Here’s a million-dollar question for you, dear listeners — literally!
How does someone become a buyer?
How do people go from perfect strangers, to curious leads, to red-hot prospects…
…and finally, to adoring customers and clients?
I’ll save you the guesswork and tell you:
Nobody really knows for sure.
OR it would be more accurate to say — there’s no single right answer. It depends.
It depends on your ideal customer persona; on your business model and offer; on the market you’re in; and on many other factors, big and tiny.
The truth is, everyone’s customer journey is different, even down to each individual buyer.
No two people take the exact same path to arrive at their buying decision. They have different levels of awareness, unique life circumstances, distinctive objections and motivations… you name it.
So if you’re trying to generate more leads and close more sales to grow your business, you must remember this…
One-size-fits-all solutions do not exist
And in fact, one of the WORST mistakes you can make as an entrepreneur is to treat all leads and prospects the same way. Targeting them with the same messages; putting the same content in front of them; pitching them your offers at the same time and in the same way.
Make no mistake… your leads and prospects are NOT created equal.
And I don’t just mean it in the sense that some are a better fit than others. That’s sales & marketing 101 — no surprise there!
No, I am simply circling back to what I’ve said before: your prospects will meet you at different stages of their journeys, and each of them will move through your funnel at a different pace. That means, your marketing and messaging needs to be built from the ground up to accommodate those differences.
If it isn’t, then you’ll doom your business to subpar conversions — no matter how many leads, organic OR paid, you keep throwing into your funnel.
…But hey, all that probably sounds too vague and theoretical, right? So let’s explore how this mistake of treating all prospects the same and building cookie-cutter funnels can impact a business.
If this were YOUR business, what would you do?
Imagine that you’re running a service-based online business. Let’s say that you’re an online fitness coach, for example.
By definition, your main source of revenue is your coaching packages. And let’s say that you specialize in helping new moms get back into shape after giving birth.
So, there are two types of potential clients you could be targeting:
- Direct referrals from your existing and past client base… and
- New moms frantically googling workouts and meal plans, so they can reclaim the looks and energy levels they used to have.
Right away, you can see that these subsets of clients are at VERY different stages of awareness.
Referrals already know they want a trainer. Plus, they are predisposed to trust you, because word-of-mouth marketing is the most powerful kind there is! So all these prospects really need to take the leap and hire you is a nudge in the right direction.
But those moms searching for solutions online? They are only what we would call “problem-aware.” As in, they aren’t convinced that hiring a trainer is THE thing that will solve their problem. Heck, maybe the idea hasn’t even crossed their mind!
All they want is a good workout tailored to their unique situation. The “situation” being: they’ve recently given birth, they run on approximately 15 minutes of sleep per day (if they’re lucky!), and they have the energy level of a potato battery.
They are NOT ready to buy, and they DO NOT need a sales pitch. Not for a while, at least — not until they’ve come to Know, Like, and Trust you.
As you can see, it would be a monumental mistake to market to these types of clients the same way. So what can our intrepid fitness coach do to convert both of them?
Funnel #1: qualifying (and closing) referrals, FAST
Let’s start with referrals. Like I said, they’re basically PRIMED for an offer…
…so you whip up a custom landing page just for them, where these prospects can book a sales call with you immediately. And to capitalize on the existing “soft” connection between you and those referrals, you also film a casual video greeting to put on the landing page.
If someone books a call, great — you’ll have lots of facetime to convert them! And if they DON’T book, that’s fine, too… because guess what? You have a small remarketing campaign ready to go, nudging those prospects to come back to the landing page. There aren’t many of them, so it’s extremely cost-effective at just a few dollars a day.
But what if someone books an appointment, sits through the call, but says “no” or “maybe” to the offer? Well, in that case, those prospects will receive a short follow-up email sequence pitching a limited time, one time only package from you — valid for 7 days after the call.
By the way, I know this is a fairly complicated funnel to make just for referrals (even though it would totally work); I’m simply showing you how fluid and accommodating your approach to marketing can be!
OK, OK… so what about the 2nd subset of prospects? The new moms who just want to find the right workout or meal plan for themselves?
Funnel #2: building goodwill with valuable videos
That’s where our imaginary online coach can embrace strategic content marketing and audience building. You can create how-to videos addressing the most burning questions your audience has. Then, you can upload full-length versions to YouTube, and condensed 60-second cuts to Instagram or TikTok, or both.
For example, in one video you could teach your audience ONE good workout — just one is enough when they’re sleep-deprived and overwhelmed!
In another, you could bust harmful myths about what new moms should or should NOT be doing to improve their health and fitness.
And in yet another video, you might walk your viewers through making a meal plan that fits THEIR needs and eating habits.
In exactly NONE of those videos do you hawk your coaching services. Why? Because you know that you need to develop a baseline of trust and goodwill with your audience.
However, there is one “markety” thing that you actually do, and with great success…
You offer a valuable lead magnet with every video, expanding on the specific topic you are covering.
The workout video points viewers to an awesome-looking printable calendar and a journaling template. The myth-busting video pitches a free checklist of simple things to do every day to stay nourished and healthy. And the meal plan video offers a bonus ebook with healthy, delicious recipes that even a bleary-eyed new mom can throw together in minutes!
The only thing you are asking for is your prospects’ email address — which they’re HAPPY to give in exchange for all that value!
Those videos keep your audience growing steadily and consistently, yay! …But how do you know which ones will become clients?
