“Email marketing doesn’t work.” or “I’ve never gotten a sale from social media.”
Does this sound familiar to you?
Many entrepreneurs find marketing challenging because no one has given them any useful examples of advertising strategies they can deploy in their business.
Friend, that changes today! Online advertising strategies work – I know this because I’m living proof.
In this episode of Shop Talk, I will share with you the right way to market to your target audience so you can convert them from a prospect into a lifelong customer.
Snapshot of this episode:
- 2:19 – What Does A Standard Sales Funnel Look Like?
- 3:27 – The Process That Guides Your Marketing Efforts
- 6:03 – Where The Sales Funnel And The LCM Intersect
- 11:15 – Examples Of Advertising Strategies For Every Stage Of The Sales Funnel
- 24:27 – Why Entrepreneurs Don’t Get Results From Their Paid Ads
- 29:40 – Getting Started With Your Advertising Strategy
In my experience, one of the biggest challenges to growing a business is getting enough people to know about you, your brand, and your offers so that you can make the sales you want to make to reach your revenue goals.
In other words...
If more people knew what you did and offered - you'd probably make more sales - right?
There are two primary ways that you can get more exposure for your business: you can get free organic exposure, or you can pay for your exposure. Free, organic exposure is the exposure you get without paying for it. Paid exposure is the exposure you receive because of an investment you've made in advertising your business.
Most entrepreneurs love the idea and focus their efforts on getting as much free exposure as possible.
The problem with relying on free exposure is that you don't typically control who sees your business and offers or the rate at which they see it.
You need to control who sees your business and how many people are exposed to what you offer so you can manage your sales and growth.
You need control over your visibility if you want to direct your company's future.
Bottom line? Paid advertising and paid exposure put you in charge instead of leaving everything to chance.
What Does A Standard Sales Funnel Look Like?
Before we dive into our examples of advertising strategies, let's look at the 4 stages of a standard sales funnel:
Stage 1 - Awareness: This is the point where the consumer becomes aware of a brand, product, service, or offer.
Stage 2 - Interest: In this stage, the customer is now showing interest in what they have been made aware of.
Stage 3 - Consideration: This is where the consumer does their research to learn more and compare brands, products, services, or offers.
Stage 4 - Purchase: In this final state, the consumer takes action and makes a purchase.
This is all pretty straightforward - right?
The Process That Guides Your Marketing Efforts
Lifecycle Marketing (LCM) is a mix of strategies a company uses to communicate and move its target audience from being a prospect to becoming a customer, an ambassador, and eventually a life-long customer.
Everything we do in our company is guided by the LCM model. When someone says to me, "Hey Misty, what do I need to do to grow my business?" I first do a quick audit of their business to discover where they are and where their struggles lie. Then I turn to the Lifecycle Marketing stages and say, "Ok, based on what you've shared with me, these are the stages we need to address."
There are 7 stages in the LCM process that you should always consider:
Stage 1 - Awareness: This is the stage where you are essentially advertising (or creating awareness) for your business. You are getting your brand in front of your target audience.
Stage 2 - Capture: Here, you look for ways to capture the contact information of your perfect ideal customer. Most offer something for free in exchange for a person's contact information.
Stage 3 - Nurture: This is where you create content consistently (meaning every week) so that you have a reason to stay in touch with the people on your email marketing list to continue to nurture the relationship with that person until they are ready to buy from you.
Stage 4 - Convert: In this stage, you should have sales processes set up, sales scripts, sales funnels, and a sales pipeline that you can use to track where your prospects are in your sales process.
Stage 5 - Delight: In this stage of Lifecycle Marketing, you are looking for ways to delight and wow your customers so that they are more likely to become Ambassadors.
Stage 6 - Ambassador: Ambassadors are people who can't help but talk about you, your company, or your products and services because they had such a great experience.
We all want more Ambassadors, of course. Being intentional about delighting and wowing your customers will help.
Stage 7 - Upsell (or Retention): In the final stage, you are looking for ways to continue supporting your customers. This may mean offering additional products and services or looking for ways to retain them as clients.
I'm very passionate about the Lifecycle Marketing process because everything we talk about and do in our business will fit into one of these stages. So, it's crucial that you have a foundational understanding of what this looks like.
Where The Sales Funnel And The LCM Intersect
For today's topic, we will discuss the first stage of LCM: awareness.
If you look at a standard sales funnel and the first 4 stages of LCM, they line up.
Stage 1: Contains the strategies you deploy to create awareness of your business. This is where you advertise.
Stage 2: This is where you capture the interest of your target audience. How do many businesses do this today? By offering a free resource (aka lead magnet) that they give away in exchange for a person's contact information.
