I’m a visual learner. Is there an EASIER way to learn how to put together a marketing funnel?
First of all, you may be wondering.. “What the hell IS a marketing funnel, anyway? What do I need in order to make one? How long will it take, and can I really, truly do this myself?”
Glad you asked! If you have not had a chance to read my blog about the basics of marketing funnels.. and part 2, Funnel Breakdown: The Pieces to Gather to Set Yourself Up For Success , do that now, and I’ll wait. You can’t skip these steps if you want to make this all work.
If you are ready to start putting all the pieces together, continue reading this blog!
Disclaimers: There may be a few affiliate links sprinkled throughout this blog. I don’t focus on affiliate income and only recommend what I use and believe in.
Paid advertising makes up a large portion of many marketing funnels, but in this series, I’m sticking to an organic (non-paid) appoach. I’m a believer of adding paid ads only at a certain stage of growth and with the guidance of a dedicated professional.
Got your sticky notes, pens, whiteboard, or crayons? Cool!
Let’s create a visual map or flowchart to help you see how all the components you got set up in the previous step connect.
If you prefer, a map.
What we want to do here is map out what the process will be for the ideal client or patient avatar we chose.. from the moment they discover our business, till when they buy, and beyond, using a template called The Client/Patient Journey.
If you are not sure what those stages are, or who your ideal client or patient IS.. please stop right now and start from the first blog in this series: How to Build A Business On YOUR Terms: With Funnels.
Have you seen photos of all those marketing gurus showing off their fancy flowcharts on a whiteboard? Those things are sometimes about impressing an audience, but oh my, they are going to be one of the best tools to add to your marketing toolbox.
I like using software and apps, but for this process, you can use ANY tool.. high tech or low tech, that helps you visualize in a “flow chart” or “connect the dots” way.
Mapping out a plan is essential, even as things evolve and change. I don’t know about you, but I can’t conceptualize an entire marketing plan without having a picture of it sitting right in front of me, but this is exactly what I think that some beginners think is expected of them.
No wonder so many never even begin!
Many business owners have no map or plan. It’s a “build it and they will come” approach. And of course, we know how well this works. It’s become a cliche, but it fits.
To give you an idea of what I mean, if I were to have a whiteboard meeting on the spot with many wellness professionals, it would look like this:
If there is a website, often it isn’t connected to anything.. except for an occasional mention on a Facebook business page, which is an afterthought.
Email marketing is also functioning in isolation and consists of an occasional old-school “newsletter” that isn’t even client or patient-centered. These types of emails seldom get opened.
Social media is done inconsistently and contains little, if any, content that encourages engagement.
Remember: A LOT of these connections are really just a matter of a simple link. For example, You can connect your email newsletter to your Facebook group or a landing page via a simple link.. and that’s it!
Now let’s break this down a bit.
Do you remember “connect the dots” when you were a kid?
You would start with an image that looked like nothing in particular, but by connecting dot-by-dot, you ended up with a picture of a unicorn jumping over a rainbow. You may have had no idea of how to draw this image without being guided dot-by-dot, but after connecting each dot, one by one, you got a picture you could color and hang on the fridge.
Let’s connect some dots!
Here are the tools you will need:
1. A list of DOTS. In other words, all the sources of traffic, (things that attract visitors) and all the places you want visitors or leads to end up.
Here are some examples. You do NOT have to use all of these, A handful of carefully selected elements that work for YOU is all you need. If you try to do TOO much, your strategy will lose effectiveness.
• Your home page on your website. For holistic practitioners and coaches, your website will be the “Hub” of your marketing plan/funnel.
• Individual sales/landing pages
• Individual blogs
• Email broadcasts and automations
• Your Facebook business page
• Your Facebook groups
• A podcast
• Offline networking
• Online booking
…and more. I’m not going to list all these “dots” here..
Now, if you are a marketing newbie, how might they connect? Write these things down. Many of the “lines” connecting the “dots” will be links or URLS. For example:
• A link in your blog to a landing page for a course you are offering.
• A pinterest graphic leading people to a page on your website (via a link)
• A live Facebook video every week with a verbal CTA (call to action) with a link, (often a button) to a video presentation (webinar, training, or masterclass)
If the above bullet points don’t quite make sense in your mind yet.. don’t worry. It probably means you are more of a visual learner. No problem!
Now that you have some “dots and lines” let’s start to build a funnel based on another type of “connect the dot” principle that we learned as we got older: Flow charts.
Flow charts can be SUPER simple: (you don’t have to draw them as vertical funnels)
Or very complex:
One way to start building a funnel if you are new to marketing funnels is with a tool called Funnelytics. I created all the samples you see in this blog with this tool.
Update: I don’t use it as much because the free version is very limited.
