Sales Funnels Are Too Complicated – Do This Instead

Reading Time – 7 minutes

The word “funnels” is now a common trope on the internet, even with people who don’t sell anything. Russell Brunson made this term popular with his company Clickfunnels as well as many of his books, some of which I have read.

If you don’t know what a funnel is, it refers to a model that describes the customer journey toward the purchase of a product or service. It includes all the steps from when they see a cold ad all the way when they make a purchase on a web page. The ad they click on, the sales page or video sales letter page or opt-in page they go to, the opt-in, the follow-up emails, the webinar, the pitch email, the discovery call, the buy link, and so on are all (possible) components of a funnel.

This concept is visualized as a “funnel” because it represents the idea that at each stage of the process, the audience becomes narrower as potential customers drop off at various points before a purchase is made (which is usually true).

You use a funnel instead of just running an online ad that sends people right to your website where you immediately try to get them to buy something. This is extremely hard to do unless what you’re selling is cheap (well under $20), and even then it’s pretty hard.

This is because this person has no idea who the hell you are. Are you going to give money to some random person you didn’t know anything about up until 25 seconds ago? Probably not, especially today when skepticism in the Collapsing Western World is at an all-time high.

The concept of the funnel works well because it “educates” a cold prospect and gets them to learn about you and trust you. THEN it asks for the sale. I’ve made a lot of money from various funnels I’ve used in the past and two or three I use today.

The problem is that the concept of the funnel has been massively overcomplicated. Even in Russel’s first book on the subject, which is the most popular book on funnels by far, he lists about 22 different types of funnels. Three-step funnels, two-step funnels, high ticket funnels, webinar funnels, product launch funnels, value ladder funnels, tripwire funnels, all kinds of complicated shit.

There are challenge funnels, VSL funnels, upsell funnels, lead magnet funnels, application funnels, and on and on. It’s a damn mess.

If you have a mature online business where you’re spending a lot of money on ads and/or have a big audience, then these complex funnels can often make sense for you. For the other 90% of location-independent business owners, or those who would like to start a business like this, all of this complexity just serves to confuse people.

I think that much of this crap is meant to be complex to turn away would-be entrepreneurs from even starting an online business. “OMG, this looks so complicated! Selling stuff on the internet must be really hard! I’ll just skip it and put up with my soul-crushing 9-to-5 job I guess.”

I can tell you for a fact that there are people who own profitable online companies like mine who don’t want any new possible competitors in the marketplace.

So today, I’m going to tell you the only funnel that you’ll likely ever need. Even better, it’s probably the most simple form of funnel there is. Most online companies can make a six-figure income just on this simple funnel alone. And sure, once you start making more than $100K/year in your online business, you can look at doing other kinds of funnels if you want (but even then you probably won’t need to).

This super-simple but effective funnel looks like this:

Paid Ad (or link on your social media) > Squeeze Page > Lead Magnet > Brief Email Follow-up > Email Pitch > Sale

First, you have an advertisement you pay for on something like Instagram, TikTok, Facebook, YouTube, Google, or whatever. This advertises the solution to some kind of problem or some cool benefit without getting into too many specifics. Alternatively, you can have a link that you tell people to click via your social media, podcast, YouTube videos, or whatever (that’s the free way of doing this instead of paying for ads; it works but it takes longer and requires more effort).

This ad (or link) goes to a squeeze page. The only thing the user can click on this entire page is to enter their email address into a box and then press a button. The text on the squeeze page sells a lead magnet, which is a very cool but 100% free thing (PDF, audio file, video, whatever) that helps the user solve their problem or get a cool result. Some squeeze pages have videos (called VSLs or Video Sales Letters) on them to help sell the lead magnet.

If the user plugs in their email address, your email autoresponder software instantly emails them their lead magnet. Now, you’ve got what you’ve really wanted the whole time: their email address.

Now you start sending them emails that have helpful content regarding their problem or result. After one or two of those, you then send them a pitch email that sells the actual thing you’re selling, telling the prospect to click this link to go buy it.

That link goes to an order page (or sales page) where they finally buy your thing (or perhaps schedule a phone call with a salesperson if the item is higher-ticket). Then you get money and smile. Instead of an instantaneous process, the process takes a few days, but the odds of getting a sale are much higher.

This really is one of the simplest funnels you can create, and it works just fine. Sometimes simple works best.

It works even better when you combine it with one of my main pieces of business advice, which is to NICHE. If you combine this simple funnel with an extremely narrow niche, it “supercharges” the funnel making it even more effective.

Want to make the funnel even more effective? Have a strong organic presence on social media, so if the funnel prospect searches for you on Google or YouTube, all kinds of helpful content pop up along with photos and/or videos of you showing you’re a real person. It’s social proof that further improves the odds of a sale. (Here’s a little secret. This is literally the only reason I bother to do videos and social media at all; to supercharge my sales and marketing processes which are all happening behind the scenes.)

This is all you need to do to get people to buy your thing. Keep it simple, keep it niched, and you’ll make money.

Question of The Week:

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H.G. Writes:

I’m keen to launch an online coaching business in Singapore for the Chinese market as I believe there’s a good market there for it. However after looking into the process there are a few questions/queries I have that I hope you can advise me on.

#1 Where do I host the website? I could host it in Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan, or China. I know you need a website license to host in China which takes a while to sort out but a lot of the information online says that if you want your business to succeed, the website needs to be hosted in China, though there are other arguments saying HK or Singapore is fine regardless of the Great Firewall. What would you do?

 #2 Should I post in Mandarin on the website or presume there’s enough English speakers in the Chinese market? I’ll have to get a Chinese website designer to create my site as the layout that appeals to Chinese customers is different to the Western style, so if I do post in Mandarin I’ll need to hire someone to translate my articles AND also give them access to the website to be able to put in my posts. I’d like to add some other stuff like an online store and a membership program after a while, so they’d effectively be running it if I go down the Chinese language route which would mean a continued financial layout. I don’t have a large budget so I’d like to keep costs down but equally don’t want to cut corners that limit my chances of success.

I’m unclear on who exactly your target niche is, which means I have a feeling you are unclear as well. You said “coaching business in Singapore,” but then you’re talking about China, and then you say “English speakers in the Chinese market.” You’re all over the place. You really need to niche and narrow this down.

For example, “English-speaking Chinese people living in Singapore and who work in the banking sector.” Now that’s a niche, and now we have something to work with. Or “Chinese fitness trainers living in China who only speak Mandarin.” You get the point.

Also remember that, for example, people in HK, Guangxi, and Guangdong don’t speak Mandarin. They speak Cantonese (simple vs. traditional characters, very different colloquial expressions, etc.). Again, the need for specificity.

Once you have that narrowed down, that tells you where your website should be. If it’s selling to people in Singapore, it should be hosted in Singapore and probably should be in English. If you’re targeting people in Northern China, it should be hosted in China and ideally should be in Mandarin. If the region is Southern China or HK, it should be (probably) in Hong Kong and should be in Cantonese. You deal with China’s firewall as best you can regardless of where the website is.

If your niche is English speakers, then this is going to be a lot easier. If it’s non-English speakers, then yes, you’re going to have to work with some translators and have the sites in Mandarin/Cantonese, or at least have Mandarin/Cantonese versions in addition to English versions.

A good way to do this is to use software to translate the site material and then hire a human translator to “clean up” the results of the software. The good news is that soon AI will be able to give you near-perfect translations without having to hire anyone (but not yet).

FYI, on my to-do list is to write a completely different version of my Alpha Male book for a Chinese non-English-speaking market, and I promise you the entire thing, with all of its websites, will be in Mandarin.

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