Everyone’s talking online marketing funnels these days. But what online funnel type is right for your business? Where do you start? And how do you evaluate your progress, or lack thereof?
It’s easy to get worn down and fatigued from all the hype, conflicting information and the latest puzzle piece solutions on the software front. Add it all up and it could have you feeling overwhelmed, unmotivated and confused. Congratulations (not really) — you have funnel fatigue!
My speculation is that we all understand and accept the need and importance of a marketing funnel. Not to mention the negative consequences of not having one. (Look for my all-too-true funnel confession later in this post.)
Before I provide my prescription and remedy, let’s dig deeper to root out the most likely symptoms and causes.
A good place to start is the current funnel mania running rampant in today’s digital marketing world. Consider everything that’s on our radar now… funnel software, funnel webinars, funnel maps, sales funnels, conversion funnels, marketing funnels, branded funnels, niche funnels, reverse funnels, shallow funnels, funnel stacking, deep funnels and more.
Even Google agrees with me! Just take a peek at the the screenshot below…
It’s enough to send you on an emotional eating bender (funnel cakes, anyone?) just to cope with it all!
There’s even a Wikipedia funnel page that outlines both a purchase funnel and conversion funnel in more detail.
But here’s the million-dollar (and more) question … how do we separate the hype from the reality?
And, more importantly, can we move beyond “analysis by paralysis” in our funnel exploration to actually achieve online marketing success?
This article will guide you in your funnel journey from Point A (funnel anxiety) to point B (funnel boss). And while Point B can seem a long way away, it’s actually not – especially once you identify and eliminate the cause of your fatigue.
Find The Source Of Your Funnel Fatigue
Step #1: Examine your situation (symptoms and causes) and diagnose accordingly.
Like any ailment, physical or digital, let’s do a quick exam before offering a diagnosis. Also, it’s important to make the distinction between a symptom of funnel fatigue and the ultimate cause or causes of it.
So what’s the real source behind the fatigue? Could it be from having to educate and re-educate yourself about funnels with all the options and choices the marketplace provides? As both a consumer and owner of many online marketing products and services, I feel that pain.
I also feel the irresistible tug of the “next best thing” with online marketing funnels in all its many forms: the latest email, websites, page builders, “reveal all” case studies and my favorite, “steal my funnel” clickbait.
Let’s be clear here: you’ll find plenty of worthwhile content and solutions about funnels. It’s just when everything hits you all at once, and with equal impact, overwhelm slaps you upside the head.
Now, if you feel similarly, that’s normal. So here’s a quick, yet proven remedy to get you out of an overwhelm state: simplify!
Instead of listening to so many competing voices, find one voice you trust and have a connection with about marketing funnels. That voice could live on the education side, the platform side, or both. (At Kartra, we aspire to be both.)
Other possible funnel fatigue symptoms
So what else is at play here? Is it a “keeping up with the Joneses” situation? Do you feel like you’re playing catch-up compared to your peers and your competitors? Does that sense of urgency gnaw at you like a crazed beaver devouring a chunk of pine?
If you have dismissed those possible symptoms, that’s progress! Could the source of your fatigue exist on the implementation side? For example, what type of funnel are you trying to build and how will it work for your business? For answers to those questions, consider these remaining steps to clarity…
Step #2: Talk the same funnel language (today’s definition differs from that of the past).
In the beginning, evidence of the first funnel maps appeared as prehistoric cave drawings. OK, that may be a bit of a stretch. But it’s not really that far-fetched. That’s because a funnel is based on user behavior and performance. So maybe those cave drawings were a way to motivate the tribe to a specific action or outcome.
Flash forward to a more recent marketing time period: from the 1930’s to the early 2000’s.
That time-frame saw funnels leading a prospect through a series of steps towards a desired outcome. You may have also seen images of product funnels based on the AIDA model as seen below.
The approach works like this: start at the top of the funnel (the largest part). This is where you include freemiums and low-priced products/services) to invite prospects into your funnel. As you work your way down through the funnel, prices increase and the appropriate audience gets smaller and more targeted as the funnel narrows. That’s because your customers self-select how far they want to go in learning or purchasing more.
Today’s funnels have a far greater and expanded scope. They are complex, multi-layered and depend on various automations (like, if the person opens this email, send this link, but if they don’t, show this page).
And yet, even a basic funnel, requires a variety of software and programs to execute and implement because they must be automated to work properly. (You cannot possibly track each and every triggering action to send the right piece for that prospect’s learning or buying journey.) What’s more, you need to integrate them or get them to all somehow work in unison.
Now, let’s take stock. If you’re on a budget and want a functional funnel at a bare minimum, here’s a good starter list of what you’ll need:
- Email marketing software
- Ecommerce or shopping cart platform
- Page creator and/or page templates (for optin, lead magnet, sales and thank you pages)
- Delivery and download system (how is your digital product delivered and where is it housed?) A popular option today is membership software.
- Marketing automation sequences (for upsells, downsells, cross-sells and more).
Do you have some of these already? Assuming you do, then it’s time to move to the next step…
Step #3: Target completion, not perfection (my two recommended “starter funnels”).
Can you guess what is one of the biggest revenue killers around? Inertia! That’s not a funnel thing – it’s a people thing! You want to create a funnel but it becomes daunting. This is when funnel fatigue is the most dangerous – because it is preventing you from connecting with your customers and making money.
