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Tips on how to quickly attract more clients with marketing funnels by Michelle Evans

  • A funnel helps you attract the right people and take them through a holistic journey that gets them ready to buy from you, and for some people, that journey’s super short because the sale is relatively small or relatively easy.
  • A lot of people think that the Holy Grail of business and marketing success is to attract the most ginormous audience possible and then just bombard them. I haven’t seen businesses have a lot of success [doing that.]
  • A good marketing funnel sets the stage for the sales conversation you eventually want to have and, hopefully, you’re talking to the right people.
  • The starting point is what is it that you’re trying to sell? What is the end goal, and what problem does it solve for people?
  • One of the best ways that I found with my audience is that having a specific conversation about which funnel is right for your business.
  • We did not want our sales force to waste time chasing people who could never say, “Yes.”
  • Do you want to know what’ll get you those results even faster? Jumping on the phone with me,” and I can tell you I had a huge conversion on that.
  • You just need a process that makes it easy for people to engage with you.
  • Let’s talk about urgency in a non-sleazy way, because that’s a great way to put it…

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A funnel helps you attract the right people and for some people, that journey’s super short because the sale is relatively small or relatively easy.

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Doug: Welcome back, listeners, to another episode of Real Marketing Real Fast. Today, we’re going to talk about sales funnels, marketing funnels, what they are, how they work, and how you can get a funnel up and running for your business quickly that generates sales and generates leads. Today, my guest is Michelle Evans. She is a marketing funnel expert, and she is a Mompreneur. She walked away from her global marketing strategy role at Microsoft in 2012 after a successful 16-year career spanning many industries and now works with a fantastic community of business owners, coaches, consultants, expert speakers, authors, and solopreneurs. She helps them go from simply surviving to predictably sell out. If you’re interested in selling out, then I’d say listen in. Using her 20 years of successful marketing experience, she helps her clients create income-producing, client-generating, stress-reduced marketing funnels. Michelle has been featured in the Huffington Post, Online Marketing Made Easy, plus 30 other Internet publications, and she’s worked with household names like Microsoft and LinkedIn, as well as a paid employee and a consultant. I would say fasten your seatbelts, listen in. If you’re interested in using a sales funnel or you already have one and you’re looking for some tips on how to make it work better.

Welcome to the Real Marketing Real Fast podcast today, Michelle.

Michelle Evans: Thank you for having me, Doug. Let’s talk about that because there’s a lot of ideas out there about what … Some people call it marketing funnels. Some people call them sales funnels. Some people just call them funnels, but people have a lot of different ideas about what a funnel is, and at its core, I really believe that a funnel is not the technology, it’s not the fancy bells or whistles, it’s not any of the tactical things. What a funnel is really, really good at is helping you attract the right people and take them through a holistic journey that gets them ready to buy from you, and for some people, that journey’s super short because the sale is relatively small or relatively easy. For some, it’s a lot longer. Really, it’s about knowing who your audience is, what the problems they have are, and how you get them ready to answer three big questions, why you or why your company, why the offer, and why now, and when you do a marketing funnel in that way, where you start with your audience in mind, start with what you want to sell, and take people on a journey that helps them see this is exactly what I’ve been looking for. That’s when a marketing funnel’s really powerful.

Doug: Let’s expand a little bit on what you consider a journey because, often, when I talk to people, their idea of a sales funnel is to drive cold traffic to a hard sell landing page, and then there’s a thank you second step, and that’s a funnel. That’s not much of a journey. That’s really like fire hosing people into a corner and try to get them to drink more.

Michelle Evans: Well, Doug, this is when it really comes into play of what is your play. It is a short-term play where you just want to churn and burn as many people as you can, or is it a longer-term play where you want to cultivate an audience that really is engaged and bought into what you do, why you do it, and why you are the company to buy from.

Doug: Do you think the part of the job of the funnel is to disqualify people so you don’t get 500 people signing up? What you get are 20 people who are ready to buy. From a marketing metric point of view, we’re going, “Hey, we had this many people bounce off,” but from a sales point of view, we had 20 people who are in the funnel that want to buy.

