TAM 020: Kyle Graham – Elements Of A Successful Sales Funnel
Kyle and I discuss theses elements of a successful sales funnel
- Are you talking to your prospects 1 to 1?
- Do different customers have different paths through your business?
- Are you bringing the right people to your website?
- Are you identifying your hyper-responsive leads?
- When is a simple funnel better than a intricate one?
- What is an interest bucket?
- How to build your funnel easily
- How do you avoid the common mistakes
If you would like to have a chat about how you could be using marketing automation to grow your business join us in the Automation Nation private Facebook group.
Links Mentioned In The Show
Kyle: Yeah, if by good you mean 30 hours long. Yeah, I had a wonderful trip back.
Announcer: Welcome to The Active Marketer Podcast, where we talk about how to design, automate, and scale your business to the next level using sales and marketing automation. You can find out all the tips, tactics, and techniques you need to get more customers and sell more stuff over at TheActiveMarketer.com. Now, here's your host, Barry Moore.
Barry: Hello, and welcome back everybody to episode 20 of The Active Marketer Podcast, I'm your host Barry Moore. Just want to take this opportunity to let everybody know I really appreciate you listening and all the questions you're sending in and all the iTunes reviews you leave for us. Really do appreciate that. We're trying to pack these episodes full of value so you can go and implement this stuff in your business. I'm glad to see it's resonating with some of you. If it has been successful with you and you like the information we're dishing out, please, by all means, share that with other people. The more we spread the word, the more people can take advantage of some of these tactics to grow their business.
This week we're going to change gears a little bit from marketing automation to sales funnels. There's a funnel hacking event coming up at the end of May in Las Vegas and I'll be attending there, soak in all the funnel building knowledge. I thought we might talk a little bit about that on the show. Sales funnels are a nice buzzword and there's a million different ways you can craft your sales funnel from just straight emails, following up and opt-in, to crazy upsells, down-sells, cross-sells, all that kind of groovy stuff. I thought we might concentrate on funnels a little bit. There's a few top-shelf products out there in the marketplace, ClickFunnels, Ten Minute Funnels, LeadPages, those kinds of things. I thought I'd get the founder of one of those, Ten Minute Funnels, founder Kyle in to talk about the elements of a successful sales funnel.
He's my guest today, but before we get into that, the shameless social proof segment. Got another five star review on iTunes, this one's from Jingo Twig, it's a five start review. It says, “Useful and immediate chunks of excellent info that you can use straight away. Get results quickly, all in short, concise, no-fluff episodes. Great work Barry, episode with Jake Haure, AA++.” Thank you very much Jingo Twig, we appreciate you taking the time to leave a review on iTunes. If you want me to read out your review on a future show, then head over to iTunes and just leave us a review on The Active Marketer Podcast. Let's get into this weeks chat with Kyle.
I'd like to welcome to the show, Kyle Graham, founder of Ten Minute Funnels. I saw Kyle recently at an event in Sydney where he filled in at the last minute for a speaker who couldn't make it, and gave a fantastic presentation all about sales funnels and his product, Ten Minute Funnels. Had to get him on for a chat. Kyle, welcome.
Kyle: Thanks, great to be here.
Barry: I hope you had a good trip back from Australia.
Kyle: Yeah, if by good you mean 30 hours long. Yeah, I had a wonderful trip back.
Barry: That's right. Yeah, there is no good trip back, there's only bearable trips back.
Kyle: Yeah, bearable.
Barry: Bearable and unbearable.
Kyle: Yeah, but no, I had a great time. It was a good trip overall.
Barry: Well, I appreciate you and all the rest of the people at the event making the effort to get all the way down to Sydney, I know it's a long haul for a lot of people.
Kyle: Yeah, it was fun though seeing Sydney for the first time, the sights. I went surfing for the first time, which was an interesting experience, so it was all good, all worth it.
Barry: What did you think of the surfing?
Kyle: Well, let's see. I was able to stand up on the surfboard maybe one and a half times in the hour and a half period of time we were there. I spent a lot of the time underwater drinking salt water but it was good to try it for the first time. Need a little bit more practise though.
Barry: Yeah, don't we all. Definitely not as easy as it looks.
Kyle: Yeah, exactly.
