Does your online business need a funnel? A quick search on the internet and you’re soon given a resounding YES! But the actual answer you need isn’t as simple as that…
Because not all funnels are the same.
Not all businesses are the same.
More importantly, not all of your customers are the same!
Chances are, you do need some kind of funnel to turn your leads into customers and build trust and loyalty with them. But the type of funnel you need depends on your unique situation.
This is why all that generic advice you’ve no doubt come across is wrong.
It’s also why anyone who says their way is the way is also wrong.
So, if they’re wrong… what’s right? At the end of this article, you’ll know.
This is what we’ll explore today:
- Why You *Should Not* Use A Sophisticated Funnel
- How Funnels Work at Each Level of Consciousness
- 1: Reactive
- 2: Willful
- 3: Intellectual
- 4: Intuitive
- How To Make Funnels Work Inside Your Business
- Conclusions & Next Steps
Why You *Should Not* Use A Sophisticated Funnel
What I’m about to share goes against most of the information you’ll come across online.
In fact, it goes against a lot of what I talked about and shared just a few years ago.
It wasn’t that what I shared back then was wrong. It helped a lot of people and continues to today. The problem was that it didn’t tell the whole story because I didn’t know the whole story.
- In 2015, I created the SSF Method
- In 2017/18, I built The R.O.I. Method
- In 2020, I published The Nuclear Effect
Each of these methodologies helped a lot of people and continues to do so today. They all work, and I’m proud of them all. But as I talked about in this separate article, they each missed a key ingredient.
This all changed when I read Frederick Dodson’s book, Levels of Energy.
My entire outlook shifted, not just on sales and marketing, but on my business overall.
I won’t go into it all here because I dive much deeper into it in this article: https://scottoldford.com/2023/02/15/the-4-hidden-levels-of-consciousness-for-marketing-your-online-business/
As you’ll see, this change in perspective centers around four levels of consciousness:
- Reactive: This is the level we see most in the online space, full of heavy-hitting tactics that focus on scarcity, FOMO, and quick fixes.
- Willful: This is the level where someone opens their eyes, pushing fear to one side and feeling highly motivated toward a vision or goal (most associated with hustle culture).
- Intellectual: At this level, someone moves away from tactics and focuses on strategy, not wanting to work hard, but rather work smart so they can be more efficient in their pursuit.
- Intuitive: This final level is when someone lives in the present, feeling whether they should or should not do something.
I dive deeper into these four levels of consciousness and the overall impact they have on your marketing here: https://scottoldford.com/2023/02/15/the-4-hidden-levels-of-consciousness-for-marketing-your-online-business/
I encourage you to read it because it offers an essential insight into these levels.
In this article, we’ll look at how these four levels impact your funnel(s), the type you use, and whether you need one. They still have a purpose, but after reading this your own perception of them may change.
How Funnels Work at Each Level of Consciousness
The online world is full of empty promises that this method will work and that framework will. As I say, I’ve been part of this problem over the years. I knew my methods worked, not just for me, but for many other businesses. I’ve seen it with my own eyes. Yet I’ve also seen it fall short for many others.
This both worried and confused me. But it felt like the lights switched on when I learned about the different levels of consciousness and the type of impact they have on you, your business, and audience.
This is never more clear when building a funnel—no matter what size it is or the type of tactics you use.
A funnel aimed at someone in the reactive consciousness differs a great deal from one designed for a person in the intellectual consciousness. That’s where we’ll start this journey, looking at each individual level and the type of funnel that does (and does not) work.
This first type of funnel is the one you’re likely most familiar with, and it’s the one that gives so much of online marketing (and marketing overall) a bad name because it preys on scarcity, fear, and manipulation.
Remember, someone in the reactive level of consciousness doesn’t necessarily know what they want. They just feel pain and they want to escape it. They want someone to help them. They want answers, even though they have no questions to ask.
As such, this funnel has to take them on a very specific journey.
It’s one with steps, one leading to the next until you end up at the “buy now” button.
The sort of tactics that work here include:
- 3-part video series…
- 5-day challenges…
- A step-by-step guide…
Your job is to take your audience from one step to the next step. You feed them everything they need and nothing more. It’s all very structured, and it works well in the online space because this kind of funnel is easy to teach and replicate.
And you know it works because the people it’s designed for are in a fragile state.
So long as your messaging focuses on what they don’t want and promise to solve this for them, it works.
It’s not a level of consciousness I like to deal with because it’s 1) built around manipulation and scarcity, and 2) targets people that don’t know what they want. This is far from ideal as you build and scale your business because how can you help someone like this? How can you have a real impact?
You can’t, which leads us to the next level of consciousness…
In many ways, the funnel for this level is similar to the last—although with a few important differences.
The person in the wilful level of consciousness has a greater appreciation of what they want. They don’t necessarily ask the right questions, but they do ask questions that lead them to better answers.
Yet they still need a structured and specific path that you lay out for them. As with the last funnel, you offer a series of steps that lead to the “buy now” button.
But the tactics you use differ a little:
The person at this level of consciousness is ready to put in the work, but they still want you to provide the solution. They’re looking for you to tell them what to do, when, and how.
It’s still structured, but your messaging moves away from scarcity and fear and more toward “what life could look like”.
This person wants to taste the solution. They want you to tell them what their life will look like in ninety days if they follow your method. They want the outcome, and they will do what it takes.
In short, they want you to give them the steps that move them from their pain to pleasure!
I spent years both at this level of consciousness myself and building funnels aimed at people like me. It’s a more attractive proposition than the previous one because it’s less focused on manipulation and scarcity (although there’s still an element of that).
