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What Does An Online Sales Funnel Look Like?

This is week seventeen of a series where I'll be sharing a chapter from my book (Stop Selling Start Helping) each week. If you missed the previous weeks, click here to view all chapters. To learn more about Stop Selling Start Helping, click here.

What Does This Look Like Online?

So, I’ve talked about all these great benefits of helping versus selling. Now, how do you put this into action on the web?

I will explain the “online sales funnel” in the next chapter, which is the primary process of implementing a strategy of helping online; but the idea here is to take this new attitude you’ve been reading about up to now, and apply it online.

However, there’s more to it than just being helpful online.

It’s about taking all these concepts we’ve already touched on...

  • Pulling vs. Pushing
  • Answering Questions
  • Establishing Credibility
  • Concentrating on the Customer, not Yourself
  • Focusing on a Niche
  • Telling Relevant Stories

...and putting them into action on your website, in your emails, through social media, with e-books and videos, webinars and podcasts. The same overall experience your prospects and customers have with you offline should happen online.

CH 17 What Does An Online Sales Funnel Look Like?

I often get asked...

“What does content marketing have to do with sales?”

Or...

“Why are you talking about sales? I thought you were a web guy.”

The truth is, the two go hand in hand. As I referenced earlier, the end result of content marketing is to “drive profitable action.” So, there is a direct correlation between content marketing and sales.

When we build a content marketing plan, the goal is two-fold:

  1. Help our clients gain a complete understanding of where their opportunities for sales are.
  2. Provide a detailed plan to take advantage of those opportunities.
That detailed plan comes in the form of specific recommendations for content creation (including blog topic suggestions, e-book ideas and more), calls-to-action, landing pages, lead nurturing emails, re-engagement activities, and ultimately conversion plans as well as a way to track and measure it all.

Basically, it establishes a “sales funnel” online. Like this...

It looks a lot like a typical sales funnel...

  • Attract
  • Engage
  • Nurture
  • Sell
  • Deliver

Only it’s modified for the web, like this...

  • Attract
  • Convert
  • Close
  • Delight

An online sales funnel takes the idea of Stop Selling. Start Helping. and automates the process for the web. In very general terms, it works like this:

  • Create content that attracts the right visitors to your site (blogs, videos, e-books, etc.)
  • Give them something of value through that content (helpful tips, resources they can use, “secrets” to success, etc.)
  • Ask for a small investment in exchange for more valuable content – not necessarily money, but rather an email address or other piece of information
  • Continue to provide more valuable content over time, leading the recipient toward another “action” (could be a purchase or maybe just a link to another helpful piece of content)
  • Build credibility over time as an industry expert – provide more helpful information
  • Become top-of-mind for your prospects when they need your product or service (or know someone who does)
  • Repeat!

Business owners, especially in business-to-business, tend to look at the web as a different beast altogether. “We have our sales guys, and we have our website.”

What’s missing is the connection between the two.

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