Barry: Well that's a good segue into sales funnels, so there you go. Sometimes sales funnels are not quite as easy as they look. I think everyone's encountered them where they hit some really accomplished internet marketers sales funnel and it goes from one page to the next page, to the next page, and it looks pretty easy. But as you and I both know, behind the scenes it really isn't. That's what we're going to talk about today, a little bit about sales funnels. Just for those listeners who are maybe just starting out with this internet marketing journey, how would you define what a sales funnel is?
Kyle: Cool. Well, this is much easier for me than surfing is, so it's to each his own. It all comes down to the time and experience you have with what it is you're doing. Anyway, sales funnels to me is, well, it can be defined a few ways, if you take the 30,000 foot view, you have the sales process that all businesses have to go through to acquire a customer and nurture that customer. That's I think the broad view of what a sales funnel is, but particularly what I'm interested in when I think of sales funnels, is the online sales funnel. Like everything that happens from when someone comes across your path. That might be a landing page, or it may be an ad they see. From that point, all the way through to when they become a customer and then when you nurture them when they become repeat customers. That entire process from that point to the other point, I would call that a sales funnel.
Barry: All right. Yeah, I guess that process of taking a stranger to a repeat customer, that's a pretty good way to define it. I guess that definition can also be purposely loose and ill defined because those funnels are going to be different for each business and each business may have more than one way to skin that cat. There might be a number of different funnels that they have for customers depending on how that customer stumbled upon you.
Kyle: Exactly. I mean, because every customer's different, every customer needs an experience through the sales process that fits their needs, that answers their problems, that gives them the things they need in order to become a buyer. But I think the simple view is that it's a path. It's holding someone by the hand and pulling them through the entire process to where they become a raving fan repeat customer. Now, why I think they get complex sometimes is that when you look at sales, when you look at the best way to turn someone into a customer, the best way is one-on-one with the person, talking to them, finding out what their desires are, and coming up with a tailored solution and talking to the in that way that answers every single possible situation that that particular customer faces.
The reason that some sales funnels end up being complicated is because you're sending people down paths and branches based on their objections, based on their desires. You end up creating a tailored experience for each type of customer, and then when you zoom back, that's why these sales funnels can look kind of complicated because they're branching off into different ways and different paths because certain customers require that in order to get them to be a customer.
Barry: Yeah, and I think that's kind of the goal of sales and marketing automation in general. I was reading some of these articles last night about trends, what are the trends for the next couple years? Somebody was talking about one-to-one messaging. Now, obviously if you've got thousands of customers in your business, one-to-one messaging isn't really going to happen, it's not going to be a practical thing. But with these sales funnels and these marketing automation platforms like InfusionSoft and Active Campaign, EntrePort, those kind of things, their whole thing is to try and get the most relevant message to the customer at the right time. To approximate as closely as possible that kind of one-on-one experience with somebody so you're addressing their particular need at that particular time just like you said.
Barry: Say someone's just got your basic static website with a couple of product pages or service pages and a checkout form, how do you think they go from that, the standard, “Here's my website,” to a successful sales funnel? What are some of the elements of a successful sales funnel?
Kyle: Sure, and I think it goes back to what we were just talking about. When I look at it, and sometimes I have a unique perspective, and one of them is that it's all a sales funnel. If you have a static website, it is, it's a sales process because people are coming to your site and eventually some will buy. The difference between that and some of the more complex or the more intricate sales funnel is exactly what we were just talking about. The experience that someone who comes on a static brochure website, that's what I like to call them, is that it's a one experience for all kinds of people. As a result, and you can actually visually picture a funnel of trying to get people through this funnel, a lot of people are going to fall out of that funnel because that single website, it's impossible to address everyone's needs.
The only difference between that and some of the intricate funnels is that now, with the intricate funnels, it's that tailored experience. It's branching people off in different paths based on behaviours they've taken. The path that one customer ends up taking is unique to that customer. Now, the end result or the net result is a much more tailored experience and because of that, it's that one-to-one messaging, or as close to it as possible. Then the real tangible results is that your sales, your profits, your conversions, they go through the roof because of that tailored experience. When you ask, “What are the elements of a good sales funnel?” It's that. As close to a one-to-one relationship as you can possibly get. That's what the elements of a good sales funnel is and we can of course get into what that looks like and stuff, but that's the idea in my opinion.
Barry: You're right, but where do you draw the line between, “Okay, I'm trying to cater for everybody and this thing's turned into a giant mess of spaghetti that I can barely keep track of,” you've got some really intricate funnels built into Ten Minute Funnels where there's lots of branching logic and lots of, “What if a customer does this? Okay, we'll hit them with that.” Where do you see just drawing the line between being practical and trying to cater for everybody?
