5 ESSENTIAL Steps to Building a Successful Marketing Funnel

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I'm Elizabeth, and simply put, I design brands and websites. I mix in marketing strategy, personality galore, and tons of fun to create custom brands, custom websites, and website templates. These designs convert lookers into buyers and take the headache out of the design process. I believe your brand should be a knockout. I'll help you create a captivating + profitable online presence! Join me, won't you?!

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5 Steps to Building a Successful Marketing Funnel that Sells Your Offers on Autopilot with Alexa Cawley

Reading Time: 9 minutes

Technically we ALL have a funnel for our business, meaning the way we’re getting leads into our business and selling, but if yours is a successful marketing funnel is a question that we’re diving into today. I’m chatting with the brilliant Alexa Cawley, owner of Forever Friday Consulting. She’s the host of the Friday Society Podcast and is a marketing consultant for wellness brands. She’s also a Breakthrough Brand All Access member, a 2x EM Shop customer, and a long-time listener of the podcast. By the way, I LOVE having guests who have already read the blog and listen to the podcast because they always bring exactly what you all need to know. 

In this blog post, we’re diving into marketing funnels, specifically five pieces of a successful marketing funnel and the order in which they come, how to do your own funnel, and so much more. Alexa does an excellent job specifically speaking to new business owners and more established entrepreneurs as well, and we talk about funnels both from the perspective of service businesses and product businesses. So whichever you are, you’ll learn how to do a funnel for BOTH.


Listen & subscribe on your favorite platform:  Apple Podcasts  |  Stitcher  | Google Play  |  Spotify  | iHeartRadio

Search for episode 176!

One of Alexa Cawley’s biggest marketing lessons

Alexa shares that, to her, marketing is relationships. Good marketing means hospitality and making sure you understand your client. This also means there are people on the other end of the phone. So it's important to find out how your business fits into that.

Some Questions Worth Considering:

  • Do you genuinely see your clients?
  • Do you appreciate them?
  • Are you in relationship with them?

What is a Marketing Funnel?

For those in the early stages of their business that may be unsure of what a marketing funnel is, Alexa gives a short explanation, “Picture an upside-down triangle with five different little cutouts. That's what your marketing funnel is… You should just be able to look at your funnel and say, okay, cool. That's my marketing strategy.” 

The “Diet Pills” of Marketing: Can you just throw up a funnel and make money while you sleep?

Despite what is shown the vast majority of the time, the concept of throwing someone into a funnel and making completely automated income is not a good long-term business strategy. Alexa believes that organic marketing is a far more successful approach. There are no one-size-fits-all marketing strategies because people are buying from you. They are bought into you, and a good funnel is infused with who YOU are. 

Alexa explains that you would never tell a client they could run a marathon in 2 weeks because it's impossible. Therefore in marketing, you can't simply throw money at an ad and create a 6-figure business overnight.

How Long Will Each Part of Your Marketing Funnel Take?

The top of your funnel is going to be the most important thing. Maybe in your business, you did a webinar that generated client interest and led to client acquisition. When you know what works in your specific business, you can start to adapt over time. As any business grows, the offers will change to fit different audiences.

Alexa says, “If you're new in your business and have one quick offer, it might be around two to four weeks. Maybe your nurture sequence and email campaign are two to four weeks… for other people, it could be closer to six months.

Maybe someone wants to binge every podcast episode you have and sign up for a Showit trial and be like, Can I figure this out? Okay, Yes. Now I'm ready.”

Knowing where each lead comes from in your business is essential to understanding which top-of-funnel tactics are working. For example, if you put all your time into one funnel that ‘should’ work, but your leads come from another offer, it's essential to recognize that and put your energy in a place where you will see a return. 

1. Brand Awareness.

It is crucial to audit where your current clients come from. For those not yet in business, Alexa advises seeing what feels best and gives you the most confidence in content creation. The content you feel good and confident in will do much better than forced content that is disingenuine. This should be your ‘top-of-funnel.’ 

It is beneficial to put a question on your purchase forms that directly ask people where/how they found you. For small businesses, you can let customers write in an answer, allowing them to be as specific as they want. Putting all this data into a spreadsheet helps you keep track of each particular place your customers came from and do more of what works. 

One great way to begin utilizing this tactic is to poll your audience on Instagram or other social media. Even if there are people who haven't bought from you, it will help you see where people found you as a whole. 

2. Brand Interest.

The next step of a successful marketing funnel for most people is creating and utilizing a lead magnet. This should be a tiny snippet of what it's like to work with you. Alexa explains her method of early client retention is primarily retention work; getting clients to interact with her offers a lot early on. 

Whatever you choose as your email sequence lead magnet, whether a workbook or a PDF, you should include different learning styles for different people. Some people can put too much value on their lead magnet or vice versa. It's vital to honor that this is a value exchange, and this person is now a lead. Show your audience you have a lot to offer without giving it all away for free. 

Want more help creating your lead magnet? Check out my FREE GUIDE on how to create the perfect opt-in incentive for your business! 

3. Consideration.

This step focuses on getting people to know you and what you offer. This could be a free membership trial or sharing your favorite resources, such as podcasts related to a topic you’re discussing. Once people have opted in, they take further steps of interest, like booking a discovery call. Alexa explains that getting people to take the next step will often be through your email. 

A great example of a successful nurture sequence:

  • Lead Magnet: A snippet of what it's like to work with you.
  • Introduction: Why did you start your business? What are you passionate about?
  • Over Deliver: A free quiz/opt-in lets people see your offer's value.
  • Footers: Include extra resources, podcast episodes, testimonials, and reiterate the importance you bring. 

