Are you set up for selling your products and services online? Selling online can be tricky to figure out on your own, so finding a straightforward method that works is a priority for many.

Dive into this week’s episode of the Whin Big podcast where we guide you through the selling systems we use here at The Whin HQ.

Together, we’ll look at the tools, assets and emails we use when setting up our sales funnel and there are lots of screenshots and resources to help you set up your own.

Putting together your first emails and your first landing page for your first sales funnel can be intimidating, so I’ve corralled every piece of my Instagram Masterclass sales funnel into one downloadable file so you can take inspiration for your own business.

Sales funnels – a different approach

When Katie started as a freelancer in 2016 she knew she had to embrace online sales but was put off every time she read about sales funnels. The advice and examples she saw,left her feeling cold – the sales tactics were too pushy or sleazy.

“Traditional sales funnels made me want to run a mile. It seemed complicated and, honestly, really icky.”  – Katie

Over time she developed ideas and researched working examples of doing sales funnels differently. Katie values the relationships she’s built with her clients and audience and believed from the start that a different approach was The Whin way to online sales.

For Katie, it was less flashing banners, and pressuring people to buy, and more about giving people options, certainty and trust.

Adding value for stronger sales

The online funnel we’re walking through today concentrates on adding value and demonstrating expertise. You won’t find pushy tactics around time limits, panic buying or dishonest discounts.

Here’s a list of the tools we use for The Whin’s sales funnel.

Phase 1: The discovery phase

This phase is the top of the funnel, where people find you for the first time. People usually find out about The Whin in one of three ways:

  1. Google searches about connecting Facebook and Instagram pages or reaching young people through social media.
  2. Browsing their podcasts for business or marketing podcasts based in the UK or Scotland
  3. Following or searching through hashtags on Instagram

“The top of the funnel is where people find out about your business for the first time and you have a chance to engage with something useful.”  – Katie

Top of the funnel for… 

…Google searchers

Katie researched the most popular posts on our website to use as part of our sales funnel. Whenever she found a blog posts getting persistent traffic, she added a ‘content upgrade’ onto each page or post to get the top of the funnel underway.

The content upgrade a free, related resource (such as a PDF download) added to the page. Readers can access the resource in exchange for joining a mailing list.

Here’s The Whin’s working example: 

In our blog post, Using social media to reach young people is based on a presentation Katie gave with the same name. The content upgrade is a slide download so people can easily share the information from the blog post with colleagues, or have a reference for themselves. 

On the topic of connecting Facebook and Instagram accounts, Katie produced a podcast episode on why you might want to do it and wrote a blog with instructions. Both pieces of content have a content upgrade for the Instagram MOT. 

A screenshot of a blog post on The Whin website showing a content upgrad

…Podcast listeners

People find the Whin Big podcast while searching in their podcast app. If this is you – hello!

From a podcast episode we’ll sometimes have an advert for the Instagram MOT. Other episodes contain content upgrades – worksheets, PDFs, templates – something to download that helps you work through the subject of the specific podcast. 

…Instagram

This is a little different. Rather than a content upgrade, people usually start on Instagram by following The Whin’s account. Then they’ll see a post that mentions a blog post, or podcast with content upgrades, or Katie will post specifically about the weekly newsletter and why it’s a great resource.

The crucial link between these methods

Each approach has one thing in common – providing something useful up front. Be it a blog article, a podcast or a series of Instagram posts.

With The Whin’s approach we help our followers solve a problem first. It’s only after we’ve solved the problem that we offer a content upgrade, which takes us to the next part of the funnel. 

What is a content upgrade? 

These come in all shapes and sizes but are generally a free, downloadable resource that people can access in exchange for joining the mailing list.

Content upgrades are usually called freebies, or lead magnets in case you’re wondering! Here at The Whin, we use an email tool called ConvertKit to support ours, but other systems are available too. We’ve spoken about Mailchimp a few times on the podcast, and you can click the buttons below to see some examples of the pages we create for various resources. 