Lucid has some good products, including a flowchart builder, for a more reasonable price for small businesses at $11.95 (if you pay monthly.)
There are many other flowchart apps available online you can use for free, but may not be as easy to use. Not so much because the learning curve is steep, (it’s pretty easy) but because building flowcharts can be tedious.
I’m a flowchart app nerd, and you may not be.. so don’t get hung up on this. If you are.. comment below to tell me your favorite!
You can also use a whiteboard, chalkboard, sticky notes or index cards, a big sheet of paper and crayons, or whatever works for you so that you can best VISUALIZE and map out your own funnel.
You begin by placing some traffic sources on a blank canvas/work area.
For example, if you plan on generating traffic from Pinterest, go ahead and place that in your work area.
Now let’s say you are creating a regular blog. Let’s add that to the work area.
Email marketing is an excellent idea for any business, so let’s add that too.
And your main offering right now is 1:1 coaching, Let’s go ahead and assume, for this example, that this is the only offering for a coach who is planning on putting together some courses in the near future. There is no launch, meaning no limited time offering just yet. The coaching is an ongoing offer.
When you factor in each blog, the end result may end up looking something like this:
Don’t worry to much about where to place each one of these elements. There is a science to mapping this all out, but it’s also an art. Your funnel doesn’t have to look like mine.. as long as you understand it.
Now we can start to visualize how we can get eyeballs from Pinterest to clients signing up for coaching.
Remember the diagram of the funnel I showed you in Part One, about creating awareness and attracting “cold” leads at the top of the funnel, and gradually and naturally “warming up” leads so that a certain (small) percentage ends up at the bottom of the funnel? (Hot leads, purchases, new clients or patients)
The top of the “funnel” is where the wide net is cast. In this example the top end would include Pinterest and probably your blog.
The middle of the funnel, is where “cold” leads begin to turn into “warm” leads. This would be your email marketing. Later on this could include low-cost, low-risk courses, books, or other offerings as you develop them and add them to your funnel.
The bottom of the funnel would be your core offers. (such as group or 1:1 coaching)
So, how to we get from Pinterest pins to people signing up for coaching?
If you guessed “connecting the dots,” you would be correct!
1. Link Pinterest back to your website. Pinterest has no point if it exists in a vacuum. Let’s point some Pinterest graphics to a blog. As in each blog will have its own Pinterest graphic.
We can draw a line from Pinterest to BLOG.
2. Now that people have landed on your blog, what would you like to guide them to next? Don’t rely on people bookmarking your page for future reference.. it’s not 1999 anymore! Once people wander off your site, the chances of them returning are pretty slim.
This is why I keep stressing the importance of creating a REASON for people to hang out on a website, and also use it to build an email list!
Today, if you have a blog (as opposed to video or a podcast) it needs to be high-quality. It should be packed with useful information, but ALSO easy to read. It should be SKIMMABLE to help those get what they need in as little time as possible.
To accomplish this, let’s add a few things to the blog. First, of course, you want to have a solid blog in place that answers the questions Google users are typing in. A “thin” site or blog without much useful content that causes a visitor (not just ANY viitor, but your ideal client) ..to have to exit your site and type in another search query in order to get their needs met.. isn’t going to do much for your business.
Next, we’ll need an opt in form, which is a form where visitors can enter an email list to subscribe to one of your lists and receive either manual or automated emails from you on a regular basis. (The perfect way to communicate to a “warm” audience)
Scroll down to see one right here in this blog!
Second, a CTA to invite readers to book a consultation or discovery call if they need more help. This can be as simple as a paragraph at the end of each blog, but there are even more refined and effective ways to create CTA’s.
As you start to build your business, you may want to add intermediary steps like low-cost courses or group coaching, but you don’t have to have those in place to start.
Let’s call it DONE for this simple funnel. It’s enough to “keep one busy” for a while.. creating blogs and posting pins!
Later, using this funnel as an example, you could start to add ways to connect everything to your Facebook business page or group, create specific email campaigns, and much more. There are too many possibilities to list.. and the list does keep growing with the development of more social media channels, apps, etc.
I did not include other common elements here like SEO. SEO is a way to get eyeballs on your website via presenting a list of search results to people that are typing specific words in Google.
The purpose is not about how to rank as a business. Google’s primary purpose is to serve users so that they can find relevant and useful information or answer specific questions.
The moving parts
You may be wondering about the actual mechanics of getting from one point to another, such as how to put an email opt in form on your blog.
This is the “tech” piece. If you went through the steps in Part 2 of this blog series, you will now have some experience with setting up these up on your website. (or you can outsource these tasks)
For example, creating Pinterest pins could include creating graphics in Canva. You can use photos and compelling questions, titles, or quotes you gathered for each blog to create visually compelling pins. When you create a pin, you also provide link, or URL, that leads visitors to a specific blog.
