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Do you know what shadow funnels are?
Let me ask this: do you know what happens to your traffic when they bounce from your funnel landing page?
What happens when your visitors don’t take the next step and engage?
You’ve done all that work to get them there.
You’ve spent the money on the ads.
You spent the time and effort on the ad copy to get it just right.
You put in the sweat equity to build a great offer and a fantastic looking funnel, just oozing with value.
But after you’ve done all this work to win the attention of your visitor, they bounce and head out to the Google to see what you’re really all about.
They’re interested, but not ready to pull the trigger quite yet.
So they search your offer or your name, and what do they get?
Google doesn’t even have anything about you, your business, or your offer on the first page, much less in the top two or three listings which is where virtually all the traffic goes.
So your visitor vanishes in to thin air, never to be seen or heard from again, as they go and find a different answer to their questions and find someone else to buy from.
That potential customer you spent all that time, effort and money to hook and draw in to your funnel is gone.
How many potential customers and leads are you losing?
How much revenue are you leaving on the table because your potential customers can’t find you outside of your funnel?
That’s serious stuff right there – questions that have to be answered!
I’ve been working for the longest time with creators – online entrepreneurs, bloggers, digital marketers and more.
The solution to this issue is all about building what I call a Platform Funnel. In the Traffic Secrets book that comes out next week you’ll hear about the Funnel Hub.
The platform funnel is very similar to a funnel hub, but with a few variations, but more on that later.
I first learned about the importance of personal branding way back when I was still working in sales.
Jeffrey Gitomer – the Personal Website
I was reading a book by Jeffrey Gitomer in the early 2000s and he emphasized the importance of building a brand for yourself as a salesman.
Gitomer has always been one to embrace the benefits of technology for salespeople, and he talked about the idea of building a platform from which you could demonstrate your expertise and thought leadership.
It was one of the things that got me motivated to build my own site to begin with!
His idea was that by building your personal website you could create a resource that you could share with prospects and customers that would then position you as the thought leader on the subject and give you even more ways to build top of mind awareness with your target audience.
Gitomer’s book was years ahead of the blogging explosion.
So I built one of the earliest versions of my site following Gitomer’s advice and – it worked!
Michael Hyatt – Platform
Fast-forward to several years later and Michael Hyatt publishes his book “Platform: Get Noticed In A Noisy World”.
I’m always focused on learning and getting better so I heard that this guy who was a publishing executive was doing amazing things online, so I had to check it out.
Hyatt’s idea was similar to Gitomer’s idea: build a platform so you can position yourself as an authority and cut through all the noise that is the internet marketing and blogging world these days.
Hyatt’s proposition was to build a blog – but it was something that was really much more than any regular blog.
Hyatt’s platform concept was one that was built on the “wow” factor by going above and beyond, built on a piece of digital real estate that you have total control over, and from which you could expand your reach through creating “embassies” on social media platforms and “outposts” where you listened to conversations that were happening with your target audience and could make meaningful contributions to.
I learned so much from Hyatt and relied on following his lead for years – he built the audience I was hoping to build, and was creating amazing content. His platform idea was a huge inspiration to me, so I dug in and started building my own.
Russell Brunson – Expert Secrets
Thousands of people over the years have been trying to build online businesses via blogging. It’s a craze that’s still going today. People think that by creating content, and including affiliate links to various different products they’re going to start making crazy life-changing money online with their own home-based business.
Then reality sets in.
It doesn’t work like that. And it never really did except for a very small few who were able to build incredible momentum and audiences.
So people gave up on blogging and there was a seismic shift online to sales funnels.
Forget paltry affiliate sales (if any).
Ever get frustrated when trying to imitate your heroes? Yeah – me too.
So I had to take a deeper look at this funnel idea.
It really resonated for me from my days in sales so the concept was intriguing to say the least!
“Become an expert and build a sales funnel!” was the new cry of the aspiring online entrepreneur.
Russell took the tried-and-true concepts he learned from years of studying direct marketing techniques and implemented them into online businesses with outrageous success.
So suddenly everyone wants to be a funnel builder!
And the concept was validated because there were tons of people who were finding incredible online with following the stuff that Brunson teaches about online marketing.
But now the pieces of the puzzle were starting to come together for me. I could see the whole picture and it was absolutely fantastic!
Shadow Funnels – Lost Traffic
What a lot of the successful funnel hackers and digital marketers didn’t even know is that they were hemorrhaging leads, potential clients, and sales and they never even knew about them!
