Low Pressure Funnel: 8-Step Ethical Sales Funnel For Online Courses

Milo Gordon
Aug 13, 2018 · 19 min read

The 8 Step Ethical Sales Funnel

A quick summary of the 8 sales funnel steps before you read…

Follow these steps in this specific order if you want the perfect sales funnel

1). Write a blog post packed full of value that exceeds people’s expectations

2). Build your evergreen funnel with landing pages and autoresponders

3). Promote your article using both paid and free traffic

4). Transition readers to email subscribers by offering natural content upgrades in your post

5). Retarget those that didn’t offer you an email via Facebook with a lead magnet

6). Take your email subscribers through a mini version of your course or product through 7 daily emails

7). Qualify your audience with a small product then send your email subscribers to a sales page for your product once they know, like and trust you

8). Offer up-sells to increase the LTV of your customer

So I guess you want the Step-by-Step instructions to implement this sales funnel? Before we jump in… let’s make it clear who this is for:

  1. Folk who want to sell their own online course asap
  2. People who already sell an online course and want to improve conversions or stop selling in a high pressure salesey way
  3. Anyone who’s interested in using a sales funnel to sell anything!

If any of those people are you I would highly suggest that you keep reading!

If you are asking yourself ‘how to sell an online course’ or ‘how to sell online courses’ this blog will be easy to directly apply … if you are any of the other people are you I’ve included helpful examples of how you can apply this universal sales funnel strategy.

The 3 Line Sales Funnel Summary

  1. Build an audience through value content
  2. Nurture your audience through emails
  3. Ask your audience to buy your product

That’s the Big Picture.

It sounds very simple right?

But walk away with just those 3 ‘steps’ and you’ll quickly find there’s a bit more detail to it.

So if you want the detail stick with me.

I’ll be honest, the reason I wrote this is because I was getting really stuck trying to develop my own funnel

I’d read absolutely everyone’s opinion and there were so many options .. I was completely overwhelmed

This blog is really the definitive ‘step-by-step everything you need to think about’ in one easy package ..

Simply put … I wish I had this when I started !

The Low Pressure Funnel

The Low Pressure Funnel is what I’m going to talk you through step-by-step today..

It’s the exact funnel I use myself to convert leads into individuals that I have a great relationship with based on providing value

This type of funnel is called an evergreen sales funnel … you set it up once … then it’s done.

That’s important for a few reasons:

1. It runs 24/7 automatically (sell while you sleep)

2. You don’t have to rely on overpromising, fake scarcity and promotions

3. You can keep a relaxed and honest tone in your writing

The greatest benefit in my eyes is that you can remain transparent and honest. I can’t imaging selling a product that overpromises and underdelivers.

So how can you possibly expect someone to buy a product that looks like it’s overpromising?

I’ll now go in depth into how to arrange and setup each stage of the funnel.

click here to get it now

1). Write a blog packed full of value that exceeds anyones expectations

The mission here is to provide an immense amount of value upfront … usually marketers ask for an email before delivering any value … don’t do that if you want a true relationship with your audience

Structure this article in a simple, easy to follow way .. Mirror this structure if you’d like

When I create a post I make sure it’s full of actionable advice and step-by-step instructions

Remember, the blog is you giving out your knowledge ..

.. but your course explains how to impliment it and gives your customer as much content ‘done for you’ as possible ..

.. so don’t worry about ‘giving out too much’

An advantage of a blog is that it’s incredibly versatile

You get traffic to a post from SEO, and furthermore those folk are already guaranteed to be interested ..

.. they searched for it!

And as you can see in the funnel diagram above we also direct Facebook ads to the blog post rather than straight to an eBook.

The brilliant thing about doing this is that we have a very open way of giving loads of value … there is no barrier between your writing and your audience .. no paywall

It also shows to your audience how committed you are to providing value to them.

This is the first part of respectful marketing and an ethical sales funnel.

2). Build your evergreen sales funnel with landing pages and autoresponders

Now you have your article we need somewhere to put it

So you’ll need a website

(Note: This is only one way of doing it. I’ll release a blog shortly explaining alternative better methods)

I’d suggest having your main website built on WordPress (which is free) and then build your landing pages with ClickFunnels

WordPress is a simple blogging platform and ClickFunnels is a sales funnel building platform that allows you to easily create purpose driven web pages … It can seem expensive but it’ll save you a lot of time rather than building each page yourself

Use your wordpress website to host your blogs or video content … then when you need to collect and email or sell you send your audience to ClickFunnels

This is every page a potential customer could land on:

This shows what portion of your sales funnel can be run off of a very very simple website, and how much you should use a specialised web builder for.

Why am I recommending two separate systems?

Well, simply put each of them are not great at doing the other’s job

Furthermore they are very simple to string together plus WordPress is free.