You would need to know how to use Canva and how to use Pinterest. (which is beyond the scope of this blog) Having some design skills will also be a HUGE benefit. (Keep your target audience in mind.)
It can seem daunting at first, but it is do-able!
When you create your first pin for you first blog.. you have the first set of gears of your machine up and running!
The next step would involve creating an opt in form on your blog page to connect to your email account. I’m not going to get into details here of how to do this. (also waay beyond the scope of this blog, but you CAN find out more with my email guide for beginners:
Setting up an email opt in is quite do-able. It is also the “moving part” that can be the most frustrating to set up, depending on apps and platforms used. This is also the case even for experienced digital marketers.
But once you figure this out, you can begin to connect the next dots. Now you have a way to “capture” visitors from Pinterest and guide them to your email list!
This is a HUGE step for many beginning digital marketers.
There will still be a lot of work ahead.. none of this is totally “set and forget,” but the more “infrastructure” you build, and the more you learn how to use this infrastructure, the more effective your marketing funnel will be.
Marketing funnels don’t have to be complex, but as your business starts to grow and you add things like webinars, courses, and launches, your funnel will evolve into something more complex.
Start where you are
I cannot stress enough the mistake I made by diving right into clunky and expensive platforms and apps that were not right for me, just because a “guru” told me to “just get started” and “don’t make it too complicated.” And this was the same guy that recommended the clunky, confusing, and expensive software.
I had no way to visualize any of this stuff, and ended up spending waay too much time trying to figure out how to create a checkout process that actually worked and actually triggered the right emails when I needed them.
To be fair, this is where coaching really comes in handy, and I did end up hiring someone a few months later, which made a big difference. I’m a big fan of coaching as opposed to fumbling in the dark, in most cases.
Although I really do try to give as much guidance in my blogs as I can, it’s nearly impossible to create step by step processes for EVERY type of person, business and business model, platform/apps, integrations, social media channels, and every possible combination.
You can’t see what you don’t know exists yet, and for sure you won’t even know what questions to ask.
What about tools like ClickFunnels?
Good question. This is one option that I’m exploring to see if it may be worth the price to have much of the setup and mapping of a marketing funnel automated via this kind of platform. (No affiliate links yet, but if I do use them, it’s because I actually use the product or will in the future)
What is ClickFunnels?
The only issue I see so far is the barriers to entry, which includes a pretty steep cost for someone just starting out.
This platform has a lot of done-for-you templates and may be worth a try.. but it also does not address the specifics of YOUR business and YOUR personality.
This may mean that in addition to the learning curve of learning how the platform works and paying a pretty steep monthly fee, there still may be some “hit or miss” as one adjust it to work for their own individual needs.
It’s much like the “diet plan du jour.” What works for many doesn’t necessarily work for everyone.
My take is to go ahead and start a free trial when the following conditions are met:
• You have a SOLID understanding of your ideal client or patient, as well as your specific niche and USP (Unique Selling Proposition, or that which makes you unique)
• You have your “dots” lined up. If you are not even sure if you want to focus on Facebook ads, Podcasts, Instagram, or any other social media channels or combinations, do this first before paying $100 for expensive software.
However, you don’t necessarily need to have a $100 per month platform to get your marketing funnel going. If you already have a website, you can set up a funnel for less than $25 per month. (The main expense will be your email marketing service)
The next steps
This isn’t the final step. There are 2 more important elements I’ll be discussing in upcoming blogs: timing and mindset.
So far we have talked about the WHY, (blog 1) the WHAT (blog 2) and the WHERE an the HOW (this blog). The WHEN is also important, as is circling back to the WHY.
Be sure to stick around to find out more about timing and mindset when creating your marketing funnel!
Even after reading these blogs and implementing each stage, you may very well find that coaching is the next logical step to take so that you can create this whole process in a much more efficient manner. It’s likely that you will save a lot of time, money, and energy by doing so, and avoid both “analysis paralysis” and burnout.
In upcoming blogs, I’ll be going into more detail about the TIMING of a funnel and why it is so important .. and overlooked!
I hope this blog has helped you in some way.. If even taking some of the first steps involved in creating a marketing funnel. Start with learning about and building each of the pieces and parts of your funnel infrastructure so you can get a clearer idea about how they may all fit together before focusing on the moving parts.
There’s still a LOT more to this, though. Every business and every marketing journey is different, and you may very well find that you need some help guidance, clarity, and accountability. You may find that even with the best systems you will get stuck from time to time.
That’s what I’m here for! I’ve set up funnels before both as an acupuncturist and a digital marketer.
And yes, I can help you with all of that! I offer BOTH 1:1 coaching and group coaching to help people just like you.
Just click on the burgundy button below for a free 30 minute consultation.