What is a Sales Funnel?

What the Heck is a Funnel, Anyway?

For an online business owner, a sales funnel is probably the most important marketing tool you have. And yet many entrepreneurs – both new and established – have no clear understanding of what a funnel is or how it works.

As you can imagine, failing to fully understand this critical part of your business means fewer sales, lower profits, and ultimately, an unstable business.

A Simple Sales Funnel

At its most basic, a sales funnel consists of free content, which typically requires nothing of your readers. Many sales funnels begin with blog posts, YouTube videos, Facebook content, and other information readers can access at no cost. This is the “top” of your funnel.

Next, you’ll have an attractive offer that requires a very small “payment” of sorts – typically an email address. You’ve seen this type of offer on websites all over the internet, and probably even signed up for some. This is the free ebook or guide, video series, checklist, workbook, or other valuable content that is available in exchange for “opting in” to an email list.

Once on your mailing list, you’ll then present your readers with a series of low-cost offers. Perhaps you have a low-priced ebook or a trial membership.

Customers who purchase your low-priced product move further down the funnel, and are presented with more, higher priced products. As they continue to buy, they move closer and closer to your top-end offers, which make up the bottom of your funnel.

How Your Funnel Works

If you imagine your funnel as looking like, well, a funnel, it’s easy to see that your free content—at the top—is consumed by the largest number of readers. Below that, your extreme low-cost item (available only for the cost of an email address) attracts a smaller subset of the true freebie seekers. Next, your low-priced products bring in yet a smaller group.

Finally, as you near the tip of the funnel, only the loyalest of fans and customers will purchase your highest priced offers.

Your job, as the business owner, is to ensure that your funnel leads buyers naturally from the top, free offers all the way to the bottom. The more buyers you can keep in your funnel, the more money you will make.

Most new—and even established—business owners can easily envision the top of the funnel, but if you truly want your business to grow, you must master the entire process, and that starts with understanding what a funnel really is and how it works.

How To Create A Webinar Timeline

Webinar Timeline: A Proven Outline for Webinar Success

Does the thought of putting together a training webinar stop you cold? If you’re feeling overwhelmed at the possibilities, you’re not alone. Many small business owners freeze up at the prospect of creating an hour-long presentation.

The good news is, it’s not that difficult, if you have a plan to follow.

First 5 Minutes

Here’s where you’re going to introduce the subject matter. Tell your audience what they can expect to learn. Much like sales copy, it’s a good idea here to tease them a bit to get them excited about the subject matter.

Your Introduction

Next up, it’s all about you. Your listeners want to know who you are, how you gained your knowledge, and why you’re the one teaching the webinar. Don’t be afraid to get a bit personal here. Share pictures of your family vacation, you “working” on the beach, or anything else that will help created a connection.

Remember, we buy from people we know, like, and trust, and this is your audience’s chance to get to know you better. Plan to spend five to ten minutes on your introduction.

The Main Event

The next 30 minutes or so will be devoted to training. While 30 minutes might seem like a lot of time, when you’re teaching a complex subject it will go much faster than you can imagine.

Break up your training into three or five main points. Any more than that and you’ll run out of time. Remember that you should have approximately one slide per minute, and your slides should be short and punchy. A single word or image will speak volumes, and will help keep your audience attentive.

The Pitch

Most times, this is the reason for the webinar, so don’t skimp here. Plan to spend ten minutes or so selling. Share the benefits of your course or coaching or service (whatever you’re promoting), clearly explain any bonuses you’re offering, and emphasize any discounts the audience will receive for acting fast.

For most new—and even experienced—presenters, this is the most difficult portion of the webinar. You’ll want to be sure you practice it until you’re comfortable, preferably in front of a mirror or even a camera.

Q & A Time

Finally, you’ll want to offer your audience a chance to ask questions. It’s a good idea to hold this section until the end of the call (after the pitch), so your viewers don’t drop off before you have a chance to present your offer.

By breaking down your presentation into very specific chunks of time, it’s much less overwhelming to outline your webinar. Start by determining the approximate number of slides you’ll need, then block off the five webinar sections. Once you see that you really only need about 30 teaching slides, it’s suddenly much easier to fill that time.

How To Make Your Webinar Engaging

Top Tips for Hosting an Engaging Webinar

It’s true. No one wants to hear you drone on and on. But unless you take steps to keep your viewers engaged during your webinar, that’s exactly what you risk happening.

Top presenters have learned several tricks for keeping their viewers interested (and listening) even if the webinar seems to go on longer than they anticipated.

Hold Your Questions

If it seems like your viewers drop off the call just as you’re about to make an offer, you’re not imagining things. Many viewers attend for the training, with no thought to buy, and will leave the minute it’s clear the training is over.

You can curb that with one simple trick: hold the questions until after your offer. By breaking up the training with an offer in the middle, you’re more likely to hold your audience’s attention for the duration of the event.

Host a Contest

Much like holding questions until after the offer, the same effect can be had by hosting a contest in which the winner is not announced until the end of the webinar. Alternately, you could offer a prize to the first viewer to answer a question correctly—the question, of course, is based on the content of the webinar. This virtually ensures your viewers are paying attention.

