Tired of pouring your hard earned money into expensive ad campaigns with little to no results?
Wondering if you can get streams of traffic without wasting money on expensive ads that don’t work?
I'm here to tell you it is possible... And in this post you'll learn exactly how to do just that!
All you need is a successful inbound marketing sales funnel.
As a digital marketer, you may already know what a sales funnel (or marketing funnel) is and how it works.
Your prospects enter the top of your funnel when they first learn about you and your business. Next, you guide them to the middle of the funnel with the aim of converting them into new customers at the bottom-most part of the funnel.
You already know all this, right?
But, there’s one thing you probably don’t know (or haven’t realized) yet…
With ever-evolving customer behavior, there’s a dire need to reimagine the marketing sales funnel.
It’s no longer possible to rely solely on paid advertising to sell products. You need to apply an inbound marketing sales funnel strategy to the process of transforming leads into qualified prospects, and then turning prospects into paying customers… if you really want to skyrocket your conversion rates!
So how do you reimagine the sales funnel? By embracing inbound marketing and sales.
Why What Used to Work Will Not Work Anymore
Buyers no longer want sales and marketing folks to reach out to them the minute they enter your marketing funnel.
In fact, this sort of traditional, forceful sales team methodology simply pushes buyers away from your funnel, making it impossible to generate better conversion rates for your company.
Then what do buyers want?
Now that’s a million-dollar question. And, nearly every digital marketer is itching to know the answer.
So let’s bite the bullet and break it down for you….
Customers want to know their unique challenges and problems are understood and catered to.
They want to know that when they hand over their hard-earned cash, that you, your products, and your services are going to connect with where they are... and that you can deliver the results they are eagerly desiring.
They are aware that all of the answers are available to them for free on the internet since the passing of the information age, but they also want to quicken the process of sorting through that information... and they are willing to pay money to have it served to them quickly and in the right order.
But how can they experience this?
And how can they be convinced in their heart that you can deliver these goods?
The answer is for you to create, and publish, transformational content!
But how does this free and transformational content make you money?
This is what an inbound marketing sales funnel is all about.
In this article....
- What exactly an inbound marketing sales funnel is
- How to apply an inbound marketing-optimized approach to your funnel
- What the benefits of inbound marketing are in improving the buying process
- 8 Common strategies of inbound that you can include in your funnel
What is An Inbound Marketing Sales Funnel?
The real beauty of inbound marketing sales funnel strategies is that, once they are generated, you will reap automated and ongoing sales from your efforts.
You’ll need fewer resources to reliably produce anticipated results....Every. Single. Day.
This is how to create true lifestyle freedom, and is also why you need to place inbound marketing at the top of your most valuable time priorities.
Here are five assets an inbound marketing sales funnel will create for you.
Amplified Visibility and Brand Awareness
By leveraging digital technology, even the smallest of brands can gain international recognition.
When your company creates optimized content that’s aligned with the customer’s journey, your target customers are capable of finding your message as they carry out their research.
If you aren’t out there, they won’t find you. It’s as simple as that.
Here’s a bonus: If they really like your content, they’ll share it with their social networks. This will radically increase your visibility and solidify your reputation as a reliable resource.
Did you know, 57% of the buying decision is complete before a customer even contacts a seller?
Here’s another key stat: 9 out of 10 purchasers believe online content has a moderate to major effect on their buying decisions.
This means three things.
- It means that buyers do a lot of research before making a purchase.
- It means that what they learn during their research impacts their purchasing decisions.
- And it means that your content has the potential to not only grab their online queries through SEO… but that it is also able to educate them and get you lined up as the first-choice to help them solve their problem.
Simplified Sales and Marketing Activities
By using inbound marketing techniques, your sales and advertising guys can collectively produce potent content for prospective customers.
Your sales team has plenty of valuable insights into what the consumers need and want at various stages of their purchasing journey.
Fortified with that info, your marketing team can produce highly-targeted content that edifies the purchaser, responds to their queries, and solves their issues.
Jointly, sales and marketing teams can use and dispense that info to drive leads to the middle of the funnel, upturn conversions, and support current consumers.
Increased Trust and Reliability
A wide majority of customers are increasingly shunning traditional outbound marketing efforts. They don’t want to be disturbed by your cold calls or emails.
This just doesn’t work anymore.
In contrast, consumers want to learn about the things they love and are passionate about.
This is where inbound marketing comes in handy, as it focuses on the customer’s desires and what they are searching for online.
What should you do?
Gulp down your ego, dial back your eagerness, and target customers in a more effective way.
By publishing quality content that will give them what they are looking for!
Do that, and you’ll acquire their trust and pop up in their minds whenever they feel ready to spend some money on the things that interest them.
High Quality Traffic and Leads
Many people believe that the formula for inbound marketing is…
Inbound marketing = sales.
Well, not exactly.
It actually looks more like this…
Inbound marketing = better customer relationships… and better customer relationships = sales.
How does it establish these relationships, though?
When you share content that’s targeted at your main customer segment, you attract quality traffic and leads to your site.
Remember this: The more often you share transformational content, the more frequently your prospects can be expected to visit your site.