You can see how I setup my ClickFunnels sales funnel below:

So this is all you have to do:

1. Setup your WordPress blog

2. Create an email collection box with SurveySlam or Clickfunnel’s ClickPop

3. Build your 4 pages in ClickFunnels

4. Send your audience that has given your their email address to the ClickFunnels funnel

Lot’s of beginners and even marketers like to overcomplicate their funnel and get stuck trying to build it with crazy automations.

If you keep this structure, once it’s setup once it can run forever as long as folk read your blog

So that’s exactly what we’ll cover now…

click here to download now

3). Promote your blog using both paid and free traffic

Of course it’s important to have people read your blog as it’s the starting point of your sales funnel

Think about a river. A river must have a constantly flowing source otherwise it dries up. And larger rivers often even have multiple sources

That’s exactly the way you need to think about your sales funnel

Unfortunately the sources of readers online aren’t quite as reliable so it’s sensible to use atleast 2–3

I’ll walk you through 3 right now .. the same 3 I’ll use to promote this blog

3.1) Facebook Ads

I use paid traffic as a source of cold traffic .. this means that we direct potential leads who have never heard of us to our blog

But more on that concept another time…

So now I’ll show you an example ad I’ve run, the maths behind my Facebook strategy and the basics of how to setup your own ad

We have to consider the maths when we spend money too ensure money isn’t being wasted whilst trying to sell an online course or product

It’s fairly simple ..

Assume I have an online course that costs £200

Let’s imagine I spend £200 on ads and for each person that goes to my blog (each click on the ad) I pay the average of 20p (this value is called CPC). Now I have 1000 individuals reading at my blog (£200/£0.20).

So if only 10% of these people now give me their email address through a content upgrade that’s 100 leads, 100 interested customers. At this point I’ve paid £2 per lead. That’s not too bad.

Now out of that 100 now only 10%, 10 people, end up buying my £200 course.

10 sales x £200 per sale = £2000. Take away the cost of advertising (£200) and we are left with a £1800 profit

I think that this optimistic conversion rate is completely realistic if you follow what I’m teaching you here… it’s all about being honest and keeping it low pressure on your audience even if this seems contradictory to traditional online selling.

Of course we aim to have a high conversion rate in order to keep our costs down.

The lower the conversion rate, the more we have to spend on ads for the same number of people.

Therefore it’s important that we optimise every step of the way… and this starts at the ads.

I’m jumping ahead slightly… let’s start from the beginning of setting up an ad. (I’ll assume your a beginner, if not skip to my advert examples)

1. Begin with a clicks campaign

You may be asking why not use the sign up objective presented by Facebook.

Well, we don’t want to waste our money .. Facebook will spend more money per person on the sign up objective

Since we are not demanding an email to read our blog (like most markters) we actually save money here!

2. Targeting your ad

Targeting an ad is where the art of Facebook advertising comes in …

Make sure to spend some time researching your audience in Audience Insights

For example I might use targeting like this:

So how does targeting work in this example?

Russell Brunson is a very famous marketer so this is suitable for me as this ensures that folk I’m targeting have some interest in marketing with sales funnels

Tai Lopez narrows down my audience even more

Now for this specific advert I’m going to be targeting men & women who want to make money whilst still at school so I have chosen a relevant demographic

Notice how it says ‘MUST ALSO’? This means that the people that see this ad must fit in to all 3 of the categories I’ve chosen.

To do this just choose the ‘Narrow further’ button

Make sure to look at your Audience Size

Beginners often either go way to low or way to high in this category… just below 100k is the sweetspot

2. Ad Design

Now all that’s left to do is to design the ad and write the ad copy

You can create an image in free software such as Canva really easily

Make sure to include a photo of yourself and keep your writing brief!

Here’s a full example ad I made: (I’ve blurred out the name of the page I use to test ads)

3.2) Poster Boy

This strategy was devised by the guys at VideoFruit, you can read the full blog here

It works once you have already had some sucess, but if you are in that position it’s great for rapid exposure

The strategy is as follows:

1. Choose a service or product with the same target audience as you

2. Create a success story from using that service or product

3. Let them know the results of your success (offer to write for them)

4. Become a featured story on their website homepage or blog

By becoming a success story for someone else, beginners will search for you to learn from your success. It’s a win-win.

For example: If you are a personal trainer you may write to a protein powder or workout equipment company you use and explain the incredible results you have achieved with their product. Offer to write a blog for them or mention that you’d be happy to write a short testimonial for their website. Make sure that your name is visible and you will benefit from their traffic!

