The Minimum Viable Funnel
I’ve got 2000 social followers and I’m constantly getting people in my DM’s asking for advice. I can’t sell them though because Ive not got a funnel in place.(paraphrased from a real trainer, 2019)
I had to take a breath before responding to this.
My first answer would probably have just created a load of fear, imposter syndrome, and resistance to the sheer simplicity of what I’m about to suggest.
It goes in the face of all the guru wisdom out there.
You know the stuff, with the funnel flowcharts that look like a labyrinth and need 200 emails, 8 videos and a 10,000 page sales letter before you can start selling.
I know this isn’t needed, because I’ve done it. More than once.
Here’s what the first $1m revenue funnel I built looked like:
- Landing page
That’s pretty much it.
We had some barely edited emails to tell you the webinar was about to start, another one to tell you about the replay if you missed the live version, and eventually we added a couple of follow-up ones, but really not a lot.
What’s more interesting though is what we had to get to the first $10k in revenue, that showed it was worth investing in the webinar setup.
We made ten grand with just a checkout.
That’s it. Seriously.
We already had an email list that we’d built from the client’s existing training, and we had a bit of a following on Twitter, and a smattering across LinkedIn and Facebook. As in dozens, not hundreds of followers.
We just wrote one email, posted the same thing on the other social channels, and linked to the checkout. People bought. We were happy.
To understand why this works, you need to understand what a funnel is actually for, and it’s quite simple.
A funnel is an oven to heat up your traffic.
It’s there to take stone cold traffic, people who don’t know or trust you, and turn them into hot-to-trot buyers.So here’s the thing.
You don’t put cooked food back in the oven.
Each step fo the funnel is adding heat in the form of motivation to buy, with the final checkout step just taking away the obstacle to them handing you money and getting access to your content.
If you are getting enquiries already, if you have people who love your YouTube content enough that they want to know the instant that you release more, you don’t need to do any more cooking. You have hot customers already, they just can’t buy from you yet because they:
- Don’t know you have a product.
- Don’t know how to get at it.
Fortunately most course delivery systems have that step included already. Just hook up your Paypal or Stripe account and get going.
But, what about once you’ve burned through your existing base and they’ve not all bought?
This, my friend, is when you start building funnels.
But take it easy.
You still don’t need to build the whole thing.
Here is what I’d have as a minimum funnel for stone cold traffic. I’m laying this out now so you can see what we’re building up to.
Remember, this is building up to stone cold advertising traffic, and I’m assuming that this isn’t an impulse purchase. If it is, just do away with everything but the sales page to start with.
I’ll repeat what I said earlier. Each step of the funnel is there to heat up your traffic, to motivate them to buy. The checkout removes the last barrier between your prospect and your content.
So, here’s how your prospect journey goes:
- Doesn’t know you at all –> sees an ad.
- Is interested in what your ad offers –> clicks on the ad, arrives on your opt-in page.
- Isn’t repulsed by the terms of your opt-in –> requests your freebie, arrives in the engagement step
- Is convinced by your engagement step and believes you can help –> clicks through to the sales page
- Has certainty that the product will solve their problem –> Clicks to checkout
- The chimp of panic & fear stays quiet –> buys the product, arrives in members area (or however you are delivering your content)
If you have existing enquirers, there’s no way they’re at stage 1, and very unlikely they’re at stage 2 either.
Sending them straight to a checkout is going to miss a step though. They won’t know the specifics of your offer. Things like what it contains, how it’s delivered, guarantees etc are going to be needed but all but the hottest, most impetuous prospects.
So, for your existing social traffic, all you need to master is a half-decent sales page.
If you’ve never tried writing one before, I can recommend Dan Kennedy’s “The Ultimate Sales Letter”. And I’ll drop the biggest take-away from it right here:
You don’t write a sales letter, you assemble it from your research.
So, if you’ve not done that, if you’ve not spent days in front of your prospects, or on the phone with them, that’s going to screw up your results more than anything.
Once you’ve gone through your existing contacts a few times, only then do you need to start worrying about colder prospects, and gathering emails.
So, I’ll leave the next step you should build – The Opt In, for another post.