4 Strategies to Make Your Sales Funnels Convert in 2020

As an entrepreneur trying to stay relevant and thrive in the competitive digital age, there’s one marketing strategy you’ve likely heard holds the secret to growing your business online: sales funnels. You’ve seen the ads, read the blogs, watched the tutorials and tried your hand at implementing sales funnels in your own business.

But for some reason, you haven’t hit the jackpot. Scaling your business through sales funnels still feels like rocket science —and something is definitely broken.

Related: 3 Signs Your Sales Funnel Is Broken (and How to Fix It)

You know funnels have the ability to bring in customers for your business on autopilot and turn your customers into loyal repeat buyers, but how do you make your sales funnels stand out and actually grow your bottom line? Here are four proven strategies and pieces of actionable advice you can implement immediately to help turn your sales funnels into predictable, profitable client acquisition systems.
Offer something valuable in the first step of your funnel

Years ago, we had category kings — industry leaders who dominated their markets and had little to no competition. Thus, business owners didn’t have to necessarily try so hard to win new customers.

Now, it’s not that easy. Due to ever-growing competition, online brands and entrepreneurs have to put a lot more effort into winning customers online and demonstrating why someone should choose them over a competitor. One of the most effective ways to do this is to offer new customers something at the very beginning of your funnel that is no-cost, yet highly valuable. It should be something that helps your ideal customer build trust with your brand before ever pulling out their wallet. Some options: a free case study, a mini training series, a checklist, a guide, an e-book or a demo of your product. If you can solve a small part of your ideal customer’s problem through it, that’s even better.

In a phone conversation with Gusten Sun, founder and CEO of Funnels And Experts, he explained how his agency builds clients’ funnels using this exact strategy of providing value first. “To give you a practical example… let’s say you’re a movie buff, but you want to stop spending so much money at the theaters,” he says. “You do a quick Google search and find an online movie streaming service that offers a free 30-day trial. You sign up, watch movies for free for a month and afterward they ask you if you want to continue watching unlimited movies from the comfort of your home. You say yes and pay. That’s an example of a successful funnel, and that’s the concept of providing value first in order to build relationships and turn browsers into customers…Oh, and you may have guessed: That’s the sales funnel of Netflix.”

Related: 5 Key Tips to Improve Conversion Rates

Make sure your funnel leads with value and gives something free before you make an offer. Creating a sales funnel in this order will make it much easier to turn a cold lead into a happy customer.
Swap outdated sales copy tactics for authentic emotional response marketing

As a business owner, you know your target customer needs to feel like your brand is speaking directly to them. Copywriting is how you do that, but effective copywriting has made a massive shift in the last decade.

The modern customer is tired of pushy headlines and in-your-face copy that screams BUY. If you look at old sales funnels, you will see this type of copy heavily used. It worked back then, but not anymore. The only way to make your sales funnel copy work in 2020 is to be authentic, honest and real. You want your copy to sound more conversational and less “car salesman”. This is the type of copy that speaks to the modern day consumer.

Cody Griffin, CEO of Griffin Copywriting and Marketing Solutions, expanded on this shift to me. “This is why an increasing number of successful brands are moving away from direct response copy tactics to what industry experts are calling emotional response marketing,” he says. “Your funnel doesn’t have to be complicated, but what most marketers fail to do in their copy is meet their market at their current level. It’s vital to relate to where your client or customer is now versus where they want to be and how your product or service will help get them there. Doing so will result in more conversions, more sales and success with your funnel.”

Related: 5 Ways to Get to the Heart of Emotional Marketing

Stories build deeper emotional connection and responses with your audience. Think less about clicks and more about feelings. Your funnel’s overall performance will skyrocket.
Set up retargeting campaigns

In an ideal world, every person that visits your funnel’s landing page opts in and makes their way to the very end of your funnel where they make a purchase. Unfortunately, it rarely works that way.

If you want your sales funnels to convert, put strategic retargeting campaigns in place. These can be a series of either ads or emails (or both) that get sent to people who land on the first page of your funnel but don’t take the action you want them to (download your lead magnet, watch your video, opt in to your webinar, etc.).

