We’ve all struggled to make money from our blogs at some point, and every wannabe online marker has a bag of tricks they’re eager to try.
Behind every successful blogger, there is a much more complex structure that’s the key to their success but hidden from your view.
Its what business refer to as the sales funnel. Its nothing but creating:
- Awareness – the customer is made aware of the existence of a product or service
- Interest – actively expressing an interest in a product group
- Desire – aspiring to a particular brand or product
- Action – taking the next step towards purchasing the chosen product
As bloggers we cover the four points highlighted, however we do not often follow the structure as we should. In this article, I will outline my understanding and implementation of a blog sales funnel.
Unqualified Prospects – Blog Visitors
Unqualified prospects is nothing but your blog visitors who are not your customers. The most difficult task for any new blogger is to generate high quality traffic to the blog. Which is also the first step to the sales funnel, driving unqualified prospects from around the web to the blog.
There are a lot of articles on the web that you can follow to drive traffic or you can just go and read my article on how I was able to generate 1000 new visitors to your blog every month. There are various study’s that say search visitors are high converting. While that might be true for the study. Based on my experience, I’ve found that social visitors are much better than search.
I focus a lot on generate high quality visitors from sites like Pinterest where the visitors have purchase intentions. This is another important factor to make sales from blogs.
Why? you ask.
Its because there are different types of users who surf the web. Its important that you concentrate on the one who’s intentions are to purchase and not just educate themselves.
Once the prospects have reached your site you have accomplished the first step of the sales funnel i.e. driving visitors or unqualified prospects to the blog.
Initial Communication – Blog Articles
Your articles are a way for you to initiate initial communication with the prospects or the visitors. You will be providing valuable information to your new visitors.
In a way you are starting a dialog, however at this point its just you doing the talking. Your intentions here should be to provide valuable information that the prospects are influenced by your writing.
Your skill here is what that will push the prospect to the next stage of the blog sales funnel.
This is the point where you showcase your authority. Usually using infographics, case studies and having a POV (Point Of View ) that unique to others is a great way to instill confidence in your new prospects.
This is the second step of the blog sales funnel. The visitor has now reached the end of your article.
Engagement – Social Sharing & Comments
The next two steps will be the deciding factor if the user is really interested or just surfing. If the user likes what he or she has read, then there is a good chance that they would leave you a comment of appreciation or may be even disagreement.
May be share it with their friends and collages because they feel that others might benefit from your article as well.
If the prospect leaves your blog after that, then its either someone who was looking for something else or they do not like what you offer them and you should work on your writing.
If the visitor shares your content or comments it gives you the opportunity to engage your readers. You can talk to them on social platforms after they have shared and try to bring them back to your blog to offer them more.
If they leave a comment on your site, you can ask them open ended questions so that they can engage with you further and may be you can move them forward in the sales funnel.
Proposal – Call to Action
As marketers and bloggers we all know how essential it is to have a strong call-to-action at the end of each article or page we publish on our blogs. There is always a good chance that the visitor after reading your article takes action on the proposal you have made.
If so, it goes to show that the user has a strong buyer intent. Even though the visitor did not share or comment its still a big WIN situation for you.
While in the previous part of the sales funnel we found that the customer engages with you and mostly leaves and you have to make the extra effort to bring them back to your blog. At times the visitors after sharing or commenting do follow up the call to action.
The call to action that will drive the visitor to the next phase of the sales funnel.
Present Solution – Landing Page
This is the next phase to the sales funnel when you present the solution to the prospect. Remember the visitor is still the visitor. This is the most crucial part of the sales funnel where you need to convince the visitor or prospect. The prospect arrives here following the call to action on your blog posts.
Your landing page is filled with information, proofs and an optin form prominently placed for maximized conversion. The visitor becomes a lead as soon as they sign up to your list. The entire process of driving the customer from the web to the blog to the call to action to the landing page and having them sign up is referred to as lead generation.
Once the lead is generated its time to nurture the lead. if you try to sell to the lead upfront, they will immediately unsubscribe. This is the reason marketing folks like to nurture the lead. They do this by 2-3 emails before they make the actual pitch.
The initial few emails would either be emails that talk about how to address a problem or how to do something better. The final pitch would be how they can achieve the desired results by using a simple tool or a product.
You have achieved the next step of the sales process. Presenting a solution and converting the visitor to a qualified lead.
Make an Offer They Cannot Refuse
You have almost reached the end of the sales funnel. You have even made the pitch. At this process you send out one final email that includes a deal or an offer that the customer would not want to pass off.
This is the point where the customer decide to make the purchase or not. Its crucial that you make it worth the while so that they wont go empty handed and you wont have your wallet empty as well.
Close – Sell
Selling is an art, not every one can do it and the ones who do it either make it or break it. You have come a far way from driving a prospect to your blog to giving them awesome offers so that they purchase.
Even at this point the potential customer might decide to leave and not make the purchase. If they do you have done a good job.
By measuring your sales and conversion rates you can find out if your strategies are working or not. If the potential customer has made the purchase. You’ve won and the sales funnel has worked for you.
The process is still not over, you can still convert the customer to be a returning customer.
Up-sell – Value Added Products
You have done a great job. You have made sales time and time again. You deserve a pat on your back. Its time you begin to up-sell to your customers.
Its important that you maintain a separate strategy from your blog because these are customers and they already trust you. You do not need to build trust or authority.
However, you still need to convince them of the product your trying to sell them. Don’t push anything big, but something that compliments what they have already purchased.
For example. If you are selling printers. As an up-sell, you can sell ink cartridges to them.
This brings us to the last phase of the sales funnel that you can apply to any blog and profit from.
As promised below is an infographic that you can print out and put up on your dashboard.
I’ve also made an option at the end of the infographic so that you can just copy the code and paste it into your WordPress dashboard, if you choose to share this with your blog readers.
Blog Sales Funnel Infographic