Well, you don’t! But thankfully, you don’t need to. You can make it so the prospects who ARE ready will make themselves known. Here’s how:
You keep sending valuable content to your prospects, day in and day out, without hitting them with a sales pitch. But a couple of times a month, you mix it up. Once a month, you email them something different: a super-short message announcing that you’ve got a few client spots available, and a CTA to reply if interested.
Plus, once every couple of weeks you share a case study from a past client, also with a low-pressure call to action at the end.
Both of those emails give your hottest prospects an easy way to raise their hand and show interest — after which point you get them to book a call straight away.
However, it doesn’t stop there…
For the most dedicated subscribers who read your every email, you leave a soft call to action in the P.S., and include your booking link. This naturally weeds out people who aren’t motivated enough to engage with your content — and gives every prime prospect an UNMISSABLE way to reach out.
And there you have it, dear listeners! This is one of many, many ways your marketing and your funnels can evolve… IF you understand your prospects’ different needs and reject the cookie-cutter, one-size-fits-all approach, that is.
But all I’ve done so far is describe an example scenario for you. Sure, it’s solid — but it’s also simplified, and probably unrelated to your exact industry. So what are some SPECIFIC ACTIONS you can implement in your own funnels to make them more versatile and high-converting, so you can ultimately close more sales?
In my experience, following these strategies will help:
1. Design funnels for different stages of awareness
Prospects engage with your brand for different reasons.
Some already know they want to buy SOMETHING like your offer — and your company is just another stop on the comparison-shopping tour.
Others don’t yet know that you have the solution they need… but they are painfully aware they have a problem that needs fixing.
And still others don’t even know they have a problem yet!
There’s no single message that will persuade all these prospects. You must choose how to approach them.
- Case studies and side-by-side comparisons of your offer versus the competition will resonate with comparison shoppers.
- Problem-aware prospects will love an explainer video that breaks down your offer and motivates them to learn more.
- And as for people who are blissfully ignorant of either their problem OR your business…
…maybe leave those alone for now. There are plenty of leads and prospects who are ready to hear from you NOW. Prioritize those.
2. Give your hottest prospects opportunities to “raise their hand.”
An effective, high-converting funnel is not only good at PERSUADING people to opt in, convert, and ultimately buy. It’s ALSO good at selecting, qualifying, and engaging with prospects who are already interested and primed to purchase.
And one of the best methods to select and qualify high-quality prospects is… just letting them do it for you!
Entrepreneurs LOVE to hide behind sophisticated analytics and expensive software, studying their customers from afar — like they’re a completely different, fascinating species. It can be thrilling and useful, up to a point. But it’s ultimately alienating.
In my experience, it’s much more reliable and, you know… HUMAN to let your leads tell you about themselves (if they want to), and express interest in your product or service when they are ready. And believe me, your highest-motivated prospects will POUNCE at the opportunity!
Here are 3 ways to do just that, on the house:
- Send a short “ice breaker” email or DM to each new lead who subscribes to your list, or follows you on socials. That initial outreach can be automated… but after that? I highly recommend that you (or someone on your team) have a real conversation with the lead. It’s a ridiculously easy way to qualify new people — AND you’ll be amazed at the insights you’ll walk away with.
- End your emails with low-pressure calls to action in the P.S. For example, if you’re a consultant, you could say, “ALSO: Here are 3 ways we can work together, whenever you’re ready…” — followed by three different offers, like an entry-level course, a 3-month consulting package, or a one-day deep dive.
- From time to time, “nudge” your most active prospects with a short message. For example, you can use the famous “9-word email” formula popularized by Dean Jackson. It goes like this: “Hi [Name], are you still looking to …?” And then you mention whatever type of outcome or benefit your target audience is after — that your business can provide, of course. This is a ridiculously easy way to initiate dialogue with qualified prospects, and get more appointments lined up.
3. Craft content for different stages of your funnel…
…not just the tippy top.
Lots of business owners overemphasize lead generating content to the exclusion of everything else — and then they wonder why their sales are low!
This is especially true for video. I swear, everyone seems to think that ads are the only type of video content that exists! But the same problem happens across the board.
And when you fail to diversify your funnel content, you get jaded prospects who are sick of being bombarded with irrelevant content, poorly disguised sales pitches, or both.
To fix this problem, you want to get creative with the kind of content you… well, create!
Don’t just shove the same old video or lead magnet into every prospect’s lap — think about what they need, and how you can deliver it through your chosen format. For instance, if someone is a “hot” prospect, but they’re still wondering if your offer is worth it, then you could:
- Make them a simple calculator showing how much money they’ll make, how much time they’ll save, how much they will improve in a skill, et cetera.
- Send them a report or a whitepaper showcasing a success story of your former client — or maybe your own!
- Design a choose-your-own-adventure ebook or infographic that helps them “game out” different options and where they lead, including investing in your offer.
(By the way, any of these could work as a video… I just wanted to illustrate my point that this works for ANY type of content.)
As you can see, when you really — and I mean REALLY — embrace the customer-obsessed approach to designing your funnels, you can come up with truly persuasive, even irresistible messages, assets, and strategies!
And in turn, these will help you attract more AND higher-quality leads; fill your sales calendar with dream-fit prospects who are already itching to work with you; and put your business on a path to unstoppable growth…
All because you refused to follow generic, cookie-cutter advice and dared to ask, “What do people in my target market ACTUALLY WANT?”
I hope you implement what you’ve learned today as soon as possible, and skyrocket your conversions and sales as a result. I will be back with more business-boosting insights soon, so stay tuned for more Video Marketing Secrets!
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