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Sales Funnel Part 5 | Back-End Conversion

Back end conversionIn this segment of the Sales Funnel process series, I want to discuss “back-end conversion.”

After you’ve struggled to get a prospect to buy your front-end product, your immediate goal should be to increase your front-end sale by offering an upsell OTO (one-time offer).  If that fails, you should then promote a downsell product in one final attempt to maximize the front-end sale.

Now, the purpose of the front-end of the sales funnel is to recoup your investment.

Let’s examine a sales campaign a bit closer.  

Say you paid $300 for a pay per click ad and ended up with 75 optins to your emails list.  In addition you got 10 paying customers from whom you earned exactly $300 profit. I’d say you ran a very profitable campaign.

Obviously, you only earned your money back.

That’s only on the front-end of the sales funnel, though.

You also wound up with 75 subscribers to your email list.  That’s even more significant in the long run, because those are the people you’ll target for your long-term, back-end conversion campaign.

You see, the front-end campaign is really only designed to allow you to keep spending money on sales campaigns.  If you spend $300 and get back $300, what you really gained was 75 subscribers in your perpetual sales funnel.

If you continue to break even with campaigns like this, you can keep building a laser targeted subscriber list for free just as fast as you rinse and repeat the process.  If you actually make money on the front-end, that’s fine.  But the truth is, you can actually lose money on the front-end as long as it is offset by your back-end conversions.


The Perpetual Sales Funnel

The back-end of your sales funnel is not more important than the front-end, it is just more profitable.  Without a compelling front-end offer and artfully crafted funnel process, you won’t get people into your sales funnel at all, leaving the issue of how to develop its back-end meaningless.

Still, assuming your front-end offers are pulling folks into the funnel, you must recognize that you are now in management of a perpetual sales funnel.  It is “perpetual” in theory only, of course.  It will exist for as long as you continue to work on it.

To maintain the back-end of your sales funnel, you must work on two main things:

1.  Building relationships with your subscribers
2.  Presenting them with meaningful conversion opportunities

Building Relationships

The back-end of your sales funnel is usually centered around your email list.

Marketers have talked for years about the death of email marketing, but in fact, it is still the place where most actual “conversion” of subscribers into buyers occurs.

The mistake many email marketers make is to do nothing more with their email list than pitch offers.  You can do that, of course, but it’s not the best way to build a strong and perpetual business model.

It is far better to build a relationship with your subscriber that will exist whether or not they become a buyer.

Building a relationship requires that you know what your subscribers want, and giving it to them.  Know their problems, and solve them.  Share yourself, your stories, and your point of view in order to cultivate a relationship with your subscribers.

Because relationship building is so important, it is a good idea to expand your points of contact with subscribers beyond just email.  Pull them into your Facebook group, have them enter your Google+ circles and invite them to your webinars.

These are all excellent ways to build relationships while bolstering your personal brand.


Present Meaningful Conversion Opportunities

The biggest goal of the entire sales funnel process is to convert your subscribers into buyers of your products and services.  

For as long as subscriber remains in your sales funnel, you should be offering them two types of purchasing opportunities.

Present them with offers to buy small ticket items on a regular basis.  These small ticket items should be things that help them achieve the goals they have and overcome the problems they typically encounter in achieving those goals.

Occasionally, you should introduce a high ticket item that can help get your subscriber to a much higher level of accomplishment.  This could be a training course, a done-for you offer or a coaching program.

This is where the sales funnel finally becomes a profitable enterprise.

As people get in the habit of buying small ticket items from you, their trust in you grows.

When you make high end offers, they are far more likely to purchase if they have that trust already built in to the relationship you’ve fostered with them.

Have you ever tried to get people into a sales funnel, only to drop the ball by not developing the back-end of the funnel over a sustained period of time?  Have you struggled trying to figure out what to offer on the back-end, or how to present it? 

Let me hear what you think in the comments below, and please… be sure to share this article on your social sites.

