Since Facebook is so huge and something none of us can ignore, I thought what better subject than combining your sales funnels and the most popular social platform on the web. There are some great strategies to consider behind this concept and I asked Amber Turrill, a marketing consultant specializing in social media to answer some questions about:
- What a sales funnel is
- The best avenues for advertising your sales funnel on Facebook
- How to use Facebook without it looking like a big ad
- A couple of real-life examples on successful sales funnels on Facebook
- Amber’s thoughts on lead magnets
What is a sales funnel?
Amber: The sales funnel is the process that a customer goes through, from top to bottom, before they purchase your product. You’ll want to visualize this like an actual funnel, like something that you might use to cook or put oil in your car, like one of those cheap, plastic Dollar Store funnels.
The top of the funnel is a wide brim that allows people to come in, using various methods. Whether you attract a person into your funnel by having them sign up for your email list, via social media, or organic search results.
They can get into your funnel any number of ways, but you want to move them through that funnel and nurture them toward a sale. When they get to the bottom of the funnel, they will buy your product. That’s pretty much it.
Bob: Yeah. So it’s not this downward motion, falling down this long thin pipe, and when you get to the end, you just fly through. This is more of grabbing things along the way, hearing things, lots of contact, like you said, nurturing them. I think some people think, “Okay, there’s this funnel that I push them through quickly and get them to the sales,” but there’s a lot more to that, obviously.
Amber: Right. And I hate to put it this way, because it’s gross…
Bob: I’m all for gross.
Amber: Here comes a big tablespoon of gross. When you’re putting somebody through a sales funnel, you’re filtering out any inhibitions to buying. You’re getting rid of their inhibitions, which, that’s the gross part. You don’t want to do that in a snake oil sales-y kind of way. You want to do it in a nurturing kind of way.
As you move the customer through this funnel, you’re nurturing them by telling them how you’re going to solve their problem. It’s all about them, all the time.
Bob: That’s a good analogy and not too gross. We can all live with that, I’m sure.
Amber: Yeah. I don’t mean it in that frat party kind of way.
Bob: Okay. Well, now Facebook. There are a few ways to advertise on Facebook. You could share content, obviously. But for those who are willing to invest money, what are the best avenues or sales funnels on Facebook, if you have an online store?
What are the best avenues for online store owners who want to create a sales funnel on Facebook?
Amber: There are so, so many great ways to advertise on Facebook these days. A lot of people I work with are still steadfast about trying not to spend money on Facebook. I’ve got to tell you that unless you have a huge following, you really do have to spend some money, both to build your following and to engage your list. Also, if you want to just point people in the direction of your products or services.
I would recommend planning on spending some money. Five dollars a day is better than nothing. You’re going to build and engage or an audience on Facebook that you can consistently market your products to. So the more likes you have, the more that you can talk to a specific audience about your products. If people aren’t reacting, you can always boost your posts and make sure that your audience sees your posts. It can be really effective.
Bob: Now, this is something that I didn’t really mention in the questions, but there are sponsored posts and then there are actual advertisements. Can you just give us the brief differences between those two, because I do know, I’ve talked to a few people and they still get a little confused when they’re first diving in to Facebook and actually spending a little bit of money. Is there any real, distinct difference you can share with us?
What’s the main difference between sponsored posts and paid ads on Facebook?
Amber: Yeah. Facebook advertising, like the name itself, covers a lot of different advertising processes. It’s a Goliath and there are lots of different ways that you can market to people with it. here are just two of the ways.
The first way is when we talk about sponsoring a post. You create a post on your company’s Facebook page—and it has to be a page, cannot be a profile—you create the content on your page and you’re going to see a little button on the bottom right hand side that says “boost.” You can then select to boost that post for a specific period of time and money to a specific audience.
Most of the time, it’s going to be people who like the page, people who like the page and their friends, people in a certain location. So that’s one way.
But there’s also Facebook’s advertising platform that goes well outside of boosted posts and includes everything from remarketing to an audience that’s already seen your content, to creating a look-alike audience that looks like the audience that’s part of your page.
