De-Mystifying The “Funnel”
“Sales Funnels” can be an ambiguous term for business owners. It’s tossed around frequently with knowing nods, but do you actually know the ins & outs of funnels and the various types?
I want you to visualize a real-life funnel for a moment. Imagine that it is cut into four horizontal parts, starting at the wide opening and ending with the small hole. In a Sales Funnel, those four categories are Awareness & Interest, Leads, Prospects, and Customers in descending order. Awareness & Interest are marketing related, while Leads, Prospects, and Customers are sales related.
While it may seem strange to visualize a funnel at first, the term “Sales Funnel” is used to illustrate that you will have many, many more people in your Awareness & Interest category (at the top of your funnel). It then dwindles to a much smaller number of converting customers (the bottom of your funnel).
The purpose of the Sales Funnel is to help you create a strategic marketing plan that “funnels” more people from the “Awareness” category to the “Customer” category. As an aesthetic business owner, you should be very intentional in the planning of your sales funnel. A well-planned funnel is easily trackable so that you know exactly where a prospect is in the process of becoming paying clients.
How it works
Awareness occurs when such things as ads, news coverage, or participation in live events are noticed by potential clients. While ads on Google, Facebook, & Instagram are the most prevalent, your aim should be to direct potential customers to your website or a landing page where you can collect contact information.
Once you have a potential client’s contact information, they become a Lead. While individuals are in the Lead stage, you should “nurture” these leads by sending them emails, text messages, or phone calls. The content and messages that you share with them should drive them to schedule a consultation or appointment.
After a consultation has been scheduled and the client visits your office, they become a prospect. This stage is where you perform your consultative process and promote your services and products. An important aspect at this point in the funnel is to truly get to know your prospect on a personal level and develop a holistic aesthetic plan that fulfills their needs.
Once the prospect makes a retail purchase or schedules a treatment, they then become a paying customer. After an exceptional client experience, it is much easier to get this client onto a longer-term program. Once this is achieved, clients often become referral machines, and the sales funnel starts from the top with the friends and family they talk to about your practice!
Building An Effective Sales Funnel
Sales Funnels are capable of taking start-up businesses and turning them into multi-million dollar companies. However, there are multiple steps to building a successful sales funnel that turns your prospects into loyal clients.
It is not always likely that potential clients will book a consultation or purchase a retail product upon their initial introduction to your business. It takes time to build the relationships and trust necessary to convert prospects. As you uncover more about Sales Funnels in the following guide, I encourage you to remember that your funnels likely will not be an overnight success. Instead, they are an investment of your time, funds, and energy that has the potential to yield a very high ROI.
Begin your sales funnel by creating Awareness & Interest. This occurs through avenues such as blog posts, social media, and/or paid advertising. Your goal at this stage is to get visitors to your webpage and entice them with a valuable offer. When they accept your offer (email newsletter, download freebie, etc.), prospective visitors enter your sales funnel.
Garner your lead’s interest through relatable and authentic means. The content you share in this stage, on social media or through email, should relate to your prospect’s specific problems. Become the authority expert on what they need, sharing your mission and vision with them through relatable stories, posts, and videos.
It’s important to make sure that you understand your ideal clients, who they are, what they like, their problems, and the solutions that you are able to offer. For your marketing to be effective, it needs to attract the right audience. Be sure that you invest time and energy into performing market research for your funnel.
During the Prospect stage, your goal is to convert them to paying customers. Around the time a Prospect is scheduling a consultation, it is appropriate to promote your offer. The sales messages you share should be based on a give-to-get mentality, promoting relationships and trust. This is when you should share client reviews, testimonials, before & after pictures, and present your solution to their problem.
Once your prospect has accepted your offer (you made a sale!), they become a paying customer. Your goal at this stage should be to provide more for your client. This is achieved through educational content, presenting service packages & bundles. Do not be shy about asking for referrals from your client- provide a service so excellent they are happy to oblige!
Now that you are at the end of your funnel, you must know your Return On Investment (ROI) metrics. This metric tells you how much revenue you earned for every dollar spent on marketing. Your ROI is important to track so that you can create an effective marketing plan. By understanding what is and isn’t working in your business, you can create a profitable funnel for your business that can easily be scaled!
Different Types of Funnels
Landing Page Funnels:
A landing page is the first webpage that a new visitor will be redirected to from other marketing initiatives (Social Media, Email, Ads). Landing pages can be any form of a web page such as an “About Us” page, blog post, or free offer page.
Your goal with a landing page is to educate your visitors about your product, service, etc., and interact with them as your brand. While you may not convert a first time visitor, you should be at least directing them to sign up for newsletters or emails. Once visitors agree to receive communication from you, you will nurture them as leads and hopefully convert them into paying clients.
There is a lot of creative potential when it comes to creating your landing pages. Elements of your page will vary depending on your brand and target audience. Four key components are necessary to develop effective landing pages:
- Compelling Headline
- Unique Value Proposition (UVP)
- Client Reviews
- Call To Action (CTA)
Make sure you include a strong headline for your page, clearly informing visitors what they will gain by visiting your page. Ideally, your headline will cater to your ideal client, grabbing their attention or touching a pain point. Experts recommend your headline be 10-20 words in length.
Your Unique Value Proposition is what sets you apart from your competition. A good UVP describes the benefits and value of your products and services. It should also teach prospective clients why they should choose you over others in your field. Include engaging content such as images, before & after pics, or videos to enhance communication about your UVP to your visitors.
Client reviews are an invaluable way to establish credibility. By sharing positive client feedback and testimonials, you can establish trust with your visitors. First-time visitors will be more inclined by your offer when they know others have purchased the products or services before.
