The word “funnel” has become almost taboo. And honestly, most people are confused about what it actually means. 

So let me set the record straight. 

Everyone has a funnel, because a “funnel” is just a customer’s journey to buying something. 

If you have a business and sell something online, you have a funnel. Even if it’s as simple as “go to my website + make a purchase,” that’s your funnel.

In this episode I’m explaining why this is important to understand when you’re putting together your marketing plan, plus… 

  • Why there’s NO SUCH THING as a *successful* cookie-cutter funnel
  • How to actually customize your funnel, even if you’re starting with a TEMPLATE
  • And what questions to ask when you’re thinking like your Ideal Client or Customer

Tune into this episode for a deep dive into one of the most important KEYS to successful marketing. (P.S. This is something I cover when I’m speaking at events – but it’s the first time I’m talking about it here!)

Then, head over to Instagram + share the episode! Tag @emilyhirsh so I can see, too.

If you’re ready for full-suite marketing support including done-for-you Facebook + Instagram ads, head to HelpMyStrategy.com to fill out your application.

Key Points: 

[3:04] “Funnel” is just a word for your customer journey

[4:46] You should NOT replicate anyone else’s funnel!

[7:41] Here’s what to do when you’re creating or optimizing your funnel

[8:53] And here’s an example funnel if you’re targeting stay-at-home moms

[10:26] The KEY: Choose one strategy for 90+ days

[12:50] And trust yourself first, over the ‘funnel gurus’

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Episode Transcripts:  

Emily Hirsh: I’m Emily Hirsh, and this is The Hirsh Marketing Underground Podcast. Attention innovators, influencers, creators, and game-changing entrepreneurs: your internet domination begins right here. We are the powerhouse marketers that you’ve been looking for. You’re already making waves in your industry, and we’re here to help amplify those waves of change by creating a connection that cuts through the noise.

We take everything you’ve built inside your zone of genius and find its audience. With killer strategy and laser eye for impact, we launch multi-million dollar campaigns and skyrocket your reach online. And now, we are doing the unheard of. We’re unveiling everything we’ve learned, taking you behind the scenes with the Hirsh Marketing Team, and giving away the secrets to our clients’ success. Stay tuned for top converting strategy, ROI reports, and insider knowledge that you won’t find anywhere else. You’re changing the world, and we’re the team to help.

Hello, everybody. Welcome to the podcast. I am excited about today. I have some inspiration… Whenever I go speak at an event, I have a lot of conversations before and after I speak with people, and their takeaways from my talk. And so, that always sparks some ideas for the podcast.

I love speaking, because whenever I do, it’s so interesting the different conversations I have afterwards when people come up to me, where the takeaways are unique to each person, what they needed to hear for their business, which is so cool to see. You can give the same presentation to… In this case it was about 300 people that I was talking to, and then have like 10 different conversations that are all a little bit different, because they took away what they needed to take away based on their business, where they’re at, where they need support with marketing, or any takeaways they had from that.

One of the biggest ones that… I kind of one-off said in this speech, I said, “Everyone has a funnel.” And I had three different people come up to me and say like, “That was really cool that you said that, because it helped me understand more [about] what a funnel is.” And then, also on that note, that week, I saw on Facebook, somebody had posted, “Do you think you need a funnel?” And then everybody was commenting if they thought they needed one or not.

But really, everyone has one. And so I wanted to explain this concept for some of you to see if it helps you understand. I think ‘funnel’ has become such a taboo word or just used so often in other people’s marketing that people don’t even trust it. They don’t really understand it. If you go out and talk to a business owner in your town, and you’re like, “Hey, do you have a funnel?” They’re like, “What are you talking about?” They don’t necessarily know.

But then all of these digital marketers know what a funnel is. But it’s also been very skewed by other people trying to sell things about funnels or have trainings on it or different beliefs. But what I said in my talk was, I said, “I want you guys to understand that even if your customer journey or your funnel is, ‘Go to my website and buy [my] product,’ that is your funnel.” Everyone has a funnel. It’s not this secret thing or this fad or whatever. I saw some people commenting that, “Soon it will be a new thing!” No, it’s just a word people are using to describe what I think is more accurately described as a customer journey.

And so, in my speech, I was talking about retargeting ads, and I said, “In order to plan your retargeting ads, what you need to do is draw out your funnel and then pair an ad everywhere that you want somebody to take action. And everyone has a funnel! So, whether your funnel is one step, ‘Click on the website, purchase,’ or it’s multiple steps, like, ‘Webinar, didn’t watch the webinar, get these emails, purchase,’ and it has multiple steps… Everyone has a funnel.

