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Sales Funnels – are they really the Difference Between Success and Failure ?

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What is this thing called a sales funnel, and why is everyone going crazy over it?
There is always talk on the Internet about sales funnels, but who really understands what a sales funnel is and how to correctly implement one?

Well, perhaps there is a considerable amount of confusion about sales funnels because it is one of the distinguishing factors that separates the successful marketer / business person from the unsuccessful one.

Have you ever bought something online or over the telephone from a TV advertisement? The kind of funnel that most of these TV ad-men design more closely resembles a black hole. The realize that they probably have one shot and one shot only to sell to a customer calling on an 800 number.

After you have made one purchase, you will usually be given a chance to double the order, for only the (inflated) cost of shipping and handling. Then one product after another will be offered in an attempt to squeeze every last dollar out of the call.
This is distasteful to the consumer, but this kind of sales funnel is common in that industry. You really do feel like sucker if you let yourself get caught in their “black hole”, and buy product after product.

Just ask any typical business person, what do you do with the people who do not buy your products or services?  Most would say, well, nothing.  Well, you probably have what is called a leaky sales funnel.  This is not so easy to set up for a brick and mortar type of business, but every online business should pay attention to their sales funnel. There almost always is a significant impact on your bottom line.

Everyone knows that taking care of customers is a priority.  If any business is to survive, it is a well-established fact that you have to take good care of your customers.

Say what you will about the Internet Marketing Industry, one thing that good Internet Marketing Professionals have going for them is that they understand very well that it is not only the quality of the product you promote, but the specific design of your sales funnel that can often make the difference between a mediocre success and big success. To rephrase, a well-designed sales funnel could be the difference between losing money, merely breaking even, and making a significant profit.

Let’s try to clear up some basic confusion about sales funnels using the above graphic.

Most businesses think that everyone in America, or everyone in their hometown of business is a prospect. In reality, until someone walks into your store, they are only a potential prospect. In the case of online business, until someone signs up for your email newletter, free product download, webinar, or other offer, there are no prospects, only potential prospects.

Everyone outside of your sales funnel is the audience you are trying to reach.  This nearly limitless pool contains all of the potential prospects for your business. They have not walked into your store. They have not signed up to be contacted by you in any way. You don’t know who they are, although you might have some idea where they hang out.  They are only potential prospects because you have no way of contacting them, until they take the first step into your sales funnel.

Once they walk into your store, or provide their email address, then they actually qualify as a prospect.  Now you can contact them and work with them to help them become a customer.

Everyone wants to do more than just survive. If you want to thrive, you need to find a way to quickly determine who is ready, willing, and able to buy right now.  That should be the first step.  I have to give Steve Rosenbaum credit for identifying this as such an important step.  He also talks extensively about leak-proof sales funnels.  This is a guy who really knows the sales process, both online and offline.

As you can see from the graphic above you can see there is a step-by-step process until a prospect becomes a customer. Also, there should be a clear method to allow customers to become what I would call loyal customers, by making repeat purchases. As shown by the arrow on the right side of the funnel, they should easily be able to become repeat customers.

It may be because the product is renewable, or relies on a subscription model, or they simply like your product or service enough to purchase additional products or services from you.

There is obviously a great deal more to discuss about funnels, but I think the fundamentals discussed here are important enough to warrant this kind of post.

10 Reasons Why Video Can Help Your Small Business Marketing

CC BY by Bob Massa

If you haven’t yet considered adding video to your marketing strategy, it might be time to start.  Video rental may no longer be a viable business, but video is having a huge impact on Internet advertising. From all the benefits of video accorsing to small business research, it seems the number one reason video is not considered as a small business promotion tactic is cost.

Well, you may find video producers that charge thousands of dollars for a full-blown five minute custom on-site video, but is all that production really necessary?  If you could get high-quality videos at a small fraction of that cost, it might be something you should consider, for the following reasons;

1) Everyone likes video.  Chances are visitors to your site may not read your posts from start to finish, but it is likely they will watch an entire one-minute video.

2) Video builds trust.  Instead of producing a feature-based video on how great all of the benefits of your products or services are, consider a review-type video that displays one of the 5-star reviews your company has received.  This type of video will definitely rank on Google in a search for your company name.  It may also rank on a more general local search, depending on the competitiveness of your local niche.

3) Video is universal.  Video can be used in ways you may not have considered.  You can not only add video to your website and your YouTube channel, you can add it as a link in your email, on your Facebook page, on LinkedIn, as well as on various other social media sites.

4)  Video is highly searchable. Look at all the Google searchers that return video results on desktop as well as mobile searches. The numbers are staggering!

