Many people, in fact, most people who are looking to build a business online think that in order to sell anything that they need a website. A full blown kick-assery website and all that they ‘think’ that entails. Honestly, though most people aren’t even sure what and how much they need. I would like to pose the question again and say.
Do you need a website?… The answer is yes and no. Mostly though it is…no.
You see your website is typically not optimized to generate the fundamental parts of an online business. That being building leads and making sales. A website doesn’t do that, but a FUNNEL does.
A funnel is a nurture sequence that takes a prospect through an experience to where eventually the prospect in the funnel is moved to buy. There are several points that happen before purchasing and that sequence of nurture is called a funnel. For instance, my favorite 2 funnels are a webinar funnel and a mini-course funnel. Both of which includes what are known as landing pages with the intention of getting opt-ins (email subscribers).
Once these email subscribers are on your list (email list) you take them through the funnel.
Funnels come in varies types. Here are 3 different funnels I use on a regular basis:
- 2 Part Funnel: Content pieces —> Offer after the content
- 3 Part Funnel: Landing page —> Thank you page —>(3 value-rich content videos over a period of 3 days)
- 4 Part Funnel: Webinar registration page —> thank you page —> Webinar event that provides value —>offer page to make the sale
The job of a funnel:
a. Shine light on the problems your audience is experiencing
b. Show your audience who you are and why you’re the person that should be helping them with whatever pain point they are having. Talk about the problem and then tell your story as it relates to them. For instance, chances are the person coming through your funnel is in the same boat you were in a few years ago. But you figured it out, learned from your mistakes and you want to teach them to avoid those mistakes.
c. Provide value through education to the prospect that will give them the concepts needed to understand how to solve the solution.
d. Have the ultimate solution to their problem via tangible tactics that you either sell as an online course, coaching, software, service, etc.
The above 4 items are what makes a funnel more powerful than just sending someone to a website alone. Coming to a website gives your prospect too many things to do. There is not one singular action that a website typically asks a visitor to perform. That is unless you do a few key things. Which we are going to talk about in a minute. But before we do. What are some good tools for building out Funnels?
For landing pages and essentially all the best pages of a web business. I love using Leadpages.net. A great visual editor tool that allows you to use high converting pages that are pre-templates and proven to convert interested folks into people coming into your mailing list.
Another great tool is called ClickFunnels.com . Click Funnels is similar to Leadpages, although ClickFunnels has a few more bells and whistles and you can often times customize the funnel pages even more than Leadpages.
Another tool that I would recommend for those who are WordPress.org lovers is OptimizePress2.
OP2 (as it is also called) is a WordPress plugin that is similar to both leadpages.net and click funnels.com in the sense that it allows you to create all the pages you’d want to use in your business. From landing pages, sales pages, and more. However if I had to directly compare it to one or the other, I would have to say it is more similar to Clickfunnels due to its customization abilities.
In order of ease of use would be Leadpages, followed by ClickFunnel, and then Op2 being the most robust.
All 3 of these tools are great for building well-optimized funnel pages for your business.
Now for my favorite funnel program…EasyWebinar.
EasyWebinar builds out SPECIFICALLY Webinar or Online Event Funnels.
EasyWebinar has the funnels pre-built with some templates that are less customizable than others. This gives you a wide range of customization abilities from beginners to professional web designers.
EasyWebinar runs both LIVE events, and AUTOMATED webinar events. Some clients run paid Facebook ads or YouTube ad traffic to a webinar without having a website. This is the most powerful funnel around.
So why would you need/want a website?
For social proof. You need a platform for sharing who you are about and more.
What I’d like to do now is switch gears and start talking about the key components of a GOOD and well-branded website. These key components are there to built a relationship with your audience, allow you to create content, share who you have worked with, and build your list.
Necessary Website Components:
Your About Page should describe your mission, who you serve, and why you’re doing what you’re doing. It is important to express your WHY because this will be the opportunity to show your vulnerability and more importantly, relatability. How you relate to people and your own journey will bridge the gap of impersonality that can be found online. Your own story and growth process will give them hope of their own path.
Who’s Talking About You is extremely important to express. If you want to position yourself as an authority, one of the best ways to do so is to highlight publications and any media you’re found in. Here is the deal, it doesn’t have to be a major publication. It can be anything that helps with positioning your expertise and likeability. It can be a small podcast all the way to getting international news coverage. Whatever mainstream or value based source that has talked about you make you that much more credible to your audience.