What happens when a reader clicks on a content upgrade? 

  • The reader gets taken straight to a landing page (created on Convertkit)
  • The page confirms all that they already know about the content upgrade, and sometimes adds detail
  • Reader adds name and email address and they’re sent an automatic email with the link to download the file

Phase 2: The relationship phase

Once you have the email address, it’s crucial you follow this up. Katie recommends using two different methods to do this. 

Sending regular emails to your mailing list

Regularly send useful and interesting emails to your customers through your mailing list.

People love connection and getting value, so don’t send company newsletters – nobody wants to read company news. Your audience want tips, stories, insider insights, links to content.

We send out Whin Wednesdays every week, which is full of ideas and makes a great example for you. Sign up here for your weekly dose of inspiration.

Sending a sequence of welcome emails

As well as the emails you send to your whole list, you also want to send your brand new subscribers a few specific emails to welcome them. Help them get to know you and your products or services early on, so they don’t feel like they’re stepping into the middle of a conversation.

Let’s look at the purpose behind each email in our example sequence.

Email 1: Introduces Katie as a person. She shares her expertise and values and gives clear guidance on how she helps The Whin’s customers.
Email 2: Draws direct link from free PDF download, to the paid for Instagram masterclass. It highlights the gaps and limitations of the freebie and shows how much more value is in the paid for masterclass
Email 3: Looks at what’s in the Instagram training course in more detail
Email 4: Testimonials for the same training course.

In our MOT example, the sequence is plainly sales focussed. If you would rather it less so, you can easily adapt it by adding in extra emails to soften the tone, change the style and become less salesy and more friendly and conversational. It’s important it reflects your voice and style, so it has to feel right for you.

If you want to read the current text of each email, you can sign up for the Instagram MOT yourself. To see the version I was discussing in the podcast, you’ll need to download the Funnel Files – just click the button below.

Avoid sales funnel overwhelm

If you’re listening to this episode and feeling overwhelmed about pulling together all the working parts of your funnel – try not to worry. Realistically, it usually takes around two months to pull all of the pieces together. So allow yourself time to slowly build the funnel, rather than doing it in a hurry.

2020 has shown us how vital it is to sell effectively online if we want our business to thrive. It’s worth investing in the time to pull your sales funnel together effectively.

Here’s at The Whin, there’s a community to support you, if you need it. We offer accountability, guidance and training with our 12-week course – the All In Whin Marketing Method. You can join Cohort 3 between 31 August until midnight on Friday 4 September. 

Phase 3: Conversion phase  

In this phase we build a landing page. This is a page on your site that describes your product or service – you need one for each different thing you offer. An effective landing page has content that connects with the reader. To do this, you have to show the reader the value of the course / service / product and to reassure them that their investment is worthwhile.

You’ll find examples of landing pages (also known as sales pages) all over the internet and ours are linked in the resources section below.

Key elements to include in your landing page:

  • Great photos and a video if possible
  • Customer focussed descriptions
    • Testimonials that show your results
      • Call to action – a way for people to buy or book

      Resources

      Examples of content with upgrades

      Blog Post: How to connect your Facebook and Instagram accounts

      Blog post: Using social media to reach young people

      Podcast: Crossposting on Facebook and Instagram

      Examples of content upgrades

      Resource: Instagram MOT

      Resource: Hashtag Research Template

      Resource: The Podcast Money Tree

      Resource: Selling without Swipe Ups

      Examples of email follow ups

      Newsletter: Subscribe to Whin Wednesdays for weekly ideas and inspiration for your marketing

      Welcome sequence: You can find this in full in the Funnel Files

      Examples of sales / landing pages

      Training: The Instagram Masterclass

      Training: The All-in-Whin Marketing Method

      More useful information

      Podcast: 5 cool things you can do with Mailchimp

      Podcast: 4 things you need to know about landing pages

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