Much of this is steeped in buyer psychology. The best marketers in the world know that there is a psychological process that must occur for prospects to whip out those credit cards and turn into buyers or even hyper-active buyers. One such person whose perfected this process is Russell Brunson, an "underground entrepreneur" who founded a company called ClickFunnels, a sales funnel SaaS business that empowers marketers from around the world to build marketing automation without all the hassle.  

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Principle of commitment & consistency -- When people commit to something, they're far more likely to purchase from you. That's why getting them to agree to something like a free + shipping offer or by agreeing with something you've said in some way. This is a powerful principle in sales and if you pay attention to some of the best marketers in the world, you'll notice that they work fervently to get your commitment to something, even if it's very small in the beginning. 

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Offer a reward for customers who buy something from you and show that they checked in at your business on Foursquare using their mobile device. When they do this, they’re telling everyone in their network that they’ve done business with you. Each month, reward the person who gave you the greatest exposure by offering a discount, and asking for their email address.

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Or, are you a leader, an adventurer or an evangelist? How you position yourself is entirely up to you, but your message must be consistent throughout your entire "pitch" and it needs to be steeped in the truth. Your backstory, and just how you convey that through parables, character flaws and polarity, has much to do with just how well you can "hook" in your prospects to create a mass movement. 

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To better understand the concept of a sales funnel and just how you can implement it in your own business, let's look at the following image from Shutterstock. On the left side of the image, you see a magnet. That magnet is attracting customers, which happens a number of ways. From blogging to social media to paid ads and everything in between, how the visitors arrive to your website has some impact on the success of your funnel.  

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If you’re serious about growing your business, building a healthy email list should be one of your top priorities. When it comes down to it, your list is one of the only online assets that you have 100% control over. Having a solid social media presence is absolutely essential (here’s why), but you’ll always be at the mercy of new and changing algorithms (think Facebook’s Edgerank). And achieving high search engine rankings is great too, but again, you’re at the mercy of changing algorithms and updates.
Now, the first page in the funnel is going to be the squeeze page. That’s going to be the page where you give away something for free. So in that first box, just write “FREE” and then the box right next to it, put one box to the right. That’s going to be the offer. That’s the thing that you sell after they opt-in right? You give them something for free and then you’re like, ah, awesome. Okay, here is a $27 course. So in that second box, write $27. Now a lot of people who work with me, or if you know Russell and you’re in the funnel world, you know that when you get somebody to say yes to something like a workshop or a course for $27, you’re leaving money on the table.

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Now, here’s where we do the math. You want to figure out if your funnel is going to be profitable, you need to understand what is “normal.” And I put normal in quotes because for every industry it’s a little bit different. And eventually ,you’re going to have benchmarks for yourself. You’re going to know what your normal is and then you can compare yourself against yourself. But when you’re just getting started, you might not have any stats. So I’m going to give them to you. So in the first box, I’m going to tell you that it’s pretty normal to have somewhere between a 20% to 30% optin rate.

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Of course, regardless of how they enter into your funnel, your goal as a marketer is to move them through the multiple stages that will take them from prospect to buyer. And once they're aware of you, you need to build their interest. To do this, you need to establish a relationship with the customer. You might have enticed them with a great offer (lead magnet) to grab their email address, but actually moving them through the funnel is a far greater challenge. 
If you don’t add what’s called an order bump. And that’s a little thing at the bottom where if you check off, it adds something extra to their order. So at the bottom of your little box, the word order bump, and then put a price of $37 because maybe you have something else you can sell them. That’s a simple order bump. Then the third box, the next box over to the right is going to be your OTO. This is your one-time offer. This is an upsell. So they’ve said yes to your $27 workshop. Maybe they clicked the box to get the order bump, maybe they didn’t. And now they’re being shown a page that says, wait, your credit card is being processed. But before you go, I have a one-time offer. Click YES or NO to buy. So let’s pretend that you have an OTO that’s a course that’s $77.

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Of course, if you're going the paid ad route, you could also use Facebook and Google re-targeting to keep that awareness and interest level high. For example, if you've ever noticed after leaving a particular website, that you begin to see their ad everywhere, there's a particular reason for that. Especially if they've already entered your sales funnel, this is a very powerful way to get them to act.

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Before people hand over their email address, you’re going to have to offer them something enticing in exchange. This could be a free eBook, access to a Webinar, or the promise of discounts or deals exclusively for your subscribers. You could even repurpose some of your existing blog content and turn it into a guide or resource list. Whatever you decide to offer, just make sure it’s something people will recognize as holding true value!

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Of course, implementing this isn't easy. You need to first develop your stories, then decide on how you're going to convey those stories and at what drip-rate. For example, your first email or two might go out on the day they first signup, then one email per day might go out afterwards. How much of that will be story-based and how much will be pitches?
The second thing that you want to do is you want to collect all the brand assets. You want to have an agreed upon. What fonts are we going to use, what colors are we going to use, what logos do we need for what products, you know, basically get all the brand assets together because you’re going to need them for the pages, the order forms, the ads, everything.

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Why? Because we looked at the percentages and we know that those percentages are correct. So the funnel does work. You just aren’t making money because why? Because the cost per click for advertising is too high. So you have one of two choices. You can either try to get the cost per click down on the ad or you can try to raise the conversion rate somewhere on your funnel. But based on the math that we just did, this is a very, very high converting funnel based on the benchmarks, right?
The final stage of the sales funnel is the action that you're intending them to perform. In most cases this is the purchase. Again, how well you move them through the various stages is going to set you up with a specific conversion for this action. For example, if 100 people click on your offer and 10 people enter your sales funnel but only purchase people purchase, then you have a 2 percent conversion. 

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So they’ve already put their credit card information for the $27 workshop. Now all they have to do to say yes to that order bump, that $37 order bump is just check a little box and now they’ve said yes. So it’s actually a lot easier to get money from an order bump. So put 40 percent. Now that’s a little high. I would say, if you’re just starting out or you don’t have a good order bump, probably it’s closer to 20 to 30 percent. So if you want to be conservative you can be conservative. So put 20 to 40 percent right there next to the order bump, okay? And then the last box, your OTO box where you have a $77 offer, you can say safely say 3% to 10% of people will buy the OTO, again, still higher than the initial offer.

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When you meet people face to face for any reason, ask for their business card. Offer yours. Set a glass bowl on the counter in your store or the reception desk in your office, and ask visitors to drop their cards in it. Offer some incentive to do so — a free product or service, gift card, etc. Use your own business cards to further drum up emails; add an offer on the back of your card that encourages people to sign up to receive your emails.

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Getting someone to call in and give out their email to sign up for your email list is much less likely to happen than… well, just about anything else. Consequently, if you are making use of a podcast or television interview as a means of promoting your business, be sure to provide a means for potential customers to opt-in to your email list via text messaging. 

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The effort you put into building your email list is one of the best investments you can make online. Having access to the inboxes of targeted prospects means you can continue to build and nurture relationships over time, and become a trusted source of valuable industry knowledge. Then, when it’s time for your prospects to buy, you’ll be the first one who comes to mind. 

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