If you were to take a one question survey of small business owners, asking the question: “what is your primary marketing tool?”, what do you think the answer would be? Most would answer something about their website. That seems logical in this digital age where so many search for products and services online.
Would it surprise you to know that 36% of all small businesses in the US still do not have a website? What is more interesting is that number has stayed consistent over the last five years.
The fact that you’re reading this article tells us that you’re in the 64% that do have at least a basic “brochure” style website for your business. But we could be wrong about that. Regardless of which side of that spectrum your business is on, in this article we want to introduce you to the concept of a “profit funnel”.
If you don’t have a website, then this information will help you design a productive sequence of online marketing tools that can generate new prospects every day. If you currently have a website, then we’re going to show you ways to make it even more productive.
What Is A Profit Funnel?
First things first: what is a Profit Funnel? It is simply a process that is designed to move a prospect through the sales process. “Doesn’t my website do that already?” you ask. Only partially.
Your website most likely lists all the products or services you offer, has information about your company, maybe a video or two, a page for interested prospects to contact you, and perhaps a blog. The developer who created the site for you probably used WordPress, Joomla, or another of the more common website building platforms. No matter how it was built, most likely there is a menu bar across the top of the Home page that the visitor can click on to be taken to another page on your site. This traditional “horizontal” architecture is how websites have been built from the beginning of the Internet.
The question that you must ask as a business owner is this. “Does my website take a prospect through the sales process, answering their questions, helping them reach the decision to do business with my company?” For most businesses that are not just offering a ‘commodity’ or low-priced product the answer is no.
If you have a medical or dental practice, are an attorney, contractor, any business that offers a product that most buyers research before making a buying decision; then your website is not a profit funnel.
A Profitable Sales Funnel Must Answer These Questions
When your prospect is doing their research what questions are in their minds? What information are they seeking? What are their dreams/goals/hopes they want to fulfill with the product or service they are searching for? How does your website meet the needs of each of these prospects? In most cases, it doesn’t. That’s why a profit funnel is imperative if you want to increase market share and profitability.
We want to take a minute and share more about this “buyers journey” concept. When someone goes online and begins to look at websites they have five questions in mind that need to be answered before they contact a supplier. These are:
- Will this solve my problem?
- Do I have to decide now?
- Am I getting the best?
- Am I going to regret this?
- Am I paying a good price?
Here are additional interesting facts about the web searches your prospects are making:
62% of all traffic now comes from a mobile device. (Source: Right Edge)
88% of consumers that search using a mobile device call or visit that business within 24 hours. (Source: Nectafy)
77% of customers will stop engaging with content that doesn’t display well on their device. (Source: Ironpaper)
New research by Google has found that 53% of mobile website users will leave a webpage if it doesn’t load within 3 seconds (Source: DoubleClick)
Users on a mobile device scroll with just their thumb. Clicking is not convenient or intuitive on a mobile device. This is because of their experience with social media sites like Facebook and ecommerce sites like Amazon. (Source: Ironpaper)
What can we conclude from these two sets of data? First, your prospects that are going online have questions and they are seeking answers. They are looking for a company they can trust. They want to get a fair value for the money they spend. The majority of them are using the convenience of their mobile device to search for you. They expect to be able to see your site quickly, and scan through it rapidly.
Given those trends, how does your website meet your prospects’ needs? In many cases it can’t. A traditional website is an electronic brochure, it is designed to be read. A profit funnel is designed to give your prospects opportunities to take action and become customers.
We understand that you have a website that has been “mobile optimized”. Almost all active sites have taken advantage of a plug-in or widget that is added to the site that compresses the text to format on a mobile device. How much does that impact the load speed of your site? Does the resulting compression just jam a lot of text into a narrower display? How does the viewer navigate to other pages on your site given this configuration?
“Mobile Optimized” met the standard during the transition period from most users working on a desktop computer to now using their mobile devices. But that was several years ago and the standard has changed. To be competitive your website must be designed to display across a variety of screen sizes and two primary platforms, iPhone and Android.
