Segment your sales funnel for faster, more profitable results

We tend to think of our businesses as having one sales funnel — a single process through which sales funnel contacts progress as they become customers. For simplicity, this “one sales funnel” approach works for many businesses.

But in reality, businesses have more than one sales funnel.

If your business sells ebooks and consulting, you probably have two funnels (but they overlap somewhat). For example, your ebook buyers might start out as blog readers then they click to your ebook sales page then they buy; while your consulting clients start out as blog readers then they call you on the phone they hire you. This is a very simple example but it can get more complicated.

Let’s say you own a car dealership with a range of cars from entry-level to luxury. Your funnel might be similar: The customer sees an advertisement and then comes into the dealership to buy. But the differences are:

  • Each advertisement was different. The entry-level car ad showed a young person having fun with friends, the minivan ad showed a family out on a picnic, the luxury car ad showed a successful couple in front of a big house. Each advertisement had a different offer. The entry-level car ad emphasized affordability and easy loan terms. The minivan ad emphasized space and safety. The luxury ad emphasized the envy of neighbors. Effective ads display the right content for the target market.
  • Each advertisement was presented to the right audience. The entry-level buyer isn’t going to read the same newspapers or watch the same TV shows as the minivan buyer, and the minivan buyer isn’t going to read the same newspapers or watch the same TV shows as the luxury car buyer. Effective ads are targeted to the right place.
  • Once inside the dealership, the buyers might be expected to act differently. They will look for different things in the car they are interested in and they might operate on a different timeline. A young first-time car buyer might want a car quickly to impress friends while a luxury car owner might take their time to decide which car is perfect for them. (I’m generalizing here, just to demonstrate the differences). How these prospective buyers talk to sales people and the length of time in the dealership will all be determined by who the buyer is.

What I’ve just described above is 3 sales funnels — an entry-level sales funnel, a minivan sales funnel, and a luxury car sales funnel. The dealership would have even more sales funnels for SUVs, pickup trucks, midsize sedans, etc.

The more products or services you sell, and the broader your target market is, the more sales funnels you have. However, it’s not really practical to treat each separate product or service or target market with its own sales funnel all the time. (For example, the dealership in the above example doesn’t need to have 3 separate buildings or 3 separate sales staff). The key is to build one sales funnel and segment it appropriately.

Look at your target market and divide them up into demographic groups using lead profiles. Then figure out which marketing channels resonate with that “sub-target market” the most. Also, make note of what parts of your sales funnel would be shared between all contacts in your sales funnel.

Once you’ve done that, construct a segmented sales funnel to address how each particular group wants to buy.

Internet marketing success story: 2nd anniversary of PLR Internet Marketing

Happy 2nd anniversary to PLR Internet Marketing!

Warren Wooden runs PLR Internet Marketing, which is celebrating its second anniversary this month. I’m chronicling his success for other entrepreneurs to see.

PLR Internet Marketing helps entrepreneurs succeed online. The website has hundreds of blog post with really valuable tips; there’s a forum where users can interact; there are free resources as well as products and services for sale.

Their three values — Foundation, Growth, and Support — are expressed on their logo and clearly embedded into everything they do.

THE PHONE CALL THAT STARTED IT ALL

In early 2010, I took a call from Warren Wooden, and we talked about how he was thinking about starting a business in the internet marketing space. Not long afterward, he had a website and an ebook and a sale funnel, and then I watched as he relentlessly grew his business through the year.

By early 2011, he had achieved more than most other entrepreneurs I’d met, and I wrote a blog post on his business’ first anniversary in which we talked about his astonishing success as an entrepreneur in the internet marketing space.

This month, Warren Wooden’s company, PLR Internet Marketing, celebrates its second year in business. I’ve been looking forward to interviewing Warren again, so he can share how his second year of business was and so other entrepreneurs can learn from his experiences.

Warren is an increasingly busy guy (as you will soon see) but he was kind enough to take some time with me. (My questions are in black and Warren’s responses are in green).

Aaron Hoos: Hey Warren! Thanks for doing another interview this year. I’m so excited about hearing about how your business has grown this year.