Michelle Evans: That’s a really good question, because there’s a lot of people out there, and I know we chatted briefly about this, as well, but there’s a lot of people out there who think that the Holy Grail of business and marketing success is to attract the most ginormous audience possible and then just bombard them, and I haven’t seen businesses have a lot of success, and I’ve worked at banks, I’ve worked at .com startups, I’ve worked at Microsoft, I’ve worked with Global 100 companies, and I’ve worked with brand new companies, too, just a one-person operation, and so I’ve worked with huge lists and I’ve worked with tiny lists, and I have seen that when you have a huge list who has not bought into what you do, they’re ignoring the emails coming in, it doesn’t really give you any competitive advantage versus somebody who has a smaller list of people who are so committed to what they do and are ready to move forward.

To answer your question, I think a good marketing funnel really does set the stage for the sales conversation you eventually want to have and, hopefully, you’re talking to the right people. As people come to your opt-in page or to your landing page, they’re wanting to have that conversation, but, yes, I think you should disqualify some people who say, “Ew, this is actually not what I’m looking for at all.”

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A funnel helps you attract the right people and for some people, that journey’s super short because the sale is relatively small or relatively easy.

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Doug: I was just listening to a video early this morning that Gary V. had published on LinkedIn. He was talking about Facebook, and that’s exactly what he said, is “You want to have multiple versions of your content, and you want to have the smallest, tightest, most focused audience that you can oppose to having one set of content you haven’t tested and blasted it to the entire world.”

Michelle Evans: It’s so true.

Doug: Walk us through just how a business would get started. We know now what a sales funnel is. I agree with you totally that it’s really about having the right people on your list. For our listeners that are going, “Okay, that sounds great and, yes, I wanna have long-term value, and I wanna build relationships,” what’s the starting point?

Michelle Evans: Well, the starting point is really, what is it that you’re trying to sell? What is the end goal, and what problem does it solve for people? That’s really where I start with people, is what are we trying to get people to get excited about or understand, and what are we trying to sell, and then what’s the best way to back into that, where we attract the right people, get them ready for that? I always start with, what’s the end goal?

Then, from there, there are four main steps to a funnel, and I use really relational, people-focused verbiage for this because I want us to just keep in mind, no matter if you’re selling to individual consumers or if you’re selling business to business, we’re still talking to people, and a marketing funnel that’s done in a really, I don’t know, clinical way is not very effective, but one that is done in a human-focused way can be incredibly effective for people. The four steps that I work with clients in and students on our number one, warming up your audience. Again, just like Gary V. was talking about, attract those right people to you. Warm them up. Give them some content. Gary talks about Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook, his book from a few years back, and so the jabs are the warming them up. It’s giving them content or giving them an experience that would speak to the audience you want to attract and hopefully would turn away the people that really aren’t a good fit for you. You’re warming them up with things, like whatever makes sense for your business, blog posts, videos, even for some businesses, these are events or dinners or … It depends on how you’re trying to approach it, but it’s warming them up so that you’re attracting the right people.

Then, the next step is to invite them to come further in. This is when you’re giving them the opt-in or you’re asking them to maybe set an appointment, or it depends on how your sales process goes but inviting them to come further in, to get more information from you.

Then, the next stage is really setting the stage of the why you, why this offer, and why now, and when you do this right, you give yourself and your business a serious, unfair advantage in the market, because you are able to control the interactions, control the conversation, control the experience that your audience is going through so that they start to have these aha moments of that’s actually what I’m struggling with or that’s the exact question that I’m having, and help me understand more about how you can solve this. When you get your audience bought in at that level, it’s not that they completely ignore your competition, but your competition isn’t as competitive because they’re not reaching them at that deeper level where they’re like, “Oh, my gosh, this is exactly what I need.”

Then, the final step is really giving them that clear next step of how to work with you. Is it setting an appointment? Is it opting in? Is it buying something on a sales page? Is it going to a webinar, whatever it is?