Kyle: Exactly, and it's a really, really good question. It's one that I'm actually very passionate about because you have two ends of the spectrum. I think it's going to depend on the market. Put it this way, if you bring the right person to your website in the first place, and I mean that like you have a market, which is a market that's made up of all kinds of people. There's a subset of that market that I like to call hyper-responsive, those are the people that have a propensity to buy pretty much anything you're going to throw at them because the solution you're providing solves their pain point so dramatically well that you're going to have that hyper responsive customer. That's my first step, is attracting those people and detracting the other people to my website.
Now, once you have a hyper-responsive person to your website, the intricacies of that funnel is not as important anymore because you know have one profile of a person with very similar desires and require a simpler path. In many cases, and I'm a total advocate of this, in many cases the intricate funnels are not required at all. When you look at our system, we have simple funnels and we have intricate funnels because it's going to depend on the situation. Now, we have a process that we go through in order to make it so that it's not this crazy experience where we have 1,000 different branches to tailor to everyone because it's not practical in many cases. What we do is we have a process that uncovers the traits of that hyper-responsive customer.
If we had a white board, I'd draw a big circle around it and I'd call it market, the market you're going after. Right in the middle of that market, that bullseye part of that circle is I call the ideal customer. An ideal customer is that hyper-responsive customer. What we do is before we enter a market, is we go into the marketplace and we start to attract, this is the market research part, we start to attract a lot of people and then we determine … Again, this is market research, not sales yet. We determine what are the traits of a hyper-responsive customer. Once we uncover those traits, we end up discovering interest buckets.
In other words, the goal is not to create this funnel that's going to cater to 1,000 different people's needs. The goal is to cater to the interest buckets of the hyper-responsive customer's needs. We end up sometimes coming up with three of four different interest buckets, and that's now the four different branches that a sales funnel goes through. When we create our sales funnel, that's what we're doing, we find a way to put people in the top of the funnel, we do certain things to assess which category or which interest bucket they fit in, and then we design an experience for those interest buckets. That's a way to accomplish two goals. One is to simplify the sales process so that it doesn't become crazy, but two, it's to still get that one-to-one experience because you're talking specifically to an interest that a hyper-responsive person, a person who has a propensity to buy, you're talking to that particular person.
As a result, you get the best of both worlds. You get a medium level of sophistication with your funnel, but you get the benefits of that tailored, one-to-one experience. Your conversions go through the roof because you're talking to people who are ready likely to buy, and as a result, even when the non-hyper-responsive people come, they're still going to be attracted because you're still meeting their needs. That's like an overview of a five hour long talk, but that's the general idea, and it works amazingly well, like amazingly well when you do it that way.
Barry: Yeah, you bring up a really good point that I think a lot of people starting out with internet marketing, or even ones who've been around for a while kind of forget is, as much as you think you want to, you don't want to go after every single customer or every single person out there. You really need to filter a little bit on the front end and come up with, as you said, your customer avatar, who's your ideal customer? Mercedes, and BMW, and those kind of people aren't going out and advertising to everybody in the world, they know who their customer is and, like you said, they hyper-target that particular customer. I've been guilty of that in the past where someone says, “Hey, you want to come in and have a chat about maybe working together?” You're like, “Sure,” without filtering that person at all, and then you go, “Okay, that just wasted two hours of my time.”
Kyle: Exactly, exactly. Yeah, you're right, people try to cater to everyone so they end up catering to nobody. All we do, is instead of having a unique path for every single person, is we create groups. We just create groups of interest because you may have 10,000 people, but in terms of the interest, it may only boil down to three or four. The whole idea is that no, you don't want to talk to everyone for everything, but you want to segment those people into groups and it should be groups that surround your ideal customer and then everything takes care of itself after that.
Barry: Yeah, very cool, very cool. Well let's talk about the product for a little bit. It's very, very cool for those of you who haven't seen it, it's called Ten Minute Funnels. Kyle, tell us a bit about the motivation behind creating that? It's not like you're the only player in that market, so what motivated you to say, “Hey, I can build something better,” or, “I can build something really cool?”
