The sales funnel is a process that leads unqualified prospects to become buyers, weeding out those who find your offers irrelevant along the way. The purpose is to make the sales process smooth and standardized. Nearly every aspect of an online sales funnel can be automated so that all you need to do is set it up and drive traffic to it.
The Squeeze Page and Opt-in
A squeeze page is a single page on the web where the visitor can do only one of two things – they can sign up for the offer there or they can click away. Squeeze pages are often used as the entry point for online sales funnels.
The way squeeze pages initially qualify prospects is by offering an opt-in form. Visitors find the site or page and are urged to sign up for a freebie or other incentive. The entire opt-in process can be easily automated so that prospects can enter your sales funnel at any time, 24/7.
Through your squeeze page’s site design, there are ways you can increase its efficiency. One method is to add a pop-up message. This is a message that appears when a visitor lands on your page urging them to sign up.
Another method is the exit splash. This is a pop-up that appears when they click away from the site, saying something like, ‘Are you sure you want to leave this page?’ and then reiterating the benefits of your offer.
Once a prospect signs up, they’re redirected to a download page where they can get the freebie or incentive you’re offering. This could be any type of item, such as an information product or a coupon, but the entire process of downloading it can be automated. You don’t need to manually deliver the product to them.
Once the prospect is signed up for your list, you can start marketing to them through their email. This is done through an automated software program called an autoresponder. Through your autoresponder you can schedule messages that give your subscribers content and various back-end offers that help you qualify them. Email marketing starts with an automated welcome message, telling them what they can expect from your messages.
The Sales Process
It’s absolutely essential for every online business to automate its sales process. No one has the time to process each purchase manually, and if you do so, it’s impossible for your business to scale when sales pick up.
Automated shopping carts allow customers to shop and buy your products without any involvement from you. If you’ve ever used Amazon before, you’re familiar with this system from a customer’s point of view. You select the items you want and then ‘proceed to checkout’ – a page where you can click a ‘buy now’ button and make the purchase.
Shopping carts are added to websites through software programs or online services. Many webhosting companies offer shopping carts as part of their packages. After signing up for a shopping cart and adding all relevant financial information, you’ll be asked to add your products to it. Once it’s finished, the program or service will give you the code to add the cart to your website.
Don’t Automate Customer Service
One area of your business that should never be automated is customer service. You can lead prospects through your sales funnel and allow them to buy from you completely on autopilot. But when there’s a question, problem or concern, you need to be there to deal with it.