[GUIDE]: How to Create a Fully Automated Marketing Machine for Your Consulting Business

Updated December 26, 2019
5 steps to build an automated lead generation funnel

The 5 Big Steps:

Let me summarize this LONG blog post so that you can decide whether this article fits your needs or not. 

Follow these steps to build your marketing-sales funnel to achieve the results you are hoping for:

  1. Write a high-value article related to your service offering

  2. Drive traffic to your article using paid ads and free methods

  3. Get readers to subscribe or opt in to your mailing list

  4. Retarget blog post readers who have not yet opted in 

  5. Send out a series of emails with the goal of building trust and adding more value

Are you ready to dive into the details of each of these steps? 

Great! 

Let’s jump straight to it. 

Remember, this article is for these kinds of entrepreneurs:

  • For business owners engaged in consulting services
  • For business owners engaged in coaching services

Not so much for brick and mortar businesses or ecommerce businesses and the like.

Now if you think you’re the right fit, continue on… 

Your Automated Marketing Funnel and Sales Funnel

In this article I will walk you through how I build marketing and sales funnels for my clients. 

This is the same funnel I use for my own business. 

And today, I want to share with you how I do it step-by-step. 

You will later see how this funnel can be fully automated. Another term used for similar automations is “evergreen funnel” — where there is NO absolute start date. The process starts only when people start interacting with you. 

My goal is that after reading this article, you will have clarity as to what funnels are, have the knowledge and inspiration to create one for your own business. 

Are you ready?

Let’s start… 

Here’s an overly simplified workflow of my typical funnel for consulting businesses:

The coolest thing about an evergreen funnel is that it runs on autopilot. 

Once you’ve set it up, you leave it and you’re done. It will do its work for you automatically.

I’ll show you step-by-step how I do it.

STEP #1 Write a high-value blog post related to your services or niche

Blogs are not dead.

In fact, recent Google search ranking algorithms put visitor’s time on a page (session duration) as a critical element in ranking in Google. One way to achieve this is through long-form blog posts that’s about 4,000 words or more.

In reality, the length doesn’t really matter. If your blog is long but does not provide any value to your visitors, it’s not going to be effective.

The critical thing in this step is the value that you are willing to share to your visitors.

What can you write about?

  • Answer frequently asked questions
  • Share tips and tricks
  • Give a how-to guide
  • Make a list
  • Give honest reviews
  • Share success stories

A quick word of caution…

In writing your blog post, make it your goal to help solve problems.

Don’t sell.

Don’t talk about your services or products.

Connect with the pain points of your target audience and provide free content that focuses on how they can solve their issues on their own.

I personally believe that if you’ve done this part well to showcase your expertise, your visitors will trust you enough to provide them with your services.

Think that makes sense?

Cool!

If you get this right, everything else will be a breeze.

In fact, I consider this as THE most important, make or break factor in the success of your marketing funnel.

Why?

Because this is where they will first get to know you as an expert and service provider.

So you must make a good and memorable first impression. Again: ADD VALUE. DON’T SELL.

In summary, writing a high-value blog post will:

  • Introduce yourself to your visitors and start building rapport
  • Build credibility in your area of expertise
  • Increase the likelihood of ranking on Google and gaining organic traffic

Ready for the next step?

Let’s move on.

STEP #2 Drive traffic to your blog post through paid ads and social media

Your awesome blog can’t promote itself. You have to invest in ways to capture your target audience’s attention and bring them onto your blog post.

In this section I’m sharing 2 easy ways you can do this:


1st Traffic Driver: Paid ad​vertising

Oftentimes, when we speak about paid ads (or PPC/pay-per-click ads), the most commonly known is Google ads.

Google Ads is great if you want to target people who are searching for particular keywords and you want your blog post to appear in the search results.

The problem with this is that it’s open to anyone.

