When I embarked on writing a blog post about creating your own media plan template back in May 2013, I never imagined how much of an impact that one post would have on building an automated sales funnel and system for my business.
And that's just ONE blog post.
This past seven days alone, that blog post has sent me 5 sales, cost me $0 in lead generation and didn’t require any effort from me to sell it.
My secret weapon is SEO and a soulful client pathway (which is how I like to describe a non-icky version of an automated sales funnel).
You can get your own FREE Soulful Client Pathway Map to attract and convert leads into customers on autopilot to scale your business by clicking this map:
This week Shae Baxter featured my SEO story on her blog, detailing how I’m able to get 400 email subscribers from just one blog post on this site.
And yes, it’s true.
I have a post I wrote in 2013 that not only brings in on average 20 email subscribers a day, BUT has also increased my organic traffic by more than 100% over two years.
That’s an hour or two of work TWO YEARS AGO that is still growing and still playing a huge part in fuelling my business.
You can read the full story on how I used SEO to grow my email list on Shae’s site.
Today though, I wanted to explain the next step in my online sales process that has helped generate those 5 new customers this week – and many more prior to that.
You see, gaining leads (ie. a prospective customer) through Google is just step one.
Step two is building a relationship and nurturing those leads, so they’re naturally led to work with you through your products, programs and services.
One of the biggest mistakes people make when they build an email list is they set up a welcome email… and that’s it. Those, now warm, leads eventually turn cold - they forget about you, your product and why they came to you in the first place - and you’re right back to where you started.
What one blog post has done for my business
Continuing on from Shae’s story, I was building a healthy email list. However, it wasn’t really doing anything for my business.
It helped a little when I was launching a product, but I didn’t want to be launching ALL the time. I love launching, yes, but doing it constantly means you become a slave to your business.
My goal is launch once and systemise beyond that. Tweet That!
I wanted to generate automated income. Maybe you have this same vision for yourself.
When I was deep in the PR industry, before moving into being a launch and business storytelling strategist, my followers and clients were most challenged by trying to come up with media story angles.
They had great products and services, they were ready to secure media coverage, but they just didn’t know WHAT to pitch.
It’s where the idea for my introductory product – or low level product as others like to call it – came to the fore.
In 2014, I created the PR News Calendar.
As I mentioned above, I’ve sold 5 copies of the 2015 PR News Calendar in just 7 days – without launching or buying leads.
Want to know how I did it?
Well, now you know how I’m able to drive people to my page, here’s how I’m able to guide those people through my soulful client pathway to become valued customers.
Highly actionable and valuable blog post
First, you need to write a highly actionable and valuable post with a strategic use of keywords. It needs to be something they feel added value to their life or business. It also needs to answer the problem they came to your post to solve in the first place.
Blog post conversion
Once people read your blog post, you need to convert them into a subscriber through using a free gift. Be strategic about what you’re offering or you’ll lose that reader. And once you lose them, it’s very hard to get them back again – if at all.
The free gift needs to be in full alignment with the post and highly valued by the reader. Don’t be afraid to give away something they would have happily paid for.
But, to balance that comment, don’t give away the farm either. Pick a small problem they can get an immediate result from and provide that.
In the case of the media plan template blog post, the obvious free gift was a media plan template they could download without having to create one themselves.
While the instructions were all there in the post to allow them to create their own media plan, I knew the vast majority of people are either lazy or time poor, so I did the work for them and created the template.
Of course, the only way they could get a copy was to opt in to my list.
TIP: Instead of a template of what you've just explained in the blog post, maybe your gift is the next step in the journey, like my blog post about different launch types that leads to offering them a free Six Weeks To Launch Checklist.
Your Free Gift
I want to add a few little tips about creating your free gift. You will hear contrasting opinions about what a free gift should look like.
Camp 1: It needs to be a one-page PDF they can digest easily and implement immediately to show you can get them a result and entice them to further invest in you.
Camp 2: Give them something meaty, that they would have paid good money for – like an ecourse, an ebook or video training – and they’re more likely to invest in you at a higher price point.
You need to know your ideal client well to determine which is the best pathway for you and be prepared to experiment. I’ve created a few free gifts that bombed. But it didn’t deter me. All it did was better refine what I was offering in the next gift and allow me to see what my audience truly wanted.
Creating Your Introductory Product
An Introductory Product is just that – a way to introduce people to how you can transform their lives.
They’ve read your blog post, they’ve downloaded your highly valuable free gift and now you want to offer them something that takes them on the next step in their journey to solving their problems in your niche.
My Introductory Product was the PR News Calendar. It includes evergreen story prompts, a calendar of evergreen dates that journalists are always looking to write stories about and a monthly calendar format to map out a campaign. It’s priced at $47.
