What Is A Sales Funnel And How Does My Blog Fit In?

What is a Sales Funnel and How Does My Blog Fit In? - The Cafe Wordsmith

You’ve probably heard of sales funnels before, and you probably have an idea of how they work. You know it has something to do with building your list and conversion rates, and you know your blog fits in somehow.

Here’s a quick rundown of the all-important sales funnel.

 

What is a sales funnel? Sales Funnel 101

Your sales funnel is system that guides your audience take from being a casual visitor to paying customer.

You’ve probably seen those big funnel things charities sometime put in malls, where you put a coin in the slot and it rolls around and around the funnel until it finally falls in the hole at the bottom.

Your sales funnel is like this. There’s a wide space for the coin (your potential customer) to enter, and as they explore your content and your offering, they get closer and closer to becoming a paying customer (when the coin drops in the hole).

Top of the Funnel:

Your free content (that require no email address or payment) like your blog and social media posts are at the top of the funnel. That’s where the journey starts.

Middle of the Funnel:

Your optin offer or your lower priced offers are the middle of the funnel, when customers are exploring the waters of working with you, but aren’t ready for the higher-priced services yet.

Bottom of the Funnel (The Goal):

When a customer purchases your main item like your ecourse, your handcrafted items, your high-end coaching package, that’s the bottom of the funnel.

This journey from visitor to raving fan looks different for every business, but the basic structure is the same. It looks like this:

Visitor enters funnel → visitor engages further → visitor makes a purchase and is now a customer

 

Here are some examples of what this might look like for different businesses:

Etsy Shop:

Someone searches for leather cuff bracelets and finds your Etsy listing or a blog post about your products → Customer favorites your listing → Customer buys your bracelet

Life Coaching Business:

Someone searches for solution to a problem their having and lands on your blog post → they love what they read, so they sign up for your mailing list → they love your mailing list freebie, so they sign up for a lower priced course you offer → customer loves the course and invests in your super fancy high end coaching package.

Entrepreneur Training Company with Membership Site:

Someone sees your targeted Facebook ad for your membership site → They visit your website, look around, read some blog posts → They love what they read and sign up for your mailing list, or they might even jump right into a membership!

You probably see a pattern here.

There’s plenty of room for variation here because people are going to find you in different ways (social media, Google, a guest post you wrote, etc.) and some might skip steps in the middle (like jumping straight to your high-end offer or skipping the mailing list signup), but for the most part, a customer will first try out your free content before moving into the higher-commitment content that requires their email address or a payment.

And this is where your blog comes in. That’s where it starts.

Your blog is the top of the funnel where the penny starts rolling toward the hole at the bottom. This is where people get to know you, where they read about what you can do and how you can solve their problem.

Your blog is what gets people interested in your work. It connects them to you and the story of your business, to the solutions you provide, it positions you as an expert, answers questions they might have about working with you, and entertains them.

This is where they get the information that will influence their decision about whether to buy from you or not.

If readers love your blog, they’re more likely to become subscribers and then customers.

This is why it’s so important that your blog content is awesome. Your blog posts should be helpful, entertaining, easy to read, and they should tell your reader exactly where to go next.

 

That’s a lot to keep track of when you’re writing a blog post, but I’ve got you covered!

 

I made you this handy blog post checklist to make sure your post has everything you need to make things easy for your reader and guide them to the next step in your sales funnel.

 

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Why Your Business Needs a Blog

Why Your Business Needs a Blog - The Cafe Wordsmith

Every business needs a blog.

Yup. Sure, you can get sales and promote your offerings without one, but I can’t think of a single example of a business that wouldn’t be improved with regularly updated content (aka, a blog.)

Why do you need a blog? How does a blog grow your business?

It comes down to this:

Your blog is one of the first ways your audience gets to know you and your business.

When they Google for a solution to a problem, users often find an article or blog post with the answer. This is where they learn about what you do, who you are, and if you can help them.

How does a blog do this?

why your business needs a blog

Your blog can…

Educate your audience about the benefits of your products/services.

You know your products inside and out, but your audience doesn’t! Your blog is one of the places you can introduce your audience to products and services that can help them. You can show them how it works, what’s included, and results the can expect.

Note: Your sales pages should do this too, but most people will read your blog before your sales page. You want to make things crystal clear for your audience. Make it easy to say “yes” to working with you!

Answer questions potential clients have about your services (removing any objections to working with you).

Would-be clients probably have questions about your products. You could have a separate Q&A page or a section on your sales page (and you should!).

These questions are also great to address in blog posts, because A) you don’t want to be updating your sales page all the time, and B) the more places you address those questions, the easier it will be for your reader to find the answers!

Provide social proof that your methods work.