For example, I could put up a Google Ad targeted to keywords about ‘IT infrastructure and security’ (because I’m an IT consultant). That ad may get me some traffic. Yes it will bring in people who would be searching for my keywords, but that would include students who just want to learn or are doing some research (which from experience I realize are a lot of low-impact traffic). What we want is traffic of business owners or IT professionals who might need assistance with their IT infrastructure and security.

Another effective online advertising channel for consulting companies is LinkedIn ads!

If you’re in the consulting space, I would guess that you’re more likely to target businesses for your services.

If that’s the case, LinkedIn will work best for you. It’s A LOT more expensive than Facebook ads and Google ads, but ad targeting using LinkedIn (if you’re targeting professionals) is a lot lot easier. You can simply select your target demographic like location, job title or seniority, industry, company size and group memberships.

I don’t normally recommend Facebook ads at this phase of the marketing funnel just because it’s more difficult to target professional audiences using the platform. One cool technique may be to target your audience based on their interests. For example, if you’re a leadership coach and you’re targeting people who may be interested in leadership, you can use Facebook’s interest-based targeting and select audiences who follow leadership experts like John Maxwell, Seth Godin or Jack Welch.

Serving your ads to your target audience is one thing; getting their attention through the ad creative itself is another.

Here are some tips to make your ad stand out.

  • Be authentic
  • Be brief
  • Don’t sell
  • Just don’t

Here are 9 Fantastic LinkedIn Ad Examples (& Why They Work):

You might be asking... "How much should I spend on ads?"

I'm usually asked this question by clients when we talk about investing in paid ads on LinkedIn and Facebook.

My simple answer: It depends on what you want to achieve.

Facebook and LinkedIn ad spend depends largely on advertising demand for the segment you're targeting. If there are more advertisers targeting the same market, the bid amount gets higher and your dollar's reach gets smaller.

But who's got time to study all the intricate details and variables of ad targeting and budgeting, right?

To simplify my conversation with clients, I refer to AdStage's quarterly report on the MEDIAN CPC, CPM, and CTR for LinkedIn and Facebook and benchmark from there.

Here's the that resource for you:
 

Free PDF: 2019 Q3 Ad Spend Benchmarks
Learn the average Cost Per Click, Cost per Impression, and Click-through Rates of Facebook, LinkedIn, and other social media.

2nd Traffic Driver: Share your blog post to social media communities or groups

As a consulting service provider, it’s imperative to build your network online. LinkedIn is a great place to start.

You can share your blog posts to your own network.

My style? I share it via private message and then ask for feedback. This way it’s non-intrusive or too sales-y.

You can also join groups (or start your own) that are relevant to your industry. You can share your blog posts there and ask for people to comment.

These are just a few ways to generate traffic to your blog for free.


In summary, to get your blog post some good traffic, you need to:

  1. Invest in paid ads on Google or LinkedIn

  2. Share your blog post for free through social media groups


Now let’s say you’re already getting good traffic.

Ready for the next step?

Here we go…


STEP #3 Get readers to subscribe or opt-in your mailing list

Traffic is important but this traffic can’t just magically become customers simply by reading your blog. You have to build a relationship with your readers and nurture them down the marketing and sales funnel.

And the only way you can do that is by capturing their contact information.

To be specific, their email address.

Now if you’re like me, I wouldn’t just give my precious contact information freely and easily.

People just don’t do that.

That’s why you need something to offer for free in exchange for it.

We call this free offer a "
lead magnet".

There are different kinds of lead magnets you can try:

  • Mini Ebooks
  • Webinars
  • Ultimate Guides or Playbooks
  • Workbooks
  • Assessment Reports (via a Quiz)
    … among others.
Download 20 Lead Magnet Ideas
FREE DOWNLOAD:
20 Lead Magnet Ideas You To Help You Convert Leads Like Crazy

The important point is you have to offer this for free (same with your blog post).

Remember that rule?

Just
add value.

Later on you will reap the rewards of giving these freebies as people trust you more and value you more as a resource person.