Doug: That totally makes sense, and I think I heard Frank Kern once talk about when you’re advertising your product or service, why don’t you demonstrate what you do by actually giving somebody some value in your ad? That totally makes sense in terms of warming them up. You’re saying, “Hey, I’m an expert in fill-in-the-blank,” but you hold everything back, and you don’t share or give anything, so the user experience is purely advertising to a consumer versus trying to help you with your product, and then, as you said, they’re warmed up so you can invite them in to discover more.

Michelle Evans: Absolutely. When you take a look at some of the fastest growing companies out there, that’s usually what they do really well is they warm up their audience so that their audience is invested in going through more of the journey.

Doug: In terms of producing content on that, one of the things I noticed when we first connected and I went to your website and I went through your sales funnel, aside from the fact that I gave you a shout-out that you followed up, which for you listeners that have sales funnels and people go through the process, don’t be afraid to pick up the phone and connect. That’s why you’re doing it, but what I noticed, Michelle was that you started with a questionnaire. You were qualifying up front and trying to get a better feel for what my problem was before you recommended a solution.

Michelle Evans: One of the best ways that I found with my audience is that having a specific conversation about which funnel is right for your business is actually a really effective way, and so I ask them questions so that I can say, “Okay, let me take this really broad idea of what is a marketing funnel and let me boil it down to how can this work for your business,” and that’s one way to do a marketing or a funnel, for sure.

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A funnel helps you attract the right people and for some people, that journey’s super short because the sale is relatively small or relatively easy.

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Doug: Well, I think that’s the first funnel I’ve ever seen in all the time I’ve spent online that actually asked me some questions aside from my phone number and my email address where it’s actually asking about some problems that I may have or challenges or where I am in my business.

Michelle Evans: Nice.

Doug: There you go. There’s your unfair advantage. I don’t see anybody else asking. They’re all telling.

Michelle Evans: Well, what’s really interesting about that is for the right people, they will either want to jump on the phone with me or they’ll keep going through and they’ll get to maybe a webinar or videos or whatever that really help them, and they say, “Okay, Michelle’s the person I wanna work with.”

Doug: That’s awesome. Do you want to share, whether it’s one of your clients, maybe share who they are or not share who they are, or maybe something you’ve done for yourself with our audience, a success that you’ve had with walking through this process from start to finish, looking at long-term … We’re not talking about doing something today and having a result tomorrow. We’re looking at like you said, a long-term, a 12-month, or whatever it may be, result.

Michelle Evans: Well, one of my recent students, she has had her business … She does image consulting, so she helps really successful professional women craft closets that really reflect who they are through their clothing, and it’s a really high-end business. It’s a really selective business, and she had spent a lot of money on branding and creating a whole new website and all sorts of stuff, and she called me, and she’s like, “You know what, Michelle? This just isn’t working like I thought it should.” She said, “You know, my referral business is still great, but I am not generating the business I should from all this investment that I’ve put into my website,” and I took a look at her website, and this is somebody I’ve known for a couple years, for probably four years actually. We were having a conversation. I took a look at her website, and I said, “Annette, you’re having a conversation that is so over your ideal audience’s head, they don’t even know that you’re talking to them,” and we dove into this further, and I said, “You need to back this up into where they are right now. That’s how you’re going to attract these people.”

She went through my course, and she created, coincidentally, also, a quiz funnel. It’s not the only kind of funnel out there, but, for her, it was the right funnel, and she launched that, and she does her business development primarily through speaking. It’s a way that she’s built her business for over 20 years, but she rolled it out at her first speaking gig, and within a week, she had a new high-end client, and she just has had a ton of success, and she launched that in July, and she just is continuing to sell out. She’s so excited about this.

Really, what we did is we said, “Okay, what is the goal?” The goal was she needed to get people on the phone with her, but she needed the right people. They needed to be at a certain income level, they needed to be at a certain professional level, and they needed to be invested in why spending the time and the energy and the money on redoing their closet was the right thing to do, to go shopping for a brand new wardrobe, right?

Doug: Yep.

