Using Facebook Pages in your sales funnel

Facebook Pages are the profile pages that organizations set up on Facebook to grow a fanbase and promote their brands.

As more and more people spend more and more time on Facebook, we’re going to see a growing number of businesses using Facebook Pages in their sales funnels. (Learn more about Facebook Pages).

Unfortunately, businesses usually make one of two mistakes in setting up their Facebook Page. They tend to either…

  • Create a Page and then ignore it (and subsequently wonder why no one comes to their site from Facebook)
  • Create a Page that tries to “do it all” by attempting to reach everyone, no matter where they are in the sales funnel (and subsequently wonder why no one comes to their site from Facebook)

Here’s how you should be creating and running your Facebook Page instead:

  1. Figure out where in the sales funnel your Facebook fans typically are
  2. Create a Facebook Page that suits the specific needs of that specific group

That’s not to say that your page won’t collect contacts who are in other stages of the sales funnel, but your top priority should be placing your Facebook Page at the perfect spot in your sales funnel to speak clearly to the right fan base and send them directly to the next step they should be taking in your sales funnel.

Remember, it’s not about the number of fans you have; it’s about the quality of your contacts in your sales funnel!

FACEBOOK PAGES IN SALES FUNNEL STAGES

Here are some guidelines when creating Facebook Pages for different stages in your sales funnel. (Also, I’d like to clarify that I’m speaking in generalities to a wide variety of businesses. Businesses will need to tweak this a little for their unique position).

If you want a Facebook Page targeted to an audience
Who can view the page? Your page needs to be open to the public.

What do you need to do to engage contacts in this stage? You need an attractive offer that is focused on immediate problems and needs, and the solutions and benefits that could be obtained. You should focus on the problems or needs this target market has and hint that a solution is available. You need to be understanding, empathetic, and positive, but you also need to “agitate” the problem. You might consider pictures and video of people who have had a similar problem.

What should the contact’s next step be? You need them to get to a point where they will leave a piece of information about themselves, such as an email. For example, the next step might be to link them to a a single sales page where they can leave their email address in exchange for a free report.

If you want a Facebook Page targeted to leads
Who can view the page? Your page needs to be open to the public.

What do you need to do to engage contacts in this stage? You need to get them to indicate that they are interested in hearing more from you. By becoming a fan of your page, you are potentially generating a lead, that you can communicate with (just be careful about over-communicating or you could be accused of spam). For leads, you can continue to agitate the problem but you also need to start presenting a clear, available solution for them. You don’t have to sell them on it just yet; rather, you need to point out that there is a solution and you need to position yourself as THE person that has provided it successfully for others in the past. You might consider before and after pictures, as well as plenty of engagement through messages on your page’s wall.

What should the contact’s next step be? You need to get them to a point where they are willing to leave a little more information about themselves (so you can qualify them) and listen to what you have to say (so you can present to them). For example, you might have them click directly to a “have a product expert call you” page where they leave their name and telephone number and maybe select a problem or two from a list of common problems.

If you want a Facebook Page targeted to prospects
Who can view the page? You could have a page that is open to the public, although you’ll probably want to seriously consider a page that is open viewable by people who are signed in to Facebook.

What do you need to do to engage contacts in this stage? If your Facebook fans are primarily your prospects you can start to present them with your offer while overcoming objections. The biggest challenge you’ll face in this stage is the problem of seeming like spam. Be careful how aggressively you present your product or service. Focus on the benefits and avoid words like “buy now”. Consider video testimonials, pictures and video of previous customers who had a similar problem or need and how it was solved. Get your prospects talking through discussion.

What should the contact’s next step be? You need to get them to a point where they can buy. This might be a commitment button that takes them to a non-Facebook “buy now” page, or maybe give them a phone number to call.

If you want a Facebook Page targeted to customers
Who can view the page? You’ll want a page that is only viewable to people who are signed in to Facebook.

What do you need to do to engage contacts in this stage? For Facebook fans who are already customers, you want to sell them additional products or services but you don’t want to come across as too spammy. So focus instead on giving astonishing customer service on the products or services you’ve already delivered, and continue to position yourself as the solution-provider when the customer has the same problem or need as before. Focus on discussion. Get your customer talking and keep them talking!