Stage 3: In this stage, the prospect is in consideration. They are now comparing businesses, products, services, etc., and doing their research. This is why in LCM, nurturing is so important. Nurturing allows you to get in front of your prospect consistently and provide them with information and value. So that eventually…
Stage 4: When they are ready to buy, they buy from you because you were there when they were considering their options.
Super simple, right?
The biggest mistake entrepreneurs make in their marketing efforts is trying to take someone from the awareness to purchase in one email, social media post, or paid ad - thinking they will get results.
But they don't.
And when they don't get results, they blame the platform. They say...
"Email marketing doesn't work." or "I've never gotten a sale from social media - so, it doesn't work."
"I've run ads on Facebook, and no one buys, so Facebook advertising doesn't work either."
Does this sound familiar?
Here's what I want you to know...
#1: I'm not judging. I'm just pointing out what we've heard from thousands of entrepreneurs.
It saddens me to hear this, too, because I know that most entrepreneurs would sell more if they incorporated the RIGHT strategies in their businesses. I'm going to share examples of advertising strategies we recommend (and it will be crystal clear why we recommend these).
#2: I want you to understand...email marketing, social media marketing, and paid advertising work.
What doesn't work is trying to convert a cold audience into becoming a customer without warming them up (aka "nurturing") first.
Think of it this way. Imagine a single person was looking to meet someone, so they went to a local bar. After they walk into the bar, they notice someone that catches their eye. So, they go right up to the person, introduce themself, and say, "Will you marry me?"
It's absurd to think that scenario might happen in real life. But for some business owners, their business strategy is to sporadically send emails, post on social media, or create Facebook ads with the hope of making a sale. And that is the equivalent of a person hoping to get married from an introduction.
Examples Of Advertising Strategies For Every Stage Of The Sales Funnel
I'd like to share a series of strategies that will work together to lead your prospect through your sales process. These are the steps you need to take to get them to warm up to you before they make that purchase.
Let's walk through the left side of the graphic first (starting at the top).
TOFU - Top Of Funnel Focus
Your Top Of Funnel Focus is the Awareness Level. Your focus here is on marketing & advertising.
MOFU - Middle Of Funnel Focus Level 1
At the Middle Of Funnel Focus is the interest level. Your focus should be deploying strategies to capture leads. Once you capture the leads...
MOFU - Middle Of Funnel Focus Level 2
Still, in the Middle of Funnel Focus, we come to the consideration level. Here you should be nurturing your prospects. Last week we gave you a specific strategy you can use for this exact purpose. If you still need to watch that, be sure to check out the replay.
BOFU - Bottom Of Funnel Focus
And then there's the Bottom of Funnel Focus - the purchase level. This is where you should have consistent follow-up and sales strategies.
Now, looking at the right side, I'm going to give you specific examples of advertising strategies you should deploy at each stage of the sales funnel.
You'll notice that some of these are outside of paid advertising. Still, I wanted to include some unpaid (free, organic) strategies, so you are also thinking about those. Even though paid strategies give you more control over who sees your ads and at the rate that they see them, the free ones are also important in your business. As business owners, we want as much organic exposure as we can get.
The mistake most entrepreneurs make is that they tend to lean more toward free strategies and rarely implement paid strategies. And that's where the problem lies. They don't control who sees their business or the rate of who sees their offers.
At your Top Of Funnel Focus, you should be:
Posting on social media consistently (we talked about this last week). You should post to your social media accounts, and if you have a business profile, you should also boost the posts. This will start getting your brand in front of your target audience. Your social media posts should focus on giving little nuggets of educational, fun, and inspiring information.
Writing blog articles, posting them on your website, and optimizing them for SEO. This is where you get the free organic traffic. Every time you write a blog post, you create another opportunity for search engines, like Google, to serve up your website to their users.
Running paid ads so that you can control who (and how many) people see your brand and offers.
In the Middle Of Funnel Focus, at the interest level, you should be creating ways to capture the contact information of prospects interested in what you have to offer. How do you know they are interested? They will request the lead magnets that you offer.
At this stage, you should:
Optimize your website to capture leads. You should have a pop-up on your site that says, "Before you go, take this free resource with you!"
Create landing pages that offer free resources. These are dedicated pages on the website hidden from the main menu that will drive people to the free resource.
Add a live chat to your site to initiate conversations with your visitors. People on live chat are still in research mode, so if you are available to answer their questions, you have a higher chance of converting them.
Run paid ads focused on driving visitors to your site and landing pages or ads focused on capturing leads (these are called lead ads on Facebook). Lead ads typically allow someone to sign up for a free resource you are offering through the ad or a landing page. This way, you can control the number of leads entering your sales funnel. Because without leads, you can't sell.
In the Middle Of Funnel Focus at the consideration level, you should create content consistently (meaning weekly) that educates and inspires your audience. In episode 11, we shared a Simple Social Media Selling System. This is the best way that we've found to nurture prospects consistently.