Michelle Evans: This is a specialized client, and she charges a high-end price for this. What we did is I said, “You know, Annette, do you have a way …” We found out that the number one question that her audience was struggling with is, “What is my style even? I don’t even know what my style should be or is or whatever,” and I said, “Do you have a way for people to find out what their style is?” She said, “Of course. This is one of the first things I do with clients.”

We just took a piece of the work that she was already doing, not the entire thing, but a piece of it, and we put it into a quiz, so she didn’t even create anything new. She was just reorganizing what she had, and we put that quiz, it’s a style quiz, and people go bananas. When she’s speaking, they’ll pull out their phones and take the quiz right then.

Doug: Oh, that’s cool.

Michelle Evans: Then, they’ll be sharing with each other, “Oh, this is what I got. This is what I got. This is so neat.”

The conversation that Annette can then have with them is really specific on their style type and why that style type will help them be successful professionally, why that style type will help them go further in their career, be taken seriously, just all sorts of things. It depends on what style type it is, but she can have a really specific conversation to set the stage about why Annette, why invest in this offer, and why now is the time, and it’s different for each of the style types because they each have different things that are motivating them, and when she started having those specific conversations, everything changed for her. She knew what to do for the warmup, and she started doing Facebook Lives that have attracted an even broader audience. It’s just a matter of really understanding who you want to attract, what you want them to do, and what the conversation is that you want to have with them.

Doug: That totally makes sense, especially in that space. I’ve done some work in that space before, and you’re right. It’s really about attracting the right people and having the right conversation. We were doing lead generation for HSBC in the Philippines and in Egypt, so we had to qualify people because they needed $800,000 of cash in the bank to immigrate to Canada, and so we had to disqualify 99.9% of the people, so their numbers upfront went down, but the back-end numbers went up for conversion because we had the right conversation and moved people through a sales process that this funneled out the good people, and the rest of the people didn’t qualify. There’s no sense having the conversation. If someone can’t afford to hire her to help them with their style, then you’re wasting everybody’s time.

Michelle Evans: The same with the bank. Back when I worked in banking, we did not want our sales force to waste time chasing people who could never say, “Yes.”

Doug: There you go. That’s great … I like that. Don’t chase people who can’t say, “Yes.”

Michelle Evans: Your salespeople can be the best people out there, but if you’re putting the wrong people in front of them, they’re never going to have success.

Doug: I think of trade shows are notorious for that. When we work trade shows, the idea is when someone comes into your booth or your area, can they make the decision … They’re obviously interested in your product or service, and do they have the budget? Your goal here is to, a little bit of qualification, take the information, and then move along so you can talk to somebody else, but definitely, need to make sure they can buy.

Michelle Evans: That’s why I like quizzes so much because when done right, it really does help you. The people who aren’t a right fit, as they go through it, they’re going to drop off, but the ones who are like, “Oh, these questions are speaking to me,” they’ll keep going, and then you can have the right conversation at the end, or not.

I have a quiz on Facebook ads, and there are three outcomes you can get. Yeah, you’re ready right now, you’re almost ready, or Facebook ads are not right for you, and the people who Facebook ads aren’t right for, I send them in a whole different direction.

Doug: Sure.

Michelle Evans: I’m not even going to have that conversation because it’s not right for you.

Doug: I was talking to someone just yesterday about that and saying, “Why do we make business so difficult? Why do we think that we need to grind away in a certain direction? Why don’t we look for people that we like, that we wanna do business with, that pay our bills quickly, our invoices quickly, that are extremely profitable, and attract those people and repel everybody else?”

Michelle Evans: Michael Port, I don’t know if you’ve ever seen his book. It’s a bit older now, Booked Solid, I think, or-

Doug: How to Get Booked Solid.

Michelle Evans: He has the Red Velvet Rope Policy.

Doug: Absolutely.

Michelle Evans: Where you have to get past that in order to move forward, and I’ve always thought of that as I do marketing, even before I had my own business, but you need the right people. Otherwise, you’re going to be putting a ton of effort into, again, people who can’t say, “Yes,” to you.