Case studies and client spotlights provide show that your methods worked for someone, which greatly encourages potential customers to buy from you. Think about it: if your best friend raves about a product that changed her life, aren’t you much more likely to buy it? Same deal here. Knowing that a product worked for someone else raises our confidence that it’ll work for us too!

Improve search rankings, bring in traffic, get eyeballs on your offerings.

Posting useful, relevant articles on your blog can drive up your SEO ranking, which means Google will send people who are looking for solutions to problems you can solve to your site!

Give your audience something to relate to and engage with.

We’re more likely to engage with a product or person when we know their story. I learned this when selling my art.

For awhile, almost everyone that bought my work was a family or friend, or someone I knew. At first, I saw this as a problem. I wanted people I didn’t know to buy my stuff too!

Then I realized they bought because they knew ME. They knew my story and what went into the work. I realized that I’d have to bring that same experience to my other buyers for them to connect with my art. This little epiphany changed the way I blogged about my art and wrote my product listings, focusing more on the story behind the work.

Tell your story. Take your audience on a journey. Show them how and why you developed your offerings. They want to see how your methods helped yourself, because that shows you can help them too!

Build trust with your audience.

People google for solutions to their problems, whether they’re looking for a birthday gift for their mother in law, container gardening tips, a meatloaf recipe, or how to feel more confident.

If they find your blog post and it solves their problem, this show them you know what you’re talking about and builds trust in you. Also, if your free stuff is super awesome, they might start wondering how amazing your paid services are!

Get people into your sales funnel.

It’s very rare for someone to discover a website and immediately become a customer, especially for big ticket items like high-end coaching.

A sale requires a relationship. If readers find your blog posts useful, they’re more likely to join your mailing list for your free optin. If they find that useful, they’re more likely to become a customer, whether that means buying a lower-priced item or jumping straight into your high-end offer.

The journey to becoming a paid customer starts with your free content: Your blog.

Your blog guides your audience through the journey of working with you, and it’s important to keep that in mind as you plan and write your content.

 

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How To Blog Consistently When You Don’t Have Time

How to Blog Consistently When You Don't Have Time - The Cafe Wordsmith

Ah, blogging. It’s one of those things you know you should be doing, but somehow never gets done.

If the bread and butter in your business is a product or service like coaching, courses, or handmade goodies, there’s a good chance that blogging is the lonely item on the bottom of your to-do list that never seems to get crossed off. Serving your clients takes a lot of time and effort, and when you’re focused on that, sitting down to write sounds as appealing as getting a root canal.

But a blog is crazy important to your business. That’s how your audience connects with you and the solutions you provide. That’s how you tell your story and the story of your business, how you help your audience with the answers they’re Googling for. Most of the time, your blog is where a visitor begins the journey from casual reader to paying customer.

Luckily, there are plenty of ways to regularly publish blog content without it being a gigantic timesuck. Here are some of my favorites.

 

5 ways to Blog Consistently When You Don’t Have Time

Transcribe Your Videos

If you prefer to do videos or audios, get those babies transcribed!

I’ve seen people just clean up the transcriptions a little and post them, but make sure to format those posts so they actually read like a blog post. Otherwise your reader will get bogged down with all the extra words.

Tighten it up. Add headers and bullet points. Break up the text to make it scannable. Luckily, you can hire someone to do all the transcribing, editing, and formatting for you.

In fact, here are six blogging tasks you can outsource completely.

Of course, you can always just post your videos straight to your blog without transcribing if you’re really short on time and money.

Now, it’s best to appeal to people who like to watch videos and people who read (and for those people who are browsing your blog while they’re at work or in a boring meeting), but videos alone are better than nothing.

Works best for: Entrepreneurs  who record videos (Youtube, Facebook Live, Instagram Stories, webinars, etc.) or audios (podcasts, teleseminars, etc.)

 

Batch write.

This is usually how I write for my own blogs and how I write for clients. This takes some time up front, but once it’s done, you’ve got enough content to coast on for weeks or months. I’ve even seen people create enough content to last a year!

Here’s a rundown of my method:

  1. Brainstorm a bunch of post ideas.
  2. Pick the best ones and create a separate document for each.
  3. Go through each document and brainstorm what to cover in each post.
  4. Organize those ideas into sequences, lists, paragraphs, and eventually flesh them out into full posts.

Bam. Four steps to a nice arsenal of posts.

Works best for: Entrepreneurs who actually like to write, but just can’t get to it every week (or even every month).

 

Talk to text.

Most computers and phones have a speech dictation functions. This allows you to talk about your post topic and automatically transcribe what you say. Just Google “talk to text (whatever device you have)” and follow the instructions, or search for dictation programs online.

Granted, you’ll still need to do a lot of editing and formatting afterwards to turn it into an engaging blog post (which you can get someone else to do for you), but this is a great way to get started!

Works best for: Entrepreneurs who like to think out loud, especially if you’re an eloquent speaker (this means a more coherent transcription and less editing).

