I love marketing. In fact, I love any kind of planning! Since I started working on my business plans and strategies more purposefully, my business has grown by 150%. Seriously!! I've earned last year's income in just 4 months this year. I'm on track to earn a lot more than I planned for in my income planner earlier this year.
That begs the question- how?
What have I been doing that has increased my income so much?
What plans have I put in place to grow my business so quickly?
I'm going to dive into my sales strategy this month. I'm also going to share the books and courses that have helped me grow my business and income exponentially, so try and read all of this month's articles if you can. I promise you'll love them if you're interested in increasing your income (which, let's face it, who isn't?)
Do you need to plan the 'traditional' way?
By traditional I mean long, boring, ugly plans that make no sense but feel necessary if you're going to call yourself a business owner.
I don't believe you need those kinds of plans to build a successful biz.
Freelancers these days waste so much time and energy creating 'professional' and 'traditional' plans and strategies like the ones we're taught about in business classes at school.
But is that what we need?
I don't personally think so. These plans feel professional and sophisticated because they're long and include lots of technical jargon, but if these kinds of plans don't help you make progress then toss them in the bin! Unless you're applying for a business loan and you're required to show your business plans to a bank, you can plan the easier way.
I believe in a simpler way of planning. I believe in keeping plans SO simple that even a child can follow them.
Because simple plans are the easiest to follow. Simple plans don't make our brains exasperated when we look at them- they're actually fun to tweak and use!
What is a sales funnel?
A sales funnel is the ideal process you want your clients/customers to experience as they go from lead > prospect > customer. It looks like an upside-down pyramid. Your leads (aka. prospective customers) start at the top (your free products and advice) and then hopefully funnel down to the bottom (your most expensive services and products.)
When I first started my business I hated the idea of sales funnels; they sounded so boring and difficult. Besides, most of my work came through referrals so I didn't bother with many other marketing methods. But when I did some research, I realized that sales funnels are an organized and intentional way of marketing.
Having a sales funnel in place is important because most leads don't purchase products or services the first time they land on your site; they usually have to go through each stage of your sales funnel.
Who needs one?
If you're a business owner then you need a sales funnel. Even bloggers need one if they want to create profitable blogs! You are only successful if you can continually get clients through your digital door, or continually make sales. When those things stop, your business fails.
When I asked our Facebook group if anyone actively uses a marketing plan or sales funnel, I got very similar answers from lots of members:
"I dread marketing."
"I've gotten by so far on sheer luck... 100% referrals and word-of-mouth. But now I'm really looking to up my marketing and strategy."
"I have a plan... but it has so many hurdles that I'm scared of it."
One member called herself a 'wing-it' girl because she's gotten by so far by sheer luck. Heck, I used to be a 'wing-it' girl too! I would get by on referrals and client's who found me through social media. But the unsteadiness of that really unnerved me. I was balancing my entire livelihood on chance. Is that a sensible way of running a business? Heck no. Things had to change. I knew somewhere inside that if I didn't start getting purposeful with my plans, my business was going to hit a brick wall at some point and I was going to panic.
My view of marketing changed
I decided to take action one day by sitting down and actually creating plans. I used ugly, long templates that I got from Google but they just sat, unfinished, gathering dust on my Macbook.
I then tried to make my plans more fun by creating bight, beautifully designed plans in Indesign. They were still really long through and they did the exact same thing as my other plans- they sat gathering dust on my Macbook.
Amber creates a digital planner each year filled with prompts and worksheets to help you plan for the next year. Amber's planner was great, but it was one of her worksheets that changed my view of planning.
She gave away a business plan template with her book, and the template was a simple one-page spreadsheet.
I couldn't get over the simplicity of it.
I used it for the next 90 days and realized that I'd finally found the kind of plan I could stick to, the kind of plan I could actually enjoy using!
From then, I've only ever created simple one-page plans whenever I've needed to plan for something, whether it was a marketing plan, a business plan, launch plan or sales funnel.
Keeping your plans short and simple stops your brain from feeling overwhelmed.
So, how do you create a sales funnel?
Watch the video above to see how I created my own sales funnel and how you can make one, too! Then click the button below to download my sales funnel template.
What marketing methods should you focus on?
As you can see in my video, a lot of the marketing methods I added to my sales funnel were video-based because one of my goals is to build more trust with my target market.
Every business is different, so you may prefer to leave out video-based marketing and prioritize Twitter and Facebook. Whatever you choose, it isn't wrong. But don't be afraid to experiment with your marketing methods- add things to your sales funnel that push your boundaries a bit.
The find out what forms of marketing work best for you (and place most of your effort and energy there!) you can do three things:
1. Add the question 'How did you find me?' to your website contact form. From now on, when potential clients fill it out you'll know how they found you. You may start to see a recurring pattern. If you do, make it a focus point in your marketing plan.
2. Ask past clients how they found you. If you need to know ASAP where to focus your marketing efforts, start by asking your past clients. Some may not remember, but it's worth asking.
3. Find out how others in your industry find their clients. Maybe you're new to the freelance world or you haven't had many clients yet. If so, find out where other people get their clients and customers from. It may be a little embarrassing or awkward, but just ask the question in a Facebook group or drop someone an email asking about it. You'd be surprised how many people will open up and share this info with you!
I'd love to hear your thoughts on this subject (and on the video I created)! Post a comment below or post in our Facebook group and tell me: what is your biggest struggle when it comes to planning?