I’m sure you’ve all heard of the sales funnel, where you start at the top filling the widest part of that funnel with prospects, and they filter through your sales funnel, inevitably decreasing in numbers along the way, until ultimately a number of the original prospects purchase a product or service from you.
The key to making more sales at the end of this process is often overfilling your funnel with lots more prospects than you think you actually need. Numbers will decrease for a multitude of reasons along the way so focus on list building activities to fill the top end of that funnel.
So where to start?
Here are a few ideas to get your started.
- Newsletter opt in box. On your website, you need to include an opt in box so that people can give you their name and email address. This automatically subscribes them to your weekly, fortnightly or monthly newsletter that will keep in touch with them to build the relationship – making it a responsive list.
- Give them a reason to sign up. Offer some thing for free in exchange for their contact details. It can be something they download, making it simple and cheap to administer, such as a free report or tip sheets.
- Use your blog effectively. Post quality, useful content regularly and at the end of your posts, encourage people to sign up to your mailing list. “Why not have these tips delivered direct to your inbox”, “For more on this topic, download our free report here”, etc.
- Get involved in new media options such as audio and video. Audio and video are very powerful mediums, so don’t be afraid to make a short podcast or video welcoming your web site visitors and actually tell them to sign up for more information.
- Consider an affiliate program. People will often sing the praises of your product or service, in exchange for a commission on each sale made as a result of their recommendation. What could be better than having an entire sales force working only on commission!
- Interview some experts. If you can talk on the telephone, you can interview an expert in a similar field. You can offer it as a live teleseminar, or group call, or offer it afterwards as a recording. By asking your expert to also promote the interview to their mailing list, you will end up with many of their contacts subscribing to yours.
- Don’t be afraid of social media. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, whichever ones you choose to get involved in, social media is a great way to expand your sales funnel. Offer free tips, advice and articles here. Answer questions to demonstrate your expertise. And above all, get them to your website so they will add themselves to your list.
- Write articles about your subject. One of the best ways to become seen as an expert in your industry in the eyes of your target market is to write on the subject. Write articles and syndicate them online. Don’t forget to include your website link to your author information.
- Organise an online expert event. Similar to the idea of interviewing an expert, but en masse. Organise a whole range of experts to speak on given subjects and offer access to the calls as a live event, or offer the recordings afterwards, or both. Getting all of the experts to promote the event will increase your mailing list as they will have to go to your web site to sign up to receive dial in access details.
- Paid advertising. Advertising online is very simple with tools such as Google AdWords. It allows you to appear at the top or side of the main search results for a fee. Be careful with your budget and again, make sure you get these visitors on your list to be really cost effective.
When you’ve implemented a range of these activities to build your list, look at which ones are producing the best results for your particular business. Then step up those activities and let go of some of the lower performing options.
About the author:
Justine Curtis is the director of My Virtual Assistant Limited which is currently expanding across the UK with a team of virtual assistant licensees and founder of the UK Association of Virtual Assistants (UKAVA) which offers free resources and information to its subscribers. Justine is the author of Setting Yourself Up As A Virtual Assistant and passes on the benefits of her vast experience of the VA role to aspiring and progressive virtual PAs as a co-founder of the VA Success Group. Justine is also a co-founder of Academy for Online Business, a company devoted to helping self-employed professionals and entrepreneurs to build their own online business empires.
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