You don't need to wait until the fifth email in your sequence to share what you have to offer. It's frustrating for your audience not to know what you're ‘hiding’ regarding what you can give them. Often people are ready to buy at different times, so it's important not to hide what you can provide and why you're providing it. Dont keep the information people need to know to buy from you under wraps. 

It's also important to know your audience. If you are launching a product soon, it's ok to share your excitement and give them the option to get on a waitlist because you're still being transparent and authentic.

4. Brand Adoption.

Make this a credible and good experience for your client. If you have a high or low ticket offer, have all your systems set up for people so that they can get set up as soon as possible after purchase. It's best to make things easy on yourself and utilize automation tools to make everything cohesive. Without the immediate correct information given to the customer, they will feel disappointed and confused. 

Flodesk is an excellent option for email marketing. The customer needs to get clear onboarding steps after they purchase to show them they are being taken care of. Click here to get 50% off of your FloDesk subscription! 

Dubsado is great for automation and getting clients the information they need right away to keep them moving if you are working one-on-one with clients. Click here to get 30% off of your Dubsado subscription!

5. Brand Advocate.

To Alexa, having someone become a brand advocate is an exciting moment because it means your customers have a great experience with you. A brand ambassador system is essential to help them recruit other people into your funnel and track where those people come from. Rewarding those who refer you encourages them to continue and helps keep them excited about what they get back from you. 

Alexa’s Advice for Logical Marketing Steps to Take.

Outline clearly what your funnel looks like now, what's driving the most business, etc. Then outline what you want your funnel to look like. Once you see what works vs. what doesn't, you can fill in the gaps and create a successful marketing funnel.

Alexa likes to ask, “If I told you Oprah is going to post about you tomorrow, are you ready? Like, is your system ready for all that stuff? Generally, you will have a thought in your head like, ‘Oh, boy, I have no email trigger set up, or I haven't had my Stripe set up, people are still Venmoing me’; that's the thing you need to get set up quickly.”

Alexa Cawley’s EM Shop Experience

“Changing over from my past website template into Showit has been the most significant shift for me as a business owner because I never felt I could have creative freedom with my past website builder.

I feel like, through the course that comes with your templates, I learned so much about Showit. I read exactly what you had to say whenever I had a question. And I was like, perfect. Whenever I feel inspired to do something, I do it in Showit. I created a new page that doesn't have to be public yet, but I can start putting that idea in motion. That gives me much more freedom to move ahead with a product.”

Alexa’s Experience Inside Breakthrough Brand All Access

“I think most people are probably pretty solitary in their businesses. As a business owner, you can feel like there aren't that many people keeping you in check. It is so important to surround yourself with other business owners. Even if you feel like you don't have a question or you don't have something you're necessarily working on, getting in the room with other business owners and hearing what they're working on inspires you so much to make changes and improvements.

I've learned so much from you in the way that you manage the membership. I now use Add Event, and I was not using that before. I was manually adding every single member to a Google invitation, so utilizing Add Event has saved me so much time.

You're getting inspired by the other business owners and also getting inspired by you and how you run your business. I love how you share that so freely, openly, and in pure service to other business owners. Breakthrough Brand All Access is just taking that a step further.”


1. What's an Unpopular Opinion You Have About Marketing?

Answer: “I am a huge fan of organic marketing; relationships are key. It does not cost you a dollar to be nice to someone, send a follow-up DM, or send that email.”

2. What is a Crazy Marketing Moment You've Experienced?

Answer: "So I think the craziest thing was just working at soul cycle. I worked in headquarters, so I wasn't in the studios all the time, but every time I was, they had this rule.

If the door for the spinning room opened, everyone who worked for SoulCycle had to run as fast as possible to the door, because there had been so many instances of people throwing up if they were hung over from the night before. There were so many crazy stories of people coming out of the room and collapsing because they couldn't do it.”

3. Tell us More About the Peloton and Soul Cycle Battle.

Answer: “A few weeks ago, SoulCycle said, ‘Give us your Peloton bike and we'll give you 46 classes’ It made no sense. It didn't align with the fact that if someone likes to work out at home, you don't need to force them to come into your studio. It just was such a bizarre thing, and it felt so desperate. Think about if you ever came on Instagram and were like, ‘Hey guys, if you show me that you're gonna trash your other website or this other template designer, I'm gonna give you a hundred dollars off.’ That would feel so misaligned to your brand.”

That's such great advice for us to end on. You need to keep integrity in your business. If you're in it for the long term, don't do stuff that compromises your reputation as a business owner. 

I hope you enjoyed this interview with Alexa and learning more about creating a successful marketing funnel. If you want to connect with Alexa, you can head to her website or follow her podcast.


If you love this conversation about marketing and funnels with Alexa, you'll love this month's training inside of my membership, Breakthrough Brand All Access

What is Breakthrough Brand All Access? It's my coaching membership that includes a masterclass each month. Here, I dive deeply into a topic to help you grow your business. Plus, there's a fantastic community of people like Alexa in it. And coaching calls with me. Our September masterclass is about email marketing and getting started to book clients and customers. 

While chatting with Alexa, I saw how these two content pieces complement each other well. If this interests you and you want to dive deeper into email marketing and funnels, I encourage you to check out Breakthrough Brand All Access. This masterclass is delivered in audio form through a private member, only podcast feed. So, if you don't have time to sit down and watch a one-hour masterclass on email marketing, you don't have to. Instead, you can listen on the go the same way. I hope you’ll check out my membership, and feel free to reach out with any questions! 


September 13, 2022

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I'm Elizabeth, and simply put, I design brands and websites. I mix in marketing strategy, personality galore, and tons of fun to create custom brands, custom websites, and website templates. These designs convert lookers into buyers and take the headache out of the design process. I believe your brand should be a knockout. I'll help you create a captivating + profitable online presence! Join me, won't you?!

Hey there!
of the year


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