The word ‘sales funnel’ has gained major popularity over the last two years in the online coaching community. And for good reason.
Just type in the words ‘sales funnels for coaches’ and you’ll get over 14 million results in Google alone!
However, if the concept of funnels is nothing new, then why are we seeing a tidal wave of ‘sales funnel’ talk in recent times?
It’s simple and it boils down to one word.
And that is a good reason like no other.
Although setting up the best funnel for coaches can be complicated and are an investment of one’s time; once set up they run like a well-oiled machine in your online coaching business.
Before I get into the how-to of setting these up, it’s important to understand what is a sales funnel and why you need one (and why you don’t) in the first place.
What is a sales funnel?
A sales funnel is a journey that you take your online visitor through when they buy your products or services.
The starting point of the journey is your free content and the destination is your paid offer that the subscriber buys.
The common element from start to finish is the value you provide the online visitor - aka your ideal client - every step of the way until he/she becomes your raving fan.
"Sounds great!" you say but you’re probably thinking...
Do I need a sales funnel?
To answer this simply, yes.
And here’s why.
You need a sales funnel if you want to get paid for your expertise, grow your list and make money on autopilot.
You can set up more than one coaching funnel for the array of programs you offer.
The beauty of a sales funnel is that it’s completely automated.
Sure, there is front end work involved in creating and setting it up but the rewards are worth it.
From a business perspective, a sales funnel is essential because you want to lead your prospects to a sale at some point in the sales process.
If you fail to do that often, then you aren’t making money.
Instead you’re building the ‘nice to haves’ such as a huge email list but with unqualified non-ideal clients who’ll never buy from you.
A perfectly set up sales funnel can bring an inflow of cash, help recoup your advertising costs and bring in some nice passive income.
“Not too shabby”, you may think.
But having said that, not everyone needs a sales funnel.
A sales coaching funnel is not for you if you are a newbie coach or entrepreneur.
As a new coach, your time is best spent getting clear on who’s your ideal client, what are their pain points and how can you best serve them with your skills and experiences.
In order to create a coaching funnel, you need to have crystal clarity about your ideal client, your offers and score a few paying clients.
Once you have this going for you, you know what offers will convert when you include them in your sales funnel.
There are 4 steps to creating your first simple sales funnel. Let’s look at each of these:
Step #1: Build Awareness
In this step, you must create content to spread awareness about your message or topic of expertise.
It’s tempting to skip this step and go straight into creating your free gift or a lead magnet, run Facebook ads to it and start building your list.
But the problem with running FB ads (if you’ve never run them before) is that you are marketing to cold traffic.
The definition of cold traffic is an audience who’s never heard of you, never bought from you, don’t like you and nor do they trust you yet.
So, chances are that the quality of subscribers you’ll get through the ad campaign may not be the type who’ll be your ideal audience.
Not to mention that running FB ads can be very expensive at this stage, and it's definitely not an investment you want to make from the get-go if you're just getting started or trying to turn your coaching side hustle into your full-time career.
So, how do we warm up our cold traffic and attract the high-quality leads in our funnel without ad spend?
Your content at this step must be about highlighting your ideal client’s problems and hint at the solution(s) you provide. Your content can achieve this by educating, inspiring and even entertaining your audience.
- Blog posts (these go right at the top of your list)
- Social media posts (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, Linkedin)
- Podcast interviews
- YouTube videos
You don’t have to create all of these of course. Pick one or two platforms that you feel most comfortable with and in which you'd enjoy creating content for, and do it consistently.
The key thing to take note of is that whatever content you create in this step must strongly correlate to your Lead Magnet (step 2) that you are giving as a free gift in exchange for your prospect’s email address.
If your content is about ‘A’ in step 1 and your Lead Magnet is about ‘B’ in step 2, there’s a disconnect and you’ll repel your audience from moving forward in the funnel.
Step #2: Create Your Lead Magnet (or free gift)
Now that you have warmed up your cold audience in Step 1, it’s safe to ask them to commit on a slightly deeper level to you.
How do you do that?
By creating an irresistible lead magnet or a free gift that you give your warm audience in exchange for their email address.
Three words that should be echoing in your mind as you go about creating your lead magnet.
Specific. Quick. Consumable.
Your lead magnet must solve a specific problem that your ideal clients struggle with.
So that problem you’ve highlighted in Step 1?
Your lead magnet must take a deep dive and provide a solution to that specific problem.