Warren Wooden: Hey there, Aaron, thanks for having me back. It’s funny knowing that someone is holding you accountable. It keeps you thinking forward! :)

Aaron Hoos: Let’s get right into the interview because even though we’ve talked through the year, I’ve been waiting all year for this interview!

Goal setting can be a challenge for entrepreneurs… but goal ACHIEVEMENT can be an even bigger challenge. Take us through the goals you talked about in last year’s interview and tell us how you’ve done. I always appreciate how transparent you are and I know other entrepreneurs feel the same way.

Warren Wooden: Goal number 1 for last year was my own e-book. And in this page year, I wrote and launched Blog Traffic Tactics and sales have been steady with that one. Much of the sales success comes from the fact that I included it in my auto responder and offered it at a discount to subscribers who downloaded E-Business; The Insider’s Edge from my website.

Anytime I can add an additional revenue stream to my blog, I’m happy. I’ve also been working on a much larger eBook project also aimed at both amateur and professional bloggers alike, and I’m hoping to launch it sometime in the next couple of weeks. This will be more of a Blog Owner’s Manual, and will cover all the various aspects of building and running a successful blog that is able to bring in a monthly income that is capable of sustaining an individual, as well as his or her family.

After all most of us who start looking toward blogging as a career vs. a hobby are looking for a sustainable business model.

Goal number 2 for last year was my own digital product. Here’s how I did this past year: While my eBooks can be considered digital products I had hoped to develop an internet marketing video course. I did pick up a website selling a Facebook marketing course, but ultimately I’d like to own a complete set of internet marketing video guides that I can continue to add to as technologies and techniques change. Of all the courses I’ve picked up, only a couple of them were what I’d consider as in depth and over delivered on. I’d like to add one more to that list.

Goal number 3 for last year was to hit a website traffic target of 2000+ visitors per day. I’ve been monitoring two stats programs (AwStats, and of course Google’s Analytics) and while I exceeded 2000 in AwStats I’m still working to bring up the Analytics in Google which are a more accurate representation of actual visitors. I’ve managed to get my website to the top 0.2% and will be continuing to drive traffic using the many methods I wrote about in my eBook (www.blogtraffictactics.net) as well as some new ones that I’ve been experimenting with. Traffic truly is the lifeblood of our blogging business, and more importantly “targeted traffic”.

Going forward in 2012 I’ll by attempting to increase my traffic by 10% each month. If I can sustain that type of growth for the entire year, I’ll be in good shape.

Goal number 4 for last year was to achieve an income level of $10,000 per month. I now know that this goal was unrealistic while trying to hit the various other goals I’d listed as being important in my business. With something this large you need to either have a team working toward developing products or providing services, or be able to invest more time, money, and energy than I was being a single individual. When you consider that it takes about 7 or 8 years to become a dentist, and they make between $8,000 and $20,000/month on average I guess attempting to hit $10,000 per month in only my second year was a little bit of a stretch! One important consideration with business goals is that they remain both realistic, and flexible.

Goal number 5 for last year was to get 20,000+ subscribers on my email list. This is definitely one area that didn’t grow as fast as I’d hoped, I think I tried to hit too many goals, and just wasn’t able to devote enough of my time toward achieving them all. I was stretched quite thin as it was and found I just didn’t have enough hours in the day to make all my ideas into reality!

Goal number 6 for this past year was to rank top 3 for “Internet Marketing”. The best I’ve managed with this is 7th place which is still on page one of Google. :) This is a very competitive keyword and many of the sites I’ve been competing with have been online for quite a few more years than I have. I’m still building links, and trying to rank this as well as dozens of other keywords, and I’m counting on my stubbornness keeping me moving up the SERP ladder.

Goal number 7 for this past year was to have 1 product launch under my belt. The eBook was my only launch this year, with another one coming sometime later this month. I’ll likely look to add another product or service to my existing lineup sometime down the road, and have a few thoughts in mind.

Goal number 8 for this past year was to have at least one employee in the business. Besides using various outsourcers for various parts of my business like graphic design, Html coding and such, I’ve recently taken on a writer who is helping to contribute both article and email content for the blog. I definitely can see a time in the future when I’m able to keep a half dozen people busy on a daily basis and working toward building something larger than what I could build on my own. Now I just need to be creative enough to generate the income needed to fuel such a team.

