Most Beginner's Have This Totally Backwards.
Someone I work with asked me a question about sales funnels today. He wanted to know if Wealthy Affiliate teaches you how to "build a funnel to send to your website".
Now that's a fair question, and something I've been asked before, so I felt inspired to share this with you today. Because it really reminded me of how many people think when they're first starting out online.
What do I mean?
Well, just as I got this wrong myself when I first started out.. most beginner's get the fundamental concept of starting a successful online business, back to front.
So I am going to set the record straight here today, and help you really grasp the concept of creating a successful business online, as someone who has been where you are right now, and used what I am about to teach you to create a full time income online with affiliate marketing.
The "Funnel First" Approach = Fail
Most of the programs I have seen, and continue seeing, people buy into, are all about the "funnel first" approach.
What the heck is the "funnel first" approach?
The funnel first approach is all about building a sales funnel and then "getting traffic" to send into that sales funnel. So you create an opt-in page, thank you page, an email sequence and all of that stuff, then you go out and try to find people to send into that funnel, so you can make money.
There are many different types of sales funnels. Some are designed to sell affiliate products, some are for MLM bizopps, others for ecommerce, or something in between. It doesn't really matter. The basic idea of the funnel first approach is always the same: build the funnel, send traffic to it.
And this is completely backwards.
Because you're putting the horse before the cart. The apple before the tree. The... you get my point. You're doing it the wrong way around.
A good example of this is if you started with a jar, some sand, and some marbles. Depending on how you put the marbles and sand into the jar, as in which one of these you put into the jar first, will determine if everythign fits.
Here's what I mean...
Option 1: You fill the jar halfway with sand, then add the marbles at the top. And you can't close the lid. Why? Because you did it backwards.
Option 2: You take the same jar, with the same amount of sand and marbles. Only this time, you start by putting the marbles in the jar first. Then you slowly add the sand and shake the jar a bit while you're at it, which fills in all the gaps in between the marbles, in such a way that allows you to close the lid. You've successfully put the same ingredients into the jar, simply because you did it the right way around.
Now I know that's an odd example (lol) but hopefully it helps you to see my point. When you do something the right way around, it makes all the difference.
Now to circle back and relate this directly to the funnel first approach...
Unless you're a marketing expert, with years of experience, and a huge advertising budget, you're putting the sand in the jar, before the marbles. Which means you're doing it the wrong way around.
See, in order to make money online, you need traffic. Without traffic (visitors), it is literally impossible for you to make any money online at all. I mean, absolutely impossible. You can build the best funnel on planet earth, a funnel so good that you could sell ice to an eskimo, but without traffic, you won't make a dime. That is a fact.
And there's really only two ways you can get traffic: free and paid.
Free traffic takes time and effort to "earn", but it doesn't cost you money. While paid traffic is the opposite, it's virtually instant but does cost you money.
Now here's what happens if you use either method, with the funnel first approach:
If you use paid traffic, you're going to find out the hard way that this will cost you a LOT more money than you make. Because you don't have much (if any) experience, so your funnel is probably going to suck. I'm not being mean, I'm just being real with you. And don't be fooled into thinking a "done for you" funnel is the answer, they don't work very well for very long because everyone else is using these same funnel. So this is a terrible approach that will probably lose you money.
If you try to build up some free traffic, you may have a greater chance of success with the funnel first appraoch. But you're still starting your business the wrong way around, especially when it comes to affiliate marketing. Because you're starting out by trying to "sell people stuff", instead of giving people value and building up a relationship first. In other words, you're not thinking about helping people, you're thinking about selling them as much as possible. And that simply does not work.
So my point here is this: if you create a "funnel" and then "send traffic to it" (free or paid) you are starting your business back to front. And as a result, you are going to find it very difficult to create any level of success online.
In the next section, I am going to make it crystal clear as to how the "adience first" approach works, and why it is (hands down) the best possible approach. This is what will lead you to creating real success.
The "Audience First" Approach = Success
The "adience first" approach is all about starting with a group of people, and giving them value, so that they become your audience, and buy stuff you recommend.
How do you build an audience?
It's simple really... identify a group of people (AKA niche) and give them value.
You identify a group of people, give them lots of valuable content you create without asking for a dime, and as a result, you will build yourself an audience.
And when you have an audience, selling stuff is easy.
Because you already have a group of people that are listening to what you have to say, and who WANT to learn more about the products/ services you recommend. And they trust you enough to buy.
When you grasp this concept (I mean, really grasp it) it can change your entire perspective and help you get amazing results. Just by approaching your business in the right way.
Let me give you some examples of what I mean and how this works. I think this will help you to see that this is the simplest, most logical, powerful and sustaibale way to create success online.
How the "Audience First" Approach Works (with examples)
Let's imagine that you want to make money selling stuff like hiking gear, kayaks, tents, fishing gear, anything related to this.
How do you use the audience first approach to make money this way?
Well, you start by identifying the group of people interested in buying this stuff (people interested in the outdoors). This is your niche.
Then, you setup a simple website that provides these people with lots of helpful content. Articles about camping, fishing, survival, outdoor adventures... anything relevant that you think they'll find helpful. Your main goal is to give them as much VALUE as possble.
Because when you give people valuable content, by following the training here at Wealthy Affiliate, you will get rankings in Google, which leads to traffic on your site.
So now you have a simple website, where people interested in the outdoors come to find helpful information about the outdoors, which means you now have an audience.
And not only do you have this audience on your site, but you have an audience of people who TRUST you. Because you've given them VALUE first, for free, through your content, without asking them for a cent. So they think to themselves "wow this person really helped me by sharing this content". Which builds trust and credibility.
So from here, making sales is EASY. I'm not exxagerating, it is very simple and easy to make sales at this point. People will click on the links within your site, and buy products they are interested in, through your affiliate links. Or they will buy products you sell yourself.
This process works, because you did it the right way around.
You started with an audience, provided them with real value, and as a direct result, the "selling part" was easy.
This is literally how I earn a living. Doing exactly this.
It really, really works.
And you can use this approach within ANY niche. On ANY platform you like. Selling virtually ANYTHING you want.
For example, you could start a YouTube channel, where you identify a group of people, and create videos you know they'll find helpful. Like a beauty channel where you show women how to apply makeup, do their hair, paint their nails, apply foundation etc.. all of that good stuff. Or you could start a YouTube channel about dog training, where you show people how to train their dog. How to walk their dog, make their dog sit, stay, stop barking, play nice with other dogs... etc etc.
You are giving people value. So the people watching your video will appreciate you, and many will click on the link underneath your video, which leads people into your sales funnel.
You can even use this "audience first" approach on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest... virtually anywhere people group together! Because the concept is simple and it stays the same, regardless of what you're selling, or where people are.
There is obviously some differences in exactly how you structure things, given the differences between these mediums. But the important, fundamental, foundational, elements are the same: provide value to build an audience, then recommend products you know they'll love.
That's all we are doing here, folks.
Everything you learn here at Wealthy Affiliate is about this ONE simple approach. Give people value, get value in return. This is not just some "pie in the sky" motivational nonsense either. It's a real business concept that really does work. And it's what I myself, and many others here, successfully do to generate revenue on the internet.
And the good news is, EVERYBODY has something of value to share. And even if you feel that you don't for some reason, all you need to do is learn, and share what you learn.
You can do this.
Now get to work on implementing the "audience first" approach in your business. I'm excited to see where this takes you in the coming weeks, months and years ahead.