Automatic Sales Funnel

Regardless of the state of the economy, some businesses seem to thrive like weeds while others fall behind.

When we see major corporations achieving success around the clock and outlasting some of the world’s most detrimental financial disasters, it makes sense because they have enough reserve capital to continue their marketing efforts, even when their income slows down.

However, when smaller companies that don’t have the luxury of a large financial reserve can remain highly successful, despite a plummeting economy, there’s got to be another reason.

The companies that generate success in uncertain times are doing something other firms aren’t, and you should find out what that is if you want your operation to follow suit. Part of the secret is that many of these successful businesses have an automated sales funnel with components that enable the business to run on autopilot.

Automatic sales funnel components include:

  • Evergreen webinars
  • Facebook ads
  • Email marketing
  • Direct mail marketing
  • Upselling at every opportunity
  • Promoting offers across social media

Although running an automated sales funnel with the above components is an excellent recipe for success in any economy, additional components can play a more active role in increasing revenue in ways that might not be so obvious. Regarding ways to increase revenue, most people think in terms of finding better strategies and systems, but sometimes the answer is closer to home.

Before turning to new marketing methods and systems, it’s important to find out if you’re using your existing methods and systems to their maximum potential. Marketing methods are like any other tool – your ability to extract value from them is equal to your knowledge of how to use them.

One of the most common mistakes people make when using marketing methods is not reaching their target market effectively because they don’t know how.

In order to effectively reach your target market, you need to be able to:

Identify their criteria. What motivates them to buy? What is it they really want? A person’s criteria are not the same as their surface wants and needs. A person may need food and want to save money buying it, but their criteria for wanting to effortlessly lose weight so they can fit into their high school jeans is what makes them buy an overpriced monthly subscription for bland, prepackaged food that gets delivered to their doorstep.

Using diet food as an example, you’ll never sell expensive food to people in a bad economy, but you can always sell effortless weight loss. Some people will even put it on their credit card if they don’t have the cash up front.

Narrow down your target market as much as possible. Not narrowing down the target market is one of the biggest mistakes people make and it’s likely because they misunderstand the reason for narrowing it down. They see it as a restriction when it’s actually the engine that drives the entire marketing operation.

On the surface, it might seem like experts encourage you to narrow down your target market because they think only a narrow group of people will buy your product.

You may have been told to narrow down your target market by your business coach. This makes could annoy you because you don’t want to limit yourself; you know your product is perfect for a wide variety of people. You might be right. Your product is probably perfect for a wide variety of people, but you still need to narrow down your target market.

The reason you need to narrow down your target market is so that you can market to a specific group of people with specific marketing messages. The more specifically you can identify your market, the more specifically you can market to them based on what they want as a group.

For example, if your product is a plain customizable baseball cap, your market could potentially be the whole world, but if that’s how you define your target market, your marketing message will be weak since you’ll be addressing everyone in a general way.

When you identify your target market as private, exclusive groups and clubs who have 100+ members, annual dues, and regular meetings, you instantly know where to place your ads, who to address in your marketing messages, and how to write your sales letters.

If you have a product that is ideal for several groups of people across different demographics, you can market to various segments of people differently through separate marketing campaigns. You don’t have to leave anyone out; you just have to separate the groups you market to so that each message is as targeted as possible.

Adjusting current methods in place

Sometimes all it takes is a few minor adjustments to what you’re already doing to generate significantly better sales. One of those can be as simple as ditching static, boring stock photos that have little to do with your business and bringing in real product photos — and even better, videos — of your product in action.

Showing your product being used by people on a basic level provides the following for your website visitors:

  • Provides a feel for spatial relationships between the object and other objects
  • Helps people understand the product size and weight
  • Helps people visualize what it would be like to use your product

Showing your product in use on a basic level is good, but if you want to create some real power when it comes to showing your product in action, you can take product demos to a whole other level.

Product demos aren’t just for demonstrating the product

Showing your product in action is all about showing people the end result of what they want from what you sell. You may be promoting a hammer and nails, but what your customers are really buying is a hole in the wall. As long as they can get a hole in the wall, they don’t care how they get it.

If you can convince people that your hammer and nail will produce the strongest hole, they’ll buy from you. They don’t care about the features of your hammer and nail, they just want to know that it will give them that hole.

This is why you see some of the same items sold in the stationery department as you do in the home improvement department. The items are packaged differently to appeal to the reason people want the product – not to sell the product itself.

For example, you can’t really sell packing tape by telling people how long it will last once they put it on the box, or what materials it’s made out of. The features of the product are not universally marketable because it has nothing to do with why people buy it.

Packing tape is packing tape, but when it’s found in the stationery department, it’s more expensive, not as wide, and comes in shorter rolls with flimsy dispensers. Packing tape in the home improvement department is cheaper, comes in bulk packages, is on longer rolls, and has heavy-duty dispensers as an option. That’s because people shopping in the stationery department probably just need a little bit of tape, while people in the home improvement department probably have a bigger project.

In either case, people aren’t buying tape – they’re buying a closed box (or whatever else they’re taping up).

Showing your products in action as the customer would use it

If your products are simple and universal, such as gift items, for example, it’s easy to show them in action because the item is the end result. Gift tags and labels can easily be depicted in images as they would look when used by customers.

But if your product is less tangible — something like a monthly coaching program, perhaps — your mission becomes a bit more complex. You don’t want to show your coaching in action; you want to show people the result, or what they would get out of your coaching program. For example, you might show freedom, financial independence, or security.

Remember that people don’t buy products, they buy better versions of themselves.

Since that’s their end goal, if you want to sell your product, you’ve got to show how your product will help them reach that goal. Robert Falcone developed some genuine wisdom in his pursuit of sales through product demos for his startup.

What he found is that the biggest barrier to explaining his product was the fact that he was an expert on it. In other words, he was too close to the product to grasp why the way he was explaining it to people wasn’t working.

Falcone’s lack of awareness was compounded by the fact that his audience didn’t want to look dumb, so when he asked if they understood, they’d say yes but he wouldn’t make the sale and he’d never hear from them again.

What Falcone eventually figured out is that the purpose of a product demo video is to show people not just how the item works but to enable them to see it operating in their life. It’s not how good the actual product demo is that makes the sale; an effective product demo meets the needs of a specific audience.

Can your prospects see themselves in your product?

It’s surprising how many firms don’t include product demo videos on their website. What’s even more shocking is that even the companies that do feature demos don’t use them effectively enough to generate a steady stream of sales.

Everyone knows what shoes are for, but when you can show people how your shoes empower them to “be like Mike,” the product will fly off the shelves. Hubspot has some wonderful examples of product demo videos that have successfully generated massive sales; and although these videos are produced with a budget you may not have at your disposal, they’re great examples of how you can use a demo more effectively to sell your product.

Before you run out to buy the next marketing system, think about whether there’s anything you can do to improve the way you’re presenting your products to your customers. When members of your target market can see themselves using your product, and more important, reaping the benefits of it, you’ll see a jump in sales. You can also expect a well oiled automatic sales funnel.

Local Unit Lead for NAACP in Northern California with a mission is to ensure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights of all persons and to eliminate race-based discrimination. I enjoy writing and interviewing people making a difference in the World. Former Assistant Editor NY Times. NYU Alum living in sunny California.

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