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How Much Does An Online Sales Funnel Cost?

So, just how much does it cost to build an online marketing or sales funnel?

In my last post, I provided a scenario on how a sales funnel can multiply the number of visitors, leads, sales, and higher ticket sales your business can experience, up to 72 times compared to your website!  Surprisingly, the cost to technically build out a funnel and associated email campaigns is actually not very expensive.

You can, for example,  use any number of software services to build a simple funnel and be up in a matter of hours.

But there are at least three other, more substantial costs.

Strategy Costs

First is the research and expertise to develop a winning strategy and funnel architecture, including crafting the right “splintered” offers.

Most newbies will get discouraged as they find out their offers are not converting at profitable levels, given the high cost of buying traffic.

There is both time and expense of getting expert training, and the time and expense of doing through trial and error.

So, if you are a busy business owner, manager or executive, or even an entrepreneur and you need results soon, or don’t want to spend time learning digital marketing and to experiment with your ad spend over the next few years, you should consider hiring an expert funnel consultant.

They can start you off with an expertly designed strategy and blueprint, and optionally build out your funnel and content.  In looking around, the costs for professional strategy consulting ranges from $500 to $10,000 depending on the experience and reputation of the funnel consultant.

Then, you need all the right content that will educate, entertain, inform your visitors and subscribers while building trust and getting them to take action. This includes the copywriting inside your offers, videos, and ongoing emails. Lastly, there is the expense of buying the right, targeted traffic.  All of these can be optionally handled by a funnel consultant or an agency.

The Cost to Build a Funnel with a Funnel Consultant

Based on my informal survey I conducted recently, consultants price strategy and build out separately or bundled together, which might range from $2000 to $15,000 for common B2C businesses, not including ongoing content or the cost of ads or other traffic.  Now that might seem like a lot, but compared to what a successful funnel can do for you, it can be a very reasonable investment.  But a funnel is not going to help you without targeted traffic.

Traffic / Ad Costs.

You could spend as little as $10 a day on Facebook to test things out.  But some experts have recommended starting at as much as $1000 a month for at least one month if you have a more complex funnel, in order to get enough data to test if your funnel up-sells are converting at the proper rates.  It’s hard to know if a funnel is broken if there isn’t enough traffic and data coming in.

At that volume,  you can optimize your funnel and scale your ads up or down.   You can buy ads yourself, use your funnel consultant, or hire an agency.

Initial and Ongoing Content Costs

Content is what makes up your ads and offers. It’s what goes in the 2-3 emails and blog posts you should be sending out every week. It makes up your social media accounts including your YouTube channel, and your information products if you have one.  If you’re doing high ticket items, it’s also the work to create a webinar.

Some consultants will include basic content in your offers (sales pages) and initial email campaign in their build-out quotes.   But you’ll probably need content on an ongoing basis.

Depending on the type and size of your business, you may want to create your own content in-house, on a weekly basis.   This means dictating or writing content and/or shooting videos (even cheap ones on your mobile device if appropriate) on an ongoing basis.  A key is to make this fun and enjoyable for both you and your subscribers.

But if you don’t have time to create all your own content, a funnel consultant can help you.

Here is a summary of costs, you might expect when hiring a Funnel consultant:

Total Sales Funnel Costs

Up Front Costs

*optional but recommended

 *Pro Research, Strategy w/Offers & Ad Plan  $500 to $10,000
 Funnel Technical Build-out & Software
$100 to $5,000
*Pro Content in Funnel, Emails, Social, Videos $400 to $100,000
Total Upfront Costs
  $1000 to $115,000
(Typically 2,000-$15,000)
Monthly
 *Maintenance & Optimization fees (optional) $250-$1000+/mo.
 Traffic – Ads $300++/mo.
*Revenue Share Varies

 

How to Lower the Risk & Cost of a Funnel

Because there is a lot of skilled work involved, a well-designed funnel can cost quite a bit to set up and maintain if you need professional strategy and content development.  A good funnel consultant, if they like your industry, mission, and products, may see the upside of partnering with you on the back-end.

Because of the demand for funnels consultants and the work involved, they won’t do your research, content and build everything for free, but may offer a significant discount on their work in exchange for healthy percentage of revenue generated by the funnel, sometimes with caps and time frames, provided you are committed to ad spends and other stipulations.