Related: How Clever Retargeting Persuades Customers Who Looked But Didn’t Buy

The secret to making retargeting campaigns works is making sure they are full of valuable content such as educational videos, inspiring stories, objection handling topics, bonus training, product reviews, customer case studies and testimonials. Every piece of content a prospect sees after they’ve left your sales funnel should show them why they should reconsider your offer and why they can trust you and your brand.
Don’t limit your traffic to one source

It’s no secret that using social media as sources of traffic can be one of the most profitable ways to drive customers to your sales funnels. However, most businesses make the mistake of focusing their traffic efforts on just one platform.

This leads to chaos and panic within your company when the social platform of your choosing crashes for one day. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Social media platforms have the power to control your ability to use their sites for running ads and driving traffic, so invest your resources into getting multiple streams of traffic set up.

Though using social media platforms to drive traffic is arguably one of the best strategies, don’t overlook the power of content marketing in 2020. Utilizing emails, blog content, SEO, case studies, etc. is and will be more effective at driving traffic to your funnel than social media alone.

Related: 4 Simple Steps to Creating an Effective Content Marketing Strategy

In an email conversation with Cindy Pate, CEO of Manifestation Rebel, she explained this well. “Old stars still shine,” she says. “To drive quality traffic to your funnels, don’t make the mistake of underestimating good old-fashioned email marketing. Emails are still as profitable as ever and will always be a secret sales weapon when used correctly in addition to your social media platforms. Sending traffic to your funnel via organic blog posts, SEO and podcasts are also among the highest-converting forms of content marketing you should be implementing in your funnel strategy today.”

Bottom line: There are traffic sources beyond social media. The value is in the real assets that are gained from a sales funnel including the telephone numbers and email addresses that you store in our own systems outside of social networks. Don’t limit your funnel traffic to one source unless you want your sales to be completely reliant on one platform.

Take these four sales funnel strategies and implement them into your own funnels in 2020 to stand out, increase your conversions and create a hyper profitable client acquisition system.

Why Freelancers Need a VPN in 2020

Among freelancers, it’s almost a point of pride to be able to work lean. Whether you’re a graphic designer, coder, or writer, you don’t need much more than a decent laptop, steady internet connection, and maybe a fresh cold brew to bring home the bacon. This is partly why so many freelancers are able to work practically anywhere, anytime.

But, if there’s one thing virtually every freelancer could benefit from adding to their work setup, it’s a VPN. On top of the obvious privacy protections a VPN brings, there are plenty of other benefits that can help you work smarter and even save money while you’re busy living the freelancer dream. Read on for details:

Peace of mind wherever you go. This one’s pretty obvious, so we’ll get it out of the way early. If you’re like most freelancers, there’s a good chance you do a lot of your work on public WiFi. Public WiFi is convenient, don’t get us wrong, but it’s far from secure. Whether you’re browsing at the airport or your favorite coffee shop, if you happen to connect to the same unsecured router as a hacker, you’re now vulnerable to being attacked. And, this isn’t just bad news for you; your client could also get burned if you’re working with any sensitive information while a hacker is peeking in. With a VPN, you can add an extra layer of protection that keeps hackers at bay.

Cheaper flights. One of the biggest perks of freelancing is being able to work anywhere, but that doesn’t make international flights any cheaper. With a VPN, you can avoid all the cookies airline websites use to track you and gouge prices. That way, you’ll get ticket options that are much more reasonable. Just turn on your VPN, fire up a fresh browsing session, and change your server location to the destination you’re trying to fly to. From there, you can watch the savings roll in!

Work anywhere, seriously. You may be able to work anywhere, but your client’s company might not. Say you decide to catch a flight to Barcelona and squeeze in a little work after munching on some tapas. If your employer is using a geo-protected CRM or CMS, there’s a chance you won’t be able to access it at all while you’re abroad. Now, you’re stuck overseas, unable to work, and out of tapas. With a VPN, you can set your browsing location to match that of your client, so you can sidestep those restrictions and get back to work.

Browse anywhere, too. Geo-restrictions aren’t just for security-minded companies, either. Major websites use them to control who is viewing what content and where. This is perhaps most common among streaming sites like Netflix and Hulu, so you might have some issues binging “The Handmaid’s Tale” after a long day of remote work if you’re traveling overseas. With a VPN, you can skirt past these pesky blockers and enjoy your content restriction-free.

Which VPN is ideal for freelancers? There’s no shortage of VPNs on the market, but only a handful will have what you’re looking for to live your best freelancer life. Ideally, the VPN you choose should have a solid number of servers that are available across the globe, so you can always connect when you’re traveling domestically and internationally.