David Merrill 101
I'm an Internet Marketer and Online Marketing Coach. My students learn no-nonsense, power strategies and techniques to build solid blogging and internet businesses. David Merrill+

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18 Responses to Sales Funnel Part 5 | Back-End Conversion

  1. Sarah Arrow January 19, 2014 at 8:13 am #

    Hi David, I love your section on meaningful conversion and sharing content and products that move the subscriber towards their goal. I recently read an article that said on a weekend you should present a low price offer around $7 and bigger ticket items during the week. What are your thoughts around that strategy?
    Sarah Arrow´s last blog post ..Word Science: How to Use Amazing Words to Get More Shares

    • David Merrill 101 January 19, 2014 at 5:22 pm #

      It makes logical sense to me, Sarah, that people are more likely to make impulse purchases on the weekend when their objection mentality is probably a bit more at rest.

      I have not tested it though, so I can only guess at this for myself.

      • Sarupa Shah January 26, 2014 at 11:37 am #

        ooo I like that idea re: weekends and weekdays and David as ever I love how you explain things…admittedly I had to read this article twice as I have this turn off when it comes to business and internet marketing terms…but as I know I let myself get over it ;0) – I have been noticing more and more emails in my inbox which are coming in fast and have a quick me and my wife did this and then I made this buy it approach and it is so unbelievable, so contrived and nothing about relationships…what you talk about is the genuine relationship part which is necessary for trust to be built!
        Sarupa Shah´s last blog post ..How to make your money affirmation work!

        • David Merrill 101 February 9, 2014 at 11:19 pm #

          Relationships are totally the key, Sarupa.

          I’ll tell you, honestly, it’s not an easy chemistry to stir up. I work hard at it, and the more I do the better I get at it (I think).

          Then I watch what some other marketers do and it all seems to come so effortlessly to them. I guess some of us just have to work harder than others to accomplish the same thing 🙂

  2. Monna Ellithorpe January 19, 2014 at 11:19 am #

    Hi David,

    You have written a great post with great information. Myself, I am not fond of this type of strategy. When I come to a site that does this, I back out completely. Maybe I look at things differently because obviously it does work for many marketers.

    Have a great day. Monna
    Monna Ellithorpe´s last blog post ..Google Alerts and Why You Should Use Them

    • David Merrill 101 January 19, 2014 at 5:19 pm #

      I’m not really talking about converting people to offers from a site, Monna. This process refers to people who have already voluntarily entered your sales funnel, and have opted in to receiving emails from you.

      As a marketer, you now have an obligation to offer these people information, training, products and services that will help them achieve the goals they have. It’s not about trying to convince them that they need something.

      They’ve already told you, by taking the action required to enter your sales funnel, that they are interested in the products, information and trainings you have to offer. Now, it’s your obligation to live up to their expectations, and offer them things that will, in fact, help them along the way.

  3. Lesly Federici January 20, 2014 at 9:40 am #

    Hi David…
    I’m just starting to understand all this stuff really … learning about the psychology of creating a funnel, what the pieces of it are and how to put it all together. Quite a lot to understand, so I appreciate your posts
    Lesly Federici´s last blog post ..Delicious Questions For Your Business

    • David Merrill 101 January 21, 2014 at 12:24 am #

      A sales funnel is just a term we use to describe how we go about promoting ourselves, our business, our professional practice.

      I’ve been discussing it in terms of internet marketing, but sales funnels have been used forever, long before the internet existed.

      One quick example. Lawyers often give free consultations, or very cheap services for simple things like creating a will.

      They don’t just do this because they’re happy to help out. They do it so you will come to know, like and trust them. Then, when you need more expensive legal services, you’re very likely to use them.

      That’s a sales funnel. The free consultation is a lead magnet, the cheap will is a front end product. These are the things that bring you into their sales funnel (although they don’t call it that). All the other service are back-end products that you will hopefully be converted to once you’re a faithful client.

      Thanks for visiting, Lesly. Keep on learning all you can. That’s the foundation for achieving your goals. Glad to be able to help.

  4. Kumar Gauraw January 23, 2014 at 7:20 pm #

    Hi David,

    This is such an excellent writeup that you had my attention throughout. This series is very powerful and simple enough that anybody can understand and walk away more knowledgeable than they came here.

    I learnt a few things about running campaigns from your post and I want to thank you for doing such a great job with your blog here!

    Have a glorious rest of the week and the weekend!

    Kumar Gauraw´s last blog post ..Guest Blogging – Before You Nail The Coffin Shut, Read This!

    • David Merrill 101 January 25, 2014 at 8:15 pm #

      Thanks for stopping by, Kumar.