And so, if you just step back and you look at your marketing and your marketing plan and the way you’re getting customers, all it is is, how are you taking somebody who has no idea what you sell, what your brand is, what you offer, doesn’t trust you, doesn’t know you… to becoming a paying customer? What does that journey look like for you?”

What I went deeper into talking about with people, because I think that it goes hand in hand… people hear the word funnel and then they say, “Well, what funnel should I have? If I need a funnel, then whose funnel should I replicate?” And that’s the first thing they start thinking about.

You should replicate nobody’s funnel! Because your business needs to have a custom funnel. Now, there’s templates out there that work well. For example, webinars are great for selling. The way you deliver the webinar, the price point on your webinar, how long, the urgency you have in your offer after the webinar… all of those things should be customized to your ideal customer, because your business and your offering and the person you’re targeting is going to be different [from] every single person around you that you’re getting advice from.

One of the things that drives me crazy is when coaches or courses out there teach somebody one way to do something, and they’re not [flexible] at all with what they teach, so they’re like, “You have to do a funnel this way. It has exactly this many emails. This is how you do it.” And then people go, trying to replicate it… And usually the coach or the course creator is teaching this because it worked for them. And so then they’re taking what worked for them and then they’re showing it to other people and making money off of it, which is fine. The intention is not bad there. I understand that. They had success. They proved a model. They’re trying to make it easier for other people to do the same thing.

But, you have to give people leeway to customize it and almost encourage them to customize it. Your job as a coach or a consultant or a course creator is to make sure people understand that, because students or clients or customers who come in for support with marketing are not going to understand the reason why they have to customize it, and are going to want that template. They want that. “Give me that template, I’ll replicate it, and then I’ll have success.” That doesn’t exist anywhere.

The reason that doesn’t exist anywhere is, we all have different and unique businesses. We all have different and unique people that we target with our businesses. And so that means we can’t have a cookie-cutter customer journey, because what works for a stay-at-home mom is not going to work for an entrepreneur starting their business, in getting them to learn your brand and buy. So everyone has a funnel, but there’s no such thing as a customized funnel.

I want to nail this in, because I know this was eye-opening for the room I was talking in front of, and that means many of you listening will also agree and be like, “Let me look at it this way.” So stop thinking that a funnel is some templated thing you’re going to download in your ClickFunnels account, replicate, and run it for your own audience, and then see success. That is not what it is.

A funnel is a word for a customer journey. Everyone currently has a customer journey, even if it’s one step of “They message me and I sign them as a client,” or, “They go to my website and they buy my product.” That’s your funnel then. That’s your customer journey. It’s not built out, but you have one.

When you’re creating one or you’re optimizing one that maybe didn’t work out how you wanted in the past, or you’re trying to figure out how to get it to work or convert better, put yourself a step back, shut off all the marketing noise that’s driving you crazy and making you think you’ve got to do ‘this,’ and that shiny object syndrome of the next biggest strategy… step back. Put yourself in the shoes of your ideal customer.

Now, step one here has to be, you have to know who your ideal customer is. You cannot create a funnel without knowing who your ideal customer is, because you don’t know how they want to be nurtured. You don’t know how they want to be taken from a cold lead to buying from you. You won’t know any of that unless you’ve defined who they are. And people skip that step… [You need] a deep understanding [of] what is their problem? The main problem, in one sentence. What are they struggling with? What’s their dream, in one sentence? And who is that person? Do you have it documented, written down? So that you’re clear, your team is clear, if you have one, everyone’s clear.

Then you can create a strategy to attract those people. You can create whatever it is. For example, if you’re targeting stay-at-home moms, you’re taking into consideration their time constraints. You’re taking into consideration that they have little kids probably around them. You’re also probably taking into consideration, and don’t take this the wrong way, but a lot of stay-at-home moms don’t have a say over a lot of the financial decisions in their house. That’s just standard. I’m not saying everyone, a lot of people do, but that’s a standard objection you’re going to run into, and it’s important that you face that when creating a strategy so that your messaging and your strategy can address that.

That is how you get a marketing strategy to convert. You step back, you put yourself in the shoes of that person that you already understand, and then you ask yourself like, “What is the type of content that I would want to see that would attract me to a brand, if I was that person? Is it in the format of videos? Is it in the format of podcasts? Is it in the format of writing?” And then, “What are the topics that I would want to hear? What really hit on my pain points, on my dreams, on connecting with me? What are those?” That’s your brand awareness.