In summary, sales funnels can multiply the number of leads and sales revenue you achieve.  They are almost required for most kinds of paid traffic.  But to work well, they require a well researched strategy and plenty of targeted content and paid traffic.    Funnel consultants can help you get there and some will even share the risk with you.

Schedule a Free Strategy Call

Bob Allan is a software entrepreneur, digital marketer and funnel consultant with scalefunnels.com.  Scalefunnels can help you lower your risk and validate your funnels incrementally.  Get a free funnel consultation and quote for your own sales funnel at scalefunnels.com

onlineSalesFunnelOptimization

Why An Online Sales Funnel is Better than a Website.

A properly designed sales or marketing funnel can be 10 to 100 times more effective than your current website.

That’s a bold statement.  Here’s what I mean:  It can a generate 10 to 100 times more revenue—If you have a business that can be automated and truly scale.

Now maybe with the constraints on your business, you can only double your revenue.  Even a 20% increase would be incredible for most companies.  This is a more modest goal and is certainly achievable when you employ and optimize an online sales funnel.

Before I explain how let me ask you for context: What is the purpose of your business or organization’s website and other marketing efforts?  Are you merely trying to create awareness about your offerings and your company’s brand?  No.  What you really want to do is grow your sales in some form or another.

But if you’re a little unclear about your goals and that’s partly why your website and general marketing itself is unfocused.

You see, a company website tries to do too much.  Just look at all the pages and menu links a visitor can click on.  A website simply has too many calls-to-action, and too few of those move the visitor toward a sale.

Your website isn’t really conversion focused, and in this way, it can be hurting your business.    If it’s primary goal isn’t to perform like a salesperson, you’re missing out on lots of leads and sales.

Perhaps you have lots of great content, and you attract lots of organic or free traffic to your site. Great! But are you also tagging those visitors into segmented categories for re-targeting, or collecting segmented leads and then converting them to a sale?  If so, are you tracking all this and your offers so you know how well they are working?

As a business owner or executive in charge of marketing or sales, your online presence should be focused on (and you should be tracking) one or all four of these goals:

  1. More Leads
  2. More New Customers & Initial Sales
  3. Higher Ticket and More Profitable Sales
  4. More Repeat Customers.

These are the only ways to grow your sales.

Let’s postulate some scenarios on how a well-designed funnel can do compared to your website, your existing funnel or other marketing assets.

First, when you have a truly well-designed funnel, you can buy targeted paid traffic and, for example,  triple the amount of traffic you currently have.

Let’s also say we can also triple the % of opt-ins you have (because you offer an irresistible lead magnet that answers a question your prospects really want to know).

Let’s also say that this targeted traffic is now of higher paying customers that will pay double your average ticket when they do convert.

Next, presume that your first-time buyer conversion rate goes up double and that we can double the number of repeat buyers.

Let’s tally that up:  3 x 3 x 2 x 2 x 2 = 72 times increase in revenue of what your website or other asset are producing. Yes, that is possible, even more, presuming you can scale your business.

What’s a Sales Funnel and How’s it different from a Website?  

An online sales funnel, which is what I’m referring to here, consists of usually paid online traffic directed to a series of constrained landing or web pages, along with coordinated emails (and/or Messenger chat messages) that moves a prospect to a lead and then on a customer journey of least resistance, in order to become a higher and higher value customer.  This happens by providing a series of focused content pieces and offers, which provides more and more value and trust with your prospect and customers.

A website, on the other hand, has navigational menus and allows a visitor to browse in any direction they choose.  In this regard, a website actually hinders you from getting the leads and sales you want, even if it includes an opt-in button.  A funnel has a series of landing or web pages but without navigational menus, except a single button that takes the visitor in a direction you want to take them.

Funnels are Designed for Targeted Paid Traffic

Buying targeted traffic to your site is easy, super-abundant but not always cheap.  You can buy ads or promoted posts, or make YouTube videos to get targeted traffic to your website, but it’s not designed or optimized to convert that traffic into customers.

A well-designed sales funnel, however, is the perfect place to send paid traffic.   In fact, most paid traffic is too expensive unless you send it to a well-designed funnel that converts.

The great thing is, you can target your ideal, potential high paying customers and send them to your funnel to convert them into actual high paying customers!  You do this by providing them value, building trust, engaging them, and then a good percentage will result in a sale.