And when they do, you’ll be all set, waiting for them with your CTAs, striking landing pages, and valuable content to help them continue down the rabbit-hole of the things they love and are interested in. This way, you guide them down the funnel towards conversion.
How To Build an Inbound Marketing Sales Funnel
Want more than 1 million people to visit your website more than once in a year?
Want more than 83,000 repeat revisits to your website every month?
Create valuable content for years.
This is our little ‘secret’ that compelled more than one million people to visit mine and my wife’s main website multiple times in the last year.
Because my wife's content is SUPER helpful!
Though an inbound marketing sales funnel requires many moving parts, it is actually easier to assemble than you might think.
Keep in mind you don’t build your entire funnel in a day. It’s a gradual process. You should develop your funnel bit by bit.
It is done in 3-steps, or maybe more accurately stated, in three phases.
- Create and publish pieces of content your target customer is looking to consume every month
- Create an opt-in page or a popup form that helps you capture the email addresses of your prospects. You offer a lead magnet such as an ebook, a video, a checklist, or any other valuable thing for free, which tempts your visitors to send you their info.
- Next is the OTO (one-time offer) after opt-in, which is basically the product/service that you want to sell to generate money. You put forward such an enticing offer (like a huge discount) that your visitors just can’t say no to it.
By creating precise content that shows your customers how well you know their pain points, all sales for your business will increase... and you will generate raving fans that refer people to your content, products, and services.
In this video, from 1:21 - 4:15, I will show you my sales funnel I use for all inbound marketing. I even use the same funnel for a lot of my Facebook ads.
But now, let’s talk about the actual steps you need to go through to actually build an effective inbound marketing sales funnel.
Step One - Determine Content Marketing Categories That Your Target Avatar Needs
On my website and YouTube channel I have determined 7 content buckets that help my best customers along the journey of creating an online business.
These 7-buckets are,
- Online business
- SEO/SEM (Search engine marketing)
- Facebook Advertising
- Sales Funnels
- Email Marketing
- Social Media Marketing
Step one to building your inbound marketing sales funnel is answering this question...
“What are four to eight areas of expertise I can create content about that help my best customer along the journey of accomplishing ______________?”
Step Two - Creating An Opt-In Page Or A Lead Generation Form
Generating leads in inbound marketing happens when your content attracts the attention of your target customers.
This is an important distinction. These leads found you and started reading, watching, or viewing your content.
This stands in stark contrast to the idea of ‘you finding and calling people to generate leads.’
This is a modern solution to an ancient problem… finding leads who might be interested in your products.
And if your content helps the customer to feel understood, and helps them to solve their problem, they will love your content when they find it, and it will resonate with them.
But once a potential customer engages with your content, you need to turn them into a lead by getting them to opt-in to your email list.
To earn free leads this way, you need to follow these steps.
- Create an opt-in form, usually a popup and/or a landing page, that gives customers the ability to join your list in exchange for a free ‘lead magnet’
- Figure out what your customers need, and offer a free eBook, report, course, video, or something that will help them. This is a lead magnet. All they need to do to get this is to join your list.
- You want to make sure that your lead magnet complements your product or services. The product you want to sell them should be the next-step-up from what your lead magnet is giving them
- Make sure that your lead magnet is super high in quality though, and make sure that it offers a real experience
- Do not underestimate the importance of getting them to sign up for your email list. This is where the true value lies! If you manage this, you win… because now you can give them value and market your products on the back-end
Turn your leads into prospects by getting them to sign up for your email list, either via a popup, or through some other mechanism, like a banner.
Step Three - Creating One Time Offers and Upsells in Your Funnel
Once you turn your leads into prospects by getting them to sign up for your mailing list, you’ve accomplished a huge goal… because you have successfully used your inbound sales funnel to gather a new prospect.
But now, you can start building out the funnels and actually making sales when you convert leads into prospects.
Here is how you do that.
- Build a One-Time-Offer page that offers a product at a super-discounted price to prospects who have just opted-in to your email list. This offer should enhance the lead-magnet value, and offer an even better opportunity for them to solve their problem!
- Once your customer clicks on the One-Time-Offer and enters their credit card information, you take them to a One-Click-Upsell screen. Here, they have the option to add an additional product that will further enhance their purchase. This is smooth and easy, and does not even require them to enter their card information again!
- Whether they choose to add the upsell or not, they are then taken to the checkout page and finish the sale.
This is how you turn prospects into customers using an inbound marketing sales funnel.
So How Do You Get Started?
Start creating content to fill up each bucket or category on your audience’s radar, and to load up your platform with tons of optimized information that will attract your target customers.
Choose one of these best platforms for inbound marketing, and begin filling up your content categories.
And of course, you want to choose the platform that comes the most naturally to you.
The best part? None of these tactics will require a massive portion of your budget.
Sidenote, my YouTube channel and blog have quite a bit of free content to help you crush almost every one of these inbound marketing strategies.
When you find the one that resonates with you, you can use the search box at the top of this page and my YouTube channel here to go deeper into how-to’s with any of these methods.
Here are eight ways to earn free traffic to the entrance of your inbound marketing sales funnel, these are ordered from most valuable to least important in my opinion.