You’ll also want a VPN with top-tier encryption to keep your browsing bulletproof. 256-bit encryption is one of the more popular encryption techniques out there and is even used by banks and military organizations to protect their data. On top of this, you’ll also want access to a variety of VPN protocols to get you the perfect blend between security and speed when you’re browsing.

Unlimited bandwidth is another valuable feature to look out for if you’re planning on streaming content. It can come at a premium but is well worth it for those of us who simply NEED to binge on our shows unhindered.

Lastly, you’ll definitely want a VPN that doesn’t log your data. It might sound counterintuitive, but some VPNs actually do keep record of your browsing movements and can sell them to third parties or be pressured to turn them over to local law enforcement agencies depending on where they operate from.

If you want a VPN that checks all the above boxes, give KeepSolid VPN Unlimited a shot. The top-rated VPN provider sports more than a whopping 400 VPN servers with over 80 locations around the globe, tough-as-nails 256-bit AES encryption, multiple VPN protocols, unlimited bandwidth, and a zero log policy.

Right now, lifetime plans for VPN Unlimited are on sale at a massive 80 percent off the usual price, just $39 today.

What is Grit, and Why Does It Matter When Hiring for Your Startup?

Many things go into making a startup successful, including finding the right people. When hiring it’s important to make sure your employees not only have the knowledge and skills to get the job done, but also that they have the grit to help take the company to the next level.

One of the best qualities a potential employee can have is grit. What does grit mean exactly? Someone with grit has the mental toughness to keep trying in the face of challenges and failures while keeping passion for the work they do. That’s the type of employee fast-moving startups need.

Related: How to Poach Talent Politely

Having a small business involves people doing multiple things and comes with varying trials and obstacles. Each person will likely have more than one role in the early stages, and it’s necessary to hire people who can handle that. For example, a marketing professional may be tasked with not only email outreach, but social media management and even sales or business development, depending on the person’s background and skill set.

Although technical skills for the job are important, they don’t have to be the only things you hire a person for. Qualities like patience, organization, perseverance, self-discipline and passion can directly translate into the success of a person and the success of your company. Here’s how to spot the qualities that make up “grit” almost as soon as the candidate shakes your hand.

Related: What to Consider When Hiring Employees
Gritty people go above and beyond to actually get the interview

A huge sign that you’re dealing with someone who has grit is that they put a lot of effort into getting an interview. Completing the application is important, but so is the follow-up. If an interviewee displays the conscientiousness to make calls or emails pressing their bid for an actual interview, it could be a good sign they’ll bring vigor, passion and a can-do attitude to the company.

Someone with grit will make sure the right people see their application and resume as well. That means they won’t shy away from looking up the email of the CEO or the head of the department they want to work in.

Additionally, these people go above and beyond when reaching out. For example they might create specific ideas for the company or one of its initiatives based on research they’ve done. That’s the very definition of grit.
Successful people will often showcase grit when they get you in a room

Here’s how to see grit once you’re one-on-one with a job candidate. Ask questions about challenges they’ve faced professionally as well as questions about professional victories and failures. Asking about personal challenges — without getting too personal — is important in determining grit as well.

Related: 6 Ways to Adapt Hiring Practices to the Improving Job Market

Ask about their hobbies. If they like to spend their free time on challenging activities like intense biking trips or marathon running, that can show whether they have the hard work, self-control and dedication you want on your team.

You probably don’t want to hire anyone with a long history of professional failures, but watch for signs of grit from the interviewee. A candidate who has failed and come right back determined to succeed is an employee worth having because they’ve demonstrated commitment to long-term goals. A promising employee may discuss past failures, noting they could have given up, but instead learned lessons from the experience and used that to succeed the next time.

Giving a project or a task for potential employees after or even during an interview is a popular method for evaluating a candidate’s technical competency. It’s also a good way to determine grit. Here you can truly see if they deliver outstanding care and effort to get the job done.
You can’t teach grittiness — it’s something the candidate learns themselves

Grit, perseverance and passion for work are important qualities you can’t teach a potential employee, so it’s important to ensure you’re interviewing for these personality traits.

However, keep in mind that grittiness is obviously not the only thing needed for success in a position. A potential employee should have the right technical skills and job-specific experience to excel at their role. Although some hard skills can be taught on the job, a startup may not have the resources required to let an employee start completely from scratch. Grit can be attractive, but without experience and talent, it usually won’t be enough to land the candidate a job.