Doug: What do you think is the biggest myth about this tactic because I’m sure we’ve got people listening, going, “Yeah. That sounds good, but I need to have sales today.”

Michelle Evans: Well, I think one of the biggest myths is they have to take a long time. It certainly does not have to take a long time. When you set the stage correctly, people can be really interested quickly. In fact, a few years ago, I had been following this advice to get out to tons of places to speak. I did over 50 events in nine months.

Doug: Wow.

Michelle Evans: I had attracted a lot of people on my email list, but none of them were converting. All the sales calls were just going flat, and I rolled out a really simple marketing funnel. It was one PDF that took me, I don’t know, an hour to do in Word, and it was a page where they could click and say, “Yes, I want this,” and then on the very next page, it said, “Hey, it’s on its way to you right now. Check your inbox in about five minutes. In the meantime, do you want to know what’ll get you those results even faster? Jumping on the phone with me,” and I can tell you I had a huge conversion on that. I only ran that funnel for maybe nine or ten days, and I was completely booked out, and I sold out, and it’s because you are setting the stage to get people ready, so it doesn’t have to take a long time, but you have to have the right persuasion levers that you’re pulling that have people go, “Yeah, I wanna have that conversation. That’s actually something I’m struggling with.”

Another piece that I think people really get caught up on is all of the shiny object technology stuff. Tech is great. Tech is really great, but you don’t have to have every bell and whistle out there to make things work. You just need a process that makes it easy for people to engage with you. I personally use click funnels, and I find that it’s really easy to make opt-in pages and thank you pages and all that stuff and see all of my stats in one place, but I work with people who use tons of different systems, so I don’t think that there’s any tech magic bullet.

Then, the third is that a lot of times, people get so caught up in the shiny object syndrome of, “Oh, I need to be on Instagram,” or, “Oh, I need to be doing this Twitter strategy,” or, “Oh, I need to be speaking,” and they get so spread so thin, and I always say, “Okay, let’s take a look at what are your business’ core strengths, where is your audience at, and how can you marry those two things up so that you can get in front of the right people in a way that doesn’t take a lot of extra training or time or any of that stuff that you can just get started now?”

Doug: That makes a lot of sense. I tell people, “Start where you are, and then with what you got.” If you’re listening and you’re going, “Hey, I’m using Leadpages, but I heard Michelle say, ‘ClickFunnels.” Should I switch?”

Michelle Evans: No.

Doug: No. Use what you have. Buying ClickFunnels versus Leadpages versus any of the other multitude of landing pages isn’t going to make the difference.

Michelle Evans: Nope.

Doug: I don’t think.

Michelle Evans: It won’t. As long as you can easily get people onto your email list and easily take them on a journey with you, don’t switch. In fact, I’ve used Leadpages, too. I use ClickFunnels because I can build funnels, and I can give them to students or I can give them to clients so that they don’t have to build them themselves. That’s why I like ClickFunnels, but if you’re not building funnels for other people, don’t worry about the tech. Worry about the experience for your audience.

Doug: Sure. I use all of them because I have clients that use all of the different tools, so it’s a little bit frustrating to have five or six tools, but that’s the way it goes.

I wanted to drill down on one thing that I just highlighted. I was making some notes as you were talking here, and that comes down to point number four, and you said, “There were basically three things, the why, the why you, and the last one was why now.” How do you create urgency, and I mean this in the nicest way, without being sleazy? I get these emails going, “Hey, we’re taking you off our list. You haven’t responded,” and I’m going, “Fine, there’s a reason I haven’t responded. I don’t have to unsubscribe.” Then, the next day, they send me another email, so they have lied to me, so there went my trust.

Michelle Evans: First of all, don’t do that. If you’re going to send that kind of email, first of all, just … Whenever I get those emails, I’m always like, “Really? You don’t want to try to engage me with something or …”

Doug: I’m going to threaten you.

