This is part 4 of a 4-part series on moving from solopreneur to CEO in your creative business! Read part 1, part 2, and part 3.

This is not a post about all the ways you can market your business, because there’s plenty of blog posts you can find about that. This is a post about setting up your first automated marketing funnel. Not too complicated, not too many steps, just a mini funnel for your small, creative business.

Ready?

Why you need a marketing funnel

You know all that time you’re spending in Facebook groups and on Twitter and crafting opt-ins and scheduling Pins and Snapping selfies that you crosspost to Instagram?

What if there were a real purpose behind that?

And not just a purpose like “oh right, I’m supposed to be marketing every day,” but “oh sweet, this is turning into actual clients.”

All the little hodgepodge of marketing that you’re currently doing is great for visibility, absolutely. But let’s turn that visibility into money.

What is a marketing funnel (and is it scammy)?

A marketing funnel takes your audience from awareness to purchase through a set of steps that gets them consistently more engaged.

funnel

Right now, you’re probably spending a lot of time on the awareness step, and ignoring the next crucial pieces that bring them to a point of making a decision to work with you or purchase from you.

Now, my first question when I hear about anything in the online business community is “is it a scam?”

pyramid

Because there are a lot of things that work…because they’re ripping people off.

Marketing will always play off human psychology, because that’s what it’s designed to do. But we can use that for good in a way that benefits both us and our clients.

A marketing funnel automates client acquisition up to a certain point (usually the point at which they apply to work with you/get on a consultation/make an affordable purchase), getting you out of the day-to-day weeds of marketing your business.

Your clients don’t care if you were sitting behind the computer hitting “send” on that tweet that brought them to your business. They just care that you show up when they’re ready to hire you.

And you can prime them to hire you with a marketing funnel.

There is no downside to you or your clients, and it’s not something scammy businesses do. It’s what smart businesses do.

Setting up your marketing funnel

You’re about to be pleasantly surprised at how simple a marketing funnel can be.

For this example, we’re going to make a Facebook funnel to your email list.

1. Awareness

Awareness is simply everything you’re already doing to get noticed online. It’s likely social media posts, and that’s great. Alternatively, you can pay for Facebook ads while they’re still relatively cheap ($2/conversion to your email list is a rate that a good ads strategist can get you).

At this point, you just want people to see you around, consistently. They don’t have to click, sign up, or anything. Just see you and begin to recognize you as an expert in your niche.

So let’s say you’re commenting in 5 Facebook groups consistently every day for a week. Just giving advice, not linking to your site or a blog post or pitching your service. Just offering value.

2. Engagement (Interest –> Decision)

Ok now we want them to start liking, clicking, commenting, sharing, etc. On Twitter it might be retweeting you, on Instagram it might be checking out your profile link, on your blog it might be leaving a comment.

For our example, you’ve been commenting in the same 5 Facebook groups for a couple of weeks. People are beginning to notice you and your point of view (because you’re giving advice, not just motivation and platitudes).

They hover over your name and see this:

FacebookMallie

Oh cool! You have a business page, they go to check it out:

FacebookPage

Ah, nice! The pinned post is inviting them to a group. They already found you through one group you were being super valuable in, so surely your own group must be full of value!

What’s this? A free checklist just for group members? That they don’t even have to give you their email for?

FacebookRules

Oooh but there’s a workbook too? Ok fine, they’ll give you their email.

Now you’ve got an engaged list member in you community that you can nurture both by email and group.

3. Nurture –> Action

Some people will stop your funnel there and say perfect, you have them on your list, that counted as the final “action” step.

But let’s turn them into clients.

If you’re serving early business owners or have a business-to-consumer model, you’ll need to nurture your new lead more than if you’re serving an established business (although the established business needs a little more than BUY NOW thrown in their face too).

The step that leads to action may take 2 hours, 2 weeks, 2 months, or 2 years. I have people in my community who have been following me since The Off-Road Millennial launched in May 2014, and they’re very engaged (I can see that they consistently open my emails), but they haven’t purchased yet. Probably because I haven’t given them the right offer. And that’s fine. But set your expectations that you may have to play around with your nurture sequence a bit.

Of course, you’ll continue to nurture this lead in your group (in this example, but it may be on Twitter, a membership platform, whatever), but let’s talk about a basic email nurture sequence that you can put on autopilot.

I send out emails to my list on Mondays and Thursdays, typically, so the people I send into my generic welcome sequence only receive emails on the other 5 days of the week so that they don’t get hit with double emails (outside of a launch).

Send the following emails out about 3-5 days apart (not close enough to be annoying, but not far apart enough they forget who you are):

  1. Welcome and requested opt-in
  2. More about you/your business/your differentiator
  3. A popular blog post that highlights your expertise
  4. Tips or advice with a P.S. inviting them to check out your course/product/apply for a consultation
  5. The hard sale (an email just telling them how you could help them and inviting them to purchase/apply)
  6. More tips/advice/blog post

That’s it. A simple email funnel to nurture and sell to the lead you got from your bigger marketing funnel…on autopilot.

So tell me: what’s keeping you from setting this up today?

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