If you’re like most solo-preneurs who offer a basic service in your business, you likely got started by just pounding the pavement to hustle up some clients. Then, you began to receive word-of-mouth referrals. And then, perhaps you put up a website and began using email and social media to promote your services.
While these methods can surely work, there are probably nights you wake up at 2 a.m. worrying, “Where are my next clients/customers coming from?”
Putting together a sales funnel will not only solve this problem, but it can add thousands of dollars to your business (and for many of my clients, hundreds of thousands). It’s a valuable system I’ve shared with my clients for years, and it’s also one of the gems we teach step-by-step in my Elevate online training program. Today my goal is to give you an easy overview, so you can get started on your own.
Before we start, picture a funnel. You know a funnel is wide and open at the top, and tiny and narrow at the bottom. Our sales funnel has three distinct parts, from top to bottom, which I’ll list in steps:
Step 1: Your prospects (the discovery)
Step 2: Your leads (the invitation)
Step 3: Your sales (the conversion)
STEP 1: Your prospects (the discovery)
The top of the sales funnel is the widest part, and it’s made up of your prospects. These are people who are strangers to you now, but who fit your ideal market. They don’t know yet that you exist, but if they did know they would likely be interested in what you have to offer. So, your objective is to make yourself known, so you can get these prospects INTO your funnel.
For example, let’s say Jane is a prenatal yoga teacher who mostly relies on referrals to get new business. There are thousands of moms-to-be in Jane’s community who could use her services, but 95% of them have no idea that Jane and her services even exist. So how can she get them into her funnel?
First, let’s look at OFFLINE strategies — Jane could start by attending workshops, events, and clinics specifically for expectant mothers. She could rent a booth or offer to lead a free yoga workshop, so women could get turned on to her services. Jane could also book speaking gigs at these and other events, to showcase her expertise. She could also go for appearances on local TV and radio shows that cater to her target market. See how many people who didn’t know Jane before would suddenly know about her? Your main offline goals in this step are visibility and connections.
Then let’s look at ONLINE strategies — To help prospects discover you online, you need a two-pronged strategy:
- Get in front of your prospects where they already are. Figure out where your prospects already are online in large numbers. For Jane’s example, she could look for websites, online communities, and Facebook pages that are geared toward expectant mothers. Once she identifies them, she should be active in their discussions, contact the hosts to see about guest blogging or moderating opportunities, and also any paid advertising options.And don’t forget about Facebook ads, which I love because they can be so highly targeted, affordable, and often an ideal way to get in front of the type of person you’re looking for. (For Jane’s example, she can have her ad show for all women in her area who “like” pages for The Bump, Fit Pregnancy, the Boppy Company etc.)
- Be in front of your prospects when they are looking for you. Now, you want to make sure people who are actually searching for your type of service or solution will find YOU just your competitors. Make sure you are listed in appropriate sections of your local yellow pages (if applicable.) Make sure your website shows up for people searching online for your products or services (either organically or with paid Google Ads). If you have products, also consider adding Amazon.com to your marketing plan, as many people are using it now almost as a search engine to find what they want quickly.
There’s so much more we could go into here, but I hope this got your wheels turning on how you can more easily find your ideal prospects, and help your ideal prospects find you!
Next, in Step 2, we’ll turn many of these prospects into leads.
(continued in Part 2)
QUESTION: Who is your ideal prospect, and what methods are you using to reach them… or help them find you? Please join in the conversation below!
“Entrepreneur mentor Ali Brown teaches women around the world how to start and grow a profitable business that make a positive impact. Get her FREE CD “Top 10 Secrets for Entrepreneurial Women” at www.AliBrown.com“