Yet it’s still difficult to build an impactful business around this level of consciousness alone because this person moves on to the next thing once the current thing stops working (or as they grow bored of it). It’s centered around hustling and grinding, meaning you have to reinvent yourself far too often.
All this leads to the next level of consciousness, which is far more attractive…
Once you get to the intellectual level, you need to prepare yourself to go deeper.
This funnel doesn’t need as much structure. You don’t have to guide this person from one video to the next like you would with someone at wilful. You also don’t want to focus on inspiring them or motivating them. The person at the intellectual level doesn’t need any of that.
They want and need facts!
They don’t need a quick fix or formula. They understand their situation and want to tailor what you have to share around their business. They’re ready to dive deeper, go under the hood, and think about the bigger-picture strategy.
As such, the type of tactics that work include:
- Detailed case studies…
- In-depth methodologies and frameworks…
- Long-form content, webinars, and demos…
You can’t trick this person with scarcity-driven messaging. They know their situation and they have an idea of what they want. They’re ready to take action, but they want to make sure what you offer is what they need. That means you have to hand over all the information.
And they will devour it. They will read that 8,000-word guide. They’ll watch the 30-minute demo. They will go through the entire case study to see if your method is the right one for them.
A matter-of-fact approach works here, with messaging that focuses on the solution, sure, but also one that SHOWS them how your offer works. It’s a detailed approach, and, done right, it creates a very profitable business that attracts and keeps loyal customers.
Because you can evolve with this person.
They may start with a course, but they’re prepared to upgrade to mentorship or one-on-one work. They have the time, money, and resources for the right thing that transforms them (/their business). It’s where I’ve placed a lot of my focus in recent years, The R.O.I. Method a perfect example of both a product and funnel designed for those at the intellectual level.
But, after a while, you may evolve beyond this… which leads us to the final level of consciousness.
On the low-end of the intuitive level—someone transitioning from intellectual—a funnel can work. But on the high-end of the intuitive level, a funnel does not work. Building one is a waste of both your time and theirs. Instead, you need to create an honest and clear message aimed at attracting the right person.
From there, provide a clear next step.
That’s it. Those that align will pull the trigger.
This is the approach I take with my one-to-one work. I don’t do much of this anymore. But I’m open to it and have it as an option. When the right person finds it, they get in touch and we take it from there.
No funnel. No strategy.
But on the low-end of the intuitive level, a funnel can and does work much as it does at the intellectual level. The main difference here though is that this person doesn’t need ALL the details and facts.
Instead, they’re guided by their emotions (or higher-self as one in intuitive consciousness would define it).
So a lot of the same tactics work as before, you just don’t need to go as deep. It’s a case of showing them how your offer works and who it’s for. If it aligns with them, they’ll commit without reading a long-form guide or sales page.
But this is why it’s important you know all this.
Not only the level you’re at but the one your customers are at.
Different funnels work in different situations. But no funnel works in all situations.
How To Make Funnels Work Inside Your Business
After reading this, I hope you now realize there is no universal solution. If you try to base your entire business around some kind of funnel, method, or framework you’ll struggle to have a long-term impact.
You may experience short-term wins, and you may make a lot of money. But you’ll never have the type of impact you could and you will constantly have to reinvent yourself.
Right now, you’re at a certain level of consciousness—whether you know it or not. This WILL change in the future, whether you actively pursue it or you don’t. Your goals change. Your motivations change. It’s part of the journey you’re on. You have no idea what lies ahead.
The same is true for your audience. They too will evolve and move from one level to the next.
How you impact them today won’t impact them the same way moving forward.
It’s important you both accept and embrace this!
To do so, you need to understand:
- Your Product(s)
- Your Audience
You need to appreciate what your product offers and who it best serves. If it helps someone at the wilful level, great. This is fine so long as you’re on board with helping this kind of person.
If not, and you want to serve those at an intellectual level, your product needs to change.
Just importantly, how you communicate and promote this product needs to change!
Yet your products only tell part of the story. Right now, you have an existing audience and you need to understand who they are (and where they are). Your job is to serve them, not just with the right products, but with the right communication, messaging, and marketing.
Once you understand YOUR product and YOUR audience (as well as the level of consciousness you’re in) everything changes. You suddenly appreciate who in your audience needs which product. Some of these may need a funnel with willful-designed tactics whereas others dive deeper into case studies, phone calls, and aspects those at the intellectual level crave.
You may also realize some of your products don’t need a funnel.
That’s true for me and my one-on-one work. I have programs that serve those at the wilful and intellectual levels, and I market those accordingly. But only those at the intuitive level get real value from working with me one-to-one.
Again, I don’t have a funnel for this. These relationships happen when they need to… no funnel required!
Conclusions & Next Steps
Does your online business need a funnel? Chances are, yes. But the type of funnel you need and the way you have to approach it… that’s where the magic happens.
Most of the “experts” you find online don’t see it this way. They ram home their method!
The good news for you is that most entrepreneurs don’t see it this way, either.
This is a huge opportunity for you because it allows you to build a strong rapport with your audience. With a few tweaks here and there, you can give your audience what they need—not just with highly-relevant products, but messaging and marketing that lands (and hits hard!).
But nobody can hand you a blueprint for this.
An article like this can guide you, nothing more.
You have to take this and make it work for you. Understand your level of consciousness. Understand the levels your audience is in. Understand your products and make sure they have a purpose. It all clicks into place when you have all this.
To put this into action, one of the best steps you can take is to download the guide that accompanies this article—not only does it cover marketing and sales funnels, but other specific tactics like selling techniques, online launches, and more.
To get instant access to this guide, complete this form now…