Michelle Evans: Let’s talk about urgency in a non-sleazy way, because that’s a great way to put it. One way to really get to the why now is to help people see what’s at stake. What’s at stake if you don’t make this decision? That should be done in a way that’s ethical, that’s in congruence with what you offer. You don’t want to make stuff up, but one way to show what’s at stake is to show, for example, what a client’s accomplished. They made this decision, they moved forward with this effort, and here’s what their results are. That’s one way to do it, where people are going, “I want those results.”

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A funnel helps you attract the right people and for some people, that journey’s super short because the sale is relatively small or relatively easy.

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Doug: Sure, that makes sense.

Michelle Evans: Another way to do it is to have some sort of time-limited, but you need to make sure that it’s a real-time limiter. You can’t say, “This is a limited time offer that’s only available for today only,” and then, next week, you have a limited time offer that’s today only that’s the same thing. That’s not authentic, and people will not trust you.

Doug: Or the next day, you get a discounted offer.

Michelle Evans: Exactly, an even more discounted or … People do a lot of sleazy things like that, and they do it not understanding the long-term impact on their audience because just because somebody didn’t buy from you today or this month or this quarter, it doesn’t mean that they’re never going to buy. It just means that, for whatever reason, things weren’t lined up right now. They either didn’t feel the urgent need that this was a priority, they didn’t see how this could impact their bottom line or get the results quicker, faster, easier, cheaper, or they didn’t … There’s also this really insidious thing that can happen in your audience’s mind, where they go, “Wow, well, it worked for them, but not for me.”

Doug: Totally.

Michelle Evans: You have to really understand what are those things that are blocking people from saying, “Yes,” and if you have people in your audience who go, “Wow, they get great results for somebody like that, but-“

Doug: “That’s not me.”

Michelle Evans: “They have more money.”

Doug: Sure.

Michelle Evans: “They have more resources. They have luck. They have a better product.” Whatever those stories are that they start telling themselves, you need to understand what those are so that you can proactively deal with those stories early on so that they go, “Okay. Now could be the time. Now is the time for me,” right?

Doug: Yeah. I think in looking at your business and your business model, there are the courses, which you could sell an unlimited number of courses, and then there’s your consulting time, so the reality is you can take the course, you can learn it, or you can hire me as a done-for-you service. As you said, when you offer that, you booked out. That’s a reality. You only have so many hours that you can consult with people one-on-one, and when they’re sold, they’re sold.

Michelle Evans: It’s true. Then, people have to go on a waiting list, and some of them, they really needed it right then. It’s really just being clear on what are those urgency triggers that you want to pull, and how do you stay in integrity so that you’re not pulling a trigger and then the next day or the next week or the next month, undermining that trigger? You want to make sure that you keep that in mind as you’re working on your strategies.

Doug: That makes sense. I totally agree, but I think, like you said, sometimes you don’t know and sometimes you think, “Hey, it worked for,” fill-in-the-blank, “this guy, so I’m gonna copy his style,” but if it’s not your style, and you’re not authentic … I read a book years ago called You are the Message. It was written by an author by the name of Roger Ailes, and he talked about the consulting work he did with speaking, and he’s done consulting with several US Presidents, and he basically said that, in the book, the summary is that who you are on the stage is the same that you should be off the stage. I think of that as people writing, so if I’m writing a certain way in my blog or if I’m podcasting a certain way or you’re speaking to a group or I’m speaking to a group, when we meet for a glass of wine or go for a run or whatever we may go off the stage, we should be the same person, and I think, a lot of times, you take those types of email messages that are crafted, hard sell, and you put those in your sales funnel, but if I met you, I’d go, “Well, that’s not you,” so it’s not authentic.

Michelle Evans: There’s this whole, what I would call it is congruency. It’s just making sure that you’re really congruent with the conversation you want to have, the approach that you have. It’s really about having a brand of who are you, but not one that’s crafted, but one that’s really authentic.

When I think about … There’s a lot of terms out there, like funnel hacking and trying to figure out how other people are getting success, and I always caution people, like, “It’s great to see what other people are doing, and I might give you ideas for you, but you always have to run it through your brand congruency filter and say, ‘Does this feel right for how I want my business to show up? Does this feel right for the conversations I wanna have with the people that I work with?'” Just like you said, “‘Is this how I would talk to somebody if I’m sitting down to having coffee or a glass of wine with them, or this is a fake version of me that I feel like I need to be in order to be successful?'”