The Profit Funnel Formula
We want to share the five steps of what we refer to as the “Profit Funnel Formula,” and describe each of them. After that we’ll share the most current technology designed to meet the needs of today’s consumers implementing this formula. The five steps are:
- Lead Magnet
- Trust Trigger
- Core Offering
- Profit Bump
- Funnel Stack
A lead magnet should be designed to attract the right customer into your sales funnel. To do this effectively you want to target your marketing to a specific group of prospective customers, identify a major problem they are searching for a solution to, and then generate leads with a lead magnet.
Here are some examples of putting this idea into practice. You are an attorney that specializes in trust and estate work. You know from experience talking with past clients that many people are not sure if a trust is the right vehicle to use in protecting or transferring wealth. An effective lead magnet in this case would be a short five- or six-page summary sharing what a Trust is and how it is used by families.
Perhaps another part of your practice is helping business owners build a succession plan to define how the business is to be managed when you retire or pass away. Since that is a very different need, you would create a different lead magnet and tailor your marketing to this other group of prospects. Maybe in this case you offer a checklist of the ten most important questions a business owner should consider when deciding to sell or transfer their business to heirs.
As a remodeling contractor you specialize in master bath updates. You know that the homeowners who are your primary prospects live in a home that is valued at $500,000 or more with at least 3000 square feet of floor space. It is a simple matter to identify those neighborhoods and develop a series of direct mail pieces to generate interest in your services. Each contact you make with these homeowners directs them to a landing page with images of past jobs and an outline of the steps you take when doing a remodel. You can also accomplish this digitally with a “hyper-local” banner ad campaign.
A veterinarian might develop a list of symptoms that your dog or cat exhibits that might indicate they are ill and make it available by email for anyone who requests it. A dentist can offer free or discounted teeth whitening for potential new patients. Roofing contractors a free “on the roof” inspection with photos of what they find.
The right lead magnet is a free or deeply discounted offer that attracts your ideal customer who exchanges their contact information for your offer. The best lead magnets are either information based or service based. A great lead magnet reveals the problem that your product or service solves! Here are some examples:
- Cheat Sheet
- Trial Offers
- Resource Lists
- Personal Assessment Sample
- Audit Report
- Insider Research
One reason lead magnets are so powerful is that they are working for you 24/7, attracting more leads and pre-selling them into new customers.
Prospects are more likely to become customers, and spend more money with your company, when they trust you. That’s why developing a trust trigger is an integral component in your profit funnel to improve your conversion rate. A trust trigger is a lower priced offer that over delivers in value as a way of developing trust and authority for you and your business so that you can more easily move the prospect to your core offer.
A trust trigger might be as inexpensive as $20, or much more depending on the value of your core offer. The goal is to help your prospect spend money in an initial interaction with you and to “trigger” the trust needed to buy your more expensive core offer almost immediately.
Let us share an example from our business. One of our Core 5® services we offer clients is reputation marketing. That service is priced in a range between $500 and $1,200 each month, depending on a variety of factors. A trust trigger that we use to introduce this service is called “5 Stars in 5 Days”.
To implement this trust trigger we get a list of fifty or more past customers from our prospect. Then we enter those customers into one of our autoresponders, connected to a webpage we build that has been branded to match the look of our prospects website. We send their customers two emails inviting them to leave a review of their experience with the company and make it easy for them to publish their review online. We charge as little as $27 for this as a way of introducing our reputation programs.
At the end of the five days we go back to the prospect, show them the new reviews that have been generated by this initial effort, and invite them to our “core offer” of a full reputation marketing service.
Your core offer is the primary product or service that you want to sell to a specific group of prospects. It is one of the central services you offer and where you should be making most of your revenue and profit. Your core offer could be a one-time sale, monthly or quarterly residual service, or both.
