Ever seen a flashy Facebook post or an ad from someone in your industry and clicked on it to see what they’re doing, that you’re not?
As you click and go through the various sales funnel pages, and type in your email address, you begin to wonder if you should put together some kind of ‘give-away’, and create a sales funnel of your own. You know, so you can get people to subscribe to your site too.
Because if others your industry are doing it, it must be ‘the thing’ to do. So, you put ‘sales funnel thingy’ on the top of your to-do list.
And you feel super excited.
A case study
This week, I noticed an ad on Facebook posted by a digital agency I was familiar with. The ad promised a FREE DOWNLOAD (because getting free stuff gets people in). Curious, I read the ad and discovered they had put together a guide on how to write great SEO-friendly web content.
I clicked on the ad. Not only because I was curious to know what they were doing, but because I was also interested in what tips they had to offer.
The add took me through various screens where I entered my email address (I used a dummy name), and then I was taken to the free download.
How to suck eggs…
The document was 5 pages long — the front page was a photo, the back page had their logo. The three pages in between also had shiny photographs, while the entire text for the 5-page document totalled around 8 paragraphs. It was however, beautifully laid out.
The text detailed a 3-step process on how to write SEO content for the web, and it went like this
Prepare – plan what you’re going to say
Write — write anything that comes to mind
Edit — edit the copy you’ve just written, being sure to include your keywords in the first paragraph.
And that was it. A 5-page document that provided absolutely no value to me whatsoever. It didn’t even tell me what SEO was (BTW – I already know), nor did it elaborate on what keywords were, and how you choose them.
The only thing I learned was that a big, shiny Facebook ad did not mean the business behind the ad knew their stuff.
I gave them my email address to be told how to suck eggs.
I felt a little ripped off, because this was not useful content. It was simply an ad to get me to give them my details, in the hope I’d receive something worthwhile. I didn’t.
And sadly, this experience wasn’t the first time I’ve been hoodwinked into signing up to some crappy email list that only ends up blocking my in-box with junk.
Is it value-adding?
If you’re going to the trouble to create a sales funnel, please make sure that what you’re offering is useful, and that your potential clients aren’t going to feel as if you’ve ‘sucked them in’ to yet another spammy post, simply to get their details so you can bombard them with marketing stuff.
Of course, the whole idea behind getting people’s email addresses is so you can market your business. But there is clever marketing and there is sleazy, spammy marketing. Please don’t be the sleazy marketer offering rubbishy posts or shiny documents that say nothing.
As I see it, there are two ways to go when it comes to your subscribers:
- Contact them only when you have something worthwhile to share. It might be a blog post, your newsletter, or notification of a special deal.
- Email your subscriber base regularly, ensuring that you’re providing something worthwhile. It might be a short-course, a series on a particular topic, or heap of useful tips they can implement immediately.
If you plan on doing the latter, do yourself and your clients a favour and work out the content before making the sales funnel clicky thing.
Do I really need a sales funnel?
Sales funnels are simply one way to get customers to buy your product or service. But they’re not the only way. Marketing gurus and digital agencies will tell you that you need a sales funnel if you’re to succeed in business.
But I guess that depends upon what success looks like to you.
While I have an option for visitors to sign up to my subscriber base, I don’t have a sales funnel. Most of my clients find me via Google, or through various copywriter directories. I also have a very good relationship with a digital agency that passes a lot of work my way.
At the moment, a sales funnel only represents a whole lot more work and stress that I just don’t need, because I am working at capacity (or close to), most weeks. Which means that my marketing plan is working perfectly for me.
However, other copywriters do have sales funnels and that’s cool. Some copywriters actually offer really useful, practical information to their subscribers, which is even cooler. And I subscribe to a couple of them.
But if you’re only creating a sales funnel because everyone else is, or because some marketing guru who has no idea of your business and your goals, tells you that you should — well, you might want to think again.
Because when it comes to marketing, sometimes less is more.
Contact your constituents less, and offer them more.
Don’t contact them more, and offer them rubbish.
Over to you.
Will you be creating a sales funnel for your copywriting business?
Disclaimer: I’m not a sales and marketing expert. I’ve simply written this post on the back of my experience of being suckered into subscribing to lists that offered me crap in return. I have nothing against digital marketing experts who recommend sales funnels, nor do I have anything against sales funnels. If you’re considering creating a sales funnel, seek an expert opinion.