This all starts with getting clear on your goals: do you want more leads, more awareness on social media, more sales, higher value sales, more repeat customers?  You can achieve any of these with a different style of a funnel.

Basic Sales Funnel Elements and Flow

  1. Ads. Start with paid targeted ads on Facebook, LinkedIn, display or search, directed at your ideal target audience and headlines/key terms for different stages of the customer journey.
  2. Content. Within the same headline as your ad copy, you can optionally provide a blog post or video which provides valuable answers to questions your audience wants to know at the stage of the customer journey you want to target.  You also “set a pixel” on various social and ad networks so you can re-target them later with lower cost ads.
  3. Lead Magnet. Offer an irresistible and preferably interactive content (quizzes, downloadable reports, case studies, video training, etc.) in exchange for their contact information. Now you’ve got a lead in the form of an email address or Facebook Messenger opt-in.
  4. Tripwire. This is another irresistible, low-cost item, typically $3 to $20 for consumer products, you offer with the same benefit but greater value of the previous content. This shifts their relationship to a “customer” which makes it easier for them to buy your core offers.
  5. Your Core Offer. This is the product or service that you are probably already selling… it’s the centerpiece of the funnel.  Ideally, this should be a highly scalable type of service that doesn’t burn up your time as you ramp up the volume.   They typically range from $400 to $2000.
  6. Profit Maximizer. This is a high-end product you may or may not be already offering. Some examples include high end, one-on-one coaching, done-for-you services, etc.   This may take more of your time but gives you the most value for it.
  7. Nurturing via Email, Messenger, and More (Re-targeting) Ads. Most people won’t take all your “up-sells” on the first visit or read.  It just takes some time and persistence so they grow in awareness of their problem, your solution, brand, and expertise. This is the key to success in anything.   You need to continue to re-target, email, and/or message your prospect/customer consistently every couple days for 3 weeks to increase the odds of converting. Ideally, you should continue your efforts with customers throughout the year, rotating in new offers and products to optimize what works best.

Sound Complicated.  Can I do this?  

Planning and implementing a fully developed funnel can be a bit complicated.  But it’s so worth it! You are engineering a machine that can scale your business potentially multiple times.   There are books and lots of training available online.  You can try giving it a go on your own, however, it can take quite a bit of time to get a firm enough grasp of all the various concepts to be effective at implementing the basic strategies. For example, there is funnel design and optimization, paid traffic, content marketing, email marketing, social media management, analytics and on and on…   Even then, you won’t have the knowledge that funnel experts that have been in the trenches for some time.

So, if you’re a busy business owner or executive, and you don’t want to hire a full-time specialist or recruit a team, you should consider hiring an experienced funnel consultant to put together a strategy and even build out your sales funnel.

Is a funnel right for my business?

If you want more leads, sales or revenue, a focused, well-designed funnel is the place to start, whether you are B2C, B2B, national or local, low or high-cost digital product, physical product or service.   But how valuable a funnel can be for you partly depends on how scalable you can make your business.

If you offer (or could offer) an in-demand information/digital product such as video training or software, you’re in one of the most scalable types of business.  One that can be automated and grow 100-fold from your current revenue, or more.

On the flip-side, if you’re a “solopreneur” in a service based business, where you are doing all the service work, there’s obviously a limit to how much more time you can work.  With the right funnel, you could scale and grow by hiring staff or outsourced contractors to do the work of your business.  This and other delegation and automation allows you to work on your business instead of in your business. This also gives you options to sell your business and even retire in style!

But even if you didn’t want to hire others, with a focused funnel, you can at least target and land higher paying customers, or offer a one-to-many product such as group or video training or coaching on the “profit maximizer” end of the customer journey.

Will a Funnel Really Work For Me?

If you’re in a growing industry, whether online or offline, even if in a competitive arena, a well-designed funnel with the right traffic strategy will work.  But the funnel, like any business, will only work if you’re solving a real problem with a well-fitting solution and offered in a form and price that customers want.   Again, funnels can be 10 to 100 more effective than websites.

Some simple funnels will work without too much much content or structure.  They might work with some boosted Facebook posts and convert directly to an appointment button on a single landing page.  Here a salesperson can provide the value and build the trust and close the prospect directly.