While perhaps the smallest portion of your landing page, your Call To Action is one of the most critical! Carefully contemplate what this button should look like, where to place it, and how to make it exciting for your ideal client. A good CTA directly tells a prospective client the next steps to take.
Email Campaign Funnels:
The purpose of an email campaign sales funnel is to nurture relationships with prospective and existing clients, building relationships that convert leads into clients and current clients into repeat clients.
One amazing feature of email sales funnels is triggered emails. You can prepare and schedule emails that will be automatically sent based upon actions taken by your prospective clients. Such triggers could be submitting a form on your website, sending an email, clicking a link in an email, etc. Triggered email funnels are powerful because they are designed to be sent to leads at the perfect moment, leading to increased percentages in open email rates.
Similar to landing pages, email sales funnels have three stages:
- Call To Action
The first email that you send should include value. This value could be in the form of a free PDF guide (i.e. My Top Anti-Aging Tips, How to Clear Your Acne in 10 Steps), a giveaway (i.e. free Botox or Laser treatment), educational content (i.e. Causes Of Melasma & What to Do about it), or some other resource. Make sure you understand your ideal client and the value they would want to receive for this stage.
In the second step, work to position yourself as a leader in your industry or niche. The content contained in the second email can achieve this by sharing articles, client testimonials, or introducing yourself/ practice/ team to your clients. Authenticity and transparency are key for continuing to build a relationship of trust through these sequences.
Your Call To Action should directly present the offer to your reader and share why it would be beneficial to them. You should directly touch on their pain points and problems through your copy and provide the solution (your offer). Just like with landing pages, you should invest a lot of thought in how to best present your CTA. For an even more impactful email, include FAQs, client reviews, or even well-performing social media posts. Incorporating these into your content will further help to establish credibility and provide social proof.
There are many different types of email sales funnels. Even though we can’t take an in-depth look at each one, information is readily available for any curious business leader. Here are a few that I would suggest researching further: Autoresponders, Drip Campaigns, and Behavioral Workflows.
Social Media Ad Funnels:
There are many different strategies out there when it comes to building Social Media Ad Funnels. Overall though, the same marketing funnel stages discussed at the beginning of this guide apply to all of them. Specifically for Social Media Ads, you’ll want to:
- Choose your offer
- Determine Your Audience
- Organize Your Audience
- Create Audience Criteria
- Track Your Metrics
I find it helpful to begin creating a Social Media Ad funnel by choosing my content first. What do I have to offer that prospective clients will find valuable? If you don’t have any content ready to share, you may need to create some. However, this process goes much quicker when you can repurpose content that you already have!
Next, you’ll work on determining your ideal audience. It can be helpful to consider your email list, website traffic, and social media audience when determining your audience parameters. Craft your audience to target individuals that resemble previous leads.
To create the most effective funnels possible, you’ll need to categorize your audience into hot, warm, and cold leads. Hot leads are those who have already visited your website and are very engaged, and warm leads are people who haven’t been to your website but may have accepted a free resource offer and watched a few of your videos. Cold leads are those who have never interacted with your site, encountered your brand, or viewed your content.
After categorizing your leads, you’ll be able to determine if the content you have chosen for your Ad matches their stage in the sales funnel. For example, if you have an audience of hot leads, you’ll want to focus on selling because they already know who you are and what you are offering them. If you have an audience of cold prospects, you can create a lookalike audience based on information from your website/ email list and share a lead magnet like a free PDF.
Step four of the social media sales funnel defines when and how leads move through the sales funnel. Often this is an automated process, moving people into the next stage when they meet specific criteria. It is important to be aware of your budget through this process. It can be easy to waste marketing dollars when you aren’t maximizing ads to their fullest potential.
Most Social Media platforms allow you to save your audience criteria and choose the length of time your targeted ad is shared. Tracking your metrics is an important part of successful social media ad funnels to ensure you are receiving the best Return On Investment possible.
Consultation Sales Funnel:
This funnel can convert prospects from leads to clients more quickly than other types of sales funnels. It works well for services or products that require a conversation with you or your team before purchase. Visitors are usually enticed into this funnel by the offer of a free consultation or a paid consultation where the fee is applied to future services. This funnel consists of 5 steps:
- Registration Page
- Sales Page
- Payment Page
- Thank You Page
The Registration Page should attract your prospective client through attractive and engaging content. Clearly illustrate your ideal clients’ problems/ pain points and how your consultation can get them closer to the solution they are looking for. Make sure your client knows exactly what to expect and understands what they are receiving.
For the Consultation stage, you will be meeting with your lead in-person, over the internet, or via the phone. This is your opportunity to truly connect with your lead, understand what they need, and warmly describe how you can provide it. It is always best to “close the sale” during this interaction, however, if this does not happen then the client should be directed to your established follow up process.
For an automated follow up process, it is best practice to have a series of automated emails set up. Each of these emails will direct clients to a sales page, payment page, and a thank you page. These emails can promote exclusive services, product bundles, service series, etc. I recommend employing both an automated and personal follow up process for best results.
Consultation Sales Funnels work well for aestheticians, injectors, or patient coordinators with high-ticket services and programs in mind. With the right process in place, it is easy to achieve high conversion rates on your leads during this initial consultation!
I understand how overwhelming all of this information may seem right now. Sales funnels take a large initial time investment, but they are a necessary skill for marketing and the results they can produce for your business are worth it. Consistency and patience are required when it comes to sales funnel success.
To summarize and simplify this overall process: determine what you want to market, choose the right type of funnel, plan out the funnel content, draft & edit your messaging, share with your target audience, and then watch the leads roll in! You will likely need to tweak all of this as you learn more about this process and your target clients’ preferences, but that is the business of marketing.