What To Offer In Your Sales Funnel and Where

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I’ve been working on funnels recently.

If you are working online, you’re in business or whatever – even if you work in a human factory in Silicon Valley, you’ll have heard the irritatingly hipster term “talent stack” or “skill stack” or whatever variation of it people use where you live.

Your “talent stack” (and I swear that’s the last time I use that term) is a set of skills that when combined exponentially increase your value as a worker drone-slash- human being.

If you are a copywriter, then you may or may not work on funnels. You should. So far as a complimentary skill that massively increases the value of your copy and your business life, understanding where your copy sits within a funnel and how the whole system works is an incredible value add.

In fact, it’s so valuable that my prices are about to go up. For the record.

Anyway, that’s a bit of a tangent of an introduction. Today’s topic is funnels and more specifically, how you put information into funnels and where you put it.

This is pretty important because most people don’t know what they’re doing – me included – and so do it wrong.

(Time Out: If you’re enjoying this article, then you should probably sign up to my mailing list, where I give out ideas and business tricks that I don’t share publicly. Click here, fill out your details and get yourself on the list! You won’t leave this page.

Now Back To The Regular Programming Schedule…)

What’s Wrong With Your Funnel?

Let’s just quickly describe a funnel so we’re clear. I’ll be using the simplest example.

Your reader lands on your landing page. You give them a little bit of information and offer something awesome in return for their email address. It might be a free ebook or whatever. Then, you give them the free ebook in a Thank You email and you also say, “If you liked this free information, then you’ll probably like this paid information too.”

So you have reader > Landing Page > Email Opt-in (Plus Free Offer) > Upsell Landing Page.

Now, you might think, “Where do I get all this information from?” or “But I don’t want to give away the goods for free!” or “What’s to stop freeloaders stealing my god-damned ebook and then never buying my actual product?”

These are all real concerns.

I wrote a while back that you should build lead magnets based on a single principle and products on another. I’d guess this advice is pretty accurate, all things considered:

  1. Your free giveaway should be a value ad in that it saves your person time and money by collating information they could get anywhere into a single, easy to digest resource.
  2. If you have unique insight, skills or value that a person can’t get anywhere else… then that goes into a paid product.

Using the above system, you’ve got a very good shot of getting customers and keeping them. The people who are after freebies get something, the people who want more get something, and nobody feels like they’ve been suckered into cheap products that could be blog posts.

More importantly, you haven’t spent five years on a free giveaway, which… some people do stuff like that.

But we can always make a system better, so here are some additional thoughts on the nature of giveaways, funnels and the like.

It’s All About Pain

It’s the middle of the night. You wake up in a cold sweat, and realise you really need to use the bathroom. Pulling yourself out of bed, you trundle lethargically across your bedroom, open the door and try to make your way, fumbling through the darkness, to your toilet. You’re still disorientated from the sleep, and forget that your cat has a free run of the house while you’re in bed.

It’s a shame and probably total coincidence that it wants to sit right outside your bedroom door.

Naturally, you step on its tail. Old Whiskers screams and it wakes everyone in your street. But that’s not your problem. Your problem is that in order to limit the damage, you jump out of the way. Except you’re half asleep and you land awkwardly.

The good news is that you’ve forgotten about needing the bathroom. The bad news is that you’re on the floor and you think you might have broken your ankle. You’ve sprained it badly at the very least.

Now, assuming you live in a country where your healthcare isn’t basically commandeered by gangsters, you can go to the Accident and Emergency department either by ambulance or your car… or your neighbour’s, seeing as your cat’s already woken them up anyway.

You get to A&E, and you’re confronted with an important lesson about marketing funnels.

The Quick Fix

You might need weeks of physiotherapy to fix your ankle. You might need to put your cat up for adoption if this has happened before. You’re going to need to tell your boss that you probably need a day off work tomorrow and that you’ll have trouble doing the heavy lifting at your workplace while you’re in your cast.

Here’s the important thing about funnels; you don’t care about ANY of that at the moment. You know why? Because the only problem you have is that you have a broken ankle and it hurts like hell and all you want to do is (cry) and go back to bed having hit “rewind” on your life.

Here’s the lesson: People want a quick fix to their solutions. This is your giveaway. It’s your free ebook and it’s the thing that’ll make them say, “This guy knows what he’s talking about in this 10 page “E-report.”

Now, you can’t fix someone’s life, their tennis serve or their cooking skills in a ten page report. But you can fix that one immediate problem that’s perceived to be ruining their life.

The Long Road

If you have a free product that does the above – it takes away temporary pain temporarily, don’t think for a second that that isn’t useful. A quick little trick to fix your posture or a few sentences that you can use to talk to a girl you’ve been crushing on for years – those have real, tangible value and it’s awesome you’re giving away the secrets for free.

But you’re also planting a hook whenever you do this. People know that their life isn’t going to be solved with a ten page report and that’s ok. That’s why you have the upsell.

This is where you charge, make tons of money and fix people’s lives for good. Hopefully.

But you need to design your funnel with this in mind. Far too many people set it up so that they either

  • a) don’t fix a single problem in their initial offering, or
  • b) they fix too much and leave the person not needing anything more or
  • c) they have a great lead magnet and a great offer but they don’t bother – for fear or from not knowing what they’re doing – to say, “Hey, you like my free stuff, here’s some more.”

Obviously you want to do that.

Final Thoughts

I’m not going to talk about how to specifically set up your funnel and make sure you hit all of the elements, because this is already long and, well, you’ll have to figure it out on your own.

Consider the above a diagnostic though, because if you’re having issues, it’s probably one of the three problems highlighted above.

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