 

Ask for guest posts.

I love the idea of getting other people to create your content for you, because that means less work for you and more exposure for them. It’s a win-win!

You can also get really strategic with this and spotlight other awesome people in your industry, which will give you both access to the other’s audience, or feature your own clients, which will give their businesses a boost and act as a testimonial for your own product or service.

You can score some awesome guest posts by directly contacting people you’d love to feature or by putting up a call for submissions on your site.

Works best for: Blogs with lots of traffic, service based businesses who wish to showcase their results

 

Hire someone to write for you.

If you don’t want to deal with all the editing and transcribing or chasing down guest posts, you can simply hire someone to write for you. This option is great because it requires very little time on your part, but you still get all the writing credit.

I love to do this for my clients!

Would you like me to take the blogging responsibility off your hands?

Check out my blogging services here.

It’s easy. All you have to do is tell me you ideas for the post (through email or over the phone) and provide feedback on a draft. I take care of the rest.

The result? A beautiful, targeted, SEO-friendly blog post and a stress-free you.

Works best for: Anyone who doesn’t like to write or is seriously crunched for time.

Blogging doesn’t have to be a pain in the rear! This is definitely one area in your business where it pays to work smarter, not harder. Whether you decide to batch write posts yourself or hand it all over to someone else, your blog can be one of the most powerful and dynamic pieces of your business!

 

Learn content marketing in days, not months.

Purchase here.

6 Blogging Tasks You Can Outsource

Why Your Business Needs a Blog - The Cafe Wordsmith

Blogging is a ton of work! You put so much time into create quality content your reader will love and find useful. You work so hard to write amazing posts that will turn your readers into paying customers, and you might even think the writing part is fun, but…there’s all that other stuff.

Formatting. Editing. Creating graphics. And why is WordPress making that one line bold? How the frick do you do SEO without sounding like a keyword robot? How do you make posts scannable and easy to read so your bounce rates don’t go to the moon? And most of all, who has TIME?!

You’d rather create products and services, work with clients, or take time to recharge and think for a minute, but instead you’re spending hours writing or trying to figure out why your spacing is all messed up.

Did you know you can pay someone to do all of that for you? 

Here are 6 Blogging Tasks You Can Outsource

1-Editing. You want your posts to be polished and professional, but you hate hunting for grammatical errors or spelling mistakes. Don’t worry, there are plenty of grammar nerds like myself who get a buzz from editing and proofreading. You just focus on the important stuff: getting your thoughts into print.

2-Formatting. Formatting is important because the way a post looks on the page makes a huge difference in how a reader will actually read it.

People read a lot faster on the internet and have less patience than they would when reading a book. Think about it: You click on a post and meet a giant wall of text with long, chunky paragraphs, no headings, and no pictures. You’d click away pretty quickly, wouldn’t you? Formatting takes time though, and sometimes there’s a little code involved. Let someone else handle it, because you’ve got stuff to do.

3-Finding images and creating graphics. People are much more likely to read a post if it comes with a pretty picture or graphic. You don’t want to look like every other blog out there, but it’s tricky to find stock photos that don’t suck. You’re also more likely to get clicks, shares, and pins on social media if you create a pretty graphic to share with your post, but that can be time consuming too. Delegate that task to someone else.

4-SEO. SEO is probably one of those things you feel like you should be doing. Maybe you have a basic understanding of how it works, but you don’t really know how to make it work for you. Or you don’t want to stuff your copy full of keywords and sound like some weird clickbait site. Luckily, SEO doesn’t have to be hard or icky, and the best way to make it easier on yourself is to just get someone else to do it.

5-Promoting your posts on social media. Once all the editing, formatting, SEO, and image-creating is done, you actually need to tell people about your post. But…you don’t want to spend all day on social media. I don’t blame you! There are tons easy ways to schedule your social media posts ahead of time. However, it doesn’t have to be you that schedules them, or that writes up the social media posts, or who does any of it.

6-Actually writing the posts. Whaaaat?

There are tons of reasons why you might want to outsource this. Maybe you just don’t like to write. Totally fine! Find someone who does.

Maybe you think better out loud than you do on paper, and every time you try to communicate in writing, it just doesn’t work out. Maybe you don’t have time or just don’t want to spend your precious time writing posts. Or maybe you are intimidated by writing and you’ve been meaning to get to it, but it keeps falling to the bottom of your to-do list.

Seriously, just get someone else to do it.

The bottom line is, there are things in your business that only you can do, and things that you love to do. The stuff that doesn’t have to be you or that you don’t like? Outsource it. Even if you feel like you can’t afford it yet, start with something small, with the stuff that continually trips you up. It’s your business and it should be fun. Find someone who loves to do the stuff you can’t stand. Believe me, they’re out there!

Need help with these tasks? Check out my service pages!

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