If it’s a fake version, don’t do it. Funnels can work for every type of business, for every type of brand, but you have to make sure that it’s congruent with who you are and how you show up.

Doug: Absolutely. Next question, what are you most excited about today as it relates either to marketing or technology or what you’re doing? Just share with us what gets you up in the morning and excited.

Michelle Evans: What gets me up in the morning is really helping people take all of the craziness that can be marketing online and boil it down into here’s how I get more sales into my business consistently. That’s what I love to do every single day, and so what I’m most excited about is really how easy technology has made it for people to really get their brilliance out there into the world, for new businesses to start up, for people to go out on their own as consultants or coaches or creatives or whatever, and that we don’t have these huge technological barriers that were around even just 10 years ago.

Back in 2006, I was working at a startup, and the amount of capital that we needed to do what I can do right now with just a ClickFunnels or Leadpages subscription is incredible, and so I just feel like we live in a great time of when you get really clear on who you want to serve and the problems you want to solve, it’s pretty easy to get in front of your audience.

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A funnel helps you attract the right people and for some people, that journey’s super short because the sale is relatively small or relatively easy.

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Doug: I totally agree. I ask that question of all my guests, and you’re the first person who’s actually mentioned that in terms of the tech world is, and I totally agree. If you think back, just ClickFunnels, of what you used to do, as a new entrepreneur, you would have had to hire a web guy or learn HTML, build the page yourself, and there was no testing, there was no analytics, you couldn’t do split testing. None of that existed, and now you can be up and running in a few hours, literally, and if you don’t have a big budget, you can be running stuff on social and just testing your funnel within a few days.

Michelle Evans: It’s so true. You could be in front of an audience of a few thousand people with Facebook ads, for example, for just a couple hundred dollars. It’s incredible what you can do.

Doug: What’s some of the bad advice you hear in this space? There are a zillion people when you look at funnels online, and I found your approach totally different than just about everybody else I’ve ever come across. I like your style. What’s some of the bad advice that you hear? You speak at events, and you’re out and about.

Michelle Evans: The bad advice that I hear really revolves around, number one, basically trying to steal what your competitor is doing and just log jam it into your business without understanding the strategy behind it or how it fits in with who you are. That is one piece of advice that drives me so crazy.

Doug: So just copy somebody else’s funnel and you’ll have what they have.

Michelle Evans: Exactly. First of all, you don’t know what they have behind the scenes. Second of all, if it’s not true to who you are, it’s not going to work. It doesn’t matter how good it works for somebody else. You need to make sure it works for you. Third, you need to understand what the conversation is that you want to have with your audience. Just copying and pasting it into your business does not equal success.

The second piece is really when people get so tactic-focused, and they’re just like, abandon everything else and go for Snapchat or abandon everything else and go for Instagram or whatever it is. I appreciate why people say that because they have something they want to sell that’s along that lines, but I always caution people and say, “No, you have got to really check in with where is your audience at, how do they want to communicate with you, what’s your skill set? You just have to really run it through the filter of, does this make sense for my business?”

Then, the third piece of advice that drives me completely bananas is just the sell or die kind of approach. It’s just-

Doug: Who do you mean, sell or die? That’s [crosstalk 00:34:22].

Michelle Evans: It’s the people who are teaching funnel strategy or online marketing strategy where it’s like you just pummel your audience with offer after offer after offer, and it’s just really transactional, and I don’t personally see that that’s a way to build a business long-term. I think it works for some people for short-term, but it drives me crazy when I see people that are like, “Just take this email series and just put it into your business, and it’s gonna work. You’ll have tons of sales coming in,” and it’s emails like what we’re talking about. “You haven’t opened my last five emails. I’m getting rid of you today,” kind of emails. I just hate that approach where it’s just like, “Get in, buy now, or get out.”

