Solving The Entrepreneurs Dilemma With An Automated Marketing Funnel
By Dustin Briley
It’s the classic entrepreneur’s dilemma: how do you work both in your business AND on your business? In other words, how do you serve your existing customers while still continuing to grow your business? 

One solution is to simply try to hustle more. To work more hours. To add networking and cold calling and lead nurturing to the massive list of things you already do. But that’s not a particularly practical solution. Trying to work more usually leads to burnout and frustration. When you just keep adding more to your plate, eventually something breaks.

You need an automated way to attract and nurture high-quality leads. You need a proven methodology for automatically taking a cold lead and warming them up to the point where they’re ready to buy from you.

In other words, you need an automated marketing funnel. 
Wait, What Exactly Is A Funnel?
If you already know all about marketing funnels, you can skip down to the next section. But let’s make sure we’re all on the same page regarding exactly what a funnel is. Once you have a better understanding, you’ll see just how powerful this can be for your business. 

A sales/marketing funnel is an automated process that nurtures people from their initial introduction to you all the way to when they become a customer or client. A sales funnel helps people get to know you and trust you to the point where they eventually want to work with you. 

Did you notice the word “automated”? That’s key. There’s not enough time in the day for you to talk to each of your leads, one-on-one. You simply can’t scale that way. Rather, you need a systematic, automatic way to nurture your leads to the point where they’re ready to buy from you. 

At a minimum, funnels typically involve three things: 
  • An entry point
  •  Education/relationship building 
  •  The sale 
The amount of time a potential customer spends in your funnel will vary depending on what you’re selling, but the framework generally stays the same. 
Why Do You Need A Sales Funnel?
At this point, you may be thinking, This sounds nice, but why do I even need a sales funnel? Things are going okay right now. 

You need a sales funnel for two primary reasons.  

First, as mentioned above, it’s the only way you can scale your business. There’s simply no way you can manually interact with all your leads and lead them to the sale. There’s not enough time in the day to do that and serve your existing customers. You need a funnel that can nurture and qualify leads automatically. 

In other words, you need a proven, automatic process for building relationships with high-quality leads and forcing the unqualified leads to drop off. This ensures that when it’s time to make the sale, you’re only talking to the most qualified leads.

Second, most people need more information before they’re going to buy from you. It’s very difficult to convert a cold lead into a sale. You need to educate them, demonstrate your credibility, and prove to them that you truly can solve their problem. Initially, the leads in your funnel don’t know you very well. You need to demonstrate your expertise and prove that you truly can solve their problems.

The reality is that most of your leads won’t know the extent of their problem when they first enter your funnel. A funnel allows you to help them see the true nature of their problem, as well as provide a meaningful solution. It allows you to position yourself as the expert that they desperately need. 
So How Does A Sales Funnel Actually Work?
As we noted above, every funnel has an entry point, education/ relationship building, and the sale. What each of these elements looks like can vary wildly from funnel to funnel, so we’ll give you some common examples. 
Step #1: The Entry Point
To state the obvious, you need a way to get leads into your funnel. You need something that will attract them to you and convince them to give you their contact information. Usually, this involves you giving away something of value in exchange for an email address. 

That something of value (typically called a “lead magnet) could be: 
  • An eBook
  •  A webinar 
  •  A free trial 
  •  A checklist 
  •  A video series 
  •  An email course 
  •  And dozens of other options 
The point is simply that you’re exchanging value with the potential customer. You give them an eBook and they give you their email address. Once you have their email address, they’re in your funnel. 
Step #2: Education/Relationship Building
Once you have their contact info, it’s time to start building a meaningful relationship with the potential customer. Just like the entry point, there are numerous ways you can do this. The goal is simply to establish trust and rapport with the lead. Before you can ask for a sale, the lead needs to feel like they know you and can trust you to solve their problems.

Some simple ways to build trust and rapport are: 
  • A series of educational emails
  •  A webinar 
  •  A video series 
  •  A combination of all three 
The amount of relationship building necessary will depend on a variety of things, such as the cost of what you’re selling or the complexity of the problem you’re solving. 

Some funnels go directly from the lead magnet to the webinar to the sales pitch.  

Others go from the lead magnet into lengthy email sequences without ever going to a webinar.  

Your funnel will need to be customized to fit your business and your customers. 
Step #3: The Sale
After you’ve done the necessary relationship building, it’s time to make your sales pitch. If you’ve done enough relationship building, the leads should be very receptive to your offer. 

There are numerous ways you can make your sales pitch, including: 
  • Via email
  •  On the phone 
  •  On a webinar 
  •  An in-person meeting 
The method you select will depend on what you’re selling. Typically, the more something costs, the more personal the pitch needs to be. Selling a $197 course can happen via email. Selling a $4,999 consulting package probably needs to happen over the phone or in person.

We send people to a webinar where we make a pitch for a relatively inexpensive product. 

If they purchase via the webinar, we then personally call them to offer higher-ticket packages that can help them even further.  

Doing it this way allows us to qualify our leads even more. We know that someone who has already purchased for us is much more likely to purchase more if we call them on the phone. This allows us to maximize our ROI.  

Whatever you choose, you simply need to have a point in your funnel where you move from education to actively engaging and asking for the sale.  
Automatic For The Win
Are you starting to see the power of an automated funnel? When your funnel is functioning correctly, it will automatically move potential leads from the entry point to where they’re eager to pull out their wallets and purchase from you. All you have to do is make the sale. Everything else happens automatically. 

This truly is the only way you can scale your business. If you try to do everything manually, you’ll quickly find yourself burned out, frustrated, and ready to throw in the towel. 

However, if you deploy an automatic funnel you’ll start to see highly qualified leads pour in, which then translate into easy sales.  

Automation truly is a thing of beauty. 

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