Clear so far?

Again the goal of your lead magnet is for you to get leads (i.e. email addresses).

There are, however, some website design principles you need to consider to make your lead magnets convert well. And I’m talking about placing your lead magnet calls-to-action strategically within your blog post and around your website to make it more visible and attractive.

Here are a few places you can add a CTA (call-to-action) to access your offered lead magnet:

  • Popups or Slide Ins
  • Info Bars
  • Embedded within your blog post
  • Widget
  • Full Screen Welcome Mat

When you get your lead magnet and its placement right, you’ll have a sure-win formula for success in generating leads.

But not so fast…

Truth is, not everyone will see or respond to your lead magnet offer the first time they see it.

Some people are so used to seeing these pop ups that they would instinctively close them without a second thought.

So how do you capture them as leads and not “waste” their website visit?

The answer is …

STEP #4 Retarget blog post readers who have not yet opted in

Remember Step 2 where we used Google and LinkedIn to get your target audience to see your blog post?

Well this time, we’ll target people who have seen your post but didn’t opt-in`.

Many advanced digital marketers have been using the power of retargeting or remarketing to run after website visitors that don’t convert on their initial visit.

This time around, however, instead of Google and LinkedIn, I recommend using Facebook ads.

Why?

Because people spend a lot more time on Facebook than websites anyway. (That is a generalization of course. It may vary depending on the business.) There’s a high chance they’ll see your remarketing ads there; plus the cost is a lot cheaper.

Want to learn how the experts do it?

Here are the easy steps to running Facebook remarketing ads:

  1. Install your Facebook pixel on your website
  2. Create a Matched Audience for people who visited your website
  3. Create an ad targeting your Matched Audience

​Here's a video tutorial I found to get you started (I'll make one soon!)

Your ads should point to the landing page for your offer or lead magnet.

When they finally opt-in to your mailing list, the next step is to…

STEP #5 Send out a series of emails with the goal of building trust and adding more value

Here’s my favorite part.

Once they opt in, it’s now time to start building a relationship with your leads as you guide them through your marketing and sales funnel.

In this part of the funnel, you’d need to use an email service provider that will let you set up automated email sequences called automations.

You can try providers like
GetResponse, Keap (aka Infusionsoft) and, my personal favorite, ActiveCampaign.

For illustration purposes, screenshots I’ll share in this part of the article will be from ActiveCampaign platform.

So the goal of the email series is to:

1 - Build rapport with people in your mailing list. It should capture attention, engage, make a good impression and build trust.

2 - Eventually lead them to make an action (e.g. schedule a meeting, buy, try). Your emails should prime them to make a decision about you or what you offer in the end.

In other words, your welcome email series should get your new subscribers to know, like, and trust you to solve a specific problem(s) in their lives.

So what do you say in an introduction email series? Here are a few things:

  • Introduce yourself and your story
  • Share how you can help and what makes you an expert
  • Talk about your experience and credentials 
  • Send them value adding content to build trust
  • Ask questions to get them engaged
  • Talk sparingly about your services


​​Here’s a simple killer welcome email series you can use. (Click each tab to reveal the template)

Day #1: Intro Email 👈click it!

Day #3: Value Email 👈click it!

Day #4: Story + Gift Email 👈click it!


FREE DOWNLOAD:
5-part Welcome Email Template
ActiveCampaign Automation
Link to a Free Trial of ActiveCampaign

Feel free to customize these email templates. In your automation, you can space these emails 1-2 days apart to maximize engagement during the first week after they opt-in.

Once your leads are through with this step, it’s now easier to transition them to your sales stage and offer your services.

This ends this 5-step guide on creating a fully automated marketing machine. Remember, it’s all about building a connection and adding value.

Now if you liked this post, feel free to download the PDF version here or share this post on your social media.

Want to know more about marketing funnels? 

Click on the button and I'll see you on the next page!