According to a HubSpot report, marketing professionals who prioritize blogging are 13x more probable to get a positive ROI.
It definitely pays to be consistent. Marketers who publish blog posts at least sixteen times every month, produce 3.5x more web traffic and 4.5x more leads than businesses that only update their blogs occasionally every month.
Why is a blog so important? Because it’s an awesome way to answer your potential customers’ queries in an accessible format.
The more informative your blog is, and the more often your company updates it with new and relevant blog content, the more chances you have to become the reliable resource that people remember as they travel towards the middle of the funnel (and eventually to the bottom).
Plus, they're more likely to subscribe to your website if they like the quality of your blog content.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
SEO includes all the actions you can (and should) execute to make your content more detectable in the SERPs (search engine results pages).
It doesn’t matter how glossy your free book looks or how appealing your podcast is if people can’t really find you in their organic search results.
Ideally, your content should appear on Page 1 to drive massive traffic. This is why 66% of companies consider SEO their top priority.
But it’s okay. You can get there. Really.
Focus on on-page as well as off-page SEO.
On-page SEO includes all the tweaks you can do directly on your site to make your content more visible to search engines, such as adjusting headings, playing with keywords etc.
Whereas, off-page SEO includes all the stuff that occurs outside of your website, such as link building.
You need to take a broad view, but you get the essence: SEO is a substantial piece of the inbound cake, because the audience doesn’t look at the sites they don’t know exist.
Inbound Marketing With YouTube
In the age of smartphones, you can’t ignore video content. It’s developing and appealing, and most importantly, it’s effective.
Video is what most of your prospects want to see when they’re scrolling through their social networks.
It’s a great way to bring your brand to life. Hubspot found that nearly 48% of digital marketers are planning to add YouTube to their marketing strategy.
Unlike long-form articles, videos work best when they’re short and succinct. An average social media user is usually uninterested in videos that are longer than two minutes.
Podcasting allows you to add a humanizing touch to your brand. As a result, when prospective customers are making their final decision, they recognize you as both a valuable and relatable source.
Now you don’t need tons of labor, time, or equipment to create a good podcast.
All you need is a laptop, a couple microphones, and at least one colleague who sounds like Michael Wincott, and you’re good to go!
Just ONE half-hour episode every week is all it takes to become the winning brand that prospects resort to during their boring morning travels.
You’ve probably seen many digital marketers ignoring Pinterest when it comes to leveraging social media platforms for driving traffic. But the truth is that it’s actually one of the most powerful tools out there.
Just take a look at how Pinterest has been driving insane amounts of traffic to our website. It drives more than 5X the amount of traffic that Facebook gives us!
In fact, Pinterest is 1,680 times better than Facebook. Why?
Because your Facebook post has a maximum 90 minute half-life, while the half-life of your pin is 3.5 months!
A powerful content marketing strategy that works in many niches are infographics.
Infographics earn website traffic and Pinterest fans.
Your blog posts might be really interesting, but visitors don’t always have the time (or wish) to sit down and read long articles.
Often, they just want a swift snapshot of meaningful information, preferably presented in a visually appealing format. This is where infographics come in.
By creating an infographic, your content is 30 times more likely to be consumed than a purely word-based piece.
Free Books on Amazon
A free book is a great opportunity to develop you as an influential resource of actionable, insightful info. You can offer your book on Amazon for free in exchange for your lead’s contact information.
When including free books into your inbound approach, remember that one of the main purposes of a book is to teach the reader about something or offer a “how to” guide on a topic.
So break down your info into easily understandable and bite-sized pieces.
Your free book can range anywhere from 20 to 200 pages in length. It all depends on the breadth of the topic being covered.
What’s the point of churning out blog posts one after another without sharing them on Facebook?
By leveraging Facebook, you can create a cult following that you can market your products/services to again and again.
Plus, you can take advantage of the ‘viral’ nature of social media content.
If people like what you share on your Facebook, they’ll not only subscribe to you but will also share your stuff to their networks – all for free.
Summing it all up....
Create epic content consistently, produce call-to-action content such as landing pages and pop-ups where you offer a lead magnet in return for them signing up for your email list.
Then, create your one-time-offer and upsell pages to show those who opt-in.
Start an autoresponder email sequence and broadcast email list to send out emails to those who opt in, and start adding serious value to their lives and making offers several times per week.
You don’t have to become the overnight conjurer of inbound sales marketing funnels to taste success. Like every other aspect of marketing, it’ll be a course of tests, trials, and blunders.
But when you discover what works best for you, the leads (and sales) will be queuing up at your doorstep.
Hopefully, this post has helped to answer your most pressing questions about inbound marketing sales funnels.
I also legitimately hope that you have found value in some of these steps.
It is a long-term game. Never forget that!
Right now, you might feel like publishing blog posts isn’t getting you anywhere.
You may feel like you are wasting your time with those YouTube videos.
But keep generating that content. Keep bringing value, and keep making the world aware of what you have to offer.
That is where true power is created!
If you have any other questions, please drop them in the comments.
Until next time…
Miles “Funnel-Guy” Beckler!