3.3) Community

Another great free approach based on providing value to folk asking questions via community platforms

This is a great way to get your name out there in your community and also drive people who you know will be interested to your blog

1. Share your blog via InboundOrg, Medium or a similar community forum (include the links to your content upgrades)

(for a dog training course you might share your blog here or here)

2. On the same website answer as many people’s questions as you can that are similar to your post (make the answers super in depth and useful)

3. In your answers direct users to your website

4. Find commenters on similar submissions Twitter accounts and send them a personal link to the blog

4.5. You could do the same for people that upvoted your answers

4). Transition readers to email subscribers by offering natural content upgrades in your article

Content upgrades are where we aim to collect email addresses in exchange for more valuable content for your audience.

For example if my course was about dog training and my blog of course on the same topic, my content upgrade might be for ‘The Best Dog Food For Each Breed Of Dog’ or perhaps a video explaining how to train your puppy to sit.

The idea is that this content is an extension or upgrade to your blog

After clicking on the content upgrade (which could be a link or an image) you send the lead to your thank you page and using email automation, send them their content upgrade file.

The main advantage of using content upgrades is that we only collect email addresses of people who are interested enough in what we are teaching to ask for more

It may look great to have an email list of 100,000 people..

but I’d much rather have a list of 1,000 who I know are actually really intereted in what I have to teach.

But why is it important to even have an email list?

Well it allows us to speak to leads directly..

we can gain leads’ trust and respect over a period of time ..

before we ask them to buy anything, through an email campaign.

Most leads have to be nurtured in a way…

If someone walked up to you on the street walked up to you and asked for £200 for their “lifechanging program” you’d tell them to .. off.

Without being able to communicate with a potential buyer via email you are pretty much doing the online version of that

Long story short: you need to collect emails of interested readers.

This also leads to an ethical sales funnel as we aren’t tricking anyone into buying that does not want to

So because your paid product, your core offer, is highly related to your blog you essentially have a list of really interested buyers!

5). Retarget those that didn’t offer you an email via Facebook with a lead magnet

After having lots of blog post readers but only a small fraction as email subscribers, retargeting is your chance to convert some more of those readers to subscribers.

All retargeting does is send an advert to a specific audience that have already read our blog …

then we are going to offer them a ‘lead magnet’ which will be the same as one of our content upgrades.

Let me show you an example advert I use, the exact steps to setup your retargeting and how you should structure your ad copy.

First we create a Custom Audience

Then choose Website Traffic

And finally setup exactly like this

Put the link of your post in the first box and the link to the place leads arrive after they sign up with their email

So now we have an audience that have read our blog… that have not signed up for a content upgrade (notice the ‘exclude’)

Now every time someone has read my blog but not signed up they will automatically be added to this Custom Audience…

and once we setup an advert using this custom audience Facebook will automatically show that ad to anyone who has read but not signed up. Not bad!

Therefore we take people back into the sales funnel via an advert.

The great thing about this is that it will cost us less per person to get a visitor to our landing page as they are a warm audience..

what I mean by this is that they already know who we are so they are more likely to click on our ad

Setting Up:

  1. Create a Conversion ad with the Lead pixel

This can be a bit complicated to setup, I can’t cover it here so I’d recommend having a look at this

2. Add your Custom Audience

3. Now setup your ad like this…

In your description use a…

  • Question to grab attention
  • Brief explanation of your main offer
  • Some bullet point features

Now all you have to do is design a landing page that allows leads to download these extras!

6). Take your email subscribers through a mini version of your course or product through 7 daily emails

Remember this diagram?

It’s time to focus on the 7 Day Email Course.

We talked about the importance of collecting emails before, now I’m going to show you how we use them.

In this diagram the solid boxed represent options we present to our audience, they choose to continue down the sales funnel.

The outline boxes represent the parts of the funnel that are just there.

It’s an option because we only want to send this email series to people who actually want it…

so we ask people if they want to sign up on the same page as we offer the downloads for their content upgrades.

Make sense?

See how the 7 Day Email Course is the main bridge between our free content and our paid content?

That’s why it’s so important..

and so powerful … if you do it right.

This step is what creates trust and respect, establishing a relationship with new leads.

And we do it all using an ESP (Email Service Provider) such as Drip, ActiveCampaign or MarketHero, ConvertKit.

This is an example of an automated marketing email workflow…

Looks complicated…

It’s the same system I use to built trust and respect by delivering value to leads. I share some of my secrets to to with building sales funnels.

The emails should be a mini version of what your course will teach, for me I aim to teach the basics of using sales funnels for online courses in a series of 7 lessons.

Here are a few things I do to make my email series incredibly powerful…

I use the same engagement techniques as hit TV shows

Get my audience to actually ask in order to get the next email

Activate my audience in the first email

These techniques are crazy powerful in building a highly engaged audience and also segmenting your audience

click here to download now

You could sign up and see for your self!

7). Qualify your audience with a small product then send your email subscribers to a sales page for your product once they know, like and trust you

This is probably one of the most important pages in your sales funnel.

