Sales Funnels

Sales funnels can be effective – but you need to avoid these errors.

 

One of the biggest and most popular trends in business marketing is creating and maintaining a sales funnel.  Now that websites have been around for most organizations during the last 10-20 years, their perceived effectiveness appears to have dropped significantly out of most business leaders’ minds.  Replacing the traditional website is the “sales funnel” framework, including the “funnel page” resource.

Russell Brunson, founder of ClickFunnels, has gained a lot of visibility for his popular and engaging sales funnel strategies, including the release of his book, “Traffic Secrets.”  Brunson has admittedly taken some of Robert Kiyosaki’s “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” marketing strategies and applied them to his promotional campaigns to get businesses to use his sales funnel services.  However, there are some challenges which Brunson and his team are not addressing – and those challenges can’t and shouldn’t be ignored.  

Before we get started on this discussion, there are some points of clarity which need to be covered. 

First, we’re not against Russell Brunson or ClickFunnels, or especially sales funnels in general.  We have successfully built funnel pages on the ClickFunnels platform and the clients have been pleased with the results we created.  We work with the ClickFunnels platform and can complete your projects to your full satisfaction.  Sales funnels can be highly effective and a great way to attract and gain sales.  

Secondly, a “funnel page” is actually a website page and not something else.  The distinctive between a typical website page and a funnel page lies within the content.  Most website pages have “online brochure” content, which means that the same content you would put in a printed brochure is on your website.  Funnel pages are also online as website pages, but the focus of the content is to get you to buy or order a product or service.  A funnel page is more of a sales pitch or, as what most marketers would call it, a “unique value proposition.”  Instead of telling the customer what you offer as the focus, the funnel page is focused on causing you to buy something.  

Lastly, the concept of sales funnels is not new.  Marketers have been doing these sales pitches for years.  For those who are over the age of 45, you might remember how record companies used to offer “music album memberships” through direct mail, television ads, and other means.  Timeshare membership marketing uses many of the same concepts as a sales funnel, even though they don’t necessarily use an online-based approach.  Even though these two examples are unattractive to a lot of people, they have gained lots of success over the years.  The reason is simple – for those who really want these items, the value proposition is highly compelling.  Furthermore, the “return on investment” for these customers is worth every penny.  

 Let’s cover what strategic errors can make sales funnels dangerous:

 

1. A sales funnel isn’t guaranteed to be effective.

We have repeatedly seen and heard that sales funnels are the best way to sell your product or service.  Some companies and so-called “experts” are telling prospective customers that it is virtually “guaranteed” to be effective for any and all businesses and organizations.  We’ve heard similar claims before in the history of our company, especially when we started in 1998.  
Let’s name the “guaranteed” things we’ve seen: text websites, graphics-based websites, E-commerce, Flash-based animated websites, E-commerce, blog-based websites, video-based websites, social media, app-based websites and now sales funnels.  All of these resources have produced great success for certain organizations, but none of them created guaranteed results.  
This isn’t to say that you can’t be successful in your efforts, but it’s like a kid with a lemonade stand, with the hopes of making a load of money.  It all depends on where you’re located, how you’re making the presentation, and how easy it is to purchase your product or service.  If those three facets are not optimized, you will most likely fail.  

2. Not every business or organization should use a sales funnel.

Why someone would make the claim that “it works for any and all businesses,” is simply wrong.  Yet, there are a lot of so-called experts who are making these claims and creating more trouble for those who create outstanding sales funnel frameworks.   
The reason is fairly simple: if you can’t make a powerful unique value proposition within the sales funnel, you need to stay away from the sales funnel framework.  There are certain organizations which a unique value proposition in a sales funnel framework isn’t easy to create for them.  There are compelling reasons why timeshare property companies don’t necessarily use a sales funnel framework – simply because the price of the investment is very high.  That’s not to say that they couldn’t implement a sales funnel to get potential leads, but it’s not likely for them to try to sell you a timeshare property through a sales funnel approach.  

3.  Bad content is bad content – no matter what framework you use.

As we explained in a previous blog article, a unique value proposition is all about offering the marketplace – and especially your potential and current customers – a powerful, compelling reason to do business with you.  Gaining trust and credibility, whether you are just starting out or you are already established, is the name of the game.  You need to win their trust, which starts with a value proposition, so you need to clearly state what you offer and why you have the best solutions.
That’s where a lot of companies make a huge mistake.  Instead of winning trust and credibility, and especially making the presentation of a compelling reason to do business, the presentation is all about the company and what it offers.  As many sales funnel “experts” teach the concept of a long, scripted, written monologue, this content easily alienates the reader.  By the time the content gets to the “ask” of inviting someone to purchase the product or service, the reader has already left the page.  

So, you ask, why should I even build a sales funnel or a funnel page?

If you create a sales funnel which carefully plans and crafts the customer experience, from initial invitation to the close of the sale, you will actually increase your chances for a successful sale.  This takes strategic planning, which many companies have a tendency to skip this critical area.  Focusing on a positive, empowering opportunity for the customer is highly important and effective.  

Secondly, focusing on what will meet the customer’s needs will increase effectiveness as well.  It’s not about what you think about your company, but about what makes the customer’s life a better and more satisfied one.  Many of the most successful companies in the world don’t have the most powerful, effective products, but what they do understand is the power of the presentation and how they solve problems for the customer. 

 

Lastly, taking personal ownership of your content is very important.  Instead of entrusting your content and presentation to someone else who makes bold promises, it’s important for you to know what you want to say, how to say it, and then making sure it is concise and clear to your customer.  No one cares more about your business than you do, so be careful about entrusting it to someone who doesn’t have your best interests in mind.  

 

For over 20 years, we’ve worked with clients to help them make the best impressions and the best presentations.  Let us help you make a sales funnel work for your business!