What Is A Sales Funnel?

Building an online teaching business is going to require business savvy in addition to teaching skills. For those of us new to marketing and sales, the internet is a great resource for grasping basic business concepts. The best way to understand how to get the most from what you’re reading, hearing, and seeing online is to grasp the general marketing lingo that’s commonplace these days. One of the terms you’ll encounter quite often is the sales funnel.

Don’t worry – this concept has nothing to do with storms or chaos (with the exception of the craziness caused when a successful sales funnel brings swarms of new business to your doorstep.) So, what is a sales funnel?

Simply put, a sales funnel is an overarching term that encompasses the buying process that a customer goes through to obtain a product or service. It can be divided into multiple steps, which we’ll discuss in a moment. Let’s start with this basic scenario: An online teacher is working to promote their business. They’ve set up a LANDING PAGE and have everything ready to go on their website. The lesson plan is complete. All they need now is students. The teacher runs a Facebook ad campaign designed to lure in prospective students by enticing them to click on the ad to receive a free trial lesson.

The ad then takes them to the landing page, where they are encouraged to sign up for more information. After signing up, they receive an auto-response detailing the pricing plan and convincing them to sign up for the trial lesson.

This is a successful sales funnel for an online teaching business. It attracts attention by offering a sample, brings the customer to the landing page where it’s easy to sign up and take advantage of the offer, and closes the deal. All without the teacher having to do anything beyond setting up the process. Let’s take a look at how to create a sales funnel and the different steps involved.

It really is a funnel.

More accurately, the process is an upside-down funnel. The top part, and most wide-ranging, is the marketing process. Once you’ve got their attention, the sales process kicks in. If successful, the funnel reaches its inverted apex with a new customer.

Awareness                                                                                           

Step one is making your target audience aware of your service. For online teachers, Facebook ads are a great way to make this happen – according to Statista, 81% of US citizens currently use some form of social media. Facebook is the most popular, with over 1.6 billion active monthly users. That’s a lot of people to reach!

SEO can play a big role in building brand awareness. The higher your page ranks on Google, the more people searching for your specific type of lessons will find you. The internet offers many great ways to make people aware of your services. Here are a few more.

Once a potential customer is aware of your product, it’s time to rope them in.

Interest and Evaluation

Let’s say a potential student clicked on your Facebook ad. They now sit comfortable on your landing page and are reading over the deal you’re offering. It’s enticing, well put together, and their interest is piqued. Done deal? Not quite yet.

This hopeful learner may open a new tab and search for other teachers offering similar deals to see which is best. Or they may hold of a bit before deciding, perhaps they need to discuss the purchase with their partner or mull it over themselves. This is why it’s helpful to offer them something free right away, such as the first lesson.

If you can at least get their email address (which must be provided in order to receive the lesson), future contact is possible. If they leave your site without converting, you may never hear from them again.

Decision

Hopefully, your marketing plan is convincing. Students want to learn, you want to teach them, and the deal is fair for both sides. A successful sales funnel will make this blatantly obvious through highlighting the perks of signing up and starting lessons.

Make the decision as easy as possible. Ensure that signing up and submitting payment is an easy and stress-free process for the student, and that any questions they have are answered. After a student receives the automated email after providing their email address, try reaching out to them personally within a few days.

Follow through

Once an individual has been converted into a student, it’s on you to fulfill your side of the deal. Beyond providing great lessons or a great course, always keep student retention top-of-mind. Here are some ways to go about encouraging students to sign up for recurring billing or purchase blocks of lessons at once.

With the high amount of competition in many online teaching fields, an effective sales funnel will help your services stand out from the competition in these ways:

  • It actively pursues their attention
  • It highlights the benefits of the learning process and simplicity of getting started
  • It’s easily scale-able.

Companies such as Exact Conversion can help you work through the process and make it as effective as possible. By taking the time to create an effective sales funnel, your online teaching business will see increased email signups and ultimately be able to acquire more students.

Ray is the founder and creator of Teacher Indie. He is an award-winning entrepreneur who has created online education businesses that have appeared in publications such as Entrepreneur Magazine, Inc Magazine, Buzzfeed, The Boston Globe and many others. His goal is to help teachers from around the world get online and gain the financial independence they deserve.

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