Kyle: Well, okay, so there's a couple things. I can tell you the genesis of the idea and how it came about as well as the need to do it. The tools out there just could not do what we as a company needed to do. But our story goes all the way back to … Really it goes back even further, but I won't tell you my entire life story. But put it this way, I've been programming since I was 8 years old. Started designing websites for people, put myself through college doing that stuff. Towards the end of college, this was about 11 years ago, I needed to find a way to balance my school and my business. What I ended up doing is I was having these clients saying they need help with their website. What we did is I just built a quick little tool that helped regular people edit their own website, that way I could focus on my studies and they could be happy. I just put it on the web and I said, “Hey, here's a PayPal button, go and do it.” This was the days before WordPress was popular and there was no real way to do stuff online.
Our story goes all the way back to then where we built this little tool. It ended up taking off, people just started coming out of nowhere to have this power to edit their website. Anyway, when I graduated from college, I decided to focus on that full-time. Long story short, ever since 11 years ago, we've been in this market building these tools. The only change between then and now is the evolution of the marketplace. These concepts of one-to-one marketing on how they can be applied to online marketing, there's been an evolution. We've only evolved our tool over the years to take advantage of some of those benefits. Fast forward to today, well it was really two years ago where we entered the online marketing space, but it's even still not where it needs to be except for our tool.
We ended up creating Ten Minute Funnels as a way for people to rapidly get some of these concepts of these intricate one-to-one funnels very, very quickly. We just borrowed from our experience of creating tools that help people build websites, applied it to sales funnels, and the net result is the ability to very rapidly create these from simple to intricate funnels extremely quickly. The reason we wanted to do this is because there wasn't and still isn't tools that can easily get you to that end result of those hyper-targeted one-to-one sales messages in an online web experience. It's just not really possible. We needed it, our customers needed it. There was a need and so we jumped on it, and that's how Ten Minute Funnels came about.
Barry: Yeah, well there's definitely a need for it. If anyone's ever tried to put together a sales funnel, man, there's a lot of moving parts there that you need to kind of orchestrate. It's kind of like herding cats sometimes. This script, and that page, and it's got an API connexion to this or that.
Kyle: That's the thing. A lot of people are now becoming aware of what they need to do, but then when they actually go to do it, that's when things fall apart. You're dealing with a webmaster, or you're trying to figure it out on your own. The tech side becomes the major hurdle. What we wanted to do is create a software that has a lot of this stuff already done and it's built into the system so that when you go to create it, we've separated them into the popular sales funnels that you just click on and boom, it's already done for you, you just have to tweak it to meet your needs. Our whole job was to make that part, the tech part, incredibly easy. That's why we call it Ten Minute Funnels because you can literally go and click a button and get an elaborate or a simple funnel built out from start to finish in a very, very short amount of time.
Barry: Yeah, and I think you've done a fantastic job in fulfilling that goal. Anyone who knows how to basically drive a computer, knows their way around a little bit, can log into the product and just start building it. I think the drag-and-drop interface and the visual representation thing is one of things that really sets it apart from anything else in that you can actually see what you're doing, the whole process in one place and move it around and change it out a bit. You've got that nice pictorial representation of everything that keeps the end game in mind while you're building out the small bits.
Kyle: Yeah, that was the genesis of the idea of, “What if we could model that planning experience visually? What if you could simply drag over the components of your marketing funnel, your sales funnel, and draw arrows from page to page and connect them as you see it in your head? What if the code, the magic to make it all work, happened automatically behind the scenes?” That's essentially what we did. It's two things, you get into the software, especially if you're a beginner, and we provide you with about 30 different marketing funnel templates. Those are the ones that are prebuilt, we've observed what works, and we've given you them, and they're already done. You click a button and it's built for you. Then the other is for the intermediate/advanced people who do that big elaborate planning process, all you got to do is do the planning process in our software and it automatically gets built behind the scenes. That's I think the real exciting part is that now you can do this stuff without having to think about the technology behind it because it just works so well.
Barry: All right, so let's say someone's taken the leap. They've got the software, they've decided they're going to start building out some funnels for their business, they've got their ideal customer. What are some of the common mistakes that you see people making when they start building out their first funnels?
Kyle: Well, the common mistake is that a lot of people just jump in and start going and they don't do the stuff you just said, like finding their ideal customer and stuff like that. It's sad, and I won't say the person's … Well, no one would know, but I was just at an event, like literally yesterday, where a guy, and it was kind of disappointing because he was just getting into the marketing game, he had invested, he had calculated he invested 700 or more hours in designing this funnel, and when you look at the funnel it's beautiful, it's gorgeous. It's got all the right aspects, but it completely bombed.
