It’s hard to deny that we live in a digital age where everyone, from toddlers to grandparents, spends a majority of their day plugged into one device or another. But, regardless of this fact, many business owners are reluctant to give up their old-school sales methods and transition entirely to online marketing funnels. The ultimate goal of any marketing funnel, offline and online alike, is to gain and ascend long-term clients.
Platforms such as ClickFunnels have, in my mind, created a superior method to convert potential clients more effectively, while saving business owners both time and money. I have been able to transition nearly my entire marketing budget to online endeavors, primarily through the use of ClickFunnels. I’ve also built a secondary business sharing my expertise with business owners, who are much like how I was several years ago, and are learning to take advantage of a captive audience online.
So, let me start at the beginning. What is a funnel – and how does it work?
A funnel is an entire process of nurturing a potential customer, from not knowing who you are or anything about your business, to becoming a long-term, paying client. Now, every funnel has various numbers of steps. You can have a short funnel where someone sees your offer, purchases it and becomes your client. Or, a much longer nurture-type campaign, where you offer valuable content to a potential client to capture their contact information. You then will have to follow-up with frequency to make sure you stay top of mind when the customer is finally ready to make a decision. In my industry, we rely on both short and long funnels, to obtain our desired sales goals.
That’s So Retro
When I opened my personal training gym in 2009, I did everything I could think of to market and advertise the facility. Like everyone from dentists to dry cleaners during those early years, I relied on tactile products to spread the word. I literally hemorrhaged money up front to get the attention of a handful of potential clients at the top of my sales funnel: people who didn’t know me and certainly had never heard of my gym.
I contracted a designer to create an ad using our logo and offering a low-cost trial, which I then tried to adapt to direct mail pieces and door hangers, banners, and A-Frame signs for the parking lot. I spent countless hours on the phone with the designer and various companies creating and printing out my direct mail pieces. On top of that, I had to pay someone to deliver and hang the door hangers, as well as pay postage for the direct mail pieces after creating a mailing list. I also spent a lot of time canvassing the local businesses, trying to drum up business as well as put together time-consuming educational seminars just to get people into the gym.
It amounted to a ton of work and money spent, with very little return. Of the people I signed up (converted into true, paying clients) that first year, I couldn’t tell you how they learned of our existence…it was so tough to track. Everyone I knew, and whomever I spoke with was doing their marketing this way back then. I KNEW there had to be a better way because the ROI for traditional print campaigns was counter-productive to my bottom line.
Several years ago, I saw the light and took my first step into online marketing for my gym. I had read a ton of books on the subject and was ready to get started and to simplify the whole sales funnel process. The first step I had to tackle was obvious…I needed to take someone who had no idea who I was or what we did and educate them.
The question was how? Lead Magnets. I needed to create content that people were interested in – educational pdf’s and videos about fitness and nutrition that drove traffic to my blog, and eventually to webinars about the subject. I ensured the content was only available in exchange for an email address, so I was then able to then retarget these somewhat cold leads into a campaign that offered a low barrier offer to come try us out. Using ClickFunnels, I was able to create a virtual path of travel that ended up with a new paying customer in my gym.
With these online sales funnel option, you can now essentially follow a prospect around the internet and “meet” them where they hang out. Your prospect may click on an ad for you on Facebook and ultimately not purchase the first time they see your offer. However, when you gather their information, either through opt-in or pixels, you can retarget them for a later offer…drop them into a nurturing campaign that can get your offer in front of them on Facebook, Instagram, Youtube or the Google Display Network or email or text messaging. The best part is that it doesn’t matter what time of the day or day of the week it is, people are always on their phones and/or computers. You can get your message in front of a potential client anytime, anywhere.
And, BONUS, it is 100% trackable. You can see exactly how much you have spent and how well each campaign/offer is working for you. At the click of a button, you can figure out what you need to change and what you should keep the same. With the statistics right at your fingertips, it’s easy to say goodbye to the hassles of traditional marketing campaigns.
Spreading the Wealth (of Knowledge)
In 2015, I took the success in what I learned from promoting my own gym using online funnels and front-end offers, and created a marketing company whose sweet spot is utilizing low barrier offers to bring paying clients into a facility. We recognized early on that people need to try before they buy, but that offering free ($0) trials or products to gain new clients in a business did not result in many conversions into paying clients, or at least the ones who would buy into our culture. Whereas, creating offers for $200 or less raised the perceived value of the offer. With “skin in the game”, even if it is setup to act as an impulse purchase, more customers converted into actual clients.
A front-end offer technically could be anything to get a client to try out a business. It could be a one-week free trial to a high barrier offer for something like a $3000 total lifestyle change. It’s something created to drive traffic through Facebook, email, YouTube and other platforms. Some of our most successful offers bring in 100+ paying clients into a facility in less than a month. I can not think of a single another marketing opportunity online or offline that can create that volume in such a short time.
While the majority of our clients are fitness facilities, we have applied the low barrier offer idea to other industries. This type of front-end offer also works well for professionals such as dentists and chiropractors. For instance, a dentist can offer a $99 exam that includes a cleaning, X-rays and a consultation. Hook them with a first visit and then book them for their next appointment in perpetuity. Or, as a chiropractor, you could offer free content such as an eBook on spinal health and retarget them for an inexpensive adjustment. The options are limited only by your imagination, and online marketing budget, of course. Clients often ask me if I still do any offline marketing for my businesses and the answer is a resounding “yes!” Although I have found success in using online funnels, creating lasting, real-life relationship is an integral part of any business. Networking with industry experts at events and hosting seminars and webinars have become increasingly more important through the years. While my offline funnels may only produce a handful of clients, those are the ones who offer some of the best testimonials and transition into not only paying clients but also friends.
PROFIT MARKETING SOLUTIONS FOUNDER, TIM LYONS OPENED HIS 3,200 SQUARE FOOT GYM, PULSE FITNESS, IN 2009. By 2015, Tim had increased membership to expand his facility to 8,000 square feet and become a sought-after business marketing consultant. Tim knows firsthand the challenges of gym ownership and recognized early on that many of the tried and true ways of fitness advertising were fast becoming obsolete. Tim began studying rising trends in social media and internet digital marketing. Through building his own brand, Tim has devised industry-specific marketing strategies to help other club owners get better results for their business.