Goal number 9 for this past year was to remain motivated and setting goals each month. I’m a list and goal junkie! I have my daily “to do” list, as well as a monthly “goal board” that I fill in each month with items geared toward keeping me on track with my yearly goals. I imagine I’ll still be making lists and goals until I’m eighty! LOL

Goal number 10 for this past year was to achieve a combined social network following (on Twitter and Facebook) will be over 100,000. My Social network hit 95,000, but is continuing to grow at a steady rate so overall I’m happy with this number. On our last interview I had 20,000 followers on my Twitter account and have brought that number up to over 57,000 and Twitter is one of my largest suppliers of traffic to date.

Aaron Hoos: You have achieved a lot – quite a bit more than many aspiring entrepreneurs. What’s your “secret”?

Warren Wooden: I’m not sure there is any secret really, it comes down to passion I guess. The type of passion that allows us to assimilate every piece of data or information we can find on whatever it is we happen to love. I remember something I heard when I was bodybuilding and powerlifting. “There is always somebody training harder… Is it you?”

Invest in yourself and your business. Whether it is in the form of blog content, online and offline assets, or knowledge and skillsets you can use. The more you invest in yourself the further you’ll be able to take both yourself, and your business.

Aaron Hoos: How has the internet marketing industry changed and what have you done to read the signals and stay current?

Warren Wooden: Well as usual Google has slapped us with some big changes that are affecting quite a few online marketers, and I think if you aren’t staying current and listening to the experts in your industry you’ll find yourself quickly falling behind. Internet Marketing, and blogging are full time occupations, and staying abreast of changes and current events can keep you busy. I’d recommend setting aside 1 hour each day toward education, and trying to stay at the peak of your chosen profession. I’m lucky in that there are so many experts, and pioneers in my industry, and each of them is willing to freely share that information with those who set aside the time to listen.

Aaron Hoos: What are some highlights you’ve experienced with your 2nd year online?

Warren Wooden: There are a few I’d like to mention:

  • Hit 57,000 followers on Twitter. I’d looked at some of the industry leaders and worked to reach the levels they had. In this case John Chow had 54,000 followers and I thought that was a very impressive number and one I’d like to be able to feature myself.
  • Because of the work I did with my Twitter account I was able to generate an extra $3,000 this year that came in as a direct result of my Twitter account.
  • I’ve been building links for quite some time now, and was recently rewarded with a PageRank 4 (I’d like to bring this up to PR5 in 2012)
  • I’ve been asked to write and advise on some high profile sites and while I will never consider myself a “writer” LOL, it does show me that there are people out there starting to take notice of me and the information I’m accumulating, and I can’t help but feel a little proud that I’m being sought out as an expert in my industry.
  • I now have over 650 articles published on www.plrinternetmarketing.com and still love researching and writing on topics and events in my industry.
  • I picked up another 750 high quality images to use on my website
  • Upgraded my host to a VPS (Virtual Private Server)
  • Added a content delivery network to increase website speed for users around the globe
  • Started a couple of Joint Ventures that we’ll be working in 2012
  • Grew the PLR Internet Marketing fan page to 33,800+ fans
  • Added a years’ worth of email content into my auto responder series

Aaron Hoos: Describe a typical day.

Warren Wooden: I can show you the actual document I follow in order to try and be as productive as I can. Of course some days are more productive than others, and there are always going to be variations, but this should give you a general idea. I wake up around 7 or 8 am and make the 30 second commute to my office where I’m about to get a great view of the sunrise coming up in the East. I then refer to the following document. (The document changes as my business needs change, this is the current version.)

Like I said there will always be things that crop up, coding errors, webinars, or conference calls and such which get added to your day, but having a clear plan of the things you need to accomplish will definitely keep you on track for achieving your business goals.

Aaron Hoos: What lessons have you learned this year about running a business?

