What is an Online Marketing Funnel?

If you have ever used a funnel, you know what one looks like.

The idea is that you can focus a large quantity of something down into a very narrow flow.

That is why funnels are wide at the opening and extremely narrow, sometimes even pointed, at the bottom. This upside down pyramid shape also works extremely well online for building your business.

Affiliate funnel marketing

The Problem...A Marketing Funnel Solves

The attention span of people online is extremely short. There are so many marketing messages, social media sites, consumer electronics and other media vying for the attention of your prospect.

This is exactly the reason why an online marketing funnel is so important. You focus, or funnel, the attention of your prospects in a very specific way, providing value, building a relationship and eventually presenting an offer.

Start with a Large Prospect Pool And Narrow the Focus.

Before you ever create your online business, you have to narrow your focus.

Much like a funnel directs a stream or flow into a very narrow channel, you want to focus on a niche inside a niche inside a niche.

This makes the marketing funnels you develop much more effective. In other words, instead of getting into weight loss, or even weight loss for women, marketing funnels will be more successful if you offer weight loss products aimed at, 'weight loss for overweight grandmothers over 50'.

Once you focus on a niche, you need to build your online marketing funnel. This is going to hopefully take your prospect through the following stages.

Discovery...Funneling Traffic To Your Offer

Marketing funnel traffic sources
It is vital that people in your target market discover your blog or website.

You accomplish this through paid advertising, social media, word-of-mouth referrals, search engine optimization that sends you free traffic and a multitude of additional marketing methods both online and off.

This activity is filling your funnel at the top.

Generate Interest...Using Your Marketing Funnel

Now you have some traffic to your online piece of real estate i.e your blog or website, how do you engage them?

Offer them something for nothing!

This is known as an 'opt-in bribe' or 'opt-in freebie'. Get your audience interested.
In exchange for signing up to your newsletter or email list, you send your subscriber a high-value report, checklist, e-book or list of resources, or some other piece of content that solves a big problem or answers a big question in the minds of your target audience.

  • A high-value report
  • A checklist
  • e-book
  • A list of resources
or some other piece of content that solves a big problem or answers a big question in the minds of your target audience.

Building A Relationship....Is Essential

Your 'opt-in bribe' or freebie will have funnelled a large group of people into a smaller group that will become or add to your email list.

Here is where you begin to build your relationship with them. Offer them a lot of value.
Continue to answer questions and solve problems.

Send out emails on a continual basis through an autoresponder program that handles the task automatically.

Earning Your First Dollar

Early in your autoresponder sequence, make an inexpensive offer, it MUST be perceived to be high value. that is too hard to pass up.

Later on, after sending several additional emails that deliver a lot of free value, make a bigger offer. If your list purchases either your smaller or larger offer, immediately offer them an upsell, which is a pricier option.

bag of money

Lift Off...

At the beginning, at the discovery stage, the number of visitors will very much depend on the effort you put in to driving traffic to your website or blog.

As a result you may have 10 people visiting or 1000s of people visiting your website every day. At this stage it is important that you are consistent, as no traffic = no sign-ups!

The number of people that you interest enough to sign up to your email list, will very much depend on your offer and it's perceived value and use, basically, if you are getting very little interest in your offer, you need to make it an irresistible offer they simply cannot refuse, AND will gain a lot of use from, target your offer at your target market.

As you build a relationship and build trust with that small group of people that do sign-up, when you initially make an offer, you may only see a few patchy sales but this will improve over time as your group grows.

The funnel is always a trickle down process, where you eventually end up dealing with a smaller number of very interested people rather than a huge group of people that are mildly concerned about what you have to say, and more importantly......very rarely buy!

The Key To Online Success

The key to online business success is to constantly fill your funnel at the top.

It is great to have Google and the other search engines send you lots of free traffic, based on the quality content you put on your site, and your efforts at SEO. Social media is also a great source of traffic.

However, search engine algorithms do change and your free traffic can grind to a halt at the flick of a switch.

Hence, a portion of your traffic used to keep you funnel topped up, should also include paid traffic because the greater the numbers at the top of your funnel, the greater your sales and profits will be at the bottom.

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