Simple Sales Funnels for Service Businesses

“Simple Sales Funnels for Service Businesses” presentation by Brad Wages as part of the “Skill Taco” speaker series at Createscape Coworking on July 17, 2019.


Welcome to my presentation: “Simple Sales Funnels for Service Businesses.” Okay, if you love your work, running a service-based business can be amazing. Personally I couldn't imagine doing anything else. As a marketing consultant, I get to choose who my clients are and only work on projects that I enjoy doing that excite me. But there are definitely challenges along the way for service businesses and one of the biggest challenges that we face is lead flow. How do you avoid the feast or famine cycle? How do you keep a steady stream of clients coming to you so you're not scrambling? There's a few different pieces of the puzzle including things like content marketing networking and cold outreach if you're into that kind of thing. And all of those play a role, but if you want to take the next step and make your legion automated and more scalable, you're going to need an email-based sales funnel. Email marketing is very, very powerful. Do it right and you can create a real intimate connection with your audience that's going to be valuable for them and profitable for you as well. And no, email marketing isn't dead, it's not outdated, it's definitely not going anywhere, it's here to stay.

Today I'm going to share a simple funnel that will help you on top of mind with your audience so when they're in need and looking for help, looking for somebody like you, you're going to be the logical choice. The framework I'm going to share has three parts and they are: a lead magnet, the opt-in form, and the autoresponder sequence. I call it the Minimum Viable sales funnel and and I'm going to show you how to create it step by step and implement it in your own business. And if you don't have a service business, everything I talk about can still be applied. 

So who am I? My name is Brad Wages, I'm a sales copywriter and marketing consultant. I use the power of the written word to help my clients sell more of their products and services without sounding like a desperate car salesman at the end of the slow month. Creating email funnels is always exciting to me because they're so effective when used the right way. So let's dive in. The first piece of your Minimum Viable funnel is going to be the lead magnet and a lead magnet is simply a piece of content that you're gonna give away in exchange for somebody's email address. So question for you guys: how many people here have ever traded your email address for a piece of free content online? Okay, trick question! It wasn't free. You gave away your email address and you gave away your attention which is a limited resource these days. All that is to say your lead magnet is gonna be really important. It's the first transaction people in your funnel are gonna have with you and you want to make a good first impression. So if you're just starting out, the type of lead magnet I recommend for you to create is a checklist (list or checklist).  Ask, what's something your ideal prospect wants to accomplish but doesn't have the knowledge or experience to take action on at this point? Then, you create a list of the specific steps that they would need to take. For example that could be steps to set up a Wordpress website a list of materials for a do-it-yourself project steps or create a podcast or the best books on XYZ topic. Possibilities are really endless and your lead magnet does not have to be fancy, it just needs to be useful. You can make a black and white pdf using Google Docs or if you want to get a little bit fancy, you can use a program like Canva and go for more customized look.

Alright, now you've got your lead magnet. The next step is setting up your email opt in for your visitors and email opt in is simply a pop up form or a form on your website where you advertise your lead magnet. You've all seen these a thousand times and they usually look something kinda like that. Now at this point, I'm presupposing have an email service provider. You are going to need one of those to build an email list and if you don't have an ESP, I recommend you go with MailChimp. It's free, it's simple and it just works right out of the box. MailChimp, and most of the bigger platforms are going to have form builders natively in the app that make it super easy to create your opt in. And there's tons of tutorials and YouTube videos and blog posts out there on how to use those tools effectively.

Alright, so as far as the copy, which is the writings, the, the words on your opt-in form, here's an easy formula for what to do. So you're going to have a headline, sub headline and three benefits of a lead magnet in bullet form. Okay, so for the headline, an example would be the x steps to y the 10 steps to starting your first podcast headline, enter your email for free guide and learn how to: benefit one, benefit two, benefit three. Simple enough. All right, piece number three: the emails. Let's talk about autoresponders, which are also known as drip campaigns. This is really the heart of your sales funnel. Let's say you've got your first subscriber. They came to your site, they saw your lead magnet, and they signed up for your list. Now the relationship really starts and to help things get started on the right foot. The minimum viable funnel uses three specific emails that are proven to connect with your audience no matter what market you're in.