They were lost in the numbers – conversion rates, opt-ins, bounces and more.
For most, it was all chalked up to variables beyond their control. After all, we all know not everyone is gonna buy; sometimes you just aren’t going to be able to get that person on your hook.
But what they didn’t know was that the hook was already partially set, but they weren’t able to reel them in!
They didn’t know that they could recover huge amounts of those lost leads and sales by building a platform funnel.
But Steve Larsen figured it out.
So did Michael Hyatt.
So did Russell Brunson.
So did Garrett White.
And so did several others.
A shadow funnel is what happens when someone leaves your squeeze page, landing page, or sales page, and then goes out to other places to learn more.
It’s not that they’re not interested. They’re just not interested yet.
In fact, as Mike Schmidt and AJ Rivera pointed out at Funnel Hacking Live in Nashville, this is where the majority of traffic goes – somewhere else.
They go search your name.
They search your product.
They want to know who you are, what you do, and why they should trust you.
They want to know your background.
And these are all legitimate questions that should be answered, and when you’re building a regular funnel you don’t really get a lot of opportunities to answer these; your content is (appropriately) focused on the offer.
In my video where I talked about three types of traffic to your website your hot traffic is the traffic that’s going to be more likely to continue in your sales funnel and purchase.
But what happens to the rest? That could be 90% or more of your traffic!
They’re looking for credibility.
They’re looking for opinions of their peers and friends.
They’re looking for reviews and testimonials.
And at this point they’re not buying.
So what’s next?
Platform Funnels – What Are They?
What these guys figured out was that the traffic that was leaking out of their funnels was running to Google find out who they were and learn more about them before they decided to opt-in or buy.
So they created a funnel hub, or what I’m calling the Platform Funnel, that was there ready and waiting for those people to find exactly what they were looking for.
And it’s a very carefully constructed piece of internet real estate that does its job really really well.
The Platform Funnel takes in to account everything I’ve talked about here:
From Gitomer – the concept of a “personal” space online where you build your brand awareness as a subject matter expert that serves as a hub for your potential customers and current clients.
From Hyatt – the concept of a blog that is far more than just a blog, but a blog on steroids with a consistent brand that reaches out in to several different social media platforms a central hub over which you have total control.
From Brunson – the idea of the “attractive character”. This is the subject matter expert who’s more than just a thought leader, but a charismatic influencer and known personal brand.
From me – the years and experience I’ve got from building sites big and small, consulting, coaching and instructing businesses of all shapes and sizes how to conduct business online and the collection of years of studying blogging, online marketing, and helping numerous bloggers and creators to build and grow their online presence to levels they’ve never seen before.
A Platform Funnel does the following:
- Establishes your credibility
- Demonstrates your results
- Speaks to your authority and reputation
To The Haters & Naysayers
You may be thinking, “I’ve heard all this before, you’re just talking about blogging.”
Or maybe you’re thinking “I can’t do this!”
Or even “I don’t need this!”
I can guarantee you – unless you enjoy losing out on sales and spending more on ads than you should – you absolutely need a Platform Funnel if you want to be successful online.
As digital marketers and online entrepreneurs we fight, scratch and claw for every single visitor we can get to our website – why would we just let them go and vanish into the internet vapor to just go watch another cat video?!?
No – we need to fight scratch and claw to put the information our target audience and ideal clients are looking for is looking for and we can do that with a Platform Funnel.
You can recapture that traffic you’re losing from your funnel – those people don’t have to be gone forever!
You can validate their concerns, demonstrate your capabilities, tell your “hero’s journey”, your epiphany, and build tons of goodwill in your audience when you build your Platform Funnel correctly.
And you can get them back in to your sales funnel so you can serve them better with the products and services you offer because you care enough to do the hard work of building the know, like, and trust factor with them.
The longer you wait to do this, the more traffic you’re going to lose.
When you’ve got your Platform Funnel in place, your numbers will rise across the board.
When your Platform Funnel is done right you’ll be able to funnel that traffic back in to your sales funnel so you can deliver the value you promised.
Your brand will start to grow and you’ll become more and more of the “attractive character” that Brunson talks about in Expert Secrets.
And most important of all, you’ll become the g0-to expert in your space with your audience!
How cool is that?!?
So now you’ve heard the idea, so what do you do next? Now you know you need to build a platform funnel, but what specifically do you need to do?
Stay tuned – I’ve got a lot more good stuff coming for what you need to do to build your Platform Funnel.
So if you’ve ever struggled with any of this, leave me a comment below!