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Everyone loves the thought of making money while you sleep – the idea that you can earn passive income with zero effort is the dream! While I can’t help you with THAT, I CAN share some great advice on how to automate your sales funnel in a way that FEELS like you’re making money through magic! (You still have to put in a little effort, though!)

Rick Mulready, host of The Art of Paid Traffic podcast and founder of the FB Advantage training program, has GOT THE GOODS when it comes to building sales funnels. Lucky for you, he’s been kind enough to share some of his hottest tips on setting up an all-star-level automated funnel.

What is a sales funnel anyway? And why does my business need one?

A sales funnel is a system that helps you turn prospects into leads, leads into customers, and customers into devoted fans (if you play your cards right!)

A traditional sales funnel has five stages:

  1. Awareness of your company
  2. Interest
  3. Consideration
  4. Intent
  5. Sale

The best part? This whole system can be automated!

How do you know when you’re ready for a sales funnel?

According to Rick, you’re ready for a sales funnel once you have a product or service to sell and you have knowledge and expertise in a subject that you can help people with. Rick’s sales funnel automation tips are designed to help you effectively guide your customer from the awareness stage to the sale stage.

1.  Figure out your funnel’s stages. The first step, according to Rick, is figuring out the steps that someone needs to take in order to become a paying customer of yours. The whole sales funnel is driven by traffic to your business – this can be through Facebook ads, hearing you on a podcast, finding your website through search, or any other way that you’re getting your name out there. “Work backward from your sale,” he says, “What are the steps that someone needs to take in order to actually buy from you?” In order to fill out your order form, they first need to land on it. Maybe they get to your order form through your sales page. What is the step before your sales page? And the step before that? Maybe you’re doing webinars. Maybe you’re posting answers on Quora. Maybe you’re using Facebook ads. Follow the traffic! Everyone’s funnel is going to be a little different – you need to figure out what your company’s funnel looks like.

2. Work on your relationships. Once you get customers on your email list, Rick says, it’s easier for customers to shift from the interest phase to the consideration and intent phases. The key is to nurture – it’s vital to build a relationship (and trust!) with your potential customers. “People buy from people that they know, like, and trust,” Rick explains. You can work on building your relationships by sending an automated email follow-up series to your list. What sort of things should you include in your follow-ups?  “First and foremost, always deliver on your promise,” Rick advises. “Whatever you offered them in exchange for their email, whether it be a free download, a webinar, or a video series, make sure you deliver.” He suggests introducing yourself and your business in the next email. In future emails, you can make an offer or tell a story about your business – just make sure that you write as though you’re talking to a friend. Keep it warm and personal!

3. Use the right tools. There are some basic systems that you’ll need to have in place in order to automate your sales funnel. The right tools can make all the difference! You’ll need an email CRM, like MailChimp, ConvertKit, Infusionsoft, or whatever you’re comfortable using.  You’ll need to have a way to create landing pages (like LeadPages, for example.) You’ll need a way to collect money, like PayPal, Shopify, SamCart, etc. And if you’re doing webinars, Rick recommends that you use a platform like GoToWebinar or EverWebinar.

Pretty painless, right? Just invest a little bit of effort and then step back and enjoy those results! Do you already have automation in place? What are your favorite tools to use? Share in the comments!