When you’re coming up with an Introductory Product, aim for it to be under $100. You will hear lots of experts and gurus talk about the $7 product. If that fits your business, go for it.
Unless I was offering an ebook, that pricing model doesn’t fit with the type of products, pricing and positioning that works for me. Again, look at your ideal client and the type of business you want to create and opt for what feels right for you, your customer and the product.
Importance of the Introductory Product
Why even create an Introductory Product? Why not just go straight to your high-end offering or service? It’s a good question.
The reason being that for people who have just been introduced to you, it can be a big commitment to invest $300, $500 or $1000+ into your main program or service. Just this week someone invested $300 into one of my products - after having followed me for a year!
The Introductory Product is the perfect way for people to see whether or not what you offer is what they’re after. It allows them to see if you’re going to be the perfect person for them to work with, without losing too much in the process.
It’s also a good gauge of whether the quality of your work matches their standards.
No pressure, but if you can create a stellar product, you may just gain a client for life. Now how much is that worth to you?
How To Better Refine Your Introductory Product
Can I tell you a secret? Before I even create the product, I create the sales page.
This was a little tip I was given way back when and it’s kept me in good stead when it comes to product creation.
What writing the sales page first does is allows you to see what your product needs to feature and the benefits it needs to offer your most aligned clients.
If you work the other way around, you can often go off on a tangent with your product and not end up creating what is most needed. In other words, it’s full of features, instead of benefits. And probably all about you, rather than the customer.
A sales page needs to sell the benefits of your product and why people should invest. If you can master that, then you’ve just developed a beautiful product that will attract, rather than repel, clients.
Reverse Engineering Your Online Sales Process
Are you keeping up?
It’s at this point I like to work backwards. In fact, before I’ve even written the post or created the opt-in, I’ll often start with the end in mind. In this case I didn’t, but I’d highly advise you try that strategy if you have the space to.
How do you reverse engineer then?
- Introductory Product: You start with your Introductory Product. Write your sales page and determine the features and benefits of that product.
- Then determine what message or story they need to hear the step prior to deciding to invest in your product. What would make them want to buy your Introductory Product? That becomes the fifth email.
- What do they need to hear before that email that will have them continuing to open your emails? Well, that’s the fourth email.
- And you continue on that fashion until you get to the first email, which is your free gift download offer. What would make them hand over their email address AND have them opening each and every email beyond that point?
- Once you determine what that free gift is, you can craft a blog post around that which will have them converting and then lead them right through your soulful client pathway to purchase your Introductory Product - that step we started with FIRST.
If this feels like a lot to take in and you'd like some help, don't hesitate to book a coaching session so we can map this out together.
Otherwise, download the free, simple map (with examples and step-by-step tutorial you can implement in your own business) so you can easily get your system set up to start building your email list and generating consistent sales:
What You Should Know About Your Email Sequence
There are a few things you need to know about creating a soulful email sequence for your client pathway.
Here are 5 things to bear in mind when you start writing:
- Make sure to have clickable headlines to entice people to open the email in the first place
- Use consistent messaging throughout your entire client pathway and incorporate storytelling where possible to help people become more engaged in your content.
- Ensure each piece includes a hook to entice them to read the next email in the sequence.
- Work at having them take small incremental actions on each piece of content you create - that includes your email sequence. The reason being that the more small and consistent actions people take, the more likely they are to click the “buy” button when you finally offer your Introductory Product – because it feels natural.
- Only have one call to action per email. Too many choices and people won’t choose at all.
How does my client pathway email sequence look?
Want an example?
- For the media plan template, I determined that people wanted to solve the problem of how to put together a PR plan. My blog post and opt-in solved that problem for them.
- The next problem they have (that I determined, at least) was how to FILL that planner. This is where my email sequencing came into it. This pathway gives them bite-sized story angles they can use to help fill their planner.
- One of those story types is, of course, evergreen stories. This topic effortlessly and soulfully leads people to my Introductory Product – the PR News Calendar, which is brimming full of a year’s worth of media stories that can fill their entire yearly PR plan in one go.
Of course, there are more steps beyond the Introductory Product, but that’s another post for another day.
I’ve also been experimenting with Facebook ad retargeting to the sales page but, again, this step can wait for another blog post.
And the email sequence itself I'm regularly tweaking to see what elements will improve email open rates, click-through rates and, of course, sales conversions. This part is ever evolving and I'll let you in on what sequence was most effective in a future blog post. So stay tuned!
For now though, are you ready to create your own automated sales funnel? Download the Soulful Client Pathway Map to start mapping out your pathway to begin receiving automated sales to scale your business. Download your Client Pathway Map, to start developing a system to bring you automated sales for your business to allow you to leverage your efforts.