Warren Wooden: I’ve learned a lot from this business and from previous businesses I’ve owned, but in this past year the following four lessons were highlighted for me:

  1. It’s harder than you think.
  2. It’s a lot of work.
  3. It doesn’t feel like work.
  4. Owning and running your own business is so rewarding and fulfilling and I think everyone should experience the process that comes with conceptualizing something on paper, and then turning that idea into a reality.

Aaron Hoos: What do you wish you could go back in time and tell yourself two years ago?

Warren Wooden: Well, aside from time travel tips :) I would probably tell myself the following things…

  • Community is everything in the blogging industry, without it you’re on your own and that’s a scary place to be.
  • Don’t stretch yourself too thin.
  • Know your business model inside out, live it! Breathe it! A lot of people myself included came online looking to “make money online” without a clear idea of how we were going to go about that. You need to have a plan that includes a product, service, or other revenue driving source of income to promote.
  • Measure all key results that are crucial to your particular business. For example if traffic is important to you, do you know how many visitors you had last month? Last week? What were you’re targets? If you made them, why? If you didn’t what are you going to be doing about it this week?
  • When possible get a mentor. The guidance they can provide can shorten the learning curve and point you in directions you might not have found on your own. Always be willing and open to learning.
  • No matter how much you know about something (Twitter, Marketing, advertising, etc.) there is always something to learn, and not only that, but something valuable to your business. It’s up to you to find it. PS. You usually find it by listening or reading someone else’s content who happens to already have found it!

Aaron Hoos: What are the top tips you would advise to other entrepreneurs with a similar dream?

Warren Wooden: Here are twelve tips for aspiring entrepreneurs; things I wish I’d known in the beginning that can be applied to most online businesses.

  1. Make sure you have a business model. Have a product or service you believe in and are promoting, this is where you’re going to earn your living.
  2. ABC – Always Be Creating, the more content you have out there, the more chances you have someone will find you.
  3. Always be building links, whether it’s commenting, guest posting, press releases, etc. The more links = the more roads to your site. (I’d say keep an excel document and track your links)
  4. Don’t spread yourself too thin. I did this and looking back would have focused on only a handful of items first.
  5. Set goals. Daily, monthly, and annual goals and make yourself stay on track with them.
  6. Build a community. 25 people who follow, and believe in you are worth more than 2500 that simply land on your site and disappear again.
  7. Be everywhere! Make sure people see your name, or site name all over the internet (in a good way of course)
  8. Find a few tools that make your life easier. For me it’s Tweet Attacks, TweetDeck, Market Samurai, RoboForm, Google’s Analytics, and Webmaster Tools. I’m sure I’m missing tons, but I use these one’s daily and they are a great assortment of tools.
  9. Learn everything you can about your chosen industry, its community, and its leaders.
  10. Avoid information overload. There will always be a shiny new object, course, or method around the corner. Ask yourself first if this product or service will help you reach one of the goals you’ve listed as being important to your business!
  11. Be consistent in your approach. Consistency is key, and a sustained approach will likely carry you a lot further than a short burst of effort in any one direction.
  12. Choose the key metrics that you’ll measure your success with and then track them, set targets and make plans on how to achieve those targets.

Hopefully these tips help a few people because at the end of the day, if we’ve helped even a few, then it was a day well spent!

Aaron Hoos: What goals do you have this coming year?

Warren Wooden: My focus this year will be on traffic and sales. I’d like to spend more time tweaking my business model, and ensuring that the site is as profitable as possible while still being content heavy and providing tons of value to each of my visitors. Some things I’d like to achieve are:

  1. PageRank 5
  2. Alexa below 25,000
  3. Major Press Release/Media blitz
  4. 365 Blog Posts
  5. Increase traffic by 10% each month
  6. Increase income by 10% each month

Aaron Hoos: You also have some interesting opportunities, news, and challenges this coming year. How will your life be different?

Warren Wooden: The last few months have been interesting to say the least! I’ve gotten engaged on New Year’s Eve to my sweetheart who I mentioned in our last interview. I took her out to the middle of nowhere to a tree that has been around for the last 700 or so years and signifies “Endurance” for many Albertans living near the Crowsnest Pass. We arrived about 11:58 so I cut it pretty close as I wanted to ask her to marry me at exactly midnight, as we ushered in the New Year.
It was kind of cool (actually freezing cold! LOL) as there were some fireworks going off in the distance while we were there, and things worked out well since the ring fit perfect, and she said YES!

