Have you ever changed the oil in your car?
It’s a pretty basic skill that surprisingly few people actually know how to do. If you do, you’ll most likely have used a funnel before.
The main idea behind a funnel is to cast a wide net that you can pour the viscous liquid into it without spilling it all over the engine block. The oil flows through the wide top end of the funnel and is neatly deposited into the narrow bottom end, filling your engine up so that the car runs smoothly.
In the internet marketing world, we also have funnels. Their purpose is to cast a wide net and find people across the web who might be interested in our material, then get those people to neatly file themselves into our email database so that we can provide them with valuable content, market to them and eventually make some money.
Getting people to opt-in.
Once a member of your audience has interacted with your content, it’s time to get them on your email list. This might seem challenging at first, but think about your own inbox. How many newsletters are you subscribed to?
The average person subscribes to anywhere between 20 and 30 free newsletters from a variety of businesses. Anything from a department store doing a semi-annual sale, to the Nissan dealership giving away insane deals on the 2018 Altima, to content-based emails about things that interest you.
At one point you weren’t receiving emails from that business...and now you are. How the hell does that happen?
In most cases, it people sign up to an email newsletter to get something for free. This is called an “opt-in,” and it’s your bread and butter if you want to build an online business -- especially one that’s based on information products.
Step 1: Set up a basic landing page using WordPress.
A landing page is just a simple one-pager that offers something for free and has a place to input your email address in exchange for that free thing. There are many different specialized softwares for helping marketers do this. Some of it’s free, some of it’s paid.
At Rich20Something, we use two different software services to set these pages up: LeadPages and ClickFunnels.
Step 2: Create a free opt-in bribe for people who sign up.
This can literally be anything that you think might interest a potential customer. It could be a free ebook or checklist. It could be a few free videos on a topic that they care about. It could even be a complete mini-course to teach them a concept. All of these have worked well for Rich20Something in the past.
Step 3: Drive traffic to the landing page.
In the beginning, before you have a lot of traction, this will probably be your biggest hurdle. If you have a bit of money to play with, you can experiment with Facebook ads.
But this is also where high quality content really comes into play. The better content you make on your blog, podcast or YouTube channel, the easier it will be to get people to check out your landing pages and sign up to your email list. Great content creates better SEO, gets shared much more often and naturally boosts your social media presence.
This is where the long-game mentality comes is especially important because the process will take some time. Focus on building up great content and consistently encourage people to go to your landing page by linking back to in whenever you produce a new piece of material.
Make sure to give them a strong CTA (“Call to Action”) referencing all the benefits your readers get from the free download. In the meantime, use your existing social media to promote your work and start making connections with other influencers in your space.
Over time, your following will grow and it won’t be hard to get more people on your email list.
Once people have opted into your email list, they expect to hear from you. So don’t disappoint them! Now that they’ve given you permission to email them, impress the hell out of them with incredible free content in the form of blog posts, podcasts and/or videos on a regular basis.
In the beginning, you’ll probably ramp up slowly. Sending something once a week should be fine, but as you continue to grow, there’s nothing wrong with increasing the frequency to several times per week. Generally speaking, as long as you’re providing great content, people will want to hear from you.
The purpose of your content is two-fold. First, you want to provide something upfront that genuinely improves your readers’ lives. Second, you also want to build up enough goodwill over the long-term to earn the right to sell to them. (There’s nothing worse than someone who just met you and is already trying to hawk their goods at you. You have to start with some foreplay!)
That’s why content marketing is both an art and a science. You need to know what you’re doing to be effective, ethical, AND make some serious cash.