for your online courses ..”. This is the structure of my ad ..
- Ask a question? (to get attention)
- Tell the user exactly what she will get
- More details
- CTA & Link For SignUp
If they click the ad, they will land on my landing page. The landing page has a video and looks like this .. My chance to convert people who already know my blog post is much higher now. One of the Facebook advertisers I learned a ton from is Jon Loomer.
“I’ll say it over and over again, but the number one reason that advertisers fail with Facebook ads is targeting. They go straight for the jugular by targeting people who don’t know them to get the lead or sale.” – Jon Loomer
And this exactly what we try to avoid .. Let’s recap for a second ..
- First: Write a killer blog post and promote it through Facebook ads (don’t ask for a sale! just pure value first!) and other promotion techniques to get people to read your blog post.
- Second: Convert readers into email subscribers with a content upgrade.
- Third: Retarget everyone with a Facebook ad who reads your blog post but haven’t become an email subscriber yet.
5) Create Trust and Establish a Relationship with an Email Sequence
This is my favorite part. My absolute favorite part.. Bonding with new leads through email automation.
And I’m telling you .. It’s extremely powerful. 🙂
If you know how to do it right .. And today .. I’ll share with you how to write emails that build trust and establish relationships with new leads.
You do this by creating an email sequence. I call this the Relationship Builder Sequence or RBS. An RBS is a sequence of emails you send out automatically.
Yes, on autopilot. 🙂
You don’t send them manually! You use an ESP (Email Service Provider) like ConvertKit, InfusionSoft or ActiveCampaign (the one I use and love). Take a look at my RBS ..
A screenshot of my zoomed out RBS.
Pretty cool, huh?
That’s the email sequence I use to build trust and establish a relationship with new leads. It’s a series of 9 lessons to teach new prospects the basics of sales funnels for online courses.
It is designed to deliver as much value as possible to my new email subscribers. I give away some of my secrets but never all of them.
My goal is to teach, advise, help and guide my new tribe members to help solve their problems. I want to become their trusted advisor .. And sometimes I tease them 🙂
- I activate people in the first email (you could sign up to see how I do it 😉 ) ..
- I ask them to click specific links in order to get the next email ..
- I use engagement techniques like Open Loops, Nested Loops and Cliffhangers to make them wait for future emails ..
Seriously, this stuff is super duper awesome. But too advanced to cover in this blog post .. If you’re seriously interested though .. I created a summary of the most important engagement techniques for email marketing. You can get access here ..And it works like magic .. If you use cliffhangers right you get people to respond to your emails like that .. 🙂 Or this one is even better 🙂 Anyways .. I hope all of this makes sense .. Because it’s time for ..
6) Story-Sell your Online Course
By this point in your sales funnel, you have already created trust and established a relationship with your email subscribers.
It’s time to offer your email subscribers the opportunity to step up their game.
Or in other words .. It’s time to make the sale.
Let me show you how I do this .. In my RBS I place a few links to my sales page in the PS section of my emails. It looks like this .. The screenshot above is from lesson 5 where I place a “hard-pitch” in the PS section of my email. If the email subscriber clicks the links (I track this btw!), he will land on my sales page, which can only be found if you’re a Wild Audience tribe member.
There’s a lot more to story-selling your online course .. but I already hit the 4000 words mark. It’s time to wrap things up.
7) Include Upsells to Increase your Sales Funnel’s Customer Lifetime Value
What is CLV?
Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) is the total sales you earn over the lifetime relationship with a customer.
Higher CLV means you can spend more to acquire a customer. Increase your CLV and have a more profitable business. Simple as that.
According to Brian Moran, websites which use just a single 1-Click Upsell increase their average customer value by +78%. That’s pretty powerful.
I think 😉
That is why I include a 1-click upsell (a product upgrade) immediately after someone purchases my paid online course. Instead of sending a new customer to a THANK-YOU page, send her to an OTO page (one-time offer). You could offer a special price for your upsell in this one-time offer. Checkout my upsell funnel .. Not a lot of tools can do that .. I use Thrive Cart to get the job done ..
8) Retarget Everyone who Reads your Sales Page but hasn’t become a Customer yet
Your Relationship Builder Sequence (email sequence) includes a few links to your sales page. You position these links either strategically in your email body or in the PS section of your emails.
And I like to take it a step further..
Instead of relying only on email, I also use Facebook ads to leverage a second communication channel. I “go-after” the people who read my sales page but haven’t become a customer yet. This is how my ad looks like ..
(the price is outdated ..)
Remember, the people who see this ad ..
- Read at least 1 blog post.
- Open the majority of my emails.
- Check out my sales page.
These people are hyper-relevant potential customers, who know me, my brand and my paid product. But they have not yet purchased my paid online course for some reason.
I included the price in my Facebook ad to only attract people who are willing to pay for my product. People who don’t want to spend the money probably won’t click.
Your Next Steps ..
I hope you enjoyed this article on creating a sales funnel ..
Hopefully you learned a thing or two ..
This was my goal 🙂
Let me ask you something ..
Do you run an online business?
If yes ..
Do you have a sales funnel in place that generates sales every single day ..?
Every single day ..? Think about it ..
If you feel like upgrading your “game” ..
Make sure to get all my free resources below (which also gets you access to my free 9 lesson training) and implement the Relationship Funnel into your business!
It’s time for action.
Thanks, You rock!