I feel like, you know, Bob, the more I talk about this, the more it becomes alphabet soup.
Bob: Yeah. The advertising part of it, obviously, is when you’re on Facebook and you see those ads on the side, as opposed to within the thread, in the content, like a lot of sponsored posts are. Those are the advertisements on the side, right?
Amber: Correct. Most of the time, you’re going to see sponsored posts in your feed.
Bob: Okay. Now, this segues into another question. Specifically, how does an online store use a platform like Facebook, which should be part of a sales funnel, without it looking like a big, freaking ad? Are there keys to that? Are there tips that people can follow, as far as, “Okay, all the time, we don’t want to just put up ‘buy this’, we want something else.” Any thoughts there?
How does an online store promote on Facebook without it looking like a big ad?
Amber: Definitely. You’re always going to want to give the customer what they want. I know that that sounds like the stupidest piece of marketing advice ever, like, “Well, duh. Yeah, of course I’m going to give the customer what they want.” But that doesn’t just mean your products. You need to give your customer what they want to see to encourage them to buy your products.
A lot of times, I’ll watch an eCommerce store just sell their products, rather than talk about how the product is going to improve lives, or why the customer needs a product. You have to tell a story. If you look at different Facebook ads that you see nowadays, sometimes there’s like a straight-up, 4,000-word story that goes along with the text of the ad, that’s like as long as one of my mom’s Danielle Steele novels from 1984.
But people are reading that. You think that they don’t. I don’t know if you remember, Bob, back in the day, like five or six, 10 years ago, when you wanted ad copy to be really succinct, and short, and straight to the point?
Amber: That’s changing, because people need to be convinced, more and more, of why a product of service is good for them. What I’ve really seen work is to create a narrative in Facebook ads. This is true of all disciplines, but I think that it works really well if you’re selling something that has some kind of emotional connection to it.
For example, right now, I’m working with a company that does eCommerce and they’re selling high-end pet beds. If you want to get somebody to buy a $200 bed for their dog, you’ve got to have some really compelling information about why it’s life-changing. You’re not going to do that in two to three lines of text.
The way that you approach Facebook ads as an eCommerce store depends on what you’re selling. If it’s a low-ticket item, you can be straight and to the point. A really good example, a few months ago, I got sucked in, hook, line, and sinker by those guys that sell the iPhone replacement charging cables. Those cables suck, but they had me convinced, with their two line ad, that these cheapo cables were going to make my life infinitely better, so I bought a ton of them.
You have to be more convincing the higher ticket your item is. You really have to remember that in the pictures that you show people with your ads, in the stories that you tell, and even on your Facebook page, the higher you’re expecting people to pay, or the more you’re expecting people to pay, the more you’re going to have to elaborate.
Bob: It’s interesting because I was thinking about the dog thing. It’s kind of like buying cat toys or something where, yeah, why don’t I just throw them an empty box. I just spend $50 for this toy and they’re looking at it like, “Where did you get that? What is this stupid … Give me that box over there.” Upsell.
Amber: Totally. So your content is going to have to be compelling, too. You’re going to have to show videos of the dog getting in a high-end dog bed and acting like it’s the greatest bed that’s ever been invented, to the point where you want a human-sized version of that awesome dog bed. Everything that’s presented has to get higher ticket.
You also have to target people who can afford your product. If it’s a $7 iPhone cable, just about anybody can probably afford that, but if it’s a $200 dog bed, you want to target people who you know are really serious about taking care of their dogs.
Bob: That’s a good example, showing, as far as what you need to do with the actual ad. Now, as far as a sales funnel, can you give a couple of examples that you’ve personally worked with, that have been very effective using Facebook as part of that sales funnel, just so people can get a little better grasp on it?
How about a few personal examples of using Facebook as an effective sales funnel?
Amber: I have worked with nutrition brands that sell digital products that do really well. I know that a lot of people are trying to sell supplements and I think supplements are a hard sell on Facebook, unless you’re trying to do some sort of trial, or sample, or giving something away.