What should the contact’s next step be? You need to get them to a point where they find you so valuable that they want to share your brand with their contacts.

If you want a Facebook Page targeted to evangelists
Who can view the page? Your page needs to be open to the public.

What do you need to do to engage contacts in this stage? At this point, you should be making every effort to get your evangelists to send contacts to your audience page (wherever that might be). Make it really easy for your evangelists to share. Show them why they should be sharing with others and the benefits they get by suggesting you as a solution-provider for their contacts. Engage your evangelists with compelling information that they’ll want to share with others.

What should the contact’s next step be? You need to get them to continue buying from you and sharing your brand with their contacts.

Why sales funnel strategy is going to be a big trend in 2011

In the past decade (plus a little bit), the internet has created a universe of opportunity for new and old businesses to become marketing machines. This has been good… but it has also been bad.

In pre-internet days, businesses would think up some marketing ideas, have them created by professionals, and rely on more traditional methodologies to get the word out: Flyers were mailed; coupons were handed out; advertisements were published. These efforts were expensive, time consuming, and usually required the skills of an outside expert (to design and/or to publish).

Now, anyone can start a business and any business owner can drive traffic to their site using a variety of web-based marketing activities (like blogging or article-writing) and techniques (like SEO). They can do it themselves quickly and affordably.

This is advantageous — because it blows the doors wide open for anyone to become an entrepreneur — it has also had some nasty repercussions:

PROBLEM 1: MAKING IT UP ON VOLUME
Do-it-yourself marketing has led to entrepreneurs trading quality for quantity and spamming search engines and inboxes and Twitter streams with volumes of content. Even businesses that market legitimately (that is, they don’t spam. Rather, they create quality content that adds value for the reader) need to achieve a certain quantity of marketing to get the job done.

PROBLEM 2: MARKETING THAT DOESN’T KEEP UP WITH THE EVOLUTION OF BUSINESS
On top of volume is another reality that people don’t realize: Businesses change and markets change but content posted online can outlive those changes. So if you create a series of articles and point those articles to a page on your site, then take that page down, those articles no longer provide the benefit they once offered. (I’m definitely guilty of this one!)

PROBLEM 3: NEW OPPORTUNITIES ARRIVING DAILY
There’s a third factor in this new reality of “DIY marketing”. New marketing techniques crop up almost daily. When I started writing (nearly two decades ago) the internet wasn’t on my radar. It wasn’t on very many people’s radar at all! Then, over the years, the web arrived and along came new ideas about how to market your business: Websites then ebooks then blogs then articles… Heck, just a few years ago, no one had heard of Twitter. Now it is THE darling of social media. It seems like a new way of marketing your business is arriving daily.

THE RESULT?
You can probably imagine what happens when you combine these three things together: A “requirement” of quantity + an ever-changing business environment + a constant flood of new marketing opportunities = An over-abundance of marketing is published and it is helpful for a brief season, but then it ceases to be helpful.

What is needed is sales funnel strategy to solve the problem: Businesses need to take one more step before they start flooding the web with marketing. (Or, if they have already started, they need to pause and revisit their strategy). In doing so, businesses will find that they will spend less on marketing but quickly achieve a more profitable result.

Sales funnel strategy will reduce the need for a volume of work and will actually make a lesser quantity of marketing content more effective. Sales funnel strategy will remain effective for longer than marketing that wasn’t applied to any sort of strategy, helping businesses stay competitive even though they are evolving. And, Sales funnel strategy will help businesses discern which marketing opportunities are right for them and which ones are unnecessary wastes of time.

TRENDING: SALES FUNNEL STRATEGY
Because of the economy being what it is (and what it was just a year or two ago), I think businesses are looking to cut back on expenses but increase the effectiveness of, well, everything they do. On top of that, I suspect that entrepreneurs are getting tired of having to race from one marketing technique to another just because everyone else is doing it. Entrepreneurs want to get back to basics and work on the parts of their business that can generate results.

So sales funnels and sales funnel strategy will increase in importance in the year(s) to come as businesses pull back from the frenetic pace that once was a DIY requirement.

Why your sales funnel is your business’ most important asset

Your sales funnel is the most important asset in your business (and yet, it’s one of the most overlooked aspects in many businesses, too!).

