What goes into making a website?  There’s Search Engine Optimization (SEO), graphic design, code (HTML, JavaScript, PHP, etc.), usability and marketing.  People often forget about that last one.  The fact is that having a marketing plan is just as important as anything else on the list.

Here’s an article by Alexandria Brown that will help you get your marketing plan started.  Online entrepreneur Ali Brown publishes the award-winning ‘Highlights on Marketing & Success’ weekly ezine with 36,000+ subscribers. If you’re ready to jump-start your marketing, make more money, and have more fun in your small business, get your FREE tips now at www.AliBrown.com

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What’s In Your Marketing Funnel?
by Ali Brown

A past client of mine, whom I’ll call “Mary,” was a financial planner. She’d had a Web site for a few years that pretty much served as an online brochure for her. When Mary came to me, she was looking for other ways to generate income besides working directly with clients.

During our first conversation I introduced her to the MARKETING FUNNEL. If you picture a funnel, you know it’s wide and open at the top, and tiny and narrow at the bottom. At the top of the funnel is where you want to get as MANY prospects in as possible. At the bottom of the funnel is your HIGHEST PRICED service or product. And in the middle are in-between levels of services/products and prices.

So as you go down the funnel, the products are priced higher and higher, and the idea is to keep people flowing down from the top to the bottom.

First, Get Them IN the Funnel

Offering something FREE is the ideal way to get tons of people into your funnel. Most people collect prospects by giving away something free, such as a report, an e-zine, or a teleclass. When people sign up for these goodies, you get their names and e-mail addresses, allowing you to contact them again.

At the top of Mary’s funnel was her e-zine. And at the bottom were her pricey one-on-one services. But there was nothing in the middle of her funnel.

I see this often with many solo professionals, such as coaches and consultants. There’s either free or high-fee. This is the reason many of them have so much trouble converting prospects — people usually aren’t ready to make that big jump from $0 to several thousand dollars!

So I helped Mary brainstorm several information products (“info-products”) and other programs she could quickly create and begin to sell.

Info-Products Are a Great Solution

By packaging your knowledge into info-products, you give your prospects the chance to “sample” you at a lower price, filling the middle of your funnel. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

* Books
* E-Books
* Special Reports
* Manuals
* Workbooks
* Journals
* Audio (downloads, CDs, or cassettes)
* Video (downloads, DVDs, or VHS tapes)
* Home Study Courses or Tutorials (usually a mix of media)

Even better, selling these products on your Web site gives you passive income. That is, it’s money coming in automatically. It didn’t require your working X hours for Y dollars. Sales can come in 24/7, and you don’t even have to be there.

And don’t forget about teleclasses or teleseminars, delivered over the phone, or even Webinars, taught over the Internet. These require your direct involvement, but allow you to teach many people at once. These formats allow you to make much more money per hour, and they give your prospects access to you for a lower fee than hiring you one-on-one.

Let’s look at what Mary’s funnel could look like:

TOP OF FUNNEL:
Free e-zine

MIDDLE OF FUNNEL:
Workbook ($49)
Teleseminar ($79)
2-CD audio program ($97)
4-week tele-course ($249)

BOTTOM OF FUNNEL:
One-hour private consultations ($250)
2-day live workshop ($997)
Personal mentoring program ($3,000/mo.)

Take a few minutes right now and sketch out YOUR funnel. See where the holes are, and start thinking about what products you can add to make it easier for your prospects to sample your expertise and buy from you.

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