5) Video is highly sharable.  Video views on Facebook alone number over 4 billion per day.  That is more than half of the world population viewing videos on a daily basis!  Source: PCWorld

6) Video gives you the “wow” factor.  When prospects see your videos, they automatically assume your business is a successful and substantial one.  No one would spend the time and effort to produce a video for a company that was barely getting by. It is not just a status factor, video is something that earns customer respect.

7) Video can be used to inspire and educate, not only to entertain.  If you feel strongly about your small business, you can let people know about it.  It can be a simple belief in small, or family owned business, or something motivational.  Your video doesn’t have to go viral, it just has to have a clear message that resonates with your customers.

8) Videos set you apart from your competition.  If video marketing is not that popular in your niche, it will allow you to rise above your competition.  If no one in your local market is doing video, you will have a big advantage over your competitors.

9)  Video allows for greater interaction. People love to comment on videos. You can get multiple reviews from a single video, and multiply the benefit of a single citation.

10) Video stimulates the “buy” trigger.  Everyone loves to save time.  If you get your message across in one minute, you have done an effective job of stimulating the “buy” trigger in the mind of your prospect.

Visit Goldfinch Digital Marketing  for your free in-depth consultation on how video and social media can help your local business.

 

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LinkedIn Profile Page – You Complete Me

Posted On LinkedIn 3/6/2015

Yes, you do have to complete your LinkedIn profile. No one can really do it for you. Even if you sent someone your information, they still could not do as good a job as you can do for yourself.

Maybe you do not have to fall in love with your LinkedIn profile, (that sounds a little weird), as this post title suggests, but you should like your LinkedIn profile. It is one of the most effective ways to get your information in front of potential prospects. If you complete the profile, you will improve your chances to be found on LinkedIn.

This is not something that you can do in a single hour, but it does not have to be finished today. You can work on it step by step. It can be an ongoing process, but you should complete as many sections of the profile, as soon as possible.

One thing I mentioned in a previous blog post, make sure you go to the middle of your profile page on the right hand side, and turn off notifications on your profile page. It would be sort of annoying to inform your connections every time you make a minute change on your profile. Note: the default setting is ON, so make sure turn it off before you start making your updates.

There are four things to think about before you complete your profile page.

1) Make sure you want to use your profile page to attract new prospects and customers. If you are looking for a job or trying to fill jobs for your company these instructions do not apply. You can go to Google for this information.

2) Write a list of characteristics of your ideal customer. Think of the problem or pain he/she is trying to solve, and how your products or services can solve that particular headache.

3) Just as you would write a blog post with appropriate keywords, determine what keywords describe your products or services best, and what keywords your ideal customer might use to find you.

4) Do not use your profile page merely as a job summary like a resume. It can actually be an excellent promotional page for you. It is fine to list your previous jobs, but it will help if you can relate your previous experience to your current business.

These are additional things to consider when you complete your profile.

* In the name field use only your name
* On the following line explain what you do – don’t just say your position, like
owner, CEO, VP
* In the Summary area you can use a Slideshare, a video, a blog post or other
content you have created.
* In the Experience area you can use this like a sales page to explain exactly what
you do.
* Make sure to provide contact details, website, email, phone number, You can use a
Google Voice number if you want, or Skype if you prefer.
* Try to use every section possible for which you have information.
* You can also use the project section to explain your current products in detail,
one by one.

Here is a good resource that should help you to complete your profile page, in addition to the links below.

————-> Click here <————-

How many Google tools available for keyword research?

6 Google Tools for keyword research.

Oh Google, how do we love thee, let us count the ways!

Just when you thought there could be nothing else Google could offer to Internet Marketers, it seems that there are actually 6 different tools Google makes available for keyword research.  Have you used all six of them?

1)  Google Adwords Keyword Planner  – the grandaddy source for Google keyword information. No, you don’t have to be spending money on Adwords, you just need to sign up using your Google account, (ie., gmail or Google Plus).

2) Do a basic search on Google.  Use the searches related section at the bottom of the page.

3) Google Insights / Trends – very interesting data on searches over time, and even a predictive tool.
Entire volumes have been written about numbers four and five on this list.
4) Google Webmaster Tools.  After all, the most obvious keywords to use, are the ones that area already generating traffic on your site.
5) Google Analytics – keyword research – the best keywords may be the ones for which you already rank.
6) Google Correlate  –  not commonly use, but it looks at patterns of keyword traffic over time, that correlate with your main keywords.
7) YouTube Keyword Tool –  this tool is now offline, but you can still research YouTube keywords manually to track views, subcribers, etc.  Here is an Alternative YouTube Keyword Tool

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