We are also pregnant with our first child, and we are both so excited to meet her! She’ll be here sometime around April 13th and will be our first. We’ve decided to name her Cailynn, and judging by how active she already is, she’ll be a wonderful handful!

We bought a house in Turner Valley, Alberta which is just outside of Calgary and far enough away to be quiet but still accessible! The wildlife is amazing, and we see animals on a daily basis there. We even had three black bears up the tree across from our house back in October for about ten hours while every fearless child in the neighborhood pedaled their bikes around and around the area, much to the concern of the wildlife officer parked watching them.

I did have one bit of bad news clouding things for us. I was diagnosed with Kidney Cancer, and will likely be losing my right kidney. This did play a part in slowing down the progress with my business a little as I spent some time in the hospital, and later recuperating from that visit to them. I’m still dealing with it, and will likely have to make a few more visits, but we’re both positive people and refuse to let it get us down.

All in all, I’d say it’s been a great year!

Aaron Hoos: Thank you, Warren! I’ve really been looking forward to this interview… ever since I did the last one! I hope we can make it an annual thing!

Warren Wooden: Thank you Aaron, I’ve enjoyed doing the interview, and you can definitely expect to see me back here again March of 2013 listing out my successes, failures, and even hopes for my next year with my online business. Here’s to an amazing year for us all!

(Final note from Aaron)… Warren started out as a client and we spoke from time to time on the phone. But I am now privileged to consider him a peer, a friend, a collaborator and a mentor and our daily emails enrich my life. Thank you, Warren! All the best to you and Daya and Cailynn.

What I’m working on this week (Feb. 27 – Mar. 3)

February is NEARLY done! March is basically here. So excited about that. I got a lot of work done this past month but the real focus of the month was cleaning up many partly-done projects and laying a foundation for several new projects still to come.

I’ve got so many really exciting things going on right now — on the client side and in other joint venture projects I’m involved in. Here are some highlights:

  • Working on some articles for a stock picking client
  • I’ve got some JVs in the works that I’m just about ready to reveal
  • I’m wrapping up some ebooks for a real estate investor (confession: This project is a holdover from last week).
  • I’ve also been doing a ton of work in my own sales funnel (you may have noticed some changes on the site) and I’m getting ready to unleash a bunch of new marketing, products, and service in March.
  • I’ve just started working again with three different clients from several years ago who are ready for more work from me! They all contacted me out of the blue within the past couple of weeks. I love it!

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Using The 7 Basic Human Emotions in Your Sales Funnel: Disgust

There are 7 basic human emotions: Anger, Fear, Disgust, Contempt, Joy, Sadness, Surprise.

These are root emotions from which all other emotions spring. (Read more about them here). These 7 emotions are at the core of what drives our decision-making.

If you understand these emotions and build your sales funnel around them, you can sell more.

HOW TO USE DISGUST IN YOUR SALES FUNNEL

Disgust might not seem like something you would want to put into your sales funnel but it can really work. Like fear and anger, the use of disgust is an effective tool when you want to position yourself WITH your target audience AGAINST some other cause. Therefore, it’s a useful tool to use especially in philanthropic copywriting.

Disgust is a primal repulsion and a desire to push back; it’s not just a gag reflex. The value of disgust in your sales funnel is that it makes your prospects predictable. They are motivated AWAY from disgust, so make sure that you place yourself and your solution in the direction they are going to move.

To use disgust in your sales funnel effectively, make sure you understand exactly what disgusts your reader. Spending too much time focusing on the wrong aspect of disgust may not effectively sell to your audience. I think a good example is to consider the disgust I feel about an outhouse. Outhouses are disgusting and you might think it has something to do with the smell. But that’s only a small, gross part of outhouses. If you wanted to sell me a solution by selling against my disgust of outhouses, you’d have to push deeper in your copywriting and talk about how an outhouse is a pile of festering germs with no place to wash your hands and just because you walk out of it and breathe clean air, those horrible little festering germs are still stuck to your clothing and hair. [Shudder]

Related to the above point, just because something might be gross doesn’t mean it disgusts your reader. Disgust goes deeper than that. Disgust is a primal repulsion. It’s something in our DNA. It’s something in our subconscious. It’s instinctual. An example that illustrates this (at least in my opinion) is the pictures of decayed teeth and tar-filled lungs on cigarette and chewing tobacco containers. These are meant to disgust people into NOT smoking or chewing but they are really just gross and don’t actually achieve the level of primal, repulsive disgust that the pictures are supposed to achieve.