If done correctly, your lead magnet and trust trigger should do a great job of educating, pre-selling, and building the trust and authority that is needed for you to sell your core offer.
The Profit Bump
The profit bump is a one-time offer upsell that enhances or maximizes the benefits of your core offer. This is where you can dramatically increase your client acquisition profits. This upsell can be a one-time offer or monthly subscription. Some ways that we’ve seen companies implement this is with a “level up bump”. This is an upgraded enhancement to your core offer that is a ‘must have’ if they want to maximize the value of the core offer.
If you’ve ever purchased a new automobile you’ve experienced several ‘level up bumps’ when the salesperson offers the ‘special undercoat’ or a ‘spray in bed liner’ for your new truck. Amazon does this when you buy a book. Notice the offer near the bottom of the screen when you choose a book. It will usually have a headline like, “Customers who purchased this book also bought…” and there will be two other books by the same author or on the same subject. Then they’ll offer all three for a “special price”. Ever purchased a computer, television, or other electronics? Remember the offer for a ‘service contract’? That was a level up bump.
Another profit bump strategy is the “VIP Bump”. This is an additional high dollar ‘Rockstar’ status offer that gives your customers VIP treatment and allows exclusive access and treatments with your products or services.
We worked with a chiropractor who implemented this strategy. For a monthly fee the patient could come in for an unlimited number of adjustments each week. They could make an appointment or just drop in. The office had several chiropractors, so the members of this VIP group would be adjusted by the next available doctor. They had an advanced patient management software program and computer monitors mounted on the wall in each service room. Even if the doctor had never treated a patient before, when he or she walked into the room they could quickly review the entire patient record on the screen and know exactly how to treat that individual. On the surface it would seem that this plan would be a money loser with patients showing up every day for an adjustment. In practice it guaranteed a monthly cash flow for the practice, and very few patients came in more than once or twice a week.
Another example of the VIP Bump is the “Safety Club”. This works especially well for certain contractors. It means that your customer pays an annual fee to belong to the Safety Club. You offer a series of benefits all designed to help a homeowner rest easy knowing that a professional is monitoring an important part of their home. Examples that we’ve implemented for clients include the ‘Overhead Safety Club’ for roofing customers, ‘Garage Door Safety Club’ or ‘Furnace and Air Conditioning Safety Club”.
We offer a similar “VIP Bump” to our clients with our “Total Market Takeover®” program. This is where we bundle all our services, both on and offline, and focus them on behalf of a single client in a market niche and city. In return for a client engaging us at this level we commit to only working with them in their area. For a dentist in Austin, they are guaranteed to be the only dentist in Austin that we work with. A roofing contractor in Jacksonville, same thing, we will not take on another roofer in Jacksonville. This has been a mutually beneficial relationship with a select few clients that we offer it to.
The Funnel Stack
The final step, a funnel stack is where you create a new offer that you present after the profit bump. This offer follows the same four step pattern we’ve just described. You might offer right after the initial sale or wait several days or even a month before making the offer. This is especially effective for companies that have several unique products that will benefit a customer.
There is one more step to a well-designed profit funnel we want to share. That is the “Re-offer Marketing Campaign”. The reality is that not every prospect will purchase every offer in your funnel. This creates a huge opportunity to go back to your non-buyers and “re-offer” them the products or services they didn’t buy the first time going through your funnel.
Because they have already entered your funnel you know them and do not have the initial cost of acquiring the customer through your lead magnet. This means the profit on a re-offer campaign will be higher than any other profit you create. The best part about a re-offer campaign is that it can be automated with email, voicemail, and SMS follow ups to do all the work.
If all of this sounds complicated and a little intimidating, well, it can be. To make things more difficult, these steps cannot be accomplished with a traditional website. How do you tell your story with a logical beginning, middle, and end on a 10+ page website? You can’t, especially for the prospects searching from their mobile device. Here’s another point: how can you split test your content on a 10+ page website? You can’t. The two most important things you need to do to make your web pages convert prospects into customers are not possible with your website.