Okay. Then, “How would I get them on my email list? Is it a challenge? Is it a webinar? Is it a newsletter?” People don’t really do that anymore, but some e-commerce could do that, coupon-type newsletter. “How am I going to get that initial contact information so I can continue to build the relationship?” And that step’s going to be different for everybody.

The key here is that you choose one. You choose what you think is the best fit. There’s standard ones that convert. I just named some of them. There’s webinars, there’s challenges, there’s video series, there’s case study funnels, there’s general lead magnet opt-ins. There’s, like I said, getting on a newsletter list for a coupon code or something, whatever it is. Those are standard ones that I just listed, but they’re all for different types of industries.

You choose that, and then, how are you going to sell to them? How much nurturing is required before you sell to them? If they don’t buy, how are you going to continue to nurture them, and then offer them your offering again? Play that long game. Build that customer journey out, and customize it to your audience.

Don’t get in the trap where you’re like, “I saw this amazing marketer or this amazing coach, and this is their funnel. I’m going to funnel hack it, and I’m going to replicate it… and it’s not going to work, because it wasn’t authentic to my brand, to my audience, and my customer.” Everyone has a funnel. Everyone needs to customize their funnel to their audience. Then focus on that funnel and perfect that funnel, and it will work, and it will convert. It’s only a matter of time, as long as you stick with it.

I’m talking like at least 90 days, sticking with a strategy and optimizing it, improving it for your audience, listening to your audience. What I want is nobody to get stuck in the mentality of like, “I tried that templated funnel. It didn’t work, so I need to try a whole new one.” I can’t tell you how many people at this event, at past events, and conversations, have said, “I did exactly that so many times.”

So I’m saving you from doing that, from making that mistake, from making that decision, and helping you step back and simplify things! Create a customer journey, look at it as a journey, draw it out, and create it for your audience. You have to know your audience to do that, but create it for your audience. Stick with that strategy, optimize that strategy.

Make sure, if you’re a part of any coaching or programs or anything like that, that you are really aware of making sure there’s room for you to customize things for your audience. If something doesn’t feel right, and you’re like, “I don’t know if that would work for my people.” You know your people better than anybody else. Oftentimes you are your people! A lot of people in their business are targeting themselves, they’re their ideal customer, in the past or whatever.

You know that person better than a coach or a consultant or a course creator usually does. I’m not saying in 100% of cases, but in a lot of cases. So follow that gut instinct and don’t think like, “Okay, well I’m going to do what they say.” People, when they hire agencies, run into this, too. And that’s why I insist that we customize our client strategies on a strategy call.

When we’re on a strategy call, we’re choosing the best option based on understanding your ideal customer. In your intake form, we’re learning who your ideal customer is so that we can then understand and create the best strategy versus saying like, “Every one of our clients is doing a webinar funnel.” We would never do that. And so, if you come across that, run away from it.

But if you ever get that gut instinct where you’re like, “I don’t think this would work for my people,” you’re probably right. And you should follow that, because I’ve had a lot of people who are like, “I’ve invested in a coach or a course. I did exactly what they said. I thought it wasn’t going to work. I thought it wasn’t, but I did it anyways. And now here I am. I’ve spent all this money, and it didn’t work.”

I’m probably going to have some people now like, “I did that!” because it’s very common, and it’s not your fault. In my opinion, it’s the course creator’s and the coach’s responsibility to make sure that they take that into consideration, which maybe they don’t realize. I’ve just seen it too many times to know that there is no cookie cutter strategy, and that everything has to be customized for your business, your brand, your audience.

If you want support with this, if you guys would like a strategy, kind of help crafting that strategy, we do offer those strategy calls, or of course done-for-you marketing from the Facebook ads to the funnels, if that is what you want support with. You can go to HelpMyStrategy.com and apply to work with us. We only take people on who we know we can help. We have a very in-depth application process and a call, so you have nothing to lose going through it. But we can help you come up with that customized plan if you feel like you are stuck there. All right, guys. I will see you next time.

Thanks for listening to The Hirsh Marketing Underground Podcast. Go behind the scenes of multi-million-dollar ad campaigns and strategies, dive deep into The Hirsh Process, and listen to our most popular episodes over at HirshMarketingUnderground.com. If you loved this episode of the podcast, do me a favor and head over to iTunes to subscribe and leave a review, so we can reach more people and change more lives with this content. That’s all for now, and I’ll catch you next time.