Affiliate Marketing – The Sales Funnel
A sales funnel is a clever marketing process. It is a tactic used widely in internet marketing to sell multiple but varying products as well as gather highly qualified email leads.
If you can imagine a funnel which is wide at the top narrowing gradually to the bottom, then you can imagine a sales funnel in exactly the same way. In a normal funnel, the liquid or powder is gathered at the top and channeled to the opening at the bottom. As the liquid or powder is poured onto the funnel, some of it never makes it through to the end. It either falls to the side away from the funnel or sticks to the sides in the funnel. In the same way, the leads that are brought to the opening of the sales funnel do not all make it to the desired destination. It is only the very qualified leads that come through which are captured.
Collecting qualified leads is not the only function of a sales funnel. As the prospects are whirled through the funnel, they are offered various products on the way at various price points. Some of these prospects will not purchase anything so you can imagine them sticking at the top. Others will purchase just one so you can imagine them sticking a little further down the funnel. If the prospects purchase all the products offered to them, they will come through at the bottom.
In order to create a successful sales funnel you need to understand these aspects in the sales process. Squeeze pages, entry points, freebies, low end offers, $1 offers, upsells, downsells, cross sells, OTOs (one-time offers), repackaging, repurposing and recurring income products and services. We will consider each of these briefly below.
The squeeze page also known as the landing page or the opt-in page is the first webpage a prospect will come across in the sales process. The prospect has not yet entered the sales funnel at this stage but it is there on that page. The word squeeze is meant to convey the ‘squeezing out’ or extraction of the email address and perhaps spending of the prospect as he goes through the sales funnel.
Prospects are led to the squeeze page from an entry point which could be any of these external linked pages.
• PPC (Pay Per Click) Advertisement;
• Ezine Advertisement;
• Article with resource box with link at the end of an article;
• Blog Posts;
• Link given in hard-copy newspaper ad or press release.
Freebies are a great way to get people to subscribe to your list. By offering, let’s say an ebook, which contains the information they are really after, they will willingly subscribe to your email list.
A $1 dollar offer sometimes works out better in conversion terms than a free offer. Somehow, people perceive an item that is offered at an attractive price, such as 1 USD to be worth pursuing than something which is free. In my opinion, it is perhaps a question of perceived quality of the item that is not free compared with that which is. The item with a monetary value may be perceived to be of a higher quality and a bargain. In my opinion ebooks that are given away free are likely to be just as good as those being sold.
In a sales funnel, any item that is offered at a higher price than a previous item is called an upsell. The item offered for an upsell must be perceived as offering greater value to the prospect in the sales funnel otherwise the system will not work in getting the customer to the last item in the funnel.
It is not unusual to come across items in the sales funnel that are cheaper than previous item(s). This exercise is called a downsell and the product although cheaper should really compliment what has been bought previously.
In a cross sell an item is offered in an upsell or a downsell that augments your product. This merchandise may be of your own making or someone else’s who has entered into a Joint Venture (JV) with you. Such an item most often induces an emotional reaction in the prospect as it is probably unexpected but something that may really help them in their endeavors.
One-Time Offers (OTOs)
One-Time Offers (OTOs) introduce the concept of scarcity to that product. They are usually placed as upsells after the customer has bought at least one product in the sales funnel. By describing the product as an exclusive and offered as an OTO, it will create a huge urge in the prospect to purchase.
Instead of only looking at creating new products to put into your sales funnel, you should try and see what you already have and repackage it in a different format. For instance, if you have written a mini course on a topic which had gone out as a series of emails, try and repackage it as a video or an audio. You may even be able to charge for it in the sales funnel.
Repurposing products means you try and get every penny you can from your old product but in a different way. So, for instance, if you have written an ebook that has had its run and the sales have dried up, try and exploit it in another way. For instance by creating a mini course or using the material to write a sequence of blogs for your website.
Recurring Income Products And Services
For an internet marketer, creating and achieving sales of recurring income products and services is perhaps the ultimate goal. These products can easily be the most lucrative since they guarantee steady income month in month out. Maybe this item should be placed at the end of the sales funnel where the most focused prospects go through and are the best suited to purchase.
To your affiliate marketing success!