You could increase your sales considerably if you create a marketing funnel for your products and services. Basically, a marketing funnel attracts potential customers to make that initial purchase from you by using incentives such as freebies and giveaways, money off vouchers, special offers and low-priced items. Once they have made a purchase from you or made contact, you make further offers for related products and services and gradually step them up through a pricing structure that gets them to buy higher priced items. It's not so much about you making money on these initial sales, but realising the lifetime value of each customer and nurturing a relationship with them that will build trust and encourage them to buy more from you in the future. This marketing strategy is proving to be very successful for many businesses.
The thinking behind developing a marketing funnel is that by offering low-priced items initially — generally called front end products — you attract lots of people who are interested in what you have to offer. You will of course collect their contact details and their permission for you to contact them again with further offers.
Once you have someone's name on your list, you have the opportunity to sell many more related products and services over a period of time. Successful businesses use their marketing funnel to create a long term income. As more and more people are added to your list and your collection of related products and services grows, the more money you are likely to make.
If you can satisfy your customers with great service, high-quality products and value for money, you are well on the road to creating a successful business. So how do you go about developing a marketing funnel and what sort of products should you be considering? Let's take it a step at a time with some examples along the way.
Step One: Your Front-end Products
Your marketing funnel should contain several good products and/or services but it is vital that you attract customers to make that initial purchase with a really good front-end product. What sort of products should you be looking at?
Basically a good front-end product is something that adds value for your customer but is inexpensive for you to produce. You won't necessarily make much of a profit with your front-end products — it's the proverbial sprat to catch a mackerel. However it must be something irresistible to draw your customer in and prompt them to take action and buy.
Good front-end products and services include things like free samples, low-priced or free booklets or reports, money off vouchers, a heavily discounted product or service, or perhaps a tempting deal such as two for the price of one.
You can create your own front end products or you can acquire them from other businesses or individuals. For example you could write a short book or report about something related to your products and services that will effectively set the scene for future purchases. Ideally, to keep your costs low without devaluing your book, you could offer it as a downloadable digital book that your customers can get access to once they have given you their contact details. If you don't want to write your own book, you could use the services of a writer or buy the rights to distribute somebody else's book.
Things like money off vouchers can be offered in a digital form so that your customers can print them off from your website or marketing e-mail. You can also include money of vouchers with printed marketing leaflets and brochures.
Let's have some examples of good front-end products that get customers started on the marketing funnel:
- A garden centre could offer a free packet of seeds, a free demonstration of how to take cuttings, a cut-price book on vegetable growing or a free cut for your lawn.
- A health spa could offer a book on back pain and follow up with a cut-price back massage or perhaps a free use of the spa facilities for a day, a free jar of cream, or a money-off voucher for a spa treatment.
- A car repair garage could offer a cut-price engine service, a free brake and tyre check or a money-off voucher for a set of tyres.
- A restaurant could offer a free bottle of wine with a meal, a half price desert, a special price set menu or a money-off voucher for dinner for two.
You get the idea? Now think up some valuable front-end products that you could offer cheaply or for free to attract your potential customers into your marketing funnel. Free is a very powerful word that has been proven to attract attention.
Step Two: Your First Backend Product
Once you have made a sale or attracted your prospect with an irresistible offer and collected their contact details, you should follow up fairly soon with another offer. This can even be included in a thank you straight after the first purchase or receipt of their details. Grab them while they are still motivated and offer the next product or service in your marketing funnel. This should be another low-priced item but be designed to get them to spend a little more.
For example the garden centre could offer some plants for sale straight after the free demonstration, or a time limited voucher for vegetable plants at the end of the book on vegetable growing. The health spa could offer a special deal on spa treatments for customers who take up the free spa day offer, or an upgrade on the jar of cream to a set of spa products.
Think about how you could offer the next stage product or service in your marketing funnel and consider how you could offer it — straightaway as a thank you deal is a good idea, or perhaps as a follow-up a few days or a week after you have sold or given away your front-end products and services.
Following up with another offer within about a week is generally a good idea because if you leave it much longer than that, the risk is that your customer will have forgotten about you and you will have lost the opportunity to sell something else on the back of the goodwill you've created with your front-end product. Strike while your customer is feeling good about you and your business.
Step Three: Your Second Backend Product
Hopefully by now you have a group of customers that have bought into your marketing funnel this far — now you have to persuade them to buy something else. If you have done a good job of giving value for money and good quality products and services, then your customers will be impressed and will be happy to buy more. Those extra sales could be effortless.
Your second backend product should be no less valuable — in fact it should be something even better than your customer has seen so far. You have to keep their interest and their motivation high to get them to part with more money. Your second backend product should be higher-priced, but not too expensive, and be related to the items they have already purchased — this is because they have now twice demonstrated that they are interested in something within a particular field. For example gardening, health and beauty, car repairs or eating out in our examples above. It would be madness to offer something completely unrelated because you're customer has not indicated that they are interested in this new area and you risk losing them completely.
What sort of backend products could you offer? Let's develop our examples a little further to give you some ideas.
The garden centre could offer a garden maintenance service, garden tools, or more expensive plants, shrubs and trees.
The health spa could offer a membership deal or a series of spa treatments.
The restaurant could offer special menus for parties, discounted meals for children or money-off vouchers for regular weekend diners.
Step Four: Developing More Backend Products And Services
Don't stop at just two backend products and services — it's an on-going process and it's important to develop new things to interest and captivate your customers on a regular basis. Ideally, you should try to develop something that requires your customers to buy from you time and time again. This might include any of the following:
Recurring subscriptions – such as a gardening magazine subscription or spa/gym membership
Replenishing products – such as new jars of cream at the spa or fresh compost for the vegetable plot from the garden centre
Repeat services – such as engine servicing for vehicles, regular lawn cutting from the garden centre or monthly dinner clubs at the restaurant
Upgrades and up-selling – such as a bottle of wine with a meal or a manicure with a spa treatment
Selling other products and services – such as car valeting and second-hand car sales at the garage or hotel accommodation at the restaurant
As you build your collection of backend products try to step them up gradually in terms of price and value for your customers because if they are happy to buy low and moderately priced products and services from you there will be a proportion that will be happy to pay a premium for higher-priced products.
Think about things like workshops and courses related to your area of interest, individual consultations and so on in addition to physical products. There are all sorts of ways of adding value to your marketing funnel. For example, the garden centre could offer a series of evening classes on growing flowers or vegetables, the restaurant could offer courses and cookery demonstrations on international cuisine, the garage could offer workshops on car maintenance for beginners and the spa could offer weekend stress-busting retreats. The only limitation to the way you develop your backend products is your imagination, so think about how you can develop your marketing funnel right from your free sample at the beginning to your most expensive and valuable product or service at the end.
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