So, skip the fluff and generics at this stage and don’t hold back on your best tips, tricks and how-to's on solving this problem.
But there’s a caveat...
The caveat is that your solution contained in the lead magnet must be quick and in a consumable format.
So, the question you want to ask is “what is the ONE quick win or result that my ideal client can implement right away after consuming my lead magnet?”
When your lead magnet creates quick wins or results for your ideal clients, they are highly likely to stay on your email list and trust you because you’ve delivered quick (but temporary) relief in the shortest time.
And that brings me to my last point.
Your content must be in a consumable format. Something that your ideal client picks up and goes through it within an hour.
Some effective and consumable lead magnet formats are:
- Cheat sheets or Templates
- Swipe files
Once your lead magnet is created, you’ll want to drive traffic to it.
You can strategically mention your lead magnet in all your free content (step 1), position a link to the landing page and prompt your traffic to opt-in.
So, let’s assume your lead magnet is a clear winner and you’ve got leads signing up for it.
The third step in your funnel is where the fun begins...
Step #3: Sell Your Introductory Offer
If you want to convert your subscribers into buyers then here’s where your lead magnet must fail….it must fail to provide the complete solution to the problem.
Or put another way, your lead magnet must be useful yet incomplete.
And this is where step 3 comes into play.
For this step, you offer an introductory offer that is strongly related to the lead magnet (and your free content from step 1).
The intro offer is deeply discounted or at a no-brainer price (think less than $50) that it’s hard to pass up by your new subscriber.
This is a one-time offer (found nowhere else) you make available on your thank you page as soon as someone opt-ins to get on your email list.
Some will buy and some won’t. And that’s okay.
The psychology behind the introductory offer is not turn it into a revenue generator.
Instead it serves three purposes:
- Recoups FB ad investment.
- Makes the first sale (confidence booster for you the coach).
- Increases the possibility of a repeat sale (if prospect has bought once, she is more than likely to buy again).
You’re probably thinking, "that it seems unfair to make a ‘one-time offer at a no-brainer price’ on your thank you page to someone who just subscribed to your list."
If the subscribers don’t take up on your offer on the thank you page, they get a second chance when you present them with this same offer (priced slightly higher than the thank you page offer) in your email nurture sequence.
And even then, for whatever reason they don’t buy the intro offer, they will be sent down an email sequence which will pitch your core offer (coming up).
So, what kind of introductory offers can you make?
There’s no shortage of ideas!
Here are some:
- A module from your digital coaching course
- A month’s trial in your membership community
- A coaching or consulting call
- Video or an audio course
- A paid challenge (Facebook group challenge that you offer as an intro offer)
- Website audit
One last thing to keep in mind for your intro offer is that it must offer your ideal clients a partial transformation in the area they are struggling with.
Not TOTAL transformation.
This is important because just like the lead magnet in step 2, your intro offer must be useful but incomplete.
If you were to give away the full experience and results, then your potential client would probably no longer need your support anymore, and would not continue the journey with you.
It must compel your new buyer to get the whole package from you... aka your core offer.
And that brings me to the last and final step...
Step #4: Sell Your Core Offer
They say all roads lead to Rome.
And that is true with the steps in your sales coaching funnel leading to your core offer.
Your core offer is your signature service or program.
And it must provide a total 100% transformation for your ideal client.
What can you offer as a core product? More like what can’t you offer!
Here are some ideas:
- 1:1 coaching or mentorship program
- A high-level mastermind
- Live event tickets
- Certification program
- Membership community
- Done-for-you services (if you are a service provider)
- Physical product
- Group coaching program
There are several ways in which you can sell your core offer too:
- Emails to your list
- A dedicated sales page
- Phone consult or discovery calls
- Live webinars (these convert extremely well)
You can choose the method that feels the most in alignment with you and test as you go along.
So, there you have it!
Here’s a quick summary of all the steps:
Step 1: Build Awareness
Step 2: Create Your Lead Magnet
Step 3: Sell Your Introductory Offer
Step 4: Sell Your Core Offer
The most important thing to remember when building your coaching funnel is that congruency is king.
From your free content, right up to your core offer, you must stay on ONE topic and go deeper into your chosen topic at every step of the funnel.
That is how you build value, earn your ideal client’s trust and have them buy from you.
And that’s when you have a sales funnel that converts.
Ready for the next step? Set up your very own CRM (Client Relationship Management) software to help you manage all your organizational tasks and facilitate good customer relationships with their clients once your sales funnel is up. Read more about this here.