Turn the Tables

Don’t let your viewers just sit and passively watch. Instead, get them talking.

Most webinar platforms have some kind of chat or question feature, so make use of it by chatting them up. At the beginning of the event, be sure to ask them to let you know if they can hear you and see your slides. Throughout the call, as you make a point or reveal a great tip, ask for their acknowledgment. Not only will this keep them interested and listening, but it will also help them learn how the chat function works, so when it’s time for Q & A they don’t have any trouble.

Tell a Story

Everyone loves a great story, and if you’ve got one, now is the time to tell it. Whether it’s the time you nearly got arrested in college, or how you had to eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for a month after your car died, if you can link your story to your webinar message, it’s a good candidate.

Just remember to practice telling it first, because if you’re not a natural-born story teller (many of us are not) then it can quickly backfire.

The last thing you want is for your webinar to be a boring, hour-long event that drives viewers away. It’s pretty depressing to watch the attendee number drop before you’re even halfway through your slides, but if you put these tips in play, you’ll have much happier—and attentive—webinar viewers.

How To create courses from Webinars

Webinar Repurposing Strategies That Make Sense

Just because your live event is over, doesn’t mean your webinar stops working for you. In fact, with a bit of planning, your replay can get as much—maybe even more—traction as the live webinar did.

Add the Replay to Your Autoresponders

Evergreen webinar topics are always welcome additions to your autoresponders. They give your loyal readers another way to learn from you, and their high value (video is always well received) means they’re more likely to be watched than your blog or ebooks are to be read.

But don’t stop with just the video. Offer readers a chance to download just the audio so they can listen on the go, and have the entire webinar transcribed for those who prefer to scan the content.

Use Handouts as Opt-In Incentives

Checklists and worksheets are extremely popular when it comes to enticing people to opt-in to your mailing list. It might seem counterintuitive, but sometimes less really is more. In fact, your readers will appreciate short, to-the-point checklists more than they will a 50 page ebook.

Rather than creating new offers, simply repurpose the worksheets you’ve created for your webinars.

Transcriptions and Slides Find New Homes

As surprising as it might seem, not everyone wants to watch a video. For those folks who are pressed for time, a transcript they can scan is the perfect answer. Not only that, but since Google can’t (yet) crawl video, the text version of your presentation is far better for SEO purposes.

There’s no end to the places you can share your transcript, either. Your blog, slide sharing sites, article directories, and LinkedIn are all top choices. You might even choose to do a little light editing and turn it into a Kindle book you can sell for a small fee.

Slice and Dice

In any good webinar, there are plenty of sound bites just waiting to be shared. A good virtual assistant can take your transcript and pull out the meaningful quotes for sharing on social media, and perhaps even make a selection of “pinnable” graphics to post to Pinterest.

Your presentation might even contain some of these nuggets, making her job even easier. A screenshot of a slide with a great quote or image makes the perfect update on your Facebook page or Twitter account. (Hint: keep this in mind when you create your presentation!)

And of course, don’t forget you can still offer your replay as an opt-in incentive, long after the event is over. You may want to record an alternate ending if you presented a time-sensitive offer, but otherwise it should serve you well for months or years to come.

 

The Easy Way To Use Powerpoint for Webinars

Slide Secrets: How to Create Attention Grabbing Slide Presentations

If the very thought of PowerPoint makes your eyes glaze over, you’re not alone. The world is filled with incredibly boring presentations, and you’ve no doubt sat through your share of them.

Now that you’re preparing your own presentations, how can you ensure your audience doesn’t feel the same way? By creating engaging, fun slides that grab and hold their attention.

Bullet Point Poison

While you may want to outline—and yes—use bullet points in your notes, the last thing that should appear on your slides are bullets. They’re the hallmark of an amateur presenter, and should only be used as a last resort.

More Slides, Not Fewer

It’s a common mistake many new (and even experienced) presenters make: too few slides. As a general rule of thumb, plan at least one slide per minute, on average. So a 45 minute presentation should have 45 slides, give or take a few.

Fewer Words, More Images

You’ll often see presentations—particularly in the corporate world—that contain nothing but words. Some presenters even read right from their slides. Talk about boring!

Instead, mix up your slides to include words, images, screenshots, graphs and other visually appealing elements. Use images that match your personality and style. For example, one of the highlights of watching any presentation by Nicole Dean is her liberal use of dog images. Not only do they help to solidify her message, but they keep the viewer entertained as well.

Don’t Forget Branding

Like all of your web properties, you want to be sure your slides are clearly branded. Your site colors, logo, tagline, URL and other elements help to remind viewers of who you are and what your business is. Consider creating a PowerPoint theme that you can use for all your presentations.

Clearly State Your Offer

The last few minutes of any presentation are typically reserved for your offer, so don’t skimp out here. Be sure your offer is clearly presented on your final slides, including the URL, any discount or bonuses, and the deadline for claiming them.

Finally, take the time to study the slides of the presenters you truly enjoy. Chances are if you are attentive to their presentation, others are as well. Follow their lead when it comes to the number of slides, types of images, and how the offer is presented, and you’ll soon be wowing your audience, too.