I know how it can feel—like ice water thrown on embers that are starting to ignite. When a writer spends years developing her craft and finally musters the courage to submit her work to an agent or publisher, it can feel utterly defeating to learn that writers need an established platform to be considered. It was the need for a platform that helped me realize the powerful benefits of a sales funnel.
A writer may have ideas, talent, an established writing voice, and a strong message. But to reach a wider audience through publication, she must already have a strong email and social following. This is the “platform” that she must bring to the negotiation table.
In seasons past, publishers would carry the burden of sales and marketing on behalf of their authors. But in today’s market, it’s up to the writer herself. Now, a writer must have her own following. She must develop a listening audience with whom she can share her words and prove to agents and publishers that she has sufficient influence to promote her own work.
Building a platform takes time. It can take what feels like centuries, especially when the levels of expected followers can number in the tens of thousands. But with a step-by-step plan to follow and by crafting a compelling message that attracts a target audience, building a platform can feel easier than you expect. In marketing terms, using a tool called a sales funnel can make all the difference.
What is a Sales Funnel?
Imagine becoming known for the problem you help solve. What if you could attract the very people that you feel called to help with your words? How could your writing business become stronger with readers who grow into loyal, raving fans?
With the right tools and frameworks, this is all possible. To build a strong writer’s platform, you need a sales funnel. While the term “sales funnel” may throw you off a bit, it’s a tool that does far more than sell. It helps you take your readers through a natural, relational journey and increase the level of influence you have with them.
A sales funnel is a simple, inexpensive, and effective way to begin attracting the right audience for your writing brand. The even better news is, anyone can create their own sales funnel with just a bit of know-how. It’s a process that uses digital tools to convey your brand message and attract potential customers. Your sales funnel provides a way to communicate with your prospective readers, pique their curiosity about your product, develop engagement, and ultimately ask for the sale.
A Marketing Funnel Can Move a Writer from Invisible to Easily Recognized
The life of a writer can feel pretty lonely—as if you’re on an island by yourself, pouring out words you hope will touch lives, then wondering if anyone is listening. I get it. Without an engaged audience, you may doubt the strength of your message. You may wonder if you have what it takes to be a successful writer.
It shouldn’t be so hard to reach a wider audience who truly needs what you offer and will engage with your words of hope. But how do you find the people who need you?
As a writer, you can keep searching the internet for tips and ideas on marketing, trying different tidbits here and there and hoping they work.
You can keep writing without developing your audience, essentially reaching only your friends and family.
Or, you can discover the steps to implement a sales funnel (sometimes called a marketing funnel) and take the mystery out of growing your audience.
I understand how it feels to publish blog posts that no one reads. I spent years trying to build an online audience, truly to no avail. Finally, I reasoned that if I did not find a way to market well, then I was essentially writing for no one. Through what I learned, I began to set my sights on learning proven methods and discovered the techniques of a sales funnel. That’s when everything clicked. I saw massive increases in my email list, the engagement I have with readers, and income from product sales. My business is still growing in all three areas!
A Sales Funnel Has Many Benefits for Writers
If you’re longing for
- engaged readers who share your social media posts,
- subscribers who look forward to reading your email content,
- customers who pay for your books and supplemental products,
- higher income,
- an established subscriber list,
- and social media followers that help you stand out to agents and publishers,
a sales funnel is the most efficient and cost-effective way to get there.
As I reference a sales funnel, I am speaking of a handful of different components of your marketing plan:
A clear message that addresses the problem your customers face; a compelling elevator pitch, a website that converts leads into sales, a lead generator, an email nurture campaign, and a sales message.
When it’s well-executed, you’re sure to see these 6 surprising benefits of a sales funnel for writers:
1. Move your readers through the natural stages of a relationship
There are three stages of any personal relationship, and they also apply to marketing. The first is curiosity, where a customer becomes curious about what you offer. She wants to know more about you and how you can help her solve a problem she faces. This generally happens through your website and organic social media posts.
The second stage is enlightenment, where you begin to inform your potential customer and help her become more aware of the benefits of doing business with you. The final stage is commitment. This is a natural time to present your customer with an opportunity to buy. These two stages or relationships happen through your email nurture and sales sequence—one of the primary ways of communicating inside your sales funnel.
2. Build trust with your readers with your sales funnel
When potential customers enter your sales funnel, they are curious about you and wonder if you can help them solve a problem they face. They may have met you at a barbecue where you shared a few well-crafted words about what you do, and then visited your website. At this point, they’re unsure whether you are what you say and if you can do what you promise. But they download your lead generator and begin receiving your emails.
By connecting with them regularly and sharing content that will help them discover how to overcome a problem, they’ll begin to trust what you say. Over time, they’ll also begin to develop trust with you as a brand and will be more likely to make a purchase.
3. Enhance the customer journey of your readers
With a strong sales funnel you’ll give your readers an enjoyable experience. You’ll put care and purpose into the journey that you lead them through and they will begin to look forward to hearing from you. This is accomplished by sharing empathy, lightening the mood with a bit of well-placed humor, and giving them timely motivation to move toward their own transformation into who they’d like to become. When you give them an enjoyable experience, they will become loyal followers and brand evangelists who tell others about what you do.
4. Generate sales to sustain and grow your business or ministry
While the purpose of your sales funnel may be to grow your audience, there will be an added benefit. Following the steps will lead to a natural sales cycle. Even if you don’t regularly “sell” to your email list, you may be surprised by people who ask for products they can pay for because the content you share for free is so helpful to them. When you generate sales, you’ll no longer need to sustain your business or ministry with personal funds—you’ll begin to see an income that you can use to bless your family or invest in continued growth.
5. You’ll no longer feel like marketing is a struggle
The time you invest in building an effective sales funnel will bring a return you can feel proud of. You’ll begin to feel confident with the words you use in your messaging and marketing, and you’ll start to see your marketing work. It will feel great to stop feeling as if your marketing is an experiment that never works. Instead, you’ll find it easy and effective as you watch your audience—and your sales—grow!
6. Grow audience numbers that stand out to publishers and agents to advance your career
With an effective sales funnel, you’ll watch your number of followers grow with consistency. You’ll see it on social media, in your website traffic, and most importantly on your email list. (By growing your email list, you have ultimate control of the content your subscribers see and don’t have to trust ever-changing algorithms). Staying in touch with your subscribers will help you develop engagement and loyalty. You’ll demonstrate to publishers that you have the influence needed to market your products with success.
If you need help developing a brand message that’s clear adopting a proven sales funnel strategy, I’d love to introduce you to Platform Builders. It’s a 12-week masterclass paired with group coaching to help you excel.
A sales funnel does far more than sell your products and services. It will help take your readers through a relational journey and increase your level of influence. If you’d like to learn more about creating a sales funnel, I offer a masterclass called Platform Builders that will help you learn and execute a proven framework to grow your audience.
Instead of writing for a small audience of friends and family while wondering if you’re making a difference, you can grow your reader base, develop your brand, and earn the trust of the people who need you most. A sales funnel offers surprising benefits to writers and is the tool you need to take your brand to the next level.