We call it a tripwire product or tripwire offer

So many people miss the purpose of it…

It has two functions:

1. We know that anyone who buys our small >£15 product is very interested in what we are teaching

2. The leads pay for themselves (assuming it costs >£15 to get someone to this point in the sales funnel )

So how do we direct our audience to this tripwire offer?

You should always send people to the sales page for this product immediately after they optin for your 7 day email course

Do you understand why?

The other place you direct folk to this product is quite early on in your automated email course

However, there is a much more advanced and powerful way of arranging this that involves email segmentation and lead scoring .. it’s pretty cool but too advanced to cover now.

Anyway…

This low price product could be a mini video course, a physical product you send out or a medly of swipe files, guides and templates.

For example if your course was on dog training, you might sell a dog toy that you recommend as the best and position it as a ‘Free gift, just pay for shipping!’

Finally.

It’s time to sell your CORE product. Your online course.

Now we know that anyone who has bought the tripwire product is hyper interested in the topic of your course.

So… you’ve guessed it….

We sell our course only to these people.

As before, immediately after buying this product we send them to our full sales page for our CORE online course product

But what about the people who haven’t bought the tripwire product but still may be interested?

That’s where we benefit from having an email course as part of our sales funnel.

At around lesson 5 in your course we begin to talk about and sell our online course.

Important: I italicise the word sell because after providing so much value to our audience all we are doing is asking if they even more value for money.

Just drop in some links to your course when relevant or in the P.S. section of your emails.

I think that this is the point at which the Low Pressure Funnel (the name of this sales funnel strategy) really shines. We haven’t had to do a crazy over the top sell with countdown timers, webinars and special offers because all along we’ve known who is most interested.

We only ever mention our product to the people that are actually most interested and will benefit the most. That is the beauty of qualifying leads and not taking shortcuts.

8). Offer up-sells to increase the CLV of your customer

Two words to define here…

Up-sells: Offering a customer additional value in order to get them to spend more

CLV: (Customer Lifetime Value) The total amount of money you earn from a customer ever

Simply put we want to offer upsells to increase the value of a customer to us.

There are lots of places we could impliment an upsell in our funnel.

Perhaps you might include a £47 upsell in the checkout form of your tripwire so that your tripwire effectively pays for all of your Facebook Advertising.

This is what makes a sales funnel really profitable.

A great upsell if you can’t think of one is a 30-min strategy session phone call with you…

Here’s what a bump cart looks like:

Use that format for upsells under £100. ClickFunnels has an option to impliment this to your checkout page really easily.

This is what the more advanced and more expensive upsell looks like:

A great product to offer as your OTO (One Time Offer) is a reduced price of a service you usually offer. I might choose to offer a reduced price consultancy service, or even a funnel building service. Anything that makes your online course even more useful but isn’t necessary.

I hate seeing people leave out things that should be in their online course just so they can charge more for them as an upsell.

To briefly explain the downsell: It’s a sort of last offer to see if you can tempt your audience to your upsell if they’ve said no. You can offer some extras or anything that makes your upsell even better.

Please don’t reduce the price of your upsell as a Hail Mary… it looks very tacky.

You should have enough respect for the product that you are offering and trust that it’s worth the price you’ve put on it … or ideally more!

Now…

I really hope that this was useful.

That’s always my goal.

If you run an online business …

… do you have a sales funnel that generates you sales every single day?

… or do you rely on only just ethical ‘salesy’ strategies?

Well, if you want to step up your game you can get all of my resources here so you can implement this business-changing funnel!

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD NOW

From a great article by Blair Warren: Why We Rarely Finish (or really even start)

​ Most of us can’t get ourselves to take action until we’re utterly miserable. We can think about taking action. We can even want to take action. But, we won’t.

​ The moment our misery becomes too much for us, we’ll do anything to relieve it.

​ We join a gym. We buy a book. Whatever. And, as a result, we suddenly feel fantastic!

​ Why?

​ Because that first step lifts us out of total misery and gives us hope. And that trip — between the two extremes of misery and hope — is a rush.

​ We find ourselves wondering why it took us so long to act in the first place. And then we pat ourselves on the back. And we suggest our friends make the same change in their lives. Come on in. The water feels great!

​ But then, something terrible happens. The high begins to wear off and we realize we must do something to stop the slide. But what?

​ We ponder the prospect of taking the second step toward our goal but are met with the sobering realization that it will never provide the psychological payoff that the first step did.

​ At best, the second step will inch us a little further toward our goal. At worst, it will inch us a little closer back toward misery since it reminds us how much work we still have to do. You mean there’s more to it than just the first step?

​ Now we have a problem.

If this article was of any value to you, there is plenty more at lucidenquirer.com

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