Sales funnel - what's that?
Updated: Jun 7, 2021
Following Covid, more and more services and products are moving online.
This is especially true for courses, webinars and masterclasses.
Coming up with the idea is actually the easy part.
It's selling it that can be complicated. At least technically.
There are just so many moving parts.
Sales processing and payment
Confirmation and reminder
Follow up and feedback
This article will give you a starting point to each of these steps.
Where to start?
It really depends on what you're selling, how much you're planning on selling in the future, and the complexity of your product/service.
For the sake of this article, let's say you have a simple service or product. Not a full course or membership.
For example, let's say you want to promote and sell a one time webinar.
The first thing you need is a page that holds the details of the service.
This is called a landing page. This is a page people will get to in order to learn more about the webinar, the host and any guests. This can also be the page from which they can sign up.
The landing page can be a part of your website, but can also be a stand alone page.
(In theory, this could also just be an image with the basic details that you can post on social media, but that's not interactive and has less chance to convert).
The landing page should target one user, make one promise (a benefit for the user), and make one offer.
But I would highly recommend you use a copywriter who is skilled at this and has experience. Need a recommendation? No problem, got that right here.
There is also the design to think about.
Yes, you can just take the text and plop it onto the page. But there is a science behind the design (UI) and the user experience (UX).
If you can, use a designer. Yes, I have a recommendation for you.
What tool do you use?
The answer to that really depends on what you have in place already.
If you have a website, you can create the landing page as part of your website, or within the framework for your site, but separate and stand-alone.
If you don't have a website, there are some great free tools for creating sites and/or landing pages. There are also some paid tools (such as Unbounce) that will give you many extra features (such as dynamic text) that will enhance your user's experience (and save you time in the long run).
Either of these is great.
If you don't have a site, but you do have an email service provider (ESP), then it may also be an option for creating your landing page. While I'm usually not an advocate for one-stop-shop solutions, using the landing page feature of your ESP can really help with integration into your list later. This is especially true if the page is intended to collect emails and not to perform the sale directly.
Some checkout processors also have a landing page creating option (such as ThriveCart). This can save you quite a bit of the headache that comes with the landing page creation process.
Once your landing page is set up, it's time to collect emails and payments.
Sales processing and payment
This is where things usually get a bit complicated.
Your landing page has a call to action (CTA) button.
This button can be to sign up, to pay, to learn more.
If the purpose of the landing page is to collect email addresses, then the page will have a form to fill in the user's details.
But if you are selling a product/service (or as in our example, a webinar), then the CTA should lead users to the checkout. This is the place where they will enter their details and pay.
A good user experience will not have the user add their details twice.
But often, you want to get the details into your system and you ask the user for their details on the landing page... and then you have them click a payment CTA. They get to Stripe or PayPal (or any other payment processing platform) and they have to enter their information again.
This is the easiest setup for you but is annoying for the user. In addition, how do you cross reference who has paid with the emails you've collected? When do you trigger the confirmation email?
If this is the funnel you choose, you should consider adding an automation that will use the email confirmation message you get from Stripe or PayPal and update the user in your ESP.
Let's break it down.
1. User lands on your landing page and fills in a form
2. User created/updated in your email service provider
3. User pays
4. You get a confirmation email from payment processor
5. Automation tool (such as Zapier) triggered to pass payment information to your ESP
6. User updated with payment details
7. (optional) Invoice sent
8. Confirmation email sequence triggered in ESP
If this seems confusing, it's because it is.
It's doable. And once it's set up it will work amazing.
But it's cumbersome.
And it doesn't have to be.
Instead of processing the payment manually, you can use a sales processing tool.
There are a few options out there.
ThriveCart is one, and it's great for selling various 'products' and 'services'.
Another great tool is Membership Vault. It's structured for selling... well, memberships of course. But also for selling 1:1 calls and courses.
There are, of course, other tools out there. And I admit, I haven't tested them all.
The CTA button on your landing page will lead to a product page you create let's say on ThriveCart. This tool also gives you the option of creating upsell coupons, a thank you page and so much more.
The beauty of this tool is that it automatically integrates with most ESPs (or directly with Zapier). So you cut out many steps. It also integrates with some invoice processing tools (but that's a different topic for a different day).
Payment can be done via Stripe and PayPal, but it's all integrated into the payment system.
[UPDATE: ActiveCampaign just integrated payment directly from their email. This means that your flow can be: Sign up on LP - Confirmation email with payment button - payment - auto update contact on AC]
Confirmation and reminder
Once your user has paid, want to send them a confirmation email and trigger your email sequence associated with the sale.
If your payment processing is integrated with your ESP, then use the payment confirmation as the trigger for the confirmation email.
If you're also sending your users an invoice, you can use the invoice email as a confirmation email.
Now the fun begins.
I like to add a Save the date button to my confirmation email if it's for an event (such as a webinar).
I use Eventable to create an event.
I then grab the link they generate for me and add it to the email.
Once the link is pasted in the email, your users can add the event to their calendars. Less chance of double booking the time. More chance they'll actually show up for the webinar.
It's now important to keep in touch with your participants.
Set a workflow that will send your users an email the day before the webinar (and/or a few minutes before it starts).
Have the email include a link to where they can view the webinar (for example a Zoom link).
If your ESP has the option, mark the button with an action to tag the user. This will help with future segmentation.
Ideally, if you can, stream your webinar to YouTube (if don't host your videos yourself). This will save you upload time and is great for tracking views later on.
Follow up and feedback
The day after the webinar, send a replay (the link can be to your Zoom account, to your Google Drive or directly to YouTube). This is also a great time to ask for feedback.
If you decide to ask for feedback, be sure to update your contact's information with any important information from the form.
Can this be automated?
Maybe I'll write about this in another post in the future.
The sales funnel doesn't have to be complicated.
More and more tools are building native integrations with payment tools.
Find the tool that works for you, and build your funnel in a way that makes sense to you and more importantly, is easy for your customers to use.
Need some help with setup?
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