The Five Touches
Hopefully you now understand how a sales funnel works and why it’s such an important tool for maximizing your sales. At the same time though, it’s worth noting that the steps themselves don’t need to look like this. You might not have a mailing list, you might not have a seminar – but you can still create a funnel.
What’s important, is simply that you have a series of escalating ‘steps’, with each one increasing engagement and building your fan base further.
So the question now becomes: how many steps constitutes a ‘funnel’? While this varies from case to case, the best answer is five. That’s because research tells us that it takes five touches to sell to someone. This means they should interact with your business at least five times before you try and shift your big ticket item. This is enough to take someone from being completely unaware of your brand, to being familiar enough with you that they are willing to put their money and their trust in your products.
We looked at an example of a typical sales funnel and how it might work. We saw that you should utilize five unique steps but that these steps could vary depending on your business and your preference.
So now the question is: what options do you have for your steps? What kinds of touches can you employ to get the maximum amount of custom?
Here are some potential ‘touches’ you can use to bring your customers in and to establish that all important trust and familiarity before you sell to them:
The First Touch
The most obvious first touch that a lot of sites and businesses will use is the blog. This is a great place to provide some free value, to demonstrate your knowledge and authority and to provide tips and advice. Your blog should include free information and articles relating to your business/niche and you should work to make sure these are well thought-out, well written and provide tons of value. The more unique, useful and insightful information you offer here, the more people are going to trust you and believe that you can offer the value that they’re looking for and that is going to be worth them paying for!
A squeeze page is a page that is all about trying to get people to subscribe to a mailing list. You can drive people here using PPC and other forms of advertising and then simply set out an excellent case for them to subscribe to you. It can work alongside a blog or it can work on its own.
You can use YouTube as an excellent place to have your first touch. Here, you can create a video you know people will search for and attempt to offer some real value, or you can create a video like the one Tai Lopez uses that we discussed earlier. The great thing about a video is that it is so engaging and will be so effective at grabbing attention, holding it and allowing you to convey your points to an audience that is listening.
There’s no reason that your first touch needs to be on your own site. If you write a guest post for another big channel, then you can get their fans and followers to find your content and you can then bring those viewers and readers over to your own channels.
The Second Touch
A mailing list is a great second touch and one that the vast majority of brands will use. Email still has a great level of conversion and open-rate and this is due to the fact that it is so personal and direct. It also means you’re not relying on a third party (like Google or Facebook) and it allows you to address your audience directly.
The next best thing to a mailing list is social media. If you can get someone to like you on Facebook, or to follow you on Twitter, then you are giving yourself the opportunity to contact them in future. And like subscribers, people who follow you on social media are taking that psychological step that makes them ‘fans’.
You can also try alternative options for your social media too. SnapChat for example has a surprisingly high engagement!
Forum, Comments Section
Inviting people to take part in a community is a brilliant way to get them excited for your brand and committed to the idea. Once people start having conversations in a group with your name on it, they will feel like they ‘belong’ and it will be very hard for them to turn off from your brand and to break their engagement.
The YouTube equivalent of this is to get someone to subscribe to your channel. When they do this, they’ll then see new videos as you post them and this is an excellent way to get them to see your new content and to reach them with new promotions and offers.
The third touch should be something that requires them to take another action and it should be something a bit lengthier that forces them to engage with your content. A free report is a great example of this and it’s a good chance for you to demonstrate the value you’re capable of delivering.
Video seminars are great because they are live events. This means people will need to prepare to listen to them and will hopefully be looking forward to the event as they anticipate it. Making people wait for something is a perfect way to get them to want it more! What’s more, a live video seminar is something that people will feel very engaged with and that will give them a very direct interaction with you – it’s like they’re able to talk to you in person!
Similar, is to offer some kind of free chat or consultation. Going back to our example of selling a training program for instance, you could offer a free ‘fitness consult’ and recommend some exercises, diet plans etc. to your audience.
This can be one-to-one if you’re willing to put the time in (it’s a fantastic way to build true fans, which we will discuss in the next chapter! Another option though is to have a group chat, such as one on Google Hangouts. Want to make this even more exciting? Make it invite only!
The Fourth Touch
Your fourth touch is going to be the small sale that will help to engage your audience. Ideally, this will be something that will offer a similar service/value to the main product that you’re trying to shift and that way it should be able to demonstrate that the thing you are in fact selling for more is going to be worth more money.
Super Cheap Items
Or, if your only interest is getting people to buy from you and demonstrating your trustworthiness, then you can always just sell something incredibly cheaply. This might mean something as simple as selling a phone case or a t-shirt – perhaps just for a couple of dollars.
Selling Lots of Items of Increasing Value
Many a sales funnel will be built around just sales. The sales funnel we’ve described so far is one with a low ‘free line’ (this is discussed in more detail in a subsequent chapter). The more you give away for free, the better.
But it’s also possible to put multiple purchases below the free line. Rather than selling one item, then your big ticket item, you can instead go through gradually more expensive products and build this up to the point where your customer eventually pays for something very expensive.
This is the best way to get people to buy the very highest ticket items. This way, they will be making multiple purchases that increase in value and thereby each step will seem slightly smaller. This way, it won’t seem like such a big deal to eventually spend that much money. The steps are incremental and thus they seem smaller and more palatable.
If you are selling SAS (Software As a Service) or similar, then another good option is to offer a free trial of whatever it is that you’re going to sell. A free trial is much easier to convince someone to try than actually selling to them but if you handle this correctly, they’ll still be handing over their details and they might even input their card details so that you can charge them should they fail to cancel their membership after the first month.
Tshirts and Gifts
Another alternative to actually selling, is to give something away for free. One of the best examples of doing this is to give away a free ‘promotional gift’. These are things that have your branding on them and might include the likes of t-shirts or mugs.
These are very cheap to produce, which makes them ideal as ‘loss leaders’. What’s more though, is that you can include your branding and that way get free marketing and exposure every time your fans use those items. At the same time, by wearing a t-shirt with your brand on it, your visitors will feel much more engaged and committed to your brand, to the point where they might want to demonstrate their allegiance in other ways!
The Final Touch
It should go without saying that your final touch is going to be your actual sale. This is what everything up to this point has been leading up to and when your visitors arrive on your site, they should hopefully be engaged, committed and ready to buy from you.
All that remains is for you to make that final push to convert them into a customer – and you might do that with a series of emails, or you might do it with an effective ‘sales page’.
You’ll learn how to use persuasive sales copy to convince people to buy anything. You can use these techniques to convert those fans into paying customers but also to help with every other stage of your funnel!