What they said about you can often times be the best marketing you will find.This is where in your site you want to highlight what people have said about you. Not just who is talking about how they are talking is super valuable. Authorities that are speaking fondly of you as I said can be your best marketing. You shouting how awesome you are from the rooftops won’t convince anyone…but someone everyone trusts raving about you can literally build your brand and integrity.
Have a Product or Service Page because hey, someone might just be coming to you to learn more about your products or what and how you make a living. This is where you want to have a product listing available to them. Also, this helps because you are back-linking to your other pages and sites.
What Do you Solve For People ? Give a free gift from the home page!
If you aren’t building your subscriber list to get more qualified leads into your business then to me, you don’t have a business. Sorry. I know that some folks in my community are authors, artists, and entertainers, but the old way of building your audience is dead. You don’t necessarily have studios propping up your brand. That is why you need to work to building your own audience. With that in mind, your own audience comes from building your list. You should definitely be doing this from your website just like you should be doing from your landing pages.
Create Killer Content and have it shown from your home page. Link your home page to any blog, podcast or other form of content you are creating so that you use the power of your own content to literally lock in your audience. Yes, curating other content is…ok…but personally nothing beats connecting to people and helping them in your own voice.
Expert tip: I like to take my live video or videos and repurpose them as blog posts, and audio podcasts!
Finally, invest in a photo shoot. Having a professional photo shoot can do wonders for your brand. A professional photographer can cost anywhere from $1,000 to $5,000. Last photo shoot I did was $1,000 and it was top quality. (But the photographer was a friend of mine!) Your photo shoot should exemplify every part of your brand. For instance, I would suggest 5 looks to go for.
Email from photographer for photoshoot ideas and items needed
When I did my photo shoot I decided on:
This is an example of what a photographer can do. Capture many different aspects of who you are as a brand in one photoshoot! Then you can have different images expressed on the different pages found in your site. For instance, on my about page I have images of me with my wife and dog to show that this is what I am about. Family.
A quick tip is that your web designer and photographer should be on the same page in terms of color and style of your brand. Make sure you save your branded colors, fonts, and logos to stay brand consistent.
To summarize, having a funnel is huge for your business, but also having a website can help to solidify your brand. Both are designed to grow your overall business and revenue…but if I had to suggest where and how to start. Create a landing page and funnel first, build your internal community and then branch out to start creating a well-branded website.
So what were your thoughts of this post? Does it make sense. Are you still wondering more about a funnel?
Post in the comment below your thoughts! And please do share with your friends, followers, and fans if this post could help them!
Also, check out http://CaseyZeman.com to check out how my personally branded site looks to get an idea of how I built out the site.
You can also check out my Webinar Mini Course funnel (to see an example of a 4 video series funnel) by CLICKING HERE.
Finally, you can see my Automated Webinar Funnel (which I think is the most powerful) by CLICKING HERE.
Watch the video I did all about this concept below.
I’m convinced you need both a sales funnel and a website or blog. It’s cool how you put self-promotion into this post. Not so subtle but not overwhelming promotion.That’s the way to do it…
Short answer is a website is not key to online success. It is a just another tool in your tool chest.
What I believe is important is offering a place for your prospects to gather around a common interest so they can get some value out of the content you provide and the ability to monetize that interaction turning prospects into clients.
You could use Facebook groups, G+ pages, #tags, websites, bulletin boards and any other tool you can think of to gather interests, you can use any of these tools to share your value and you can use any number of payment funnels to collect money.
I believe a website is absolutely essential to be successful online. It’s the only place that you can truly own your customer! I mean that in a good way. A website is the one place you can actually have control to ensure your brand, social proof, and relationship strategies are in your grasp not someone else who actually owns your customer base like Facebook. Your home page is your most valuable real estate online because it’s your front door to the world! A website should not be underestimated no matter how much technology or freebies there are to park yourself. Never forget he who owns his customer wins…but with that comes great responsibility. A website is your personal social signature! Don’t let anybody talk you out of the importance of it and the power it offers if done right.
Love your website, so my question is, what platform is your website built on? Is it wordpress? Thanks.
Casey, we follow each other on Periscope & I always have appreciated how you share your knowledge. I’m always interested in new ways to market myself and you are opening my eyes to new possibilities. I’m still trying to figure out how I can use Periscope for my business, while I enjoy the community that I have grown to love. And…thank you for FullScope.tv!