How to Get More Customers with the Perfect Sales Funnel

Okay, let’s open up the mailbag, reach inside, and see what we find.

Aha! A two-part question from regular reader Stefan. He writes:

I’d really love it if you wrote more about how I can get more customers. I understand principles of copywriting but what should I do with that copy?

I also suffer from information paralysis – there’s that much good info that I come across, I often don’t do anything because I don’t know where to start.

I don’t know what market Stefan is in, but I will assume he is selling either digital or physical products. Now, if you are selling products online, there are two basic conversion funnels you can use…

  • Funnel A: Traffic –> Sales page –> Order page –> Sale completed
  • Funnel B: Traffic –> Opt-in page –> Sales page –> Order page –> Sale completed

In almost every case, the second conversion funnel is going to be more effective. You first get your prospect on your email list. You can then build a relationship with that prospect and continually make offers until he buys or unsubscribes.

Some of the most successful online businesses are built around a daily newsletter. The newsletter then pushes subscribers to various offers each day of the week. This approach works well in markets where there are plenty of things to write about.

Sometimes you may want to skip the opt-in process, but only in cases where you can prove ROI is higher by doing so.

This past year I did some work for a client. He was driving traffic directly to an affiliate offer and he was making a healthy profit on the front end. He wanted to insert an intermediate step — the opt-in page — so he could build his own list while still selling the affiliate product.

He found his ROI actually went down.

Let’s say you are selling silverware online. If somebody is looking to buy silverware, I doubt they’ll be interested in opting in to an email list unless it’s for the purpose of getting a coupon or discount.

Under normal circumstances they’d probably prefer to just compare silverware and checkout. After all, who wakes up in the morning wanting to read about spoons, knives, and forks?

In a case like this, you’ll probably be better off with the first funnel.

Naturally, the sales copy and page design you use will play a big role in any order funnel. Even small changes can make a big difference in conversion, both on landing pages and order pages. (And I should know… I get paid to sell products using the written word.)

This is all fundamental stuff, but it’s easy to get distracted by the latest tricks, tools, and trends being written about in the online marketing blogosphere. How do you stay focused on the few things that will actually make an impact in your business?

Here’s what I recommend:

Get away from your computer for an hour or two.

Take a pen and pad of paper with you.

List out the major opportunities that are currently on your plate.

Now ask yourself: “What specific things can I do to maximize the profit of this opportunity? What things can I do today… this week… this month?”

When I do this, I usually find that one or two opportunities stand out from the others because the potential payoff is either bigger, less risky, or both.

Once I have zeroed in on the one or two opportunities that are most worth pursuing, I then prioritize the list of things I can do to maximize profit.

In the end, I come up with 3-5 concrete steps I can take to maximize the value of my top opportunities.

After you have done this, it’s time to execute. Develop tunnel vision. Take action and stick to your plan with the tenacity of a crocodile. Stop getting sidetracked by what other online marketers say you should (or shouldn’t) be doing.

This is fairly simple, but it’s not easy, especially if you like to learn new things.

One of the things I’m focusing on this year is Kindle publishing. I’ve spent the last four weeks writing a book specifically for the Kindle. I finished the first draft yesterday and will hopefully have it published within the next week or two.

After that, I have a series of action steps to market the book.

Since I’m clear on my strategy and the steps involved in executing it, it’s relatively easy for me to stay focused and on-task.

For me, it’s all about my client work and getting my first Kindle book published.

If you have any advice for Stefan, feel free to leave a comment.

-Ryan M. Healy

Ryan M. Healy

Ryan Healy is a financial copywriter and the author of Speed Writing for Nonfiction Writers. Since 2002, he has worked with scores of clients, including Agora Financial, Lombardi Publishing, and Contrarian Profits. He writes a popular blog about copywriting, advertising, and business growth, has been featured in publications like Feed Front magazine, and has been published on sites like WordStream.com, SmallBizClub.com, and MarketingForSuccess.com.

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