At this level, you should:
Create core content every week (preferably in the form of a video, blog, AND audio/podcast)
People like to consume content in different ways, so the more options you have for them to do that, the more likely you will reach your target audience.
Offer discovery calls or consultations
You could also provide demos or free trials (if it makes sense for your business)
When a prospect is in the consideration period, they are doing their research, so they want to know you are the expert. They want to learn from you. Once they have gathered that information, they are more likely to schedule a discovery call.
I'd recommend you go back and check your Google Analytics for last year and see how many people visited your website vs. how many people scheduled a discovery call with you (if you have one available).
See, the missing piece is this: if you aren't creating weekly content in the form of a video, blog, or podcast, they don't have any information other than what your website tells them. There is no way to determine if you are the person they should move forward with.
And in the Bottom Of The Funnel Focus, you should:
Create a documented sales process that you (or your team) follow
Establish a system in place to keep in touch and follow up with prospects
Run paid re-targeting ads to people who have engaged with you throughout the sales funnel
Why Entrepreneurs Don't Get Results From Their Paid Ads
If you build your marketing strategy around your sales funnel, you can guide a prospect through awareness as you build your brand. Then they will show interest as you capture leads and consideration through nurturing the relationship. Finally, you will lead them to the purchase by running re-targeting ads.
However, most entrepreneurs try to run what should be their re-targeting ads at the top of their funnel and then wonder why it's not working. This method doesn't get results because the person seeing the message needs to know who the business is and if they are trustworthy. They don't know your experience or your unique point of view. They need to show interest and move into the consideration phase to be ready for you to put an offer in front of them.
Getting Started With Your Advertising Strategy
I'm often asked about some of the specific strategies we employ in our company - especially when it comes to cold traffic ads. For cold leads, I always remind people that your focus needs to be on capturing a lead, not selling a product. The best way to reach cold traffic is through boosted social media posts. If you start there, everything else trickles down.
Once you're consistently boosting your social media posts and creating a relationship with your audience, you should focus on running a lead ad. Once they opt-in, they're no longer considered cold, in my book. They're considered warm.
Once they've reached this stage, you can nurture them with weekly core content. Then, as you're sharing that content and building that relationship, the last thing you should do is run re-targeting ads to say, "Hey, I've got something you can buy." (You could even mention it in your weekly core content, but for now, the focus is on paid advertising.)
As far as lead generation is concerned, one of the best things to do is to set up an ad on social media. But which platform should you choose? You know your audience; you know where your audience is hanging out.
Unfortunately, here's what most entrepreneurs do: they tend to go to the platform they're comfortable with. So, if I prefer Instagram, that's where I'll go because that's where I think my audience is. When in fact, if you did the research, your audience is probably on multiple platforms. Every platform has pros and cons and things that you can leverage.
We all know Facebook has a hodgepodge of information. The algorithm does not make it easy for you, as a business owner, to reach your audience without boosting ads and paying for them. The content you can share there is entirely different than the content you can share on Instagram. For example, Instagram is very video and graphic oriented. And then there's TikTok.
Here's my philosophy. Try following the approach we taught in A Simple Social Selling System of creating one weekly core content video and then taking that video and breaking it up into multiple pieces of micro-content. If you do this, you have sharable content on all platforms. The work has already been done, so you may as well share it on as many platforms as possible.
Every platform has an algorithm for how they display the content and to whom they show it. So you might as well leverage all of them. Then, at the end of the quarter, or year, analyze where you get the most traction and spend your efforts building content around that platform.
When it comes to lead generation, I use Facebook ads. If your target audience is on Facebook, you can run an ad so that whenever they click on the "Learn More" button or the "Sign Up" button (whatever your call to action is), it will automatically merge their contact information into a form. This way, they don't have to leave Facebook for you to capture it.
The other thing you can do with Facebook ads is run an ad to direct your prospect to a landing page that lives on your website. (This would be the other tool.)
Once you've captured your leads, you need to get them into your email marketing list. For this, we use a tool called Zapier. What Zapier does is it takes that contact information and puts it into our CRM.
The third tool is your Customer Relationship Management System (CRM). Your CRM is a way to capture, organize, and keep data on leads. It allows you to control and manage your communication with an individual so you can keep track of it and know the probability of them turning into a customer.
The CRM tool we use is called Keap. We are actually a Keap preferred servicing provider. That means that when they sell their software, some of their customers come over to our coaching team to learn how to use it in their business. Not only can we service the software at that level, but we can also sell the software to our customers. So, if you're thinking about a CRM, reach out to us. We can set you up with a free trial, so you can check it out and see if it's a good fit for you.
I know investing in paid advertising can feel scary - especially if you're unsure whether it will pay off. But remember, keeping your marketing strategy in line with your sales funnel will give you control over what your prospects see as you take them on a journey to becoming a customer.