We are living in the age of technology, the communication, age, where it’s simple for us all to embrace our passions and become successful entrepreneurs right? Well yes, but that comes with a downside too – there is so much information out there, so many technical possibilities, that it’s sometimes hard to know which way to turn or how to know just which systems and processes we need in order to make our business work.

I’ve heard a lot of questions from my coaching clients in recent months and years about the necessity of a website in this day and age. They’re hearing they don’t need one, that all they need is in fact a sales funnel to sell their ‘stuff’, but apart from being unclear on exactly what a funnel is and how to set it up, they’re left feeling lost at sea when they imagine not having a website as an online base for their business and brand.

Does this sound familiar to you?

Are you a coach, consultant or creative struggling to understand exactly what website technology you need in order to best support your business? In this article I’ll explain just what a sales funnel is and how it fits with your website.

So what is a funnel?

A sales funnel is a buying process that a business leads potential customers through on the sales journey. There are several steps involved in customer’s decision to buy and by having a process in place to nurture potential customers through this decision by guiding them each step of the way, you can increase your sales conversions dramatically when compared to just showing up and hoping they’ll buy from you.

Unless you’re already a well known brand or celebrity, or unless you are completely happy with your current customer base and have no need to attract new customers into your business, you will benefit from having a sales funnel in place – whether just for your signature program or for several products/services.

The steps a customer goes through when faced with a buying decision can vary widely depending on the business and even from product to product, but as a general overview they look something like this:

Awareness > Interest > Decision > Action

Looking more specifically at a coaching business, and with the above steps in mind, a sales funnel will look something like this:

Awareness: You show up and the potential customer becomes aware of you.

Aspects to consider in supporting this phase of the funnel might be – strong branding, social media platforms, networking, paid ads, sponsored posts, video, blogs.

Essentially this is you being you and sharing a little bit of your essence with the world. Those potential clients who vibe with you will feel a nudge of attraction.

Interest: At this stage you can offer something to share with those new members of your audience who are attracted to you, your services and products.

Things you can consider creating to support this phase of the funnel are An Ebook, a free pdf download (checklist, guide, cheat sheet etc), an audio, or a short course, anything that gives a taste of who you are and the value you have to offer – there are endless possibilities of how you can share some of your magic with your new audience so that they can grow more confident in feeling what you do and understanding how it will help them. You will also need a mailing list by which to share the free gift with them, allowing you to communicate further with your audience in a series of follow up emails designed to pique their interest, allay their fears, and introduce your offer.

Decision: After you have given the potential new clients a taste of who you are and how you can help them, you make them an offer to buy your service or product.

You can send the introduction to the offer through your mailing list, with a link to a sales page. On the sales page you will write a detailed account of the service or product you are offering, along with benefits, testimonials, and all the other aspects required to help the customer in their buying decision (but that’s for another post!).

Action: This is the simple bit, the decision is made, the customer wants to buy! You made a sale!

This last phase of your funnel can be supported by payment buttons on your sales page that link to a shopping cart system or payment processor for you to take payment.

And that’s it – that’s your basic sales funnel.

Why is it called a funnel? Because the numbers will reduce each step of the way, just as if you are sifting your potential customers through a funnel, and you are left with those ones who really are a match for working with you.

The number of clients who end up buying compared to those who showed interest initially, is your conversion rate.

So is my website redundant?

Well, that depends, if it’s just sitting there looking pretty (or even not so pretty) but doing nothing, then yes, it is possibly a little redundant at present (but don’t worry, I will show you how to fix that!).

There are web systems around today that have been designed to create focussed sales funnels and claim to make websites obsolete. These systems are wonderful tools and are helping a lot of people to make a lot of money, but it does not mean that websites are obsolete by any means.

If you’re like my clients and don’t like the idea of not having a website through which to share your magic, but you also want to ensure your coaching business is fully supported by the best technology and sales funnel processes, then I have great news for you – you can have both – it doesn’t have to be one or the other!

You can have a fabulous website AND an awesome sales funnel.

In fact your website is the perfect host for your sales funnels!

How can I optimise my website to host my sales funnels and fully support my business?

It’s actually pretty simple.

All of the steps we talked about above – attraction > interest > decision > action can be easily supported by your website

Especially if you have a WordPress site, as is the norm in this day and age. WordPress is a fabulous tool and designed to be simple to use even for technophobes – to make it even easier I highly recommend using Divi theme which comes with a simple front end page builder with easy drag and drop functionality and modules that practically do the work for you.

There are only three pages you really need to ensure you have on your website in order to grow your business while you sleep, a couple of plugins and integrations with free services.

The first is an optin page.

After your potential customers have become attracted to you online, you need somewhere to share your free gift with them and pique their interest. This is known as an optin. Your optin could be on a standalone page or could be added at the top of your home page. The optin is simply a form connected to your mailing list that offers your visitors the opportunity to join your list, usually by offering a free sample of your work, sometimes referred to as a lead. If you don’t already have a mailing list, it’s easy to get a free one at Mailchimp or Aweber – both of which are pretty simple to integrate with WordPress.

The second page you need to ensure your website is optimised to grow your business is a sales page, sometimes known as a landing page. This corresponds to the Decision phase of the sales funnel. The sales page is where you will explain your service or product in detail and how it will benefit them along with payment buttons that allow them to make the purchase (supporting the Action phase of the funnel).

Your payment buttons can link straight to your Paypal account or if you have more complex product options you may consider using a shopping cart plugin such as Woocommerce to deal with receiving payments.

The third vital web page for your business automation is your thank you page.

This is where you redirect your customer after they’ve purchased your service or product allows you to write a message to your customer explaining what the next steps will be in order for them to receive the product or service. This page also allows you to implement your Facebook Pixel and track your sales and conversions, so you can tweak the whole process accordingly.

In conclusion

I hope that’s gone some way to explain what a sales funnel is, and to help you understand whether you need one for your coaching business.

If you’re looking for a simple way to modernise your website and ensure it fully supports your coaching business, I have created a template website that could be just what you need. It is an easily customisable WordPress site that comes pre loaded with all the pages and plugins you need, including your sales funnel – just drop in your own content, customise with your branding, and go. See more details here >>>

If you have questions or would like more information you can contact me at lynda@creativegenie.org