5 Lessons Learned From Building A Funnel

I learned five tough lessons from building a funnel with WordPress, more specifically a new funnel for the WP Summit.

Why a new one?

Well, the old one worked very well when the event was live.

But after it ended on March 31st, I didn’t have a single sale – even though the content is evergreen.

Honestly, I thought that the WP Summit was going to bring in residual income almost directly after it had ended.

The feedback I got was overwhelming, both from attendees and speakers.

I wrote guest posts for GoDaddy, SEMrush, and other big platforms.

And I thought those guest posts would help drive traffic to the WP Summit website, which converts visitors into subscribers.

Those subscribers would then receive a series of emails helping them decide whether the WP Summit All Access Pass is a good fit for them.

That funnel made sense to me, and technically everything was working fine.

My theory of getting new subscribers constantly works as well, I still get signups on a constant basis – 3 months after the event ended.

Yet, my email sequence doesn’t convert those new subscribers into customers.

So I had to analyze closely what was going wrong with my funnel, and what I could do to tweak it.

I was building the funnel with WordPress, MailChimp, and Facebook Ads. And in this post I’ll walk you through the most important lessons I learned.

1. Building A Funnel Is A Mindset Thing

I can do pretty fancy stuff with WordPress, yet sales psychology is a topic I’m still learning a lot about.

Writing copy is as well.

Discussions with friends who have more experience in writing sales copy and email sequences showed that my mindset was holding me back.

My email sequence had three emails in total:

  1. A welcome email with a link to the lead magnet
  2. An educational email sharing more value and including a small sales pitch in the end
  3. A pure sales email delivering only very little value

As it turned out, I was so eager about convincing new subscribers to buy the WP Summit, that I turned them off.

For the new email series, I took a step back from those emails and focused more on having a conversation with the new subscribers.

I know that the WP Summit is well worth $147, so I won’t sell as hard on the emails anymore.

A lesson from Derek Halpern stuck with me in this context:

“People pay for convenience and results.” – Derek Halpern

And you bet the 28 interviews on the WP Summit conveniently summarize all relevant strategies for WordPress users and get’s them results.

2. Writing Copy That Sounds Like You

You probably already know that copy is crucial when you’re building a funnel that converts well.

The campaigns of Ramit Sethi are written brilliantly, as was the latest campaign for Selena Soo‘s coaching program.

How do I know?

Well, I see them convert like crazy.

Copywriting on its own is tricky, so you can imagine how hard it is when English is your second language.

Of course, I paid attention to Copyblogger, Copy Hackers, and other resources – and you could tell from my copy.

It sounded like it was straight out of a textbook.

Now I have my buddy Jay helping me with the copy for the new funnels.

3. Not Leveraging Facebook Custom Audiences

I probably spent $50 on Facebook Ads when I launched the WP Summit, yet I had no idea how to take full advantage of this marketing channel.

Over the last week, I spent hours and hours learning about Facebook marketing, and just yesterday I launched the first sequenced campaign on Facebook.

As I’m building a separate funnel for each WP Summit speaker, I’ll use Facebook ads to drive targeted traffic to each landing page.

New subscribers get a checklist from each interview and receive individualized emails.

What I can tell so far is that I’ll never build a funnel without leveraging paid traffic again.

My new funnel has three stages:

  1. Raising brand awareness
  2. Converting visitors into subscribers
  3. Building a relationship with each subscriber and slowly asking for the sale

I’m experimenting a lot with that campaign and of course you’ll see the results once I have a reasonable amount of data.

For now, read this post by Blitzmetrics CEO Alex Houg if you want to dive deeper.

4. Diversifying The Target Audience

The more specific you can target your audience, the higher your conversion rates can grow.

This is a lesson I learned the hard way, as WordPress is probably one of the broadest topics ever.

Now that I’m building a funnel with specific landing pages for each interview, I can start leveraging specific segments in my audience and cater specifically to their needs.

Here’s for the example a landing page dedicated to fans of Dan Norris.

I should have known this rule already when building the first funnel for the WP Summit, yet things were hectic and I was handling the summit on my own.

When you’re building your funnel, make sure that you create specific landing pages for each market segment.

Ryan Magdziarz describes a technique called creating a Niche Stalker File in his interview on the WP Summit:

I’m leveraging this technique now, and I encourage you to invest in the WP Summit All Access Pass if you need help with building your funnel.

If you follow the following interviews you’ll be set for a very successful funnel:

  • Ryan Magdziarz
  • Oli Gardner
  • Liston Witherill

These three hours of content are what I use as reference for building my new funnels.

5. Investing In Quality Software And Services

Investing in high-quality services saved the WP Summit.

I was hosting the website with a cheap web host while I was working on it.

As soon as I saw the traffic increase constantly, I moved the site to Cloudways.

Their scalable servers handled the event like a charm, and now I’m moving all my sites to them.

For building the funnel I also invested in:

You can ruin pretty much everything when you’re saving money on the wrong end.

Having split-testing in place, which allows you to test two versions of a website to increase the conversion rate, is crucial when you’re building a funnel.

Popup forms that open on click of a button are a great way to capture leads on squeeze pages.

Just look at the conversion rate OptinMonster achieved during the WP Summit:

This is the OptinMonster statistic from the WP Summit
This is the OptinMonster statistic from the WP Summit

Selling the WP Summit through Clickbank adds more credibility to the event, it handles the taxes automatically, and it gives me an affiliate system.

Without either of these tools and services (especially hosting at Cloudways) it would even harder to build profitable sales funnels.

A Last Note:

I’m implementing every lesson and a lot more in my case study of building a $10k/month business.

I’ll share the most important lessons on this blog. However, I can’t discuss every finding here. That would simply be way too much.

On the other hand, though, I think that many online business owners could benefit from watching over my shoulder during this case study.

For this reason, I’m about to start a new online course that comes with a private mastermind forum.

I’ll release more information about this project very soon 🙂

If you are already subscribed to my newsletter, you’ll get this information as one of the first. If you aren’t, feel free to join 1,200+ people in my buzzing community!

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