Many solopreneurs are being indoctrinated by digital marketers who sell them on the idea that they need a complex sales/marketing “funnel”.
A complex funnel goes something like this:
There are as many variations of this funnel as there are clever marketers. You might see a “5 day challenge” about the thing you’re trying to change in your life, which puts you into a Facebook group that builds excitement for you to buy their program.
Or it might be a long webinar that is cleverly-designed to hook you into buying. The webinar appears to be just in time for you. What they don't reveal is that the webinar is auto-playing all the time (they should just call it a "video"!), and they only make it appear as if it is an event, a group meeting, that you have to sign up for.
These funnels can also include “tripwires” (low-price product that triggers a system to automatically upsell you, the customer), or score-based targeting (if you don’t buy it, they'll automatically follow up X number of times until you do), and other forceful tactics.
The traffic and conversion funnel idea is based on persuasion psychology (they literally teach ideas of "indoctrination”, scarcity, FOMO.) It is a cult-mentality, an analytical-control mindset that suffocates a true heart-based relationship with your audience.
With funnel obsession, you see your audience primarily as potential profit… or if they don’t turn into money, they are “funnel leaks” and are taking up unnecessary resources.
You are taught to force your audience through a carefully designed (contrived) system of messaging and buying, as if they are lemmings… all supposedly for “their own good”… and for your profit.
These complex funnel/pipeline teachings are turning us into profit-driven automatons, and squeezing the heart right out of business.
Instead, can we relate to our audience as soulful people, whom we want to truly connect with, uplift, help, and befriend?
Can we keep our “sales funnel” (if you still want to use that language) as simple and organic as possible?
As solopreneurs, we need less complexity in our business… and more heart.
This is what sets us apart from soul-less marketing.
Here is a simple transformational pathway you might use instead:
Bottom Line: let it feel genuine to you, and generous to your audience.
Consistent Free Content
Authentic Content Marketing is what I preach and do my best to model. Stop seeing your free content as a “teaser” or sales tool... otherwise it can build discouragement & resentment.
Instead, see your Free Content as a cause, a mission, a passion of your business to educate and uplift as many people as you can reach.
Be prolific in giving away content. You will help many people.
You’ll also be helping yourself get smarter much faster than if you were stingy about free content. You'll be giving yourself consistent practice in teaching, writing, speaking.
Through social media, you’ll be getting feedback about what’s working and what’s not. You'll see this feedback more often than if you only hid away your content in paid products.
Your increasingly-better free content will also attract your ideal clients to you.
Low Price Offerings
Ideas for low price offerings include:
Let your audience know about these low-price offerings regularly, interspersed with your rhythm of free content.
If you are just starting out in your business, I would recommend first creating higher-price offerings, for various reasons: your own financial sustainability, as well as having deeper 1-1 contact with your clients. (You might check out my 10 year plan.)
Higher Price Offerings
These can include your 1–1 services, or your smaller group programs.
Have them listed on your website.
Occasionally invite your audience to your higher price offerings. Be gentle and allow them time to decide without trying to convince them.
If there’s a true deadline to sign up for a program, follow-up as courtesy reminders… not persuasion tactics. People who are ready and willing need only to be reminded, not persuaded.
Aim to be so authentic and gentle with your marketing that your audience ends up contacting you about your 1–1 services.
Imagine that the biggest fans of your content will inquire with you, hoping you will say “Yes, you can be my client!” My business gradually arrived at this stage. In a period of 2 years (2014-2016) of doing authentic content marketing, my 1–1 client roster became gradually more full, and since 2016 has been consistently full with an ongoing waiting list, because I've been consistent with my authentic, relevant content.
Keep it Organic and Transparent
Instead of designing a funnel with an ulterior motive of selling them, keep your interactions with your audience organic and transparent.
If you want to sell something, sell it directly. Don’t beat around the bush.
Don’t bait-and-switch. Don't let what was supposed to be a wholehearted “free” thing end up as a sales funnel.)
Avoid manipulation, hype, desperation. Choose instead to strengthen genuine trust, loyalty, and organic word of mouth, which is the true result when you do authentic marketing.
Activity that is intending to sell, but with a large buffer of "free" stuff in between, e.g. free webinar opt-in, to email autoresponder, to free facebook group, to free discovery call, etc… all of it waiting with baited breath for the final action of the person buying. And when it doesn’t happen (most of the time it doesn’t), it is discouraging to the business owner. It also confronts your conscience, since you weren’t transparent to begin with.
Authentic content marketing is different — lots of activity as well, but the intention is to serve open-heartedly, rather than with requirements/attachments. It creates deep value for your professional growth, and as you get more skilled, it creates greater and more value for your audience as well. It eventually draws forth your ideal clients!
Let each person decide to buy at their own pace. Don’t try to persuade.
Let it be organic, not forced, and you will nurture a healthier and deeper relationship that will expand gratitude, and real value, for everyone.
George Kao is a Marketing Coach for small business owners, especially solopreneurs such as Coaches and Mentors. He focuses on ethical & effective ways to grow one's platform and build true livelihood.
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