What’s the answer? A Funnel Site. This new technology was introduced in early 2019 and offers the solution to the challenges we’ve suggested previously in this article. A funnel site is designed to move the visitor into the sales process. It tells your company story with a beginning, middle, and end that helps the visitor make the decision to choose you.
First, let us compare and contrast a funnel site with the more traditional site that most of us have used for years. Your website is a horizontal design with multiple pages, each focused on some aspect of your company. It is more challenging to navigate, particularly from a mobile phone. It is unusual to have clear action steps or calls to action other than a “Contact Us” page. It is not possible to split test copy or graphics to test effectiveness. Tracking conversions is also difficult.
Brand Site Funnel
A funnel site is all built on a single page or vertical orientation with user friendly scrolling navigation. Rather than being “mobile friendly” the code used to develop the funnel site software was actually designed for mobile. It also displays well on a desktop but was specifically coded for mobile phones and tablets. Since the entire site is a single page, it is easy to replicate the page and change one or two elements for accurate split testing.
Each site can be built with six to ten calls to action and feature your lead magnets. These specific calls to action make it easy to track conversions and the level of visitor interest in specific offers. Adding video is easy. All the search engine optimization strategies that are built into a more traditional site are also found on a funnel website.
The key to the readability of funnel sites is that they are built using “story blocks”. There are 19 unique blocks, each designed for a specific purpose. When we customize a site for a client, the organizational structure might look like this (some of the blocks are repeated in this example of an actual site that we built):
- Title/Navigation Block
- Cover Block
- Our Promise Block
- Services; 6 to 8 Services
- Call to Action Block
- Testimonial #1 Block
- Offer Block
- Featured Service #1
- Featured Service #2
- Featured Service #3
- Case Study, Project Portfolio Block
- Contact Us Banner Block
- Myth Block
- Who We Are Block
- Our Expertise Block
- Our Team Block
- 2nd Testimonial Block
- Call Us Today Block
- FAQ Block
- Map Address and Hours Block
Of course that is just an example of the flow of a site. Every site is different depending on the needs of the client and the products/services being offered. This formula is the starting point of building your company story and gives us the foundation to start split testing to increase your website conversions.
The 21-step structure that we’ve just shared is what we would call a Brand Site Funnel. It is similar to the website that you may have now in that it is designed to tell your company story while offering the visitor multiple ways to interact with you.
Create Landing Pages For A Lead Generation Funnel
An alternative is a Lead Generation funnel. This format is a shorter site that will feature the lead magnet you have chosen, a way for the prospect to opt in and get the lead magnet, a thank you page, and one or more landing pages as needed to bring prospects into your funnel. There will also be a three to five step email marketing follow up, with each email directing the reader to another information or landing page. A Lead Gen funnel takes the prospect through the five steps we described earlier.
If you are doing any type of paid advertising, Google PPC or Banner Campaigns, having one or more landing pages is critical to the success of the campaign. These are easily created using the story block structure. Here again the ability to easily set up A/B split tests to continue to refine your marketing message is a distinct advantage.
One additional point to recommend a funnel site. They are generally less expensive to build than a traditional website, and much easier to update with fresh content, images, and video.
The dynamic nature of the Internet, and the pace of change, mandate that business owners continue to innovate if they want to stay ahead of the competition. The increasing dominance of mobile based search in the last eighteen months is going to give companies that make it easy for their prospects to get information and make a decision a clear market edge. Building a funnel that creates trust in you and your services and allows a prospect to proceed at a pace comfortable for them, will help you gain market share.
Need Help Building Your Marketing Funnel?
If navigating the intricacies of building your own profit funnel seems daunting, consider working with a digital marketing agency who specializes in funnel building. At Alchemy Consulting, we have years of experience building successful profit funnels across a variety of industries. We’re happy to answer any questions you may have- give us a call at 877-978-2110.