So, try this: manage your expectations and start small. Put aside the multi-step, full-blown funnel map you envision and go for the simple and doable one right now.
TIP: what makes funnels work is meeting your prospects where they are, not where you’d like them to be. Too often marketers make the mistake of hitting prospects with an offer too quickly and before a relationship and trust are present.
Here are two starter funnels to consider that you can add quickly and easily.
Starter Funnel #1: The Lead Magnet Funnel
- Lead magnet (an action guide, checklist, white paper, eBook, video, etc. to giveaway)
- Optin page creator / builder / page templates
- Email marketing software and sequence (to deliver six emails total, spaced apart every 3-4 days)
- Shopping cart (to process payments)
Following the traditional model, the lead magnet sits at the top of your funnel. That’s because you’ll get the most prospects to act on this item.
The real opportunity is to go beyond the expected and only emailing a link to access a purchase. This email will be one of the MOST opened emails you’ll EVER send. It’s a golden opportunity to nurture this new relationship.
How, exactly? You can help your prospect consume the information. Ask them for feedback. Point out key takeaways. Those are just some ways to build engagement and keep the conversation going — and growing.
Starter Funnel #2: The “Tripwire” Funnel
- Sales page builder / creator / templates
- Email marketing software
- Shopping cart
- Delivery system (or membership site capability)
- Automation sequences for upsell, downsell, one-time offers, etc.
With this online marketing funnel, you sell a low-priced product with a target range of $10 – $30. Once the product is purchased, you present an additional and complementary product for sale. Here’s a good rule of thumb: make the upsell or one-time offer (OTO) no more than 3x the price of the original purchase.
TIP: make the initial product useful but incomplete. The upsell or OTO offers additional value and is a natural fit with the initial purchase.
An example of how this works:
Say your initial sale is a recipe book for those following the ketogenic diet (high fat and low carbs). The upsell could be a planner with checklists that allows the customer to put the recipes into action on specific days and times while tying in to seasonal availability of produce options.
You could even include a guide to the best keto options when eating out (with examples from national chains like TGI Friday’s, Chili’s, etc.).
Can you see some of the possibilities? If yes, then it’s time to move to the next step…
Step #4: Test internally before marketing externally.
Here’s an axiom to remember: “Test with those who know you best.”
Already have a mailing list? Great! Test your new lead magnet or tripwire product with your list first. Once you can gauge the response and make the necessary course corrections, start sending other traffic to these funnels.
How long should you test? That depends. Ideally, you want a good read on the situation where you have discernible trends on what works and what doesn’t. (Note: keep an eye out for another blog post to cover the merits of testing as well as all the different variables.)
The big takeaway here: don’t assume anything and be prepared to be surprised. How you think a prospect or customer may react isn’t always the case. Which leads us to the final step of our remedy for funnel fatigue…
Step #5: Course correct! Failure is an option and it’s OK (my personal “funnel confession”).
Congratulations – you have funnels! Nothing transforms fatigue into enthusiasm like positive and consistent action. I’ll even go one step further. Don’t obsess with sales goals and over tweak the various elements for incremental conversion boost. The time will come when you can make those improvements. For now, focus on the big picture of completion and progress.
Now, it’s time for my “true funnel confession”…
Online, I’m known most as an authority on press releases. One big reason for that was my information product, PR Traffic. It was only my second online marketing product and I wanted it to be BIG and a “must have” for online marketers. So I spent most of my time creating the product, building the sales page, getting fulfillment together (because it was a physical product) and lining up all the affiliate partners.
As a result, you know what I had for my funnel? A freemium (“7 Deadly Press Release Mistakes”) and a $497 product. And nothing in-between!
You know how much money I left on the table? Well, based on the level of traffic the affiliates were sending, I easily missed out on a low six figures worth during the one-week launch!
Even so, the product was a huge success and did mid-six figures over the course of the initial launch and some other event marketing promotions.
Here’s how I learned my online funnel lesson (with the ROI to prove it).
My first remedy was to add lower-priced products to the funnel. I created a press release template product in the price range of $39 – $70. And when someone purchased that product, I gave the customer a compelling and compatible upgrade to their initial purchase.
You see, by buying the press release templates, they indicated a desire for a DIY (Do-It Yourself) solution. Well, what if the customer got busy or distracted and they urgently needed a press release done quickly and expertly?
Enter my upsell or One-Time Offer (OTO): a Done-for-You (DFY) press release! The value of this service was a considerable savings over the stand-alone pricing of my one-off press release services. (The OTO price was typically $127 – $147 while the stand-alone price was never less than $227.)
In addition to a great price, this gave the customer completed the transaction with full confidence. One way or another, either via their hands or mine, they’d have a press release published!
No wonder my conversion rate for those accepting the upsell/OTO never dipped below 33%. That means one in three customers purchased the upsell. That, in turn, increased the customer value from two figures to three figures. Not too shabby, eh?
As a disclaimer, I should say your mileage will vary. Your ultimate takeaway is this: the right mix of products, services and software is a winning combination.
I hope so. I know I felt great once I put my starter funnels in place. Just remember not to psych yourself out. Of course, it helps having an all-in-one online platform like Kartra right at your fingertips. Nothing like that existing when I first started marketing online. It’s a major solution truly simplifies the building and automating of your funnels. (With the profiting soon to follow!)
And just take it one step at a time. You’ll be a funnel boss soon enough – and without any fatigue!