If your eCommerce includes some type of digital products, then your overhead is very low and you can just go for miles and miles and miles because you don’t have to make an investment to create a digital product.
Those types of products tend to do well on Facebook. Pet stuff always kills it on Facebook—markets where people will continuously flush money and not think twice about it. People will always spend money on their pets and their kids.
I’ve seen pet eCommerce do super well on a subscription service, where, pet products will go to somebody’s home with some regularity, if they like the first batch they order. Sleep products do well on Facebook, like a topical Melatonin spray. Targeting people that are just a little bit older, who have sleep problems and can afford to spend 30 to 60 dollars on a sleep treatment. I’ve seen all that do well.
Bob: Oh, yeah.
Amber: There are things that people will always want. Dollar Shave Club is a good example of that. People are always going to buy razors. If you’re thinking about selling a razor, Facebook would be a good avenue for that, because it’s something kind of passive that people will always need.
That’s also true for everything from pet food to dental floss, if you’ve seen the Cocofloss ads that are all over Facebook. Just find that thing and run with it.
Bob: I’m guessing that, when it comes to the sales funnel, you’re putting that on Facebook to get them to your site. Then a lot of what happens in the sales funnel is the nurturing. It’s up to you and what you do on that site from there on in. Is that the case?
What do we do with the leads who visit our site from Facebook?
Amber: That’s right. You need to take the customer through a journey. A lot of people who are just starting out with this don’t really think about that, because it’s like, “Well, I’m selling dog food. How am I going to take them through a journey?”
But there are some questions built in to that process that can be helpful, and if you turn it around and look at yourself as the customer, what do I think about when I buy dog food? There are tons of dog food recalls. I don’t want my pet to get harmed. Just address questions that fall along that angle and that will help you nurture people.
Bob: Cool. I know this is a broad topic and we could get into a lot of details, I’m sure. Maybe down the road I’ll have you back as we get into other stuff. In fact, I know I’ll have you back on another topic, which I’m going to just tease people, that Amber will be back.
Bob: Now, with what we’ve talked about, is there something you feel that we haven’t touched on that you really want to leave our listeners with?
Amber: God. Man, that’s really hard, Bob, because my soapbox is big and wide.
Bob: I bet.
Amber: My husband won’t let me have it. He locks it in a glass case and I’m not allowed to take my soapbox out.
Bob: I see. Okay, we’re going to slide that soapbox out, despite your husband, just for at least a good four or five minutes here, and have you give us some ending insights.
Amber: You’re just like, “Be a feminist, Amber. Take your soapbox.”
Bob: Yeah, take it.
Anything else you’d like to add?
Amber: It’s too much to squash into these few minutes, but one of my pet peeves that I really think that you have to think about is, even for eCommerce, a lot of people are creating lead magnets to get email addresses so they can continue to market to people, which is something that you should do. But y’all gotta do something about your crappy lead magnets.
If you’re getting email addresses so that you can nurture customers toward a specific product sale, your lead magnet has to be relevant to what your customers want.
I saw a lead magnet the other day that was about the product, like, “Download this lead magnet to find more about our product.” No. You don’t want to educate the customer about the actual product in the lead magnet. You want to convince them why they need the product in the lead magnet. You don’t lay it on thick.
You’re creating that lead magnet because you want them to get some friendly, helpful advice and to see why they should trust your brand, and then you put the pitch at the end. The whole lead magnet can’t be a pitch itself for your product, if that makes sense.
A lead magnet is something that people download in order for you to get their email address. That could be an audio, a PDF, a video, whatever. Just don’t make it only about your product when you make it. So there’s that.
Bob: That’s good advice. Yeah, you don’t want to say, “Okay, here are the top five features of my product. Isn’t that wonderful? Bye bye.”
Amber: Yeah. That’s really weird, guys.
Bob: Hey, you hear that? Words of wisdom. We’ll tuck away that soapbox and save it to pull out again here in another episode.
Amber: God, my poor soapbox.
Bob: Okay, well, this has been cool. I think it gives people an idea of a sales funnel. I think a lot of people need to dive into this a lot more. I’m sure you have plenty of avenues or resources.