Be warned, however, that many people will fail when trying to build a funnel on their own.   More often than not, the offer, copy, sequence, targeting or something else will be off at in at least one of the stages.

Most sales funnels need a solid strategy and more content and followup emails to maximize the value out of each visitor.  In this case, newbies tend to shy away from writing and creating all the content for each part of the funnel,  and then give up when those expensive ads are not converting.

So, it requires a commitment to either hire an expert or consultant or to get the training yourself how to design a funnel, to do the work to create all the content, and to be flexible and persistent to dial in your ads and rotating your offers.

How much does it cost to build out a funnel?

Schedule a Free Strategy Call

Bob Allan is a software entrepreneur, digital marketer and funnel consultant with scalefunnels.com.  Scalefunnels can help you lower your risk and validate your funnels incrementally.  Get a free funnel consultation and quote for your own sales funnel at scalefunnels.com

Major Definite Purpose

Major Definite Purpose

 Excerpts from The Laws of Success

Napoleon Hill – 1928

 ….Ninety-five per cent of  the people of  the world are drifting aimlessly through life, without the slightest  conception of the work for which they are best fitted, and with no conception whatsoever of  even the need of  such a thing as a definite object toward which to strive.

There is a psychological as well as an economic reason for the selection of a definite chief aim in life. It is a well established principle of psychology that a person’s acts are always in harmony with the dominating thoughts of his or her mind.

Any definite chief aim that is deliberately fixed in the mind and held there, with the determination to realize it, finally saturates the entire subconscious mind until it automatically influences the physical action of the body toward the attainment of that purpose.

The principle of psychology through which you can impress your definite chief aim upon your subconscious mind is called Auto-suggestion, or suggestion which you repeatedly make to yourself. It is a degree of self –hypnotism.

Your definite chief aim in life should be selected with deliberate care, and after it has been selected it should be written out and placed where you will see it at least once a day.

There is some one thing that you can do better than anyone else in the world could do it. Search until you find out what this particular line of endeavor is, make it the object of your definite chief aim and then organize all of your forces and attack it with the belief that you are going to win. In your search for the work for which you are best fitted, it will be well if you bear in mind the fact that you will most likely attain the greatest success by finding out what work you like best, for it is a well known fact that a man generally best succeeds in the particular line of endeavor into which he can throw his whole heart and soul.

You choose, for example, a definite purpose as your lifework and make up your mind that you will carry out that purpose. From the very moment that you make this choice, this purpose becomes the dominating thought in your consciousness, and you are constantly on the alert for facts, information and knowledge with which to achieve that purpose.  From the time that you plant a definite purpose in your mind, your mind begins both consciously and unconsciously, to gather and store away the material with which you are to accomplish that purpose.

The habit of working with a definite chief aim will breed in you the habit of prompt decision, and this habit will come to your aid in all that you do. Moreover, the habit of working with a definite chief aim will help you to concentrate all your attention on any given task until you have mastered it. Concentration of effort and the habit of working with a definite chief aim are two of the essential factors in success which are always found together. One leads to the other. The best known successful businessmen were all men of prompt decision who worked always with one main, outstanding purpose as their chief aim.

  • Wright Brothers concentrated on the airplane and mastered the air.
  • Wrigley concentrated his mind on the production and sale of a five-cent package of chewing gum and turned this one idea into millions of dollars.
  • Edison concentrated upon the work of harmonizing natural laws and made his efforts uncover more useful inventions than any other man who ever lived.
  • Lincoln concentrated his mind on freeing the slaves and became our greatest American President while doing it.
  • Carnegie concentrated on steel and made his efforts build a great fortune and plastered his name on public libraries throughout America.
  • Gillette concentrated on a safety razor, gave the entire world a “close shave” and made himself a multimillionaire.

When you organize your faculties … and direct them toward the attainment of a definite purpose in life, you then take advantage of the co-operative or accumulative principle out of which power is developed, which is called Organized Effort. Andrew Carnegie’s advice was this: “Place all your eggs in one basket and then watch the basket to see that no one kicks it over.” By that advice he meant, of course, that we should not dissipate any of our energies by engaging in side lines.