      Glad to hear you’ve learned a few things about operating sales funnels.

      Funny thing for me, is when I talk to people who tell me they have no sales funnel, when in fact they do.

      I had one client who told me she had no idea what a sales funnel was. Meanwhile, she was offering a free ebook about writing on her blog. When people opted in to receive the free ebook, she eventually offered her writing for hire services to them. She was pretty surprised to hear that THAT is a sales funnel. The ebook is the front end of the process, the service she offers is the back end.

      So, while it might sound like a complicated thing, sales funnels are a very natural, almost intuitive way of doing business online or offline.

      • Kumar Gauraw February 2, 2014 at 12:34 pm #

        Wow! That is a great story and a common one. To tell you the truth, an year ago, if you had asked the same question to me, perhaps I would have given you the same answer 😉

        I come from an engineering background studied in India where sales is not even a topic of discussion although we start marketing our resume’s as soon as we get out of college for a job. But then, sales is not something we did or learnt throughout our school days.

        I started to gain some exposure probably a decade ago when I started my journey as an entrepreneur and then I realized actually I have been selling all my life while I had no idea I was doing that.

        I am sure you would have come across many people like me and that lady. But I am sure she knows it now and thanks to you, she just expanded her knowledge!

        Kumar Gauraw´s last blog post ..Mohammad Ali – A Man Who Sees The World Same At 50

  5. Sue Bride January 26, 2014 at 8:07 pm #

    Maybe people find the concept of Sales Funnels hard to grasp as they read articles that tackle only part of the story. By writing a whole series you are giving a total picture and explain it very clearly.

    I just read an article by Monna, who has commented here, about re-purposing content by writing an ebook from already written articles. You could do the same down the track by producing an ebook on Sales Funnels, using this series, and create a new Sales Funnel in the process.

    Before really getting back into marketing myself this year I have spent time getting organized. One of the tasks was to unsubscribe from all the emails that have no value. Most of these I subscribed to through free offers where all of the emails were purely sales links. I assume that the anyone who has any success with these type of emails only gets results because of the sheer number sent out. Others copy the tactic with no success whatsoever.

    Before I start trying to build up my email list I want to make sure that I can provide real value by gathering enough useful and interesting content for regular email posting.
    Sue Bride´s last blog post ..How To Protect Your Blog From Copying

    • David Merrill 101 February 15, 2014 at 9:45 pm #

      You are right to commit to offering excellent value in your emails, Sue.

      On the other hand, don’t hesitate to activate your sales funnel, and to start building a list of interested subscribers. You can develop your content for them as you go along.

      The important thing is to get the ball rolling in the first place.

  6. Alan Jenkin January 30, 2014 at 6:16 pm #

    I have certainly dropped the ball in the past, David. Thank you for your advice on how to avoid that in future.

    Alan Jenkin´s last blog post ..Success – A Reality Check

    • David Merrill 101 February 15, 2014 at 9:52 pm #

      I know we all have, Alan.

      That’s the great value of experience, isn’t it?

  7. Mark May 11, 2014 at 12:07 am #

    Way to go David!

    You really make the entire sales funnel concept so much easier to understand and hopefully, successfully implement as well!

    You describe all the moving parts and how they work with each other. Because each part serves it own very special function.

    Only a true marketing master such as yourself can simply the entire process and make it completely understandable! No matter a particular marketers level!

    Great job! Thanks for sharing coach! Always love studying your totally excellent training material!
    Mark´s last blog post ..Where You Go Dreadfully Wrong When Marketing Products And Services!

    • David Merrill 101 May 28, 2014 at 8:53 pm #

      Thanks for the kind words, Mark.

      I like to think one of my strongest assets is simplifying complex processes so folks can stop learning stuff, and start doing it instead.

      I know that’s what you like! I figure a few others do too…
      David Merrill 101´s last blog post ..Email Marketing Strategies for Bloggers

  8. Chery Schmidt October 9, 2016 at 3:33 pm #

    Hello David, Not sure how I stumbled on this post today but it is just what I needed. I have set up my auto responder and have been getting quite a few people opting in, now it is time to build that relationship as you have stated above.

    I am curious, how often do you email your list? Once a day, twice a day? Once a week? HUM? This is all very new to me, but I am so on it..

    Thanks for sharing
    Chery :))

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