With a fast flowing, well-connected sales funnel, you’ll sell more products or services in less time and at less cost, resulting in higher revenue and higher profit. No other part of your business has as much significance on the survival of your business than your sales funnel.

When you understand and master your sales funnel, you create new opportunities to:

  • Focus your various marketing and social media efforts on the most promising areas (without wasting time or money on marketing that delivers zero business benefit).
  • Reduce your lead generation effort while increasing the quality and quantity of leads.
  • Qualify your prospects faster and more accurately and send through the best prospects (while making money even on the ones who don’t qualify).
  • Sell more — and more often — to customers who turn into eager evangelists; increase cash flow and profit.
  • Reduce your expenses by focusing on only the most effective marketing and selling efforts.
  • Automate your business to save effort and to allow you to put your focus elsewhere on your business.

And that’s not all. A sales funnel should be the backbone of your business, from which all other aspects of your business spring forth. Your sales should be tied into your sales funnel (which might sound like a funny statement, but many businesses aren’t set up that way). Your marketing should be tied into your sales funnel. Your customer service efforts should b tied into your sales funnel. Your accounting should be tied into your sales funnel. Everything your business does should be done with the sales funnel in mind.

When that happens — when you start with a sales funnel and move outward — you create a tightly integrated, low-cost, high profit business model that is focused on results.

2011 is here. Let’s get started!

Happy New Year! 2011 is here and I’m very excited about it! This is a favorite time of year for me because I love making goals and planning out what I’m going to do in the year.

This year, I have a number of initiatives I’m working on.

SALES FUNNELS AND SALES FUNNEL STRATEGY
Last year, my work was seeming increasingly disparate. I mean: I was doing a variety of projects (copywriting, technical writing, consulting, strategy, business planning) for clients but it was becoming harder and harder to find the common point between it all. And then I realized that almost all of my work is related to sales funnels. In short, everything I do contributes to the growth of a client’s sales funnel.

It really “clicked” for me when I realized that, and it consolidated years of experience, education, and thinking into a nice, neat concept. Sales funnels aren’t new… Rather, they’re a new way for me to express how I work with clients. You’ve already read quite a bit of my sales funnel writing and you’ll see me write more about sales funnels in the future.

Expect to hear a lot more from me about this in the future. My services aren’t changing — what I do for clients isn’t changing. But what is changing is the role that sales funnels will play.

IMPROVED CONNECTEDNESS
This initiative sounds a little vague, so here’s what I mean by it: I want to write more (blogs, articles, reports, etc.); I want what I write to be more useful to my readers. I want to be more intentional at building a community. I want to increase the participation on my blog and in some of my social channels (Twitter and LinkedIn are my two targets at this point).

Along with those “front-end” connectedness-improving initiatives, I have also been working on some back-end connectedness improvement. It’s mostly technical and it includes improved hosting for a faster-running blog, and improved software to build and connect with the communities and networks I’m involved with.

WEBSITE(S)
Over the years, I’ve collected a number of domain names and I need to clean that up a bit. It happens because I’ll work on something and pick up a few related domain names to use. Some of those projects have panned out, some haven’t. Some have run their course and been wrapped up. Some have changed names, making the original domain names irrelevant. Some are in a holding pattern… some have been in a holding pattern longer than I would like.

So here’s what I need to do: I need to figure out what to do with each one. Some of them will be purposely expired. Some will be ramped up. But I need to make sure that each one has a purpose and isn’t just orbiting out there.

A BOOK
The biggest initiative for me is a book. I’ve been meaning to write a book for a while now, but have always been overwhelmed with work for clients. Last year, I decided to do something about that and I cut back on how many clients I take on at once. I’ve started scheduling them farther out and am being a little more intentional and disciplined in the time I give to clients.

Working with clients is something I absolutely love, and I also love the hectic pace of tight deadlines. There’s nothing wrong with that but the result is always immediate revenue: I work today and receive immediate revenue for it. I want to slowly move my business toward a model where I receive ongoing revenue streams for my work. That’s not to say that I’m no longer working with clients, but rather that I need to also build toward the future. (It’s one of those things that I help my clients do, but I never took the time to do it for myself!).

As I write this, the year is already 23 hours old. There are basically 364 days left to achieve my goals. Yikes! I’d better get started.