Your first email is going to be really simple. It's going to be a combination of a welcome message plus the lead magnet delivery. You can give it a headline like here's your X, Y, Z checklists. Very simple. Then in the body copy, you want to thank them for signing up, let them know it was a good decision, and then describe how the lead magnet is going to help them. You can do that by listing off a few benefits again in bullet form and then at the end you simply want to link to the documents so they can download it. And also remember to sound like a real person. You know, you want to be fun, you want to be personable and avoid corporate speak. You want to make it feel like a real one-to-one conversation. Then email number two, it's time to resale your subscriber on the lead magnet.


The reality is some people are going to join your list and never actually consume that piece of content. You know, they get excited in the moment and go cool. And then they add it to a list of 50 other lead magnets, free content that they downloaded. So to minimize that, what you want to do is you want to remind your subscribers about the lead magnet and also emphasize the value in a new way. And the best way to increase the perceived value is to tell a story, tell a story about what's possible when they use that information to take action about how when they create that podcast or make that career change or take up that new hobby, their life is going to improve and amazing ways we call this painting the dream. And what's really effective here is telling your own story. So when you decided to take action, how did your life change for the better?

Give one good detailed example. No need to write a novel here. Be honest, be real, and don't be afraid to be a little bit vulnerable. That's the stuff that people really resonate with. Okay. Email number three, your origin story. You've delivered the lead magnet, sold them on this value, and now you want to share even more about who you are and a great way to convey this is by telling your origin story. How did you get started? What motivated you to create something new? How are you different from what came before? What's your why within your origin story? Focus on sharing your core values and beliefs. The more specific you are, the more people are going to resonate with your message, particularly the people who see the world in the same way, you're going to seem like a kindred spirit to them. I'm a real live flesh and blood person that they can believe in, not just a nameless, faceless business.

Okay? The second job of email number three is to get people to reply, and we do this for a couple of reasons. When when people write you back, you're going to learn about your audience. You're getting insights about who they are and what kinds of problems they're facing. And as a service business, that's exactly the kind of information, the details that you want to know about because the problems that your audience has, that's what you're going to be solving for them. Also when people reply, it's going to boost your cinder reputation with a different ESPs. The ESP can see that people are replying to your emails and factors that into their algorithms. So future emails that you send out to the rest of the people in your audience are more likely to go to the inbox and stay out of the junk folder.


How do you get people to reply? You do it by asking a question. At the end of your email, you can say, that's a little bit about me. Now I'd love to hear from you, what's your story? What do you believe in when it comes to X, Y, Z topic? Usually only a small percentage of your readers are gonna write back. And that's perfectly fine. It's just the nature of the medium. And if your list is small, highly higher up, highly recommend that you reply to everybody individually. They're going to be really impressed and you're going to build up a lot of trust and goodwill with the folks that you do reply to.

So they're the three pieces of your autoresponder. Now the next step is to keep continuing to show up in your subscriber's inbox, preferably at least once a week. So now the question becomes, what do you say if you're sitting in new content every week, what do you send them? You're busy, you've got your client work, you've got your day to day business stuff that you're dealing with. Where do you find the time? Listen, I get it. Everybody's super busy these days. But emailing your list consistently is it gonna pay big dividends over time? So making the commitment and finding the time to do it is really worth it. So here's a bonus for you. A super simple way to create content, to send your list every week, once a week, write an email with links to three to four articles around your area of expertise. You don't need to write the articles yourself, you just linked to them. And before the link add a line or two about why you thought the article was valuable.

So there you have it, the minimum viable funnel for service based businesses. To recap what you're going to need is a checklist, lead magnet and opt in form three email autoresponder sequence and ongoing content to send your subscribers. Use this framework and you will be setting your business up for long term success. And as you gain experience with email marketing, you can start doing cool things like sales product launches and even affiliate promotions. Now go out there, use what you learned and build your sales funnel. Like Joe [Saba] said, you don't have to be good to start. You just have to start to be good.

Presentation by Brad Wages

Transcript Edited for Clarity

Edited by Keller Davis