In my opinion, it came down to the fact that he didn't do those early steps, which was figuring out who it is you're trying to talk to, figuring out what those needs are that they have, and then addressing it in the funnel. What ended up happening is he built this great funnel that had all the right elements in place, but the solutions that he was providing and the pain points he was addressing was not matching what the pain points and the problems the market actually has. This is where it comes into it's great to have a tool like ours that allows you to do this stuff, but the tool is only as smart as you put in it. We'll give you the guru funnels, we'll give you everything you need, but if you don't do the basic steps of figuring out your audience, and who you're targeting, and their pain points, you will end up creating a great funnel talking to the wrong person.
That's probably the biggest mistake. We try to address it, we have a funnel in there towards the bottom called the survey funnel. It's a funnel that allows you to do that market research to figure out those problems first. I'm telling you, if there's anything I could leave our audience with is when you do that first, when you really figure out who you're talking to, you don't even need some of these extra elaborate funnels. You need a basic funnel that addresses those pain points. If you get that part right, the rest becomes so much easier.
Barry: Yeah, that's right. As they say, once you've got the starving crowd it's not hard to sell the hamburgers.
Kyle: Exactly, and that's all it is, is taking a market and figuring out what the starving crowd is, and the crowd that's willing to spend money to solve that starvation. You figure that out … This is the exciting part, especially if you're a beginner marketer and you're confused about, “What if I can't write good copy? What if I don't have this?” A lot of that stuff is just icing on the cake because if you figure out the right person, it's like if someone is starving in the desert, you don't have to have the perfect sales message or the perfect everything. You just hand them some water and they'll give you whatever you want. That's the idea, you don't need to be an expert marketer if you do the right steps in the beginning.
Barry: Yeah, very, very true. Yeah, and I know you're always pushing the boundaries of the product because the other day I found the mad scientist panel in there, which is pretty cool. It lets you tinker around with some of the more advanced bits of the funnel, very cool. All right Kyle, well I think we might wrap it up there. I really appreciate you spending some time with us today, and congratulations on the product, it's really fantastic and something that will help out a lot of people. What's the best place for people to engage with you if they want to find out more about Kyle?
Kyle: Sure. I mean TenMinuteFunnels.com is really where all the magic happens. It's where you can reach me, reach the software, and everything. I just thought of this while we were talking and I want to kind of leave with this note. A customer, I don't even know their name, we were on a webinar and she put out a little message that just said, “Thank you Kyle, finally you've given me the confidence to try.” It just really stuck with me because I see a lot of beginners that are very intimidated by this world of marketing, and you hear all these great concepts that sound great in theory, but there's this bug obstacle of getting it done. It's an honour to try to provide easy ways to allow the regular person to be at the level of an expert in short order because we try to package all this stuff so that you have the confidence to try. If there's anything that excites me, it's that.
Barry: Yeah, and I would say too that you've gone really that extra mile into making it easy for somebody, so not only is the software easy to use, but as soon as you log in you get ten training videos that tell you how to, “Hey, this is your first step you need to do, here's a training video for the second step and the third step.” You really have taken those people who have never done this before and getting them comfortable with it really, really quickly, which I think is a great way to go.
Kyle: That's the goal.
Barry: All right Kyle, well thank you very much. I look forward to building out some super intricate funnels with your product. Once again, thanks for being on and we'll talk to you next time.
Kyle: I really, really appreciate it, thanks for the invite. Hopefully it was of help and value.
Barry: Yeah, fantastic. Thanks Kyle.
A big thank you to Kyle there for taking the time to come on and share all his secrets about elements of a successful sales funnel and a little bit about his product Ten Minute Funnels. If you want to find all the show notes, you can find them over on TheActiveMarketer.com/Kyle. If you want to learn more about funnels and how you can emulate or hack successful funnels, head over to TheActiveMarketer.com, head over to our blog, TheActiveMarketer.com/blog, and over on the right in the sidebar you'll see a little case study about funnels. If you click on that and have a bit of a read, you have the opportunity to buy a little bit of funnel hacking training there. Head over to the blog and have a look at that if you're interested in how you can create your own successful sales funnels. Until next time everybody, get out there and design, automate, and scale your business to the next level using marketing automation. Thanks everybody.
Announcer: Thanks for listening to The Active Marketer Podcast. You can find the show notes and all the latest marketing automation news over at TheActiveMarketer.com.