Doug: Well, two confessions. I’ve done that in the direct mail where it’s like, “Hey, you haven’t responded and bought,” fill-in-the-blank “product, so I’ve sent you a copy of my last two letters.” It wasn’t a takeaway, which is like, “Hey, you should have responded,” and what was interesting was we always got the highest number of conversions for our clients on the third piece of direct mail that included the first two letters.

Michelle Evans: That’s a different approach. That’s not a, “You haven’t given me money, so I’m gonna kick you out,” kind of approach.

Doug: That’s true.

Michelle Evans: That’s a, “Hey, you missed … You should have seen this. You should have …”

Doug: That was the feedback I got. People said, “Well, hey, I saw it come in, and I was busy, so I put it in my in-basket, and I saw the second letter come in.” Actually, it was a banker that was telling me this because he bought the largest set of ads from the Chamber of Commerce, and he went, “Then I got the third letter and thought, ‘I’m just gonna put everything down, and I’m gonna book the ad right now,'” so follow up as you said, but not in a sleazy way.

What I’d say about tactics is I have tactics that I really like, but tactics, for me, are always tied to ROI, so if the tactics aren’t working or producing ROI, then unless you’re doing them for social reasons, to drop them, but I’ve found that you get leverage if you use multiple platforms.

I’m a big email guy, but I also use email with Google ads and retargeting and remarketing and video and Facebook ads. I find that putting all of those together is like a one plus one equals five or six, not one plus one equals two.

Michelle Evans: I feel like email marketing is the glue that holds a lot of your tactics together, but just like you, I can do a ton of tactics, but what I say is, “Where’s the ROI? Where’s your audience at, and what’s the right conversation that we wanna have with them,” and so it’s really, again, going back to what’s a problem that my audience has, where are they looking for that information, and I need to show up there.

Doug: That’s a great Segway into the two last questions, and one is the toughest question, so I’ll ask you the toughest one first. Who’s one guest I absolutely have to have on my podcast?

Michelle Evans: One of my favorite, actually local people, to me, here, her name is Dr. Michelle Mazur. She works with business owners and entrepreneurs on what is their “three-word rebellion”, she calls it, and a three-word rebellion is really, what’s that thing that makes you stand apart from everybody, and it really helps to attract the right people and to set the stage for the conversation you want to have.

Doug: Well, that’s really cool. I’m going to look into that. I like the sound of it just right off the top. Let’s get to the most important part, and that is if people want to connect with you and work with you and check out what you’re doing, what are the best places for people to reach out and find you?

Michelle Evans: Well, my digital home is at michellelevans.com, and if you want to take that quiz that you were talking about, you can take the quiz right on the homepage there or I’ll set up a special page that’s michellelevans.com/marketing, and you can just take the quiz right there, and then I’m also on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, all the usual suspects. It’s @michellelevans.

Doug: What’s your favorite social platform?

Michelle Evans: My favorite social platform is Facebook because it just helps me stay really connected with my audience and with just people in general and I can have really great conversations with people there.

Doug: Well, that’s really cool.l I want to say thanks so much today for taking time out of your day and investing in our audience and sharing some tips and techniques on how people should get their minds around marketing funnels and how they can use them to create ROI for their business.

Michelle Evans: Thank you so much for having me on.

Doug: Well, there you go, listeners. This is another episode of Real Marketing Real Fast. We will make sure that all the information that we’ve talked about today with Michelle will be transcribed and on the blog when it goes live. We’ll make sure the links to her site are there. I’d really, really encourage you to take the time to go check out her website. It’s really well laid out. It’s really well written, and take the marketing quiz and just see where you’re at. It’ll self-identify and help you to figure that out. I’ve been through the process. I’m super excited to continue this conversation with Michelle.

I just want to say thanks so much for tuning in. Don’t be shy. Head over to iTunes. Leave us a review, and make sure that you subscribe, and I look forward to serving you on our next episode.

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A funnel helps you attract the right people and for some people, that journey’s super short because the sale is relatively small or relatively easy.

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"Innovation isn't just thinking outside the box; it's about setting the box on fire and building something extraordinary from the ashes."

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