Once you know what disgusts your reader, write JUST ENOUGH to remind them of what repulses them… but don’t write so much that they have to click away. Always keep coming back to the opportunity to eliminate the disgust.

Disgust is a strong enough feeling that people want to eliminate it completely from their lives, not just gloss it over. So when selling the solution to disgust, make sure you highlight how your solution will eliminate the disgust they feel and not just delay or lighten the problem.

Disgust is a great motivator but you need to be careful about what you try to disgust your readers with. Be careful that you don’t disgust them with something that’s part of their own lives. An example might be in the fitness and weightloss field. You might want to sell your weightloss program to someone who is overweight but trying to build a sense of disgust around your prospect’s level of obesity is not the right call. This practice could end up backfiring on you by destroying any rapport you might have with the prospect. The disgust you write about in your marketing collateral should be something that you and your prospect align together on.

Of all the basic emotions, I think disgust is one of the most-underused emotions to draw upon. But if you can find the right target audience, and if you express disgust in a way that really repulses your audience, you can push people through your sales funnel very quickly!

10 ways to turn your inexperience into an asset

You’re starting a business. But you lack experience.

You’re worried that people won’t take you seriously or that they will question the level of value you can provide. You’ve heard the “fake it ’til you make it” motto, which is easy to say but difficult to live out authentically.

Good news: I’ve been there. So has every other business owner. Ever. Don’t let your inexperience keep you from moving forward and even succeeding in your new business. If you feel that you lack the experience necessary to be successful, here are some ways to turn your lack of experience into an asset:

  1. Become a “newbie-expert” — someone who soaks up the lessons of the existing industry experts and distills it down in a way that other inexperienced people understand. Don’t try to be the peer of the expert. Instead, become an expert to the people who are just like you. You’ll have the advantage because you’re speaking their language!
  2. Become an innovator. You don’t have to have experience if you break new ground in an industry. You can enter this new industry and break the rules that industry insiders think are unbreakable.
  3. Research the gurus in your market right now and find the common things that they are all saying… then say the opposite. Become the contrarian in your niche.
  4. If someone calls you out on your lack of experience, point out that you aren’t shackled by the preconceptions held by most of the others in your industry.
  5. In industries where prospects put a lot of trust into you as an individual (i.e. if you’re a financial advisor), sell your “hunger” and “hustle” as the real reasons people should hire you. Lots of people like someone with hustle compared to an experienced and successful person who is complacent.
  6. As a new person in an industry, you’ll be able to clearly see problems and gaps that the more experienced people have ignored and worked around. Solve THOSE problems and fill THOSE gaps and you’ll carve out a unique place in an existing industry!
  7. If you’re moving from one industry to another, don’t discard everything you learned from your previous industry. Leverage your previous industry experience by finding ways to weave it into your current work. I know a real estate investor who used to be a cop. Two different industries. But he is very good at weaving his law enforcement background into the due diligence and mentoring he does as a real estate investor. Find ways to bring best practices from your old industry into your new industry.
  8. Even though there might be industry differences, some things don’t change from one industry to the next. For example: Prospects with problems buy products or services that provide a valuable solution. That’s the same no matter where you go. So instead of getting specific about your experience, generalize your previous-industry experience to make it relevant to your current-industry.
  9. Start a blog and write about your foray into a new industry. That becomes part of your story. You’ll quickly gain experience AND respect as people see you learn. Keep the blog going as a journal of your experience. It will become invaluable to you and to others.
  10. If it’s business experience you lack, don’t try to start something on your own. Partner with someone else (perhaps someone who possesses business experience but not industry experience!) and put your individual expertise together.