As a brand new VA, who was also new to the online business world, I absolutely would have asked the question, “What is a sales funnel?” But just a few short years later, they are my favorite things to build and I can see so many opportunities for a VA to offer her help to a business owner setting up a funnel.
Let’s get a little technical on the ins and outs of a sales funnel, and then see what a VA has to offer.
What is a sales funnel?
Simply put, a sales funnel is the process a business takes people through from finding out what the business is to becoming a customer. We call it a funnel because it’s much wider at the top – where people learn about a business – than it is at the bottom, where people make a purchase and become a customer.
Sales funnels can range from basic to very complicated – but the basic structure looks like this:
A business owner’s market or audience is the group of people they’re targeting. These are people they either have reached (via a Facebook group, a blog, their Instagram account, on their email list, etc) or specific people they want to reach, through targeted ads. For instance, someone selling baby products might target parents, or, someone selling an organic baby wrap might want to reach naturally-minded pregnant women. This is the top of the funnel and the broadest part.
A lead is someone who’s shown interest in something you have to offer – usually free content. They’ve clicked on an ad, opted in for a freebie (or lead magnet), followed or liked your Facebook page, commented on a blog post, or subscribed to your email list. In other words, they’ve taken one step towards you, showing more than a passing interest.
**Note: If the product being sold is inexpensive, say under $35, it’s very possible to go from leads to customers and skip potential customers. The more expensive or unusual the product, the longer it can take to make a sale.
A potential customer has taken one more step – they’ve replied to an email, gone through a nurturing email sequence, asked a question, browsed a shop or a product, etc. These are also called warm leads because they’ve shown interest past receiving a piece of free content and are warmed up to the business or the product.
Obviously, the goal is to turn as many people as possible into actual customers! The small end of the sales funnel is the people who make a purchase.
Why does a business owner need a sales funnel?
For MANY business owners, especially creative business owners, the hardest part of running a business is finding new customers. They know they have a great product that solves a problem. They know how to interact with the customers they do have. They know how to provide great customer service or set up a great shop. But they have no idea how to get their product out there to new people.
Often, business owners spend thousands of dollars learning the various steps – they might take a course in Facebook/Instagram ads to get their free content in front of new people. They might become an expert blogger or learn how to use Pinterest to find new people. They might be great at creating free content, like a PDF/Printable, to give to interested followers. Or they could spend more thousands of dollars on copywriting classes to become excellent email marketers.
A sales funnel is what puts several of these pieces together and makes them work to take people on the journey from completely unknown to a customer. Without a thought-out funnel, a business owner can get people on their email list, get a freebie in their hands, or write fabulous blog posts, but not have a system in place to take people to the next step. Sales don’t happen randomly! They happen with a plan!
How can a Virtual Assistant help with a sales funnel?
At the audience/market level:
- Write compelling ad copy
- Create stand-out ad images
- Research keywords for Pinterest and Google SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
- Develop a Promoted Pin Campaign
- Learn Facebook/Instagram/Google Ads
- Create IG/FB posts that teach, hint or entice
- Write value-driven blog posts that lead to the product
- Share posts on various FB and Pinterest groups/group boards
- Analyze data such as Google Analytics to see who’s getting to the site and where they’re coming from
- Create a profile of an ideal customer
- Monitor ads (so the business owner isn’t spending money on audiences that aren’t working!)
At the Lead level:
- Create a fabulous freebie/printable. **There’s a printable training in the course
- Create eye-catching images that paint a picture through the funnel
- Write an email that delivers the freebie
- Create landing pages for the freebie
- Understand how to use forms to capture email addresses
- Write nurturing email sequences for follow up
- Develop the sequence the lead will go through to turn them into a customer
At the Potential Customer Level:
- Provide customer service for follow up questions
- Write compelling emails that pitch the product
- Create retargeting ads
- Write helpful emails that offer value
At the Customer Level:
- Provide excellent customer service
- Ask follow up questions
- Gather customer testimonials
- Analyze what’s working and what’s not so the next funnel is better
It’s not likely that any Virtual Assistant or business owner is going to be excellent at all of these tasks! Working together, a VA and biz owner can tackle different parts of the funnel. If you’re interested, choose a task or two that appeals to you most and start learning! You could also ask a business owner you know if you can go through their sales funnel to see what they’re doing.
Want to see a Moms Work Hard funnel in action?
Here’s how one of ours works:
Click here to go to our Facebook page (go ahead and like it while you’re there), and click “Learn More” to go through it yourself.
Often you’ll see another step in a sales funnel – a tripwire. That’s simply a limited time deal, with a countdown timer anywhere from 10 minutes to 24 hours, for those who have opted in for the freebie. That requires learning another program (sometimes like Deadline Funnels or Thrive Ultimatum), which is another skill a VA could learn!
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, don’t be! Start paying attention to Facebook ads, Instagram ads, etc, that pop up in your feed offering a free guide or a free class. Go ahead and go through the whole process and see what pieces you notice. You might see something you could be good at and pitch a business owner. Or be extra brave (this is a Carlee move – I love to do this), and contact a business owner with ideas on how to improve their current funnel! You just might impress them with your ideas!
Have more questions about sales funnels in general or a specific piece? Leave a comment with your question!