Desire is the factor which determines what your definite purpose in life shall be. No one can select your dominating desire for you, but once you select it yourself it becomes your   definite chief aim and occupies the spotlight of your mind until it is satisfied by transformation into reality, unless you permit it to be pushed aside by conflicting desires.

I believe it not unreasonable to suggest that to be sure of successful achievement, one’s definite chief aim in life should be backed up with a burning desire for its achievement.

A definite purpose is something that you must create for yourself. No one else will create it for you and it will not create itself. What are you going to do about it? And when? And how?

Start now to analyze your desires and find out what it is that you wish, and then make up your mind to get it.

Also keep in mind the never-varying truth that you’ll get nowhere if you start nowhere. If your aim in life is vague your achievements will also be vague, and it might well be added, very meager. Know what you want, when you want it, why you want it and HOW you intend to get it.  This is known to teachers and students of psychology as the WWWH formula – “what, when, why and how.”

Twitter background dimensions

Custom Twitter Background dimensions

Adding a custom Twitter background makes your Twitter page and tweets stand out, and gives you or your organization a professional look. You can make one yourself (which you can do in Photoshop, or sometimes even with a simpler program like MS Paint). Note, this seems to apply only to larger browser screen versions, as backgrounds are not supported as of this writing on mobile.twitter.com browser or app screens.

Of course, you can “tile” a small image, which I think works well only if it makes a nice subtle pattern, otherwise it can be obnoxious.

Custom Twitter background dimensions

Ideally, you should use a single image covering the entire background space.  Of course, you’ll need the custom Twitter background dimensions, including margins you’ll need for the main Twitter content.  There has been a number of changes over the last couple years, down from 1280 to 850, now it’s back up again.  So here is what I found through direct experimentation (September, 2012).

Generally you’ll want about a 194 pixel or less margin on the left side for the graphics that will be visible for most screen resolutions.  You can use this space to provide contact information, or images of your products, or people using your product, but since it’s only an image, none of it will be clickable.

Here’s what’s been reported as the Twitter background left hand margin (screen resolutions as of 2011):

  • 66px for 99% of visitors (1024px wide resolutions)
  • 194px for 82% of visitors (1280px wide resolutions)

I’ve previously read that the Twitter background needs to be less than 850 pixels wide.  However, I found this was not the case.  I used a dimension of 1380 px wide by 800 pixels height and this worked well for me as Twitter did not resize the image (screen shot below).  So, with this extra width, you can have graphic elements on both left and right margins of your main Twitter content.  It is a big file but again, mobile web and apps currently don’t support the background…but stay tuned.

 

 

 

facebook-like-vs.-share-vs.-comment

Where do Share, Like and Comments show up on Facebook?

Whether you’re a newbie to Facebook, or several years into it, you may not be clear on where all those Facebook button clicks go.

For example, when browsing the web, you often have the opportunity to “Like,” “Share,” or “Comment” on something through Facebook.   Also, when reviewing your friend’s updates on your Facebook Newsfeed, you are also given the same options.   So,  where do your Like, Share and Comments show up on Facebook?   It can be a bit confusing knowing the result of each of these actions.

Here’s the scoop:

These actions on the web and on your Newsfeed are very much the same.  Likes, Shares and Comments on outside websites are typically of articles, blog posts,  or web sites or pages themselves, while these same actions on Facebook are of personal updates and photos initiated by others within the social network.

First, if you “Like” something, it will show up in your profile under your “Likes,” and based on your privacy settings, others can view these.  Similarly you can see your friend’s “Likes” on their Profile pages.   Facebook uses categories such as Books, Movies, Sports Teams, Organizations, etc., where your Likes are filed or can be searched and selected.

Facebook will occasionally use your “Likes” in regular updates to your friends, e.g., “Bob likes Target,” right after you Like it.   These days, it seems only a few “Likes” of friends show up in my Newfeed, perhaps because Facebook wants to charge companies to display Likes, or maybe because my Friends aren’t that active in clicking the Like button.   I’ve never seen a “Like” of a “friend of a friend “show up,  probably because  wouldn’t care since I usually don’t know that person.   However, Facebook uses your past Likes in sponsored display ads you may see in the right column, though noted in smaller type under the ad, e.g.,  “Joe likes Capitol One.”    Likes seem to be primarily used for serving up ads.

As for Comments or Shares, they are much more prominent than “Likes” in the Newsfeed.   They appear along with your original Updates in your own Profile page and on the Newsfeeds of  “friends” or “friends of friends” (based on  your privacy settings) .

When you comment on something, it will embed a link and usually an image and snippet of the original article, webpage, or post, along with your comment.   When you Share something, it shows up in your friend’s Newsfeeds as if you had posted it yourself, though perhaps somewhat less often, based on Facebook’s algorithms.  For some of my Friends, all I see is their Shares and they have little of their own content.   It will say “Your Friend shared Their Friend’s (or Organization’s they Like) Photo” or, if it is merely a post it may say “”Your Friend via Their Friend or Liked Organization.”

What about Sharing, Liking or Commenting your own content?  You can do this and based on timing and other factors it may get your content re-posted to your friend’s Newsfeeds.

Hope that clears things up!   Please post your questions below.

Wordpress-logo1

How to Choose the right WordPress Theme

So how do you choose the right WordPress theme?

1) Always select a WordPress Theme that has the layout and navigation structure you need.

Why: WordPress themes layout structures and navigation can not be moved or changed around easily. Moving non-widgetized areas or changing the size or width of the site can create a domino effect of problems.  It would be more cost efficient to just choose a more suitable theme.

Keep in mind you can still change the following in premium WordPress themes :

  • Your header image or graphic.
  • Your color scheme by virtue of the theme’s CSS file and switching the images.
  • The content within the widgets or the sidebar through the widgets.

More details on your layout and navigation here:

2) Know your page layout needs.

Think mostly about your home page as it will have the most constraints.  How many images will you need and where do you want them to be, especially if they can not be readily changed or made to fit?  For example, will you have a slideshow gallery? What size? How much information do you want to have fit in widgetized text boxes or spaces?

3) Know your Navigation needs

First, create a list of pages and a category and subcategory listing of the topics It helps to simplify and combine categories as much as  possible as it makes it easier to find things.

IF you will have a blog with lots of “categories,” which applies to most WordPress users, you’ll want both Primary and Secondary Navigation. Otherwise a theme with just a single Navigation bar will suffice.

Why:  You don’t want an endless cascade of drop downs. This can be overwhelming to visitors and even cause your navigation to drop “below the fold” making it unusable.

4) Know your side bar content needs 

Will you need a shorter sidebar, longer, or endlessly scrolling? If using widgets, how much space will you need, as this space is limited. A sidebar that scrolls endlessly without content is not desirable past the end of your center content leaving wide-open white space.

If you have more information to include than a single sidebar column can provide, you may want to entertain themes that offer two sidebar layouts to contain all your widgets.

5) Consider smaller screens of mobile devices.   After all, more and more web use is now on mobile devices.  For your market, it could be a majority of your audience.  Some themes such as “Responsive” themes are designed to scale down nicely.  Though other themes may not advertised as such, may also do an adequate job of scaling. The trick is to test the demo theme on a small screen.

6) Know your budget and ability for making modifications.   How much do you want to spend? There are free themes at wordpress.org, but they may require more customizing according to your needs.   Themeforest.net is a great repository of free and premium WordPress and other CMS themes which may cost between $20 to $100.  You can make minor modifications with all WordPress themes playing around with the template and style.css files of a theme. You can preview the changes with an add-on for Firefox called firebug.   For a more thorough job, you can hire someone at oDesk.com, guru.com, freelancer.com or craigslist.org, to do the modifications.

7) Select a number of themes that might work, then go through each theme’s demo site. Check all of the above mentioned requirements, including how the plugins and widgets that  determine how pages and posts will be displayed.  Look at the areas you have to display your key messages and images and make sure the theme can accommodate them in the right size.

 8) Reviews & Support. Often, a clue to how well the theme is supported is provided in the “review” section of the theme store.  See if there support forums. You can e-mail the developer if you still have questions after reviewing the demo.  See if you get a response.   A great theme without support could be trouble, even if you have a solid technical person to make modifications.

9) Take the plunge.  If you’re new to WordPress, you might try adding all your desired content with your existing free or low cost theme and understanding it’s functions and limitations.  This will give you more understanding when selecting and customizing your ideal theme.

Take some time to understand  your own needs, the candidate themes and their demos. It’s time well spent.  It means less time and money on making customizations or starting over with a new theme.