Earlier this week I was talking with a business coaching client who runs a $10 million a year professional service firm. He shared with me that it had taken him several monthly to build out his core marketing funnel for a new service he started less than 12 months prior. He was excited that it was finally ready to launch, but exhausted that it had taken so long to get done.

My client, who is a savvy, successful business person fell prey to one of the biggest mistakes any business leader can - he tried to launch the "perfect" solution right from the start.
In truth, it should have only taken my 30 days or less to think through, map out, build, and launch his version 1.0 of his new marketing funnel. But in in his desire to do it "just right" he lost months of learning opportunity and potential sales.

While this lesson applies across business functions, let's focus now on a six step process to create a winning marketing funnel. Notice how this process leverages the power of creating in iterative waves versus holding out for the perfect solution at launch (which almost always is a recipe for procrastination and massive delay.)

First off, a marketing funnel is simply a coordinated, strategically planned out series of steps that you've built to help take a prospect by the hand and over a period of time, walk them to the sale. Here are those six steps:

Step One: Get clear - in writing - exactly who this marketing funnel is for.

Narrow your focus so that you build out your funnel to by hyper-relevant to a core market place and to some vague "everyone."

What do you know about this core group of people? What do they care about? What else is going on in their lives? What do they hope for and aspire to? What do they fear? What are their key frustrations and pain points?

One of the biggest mistakes people make is making their marketing funnel for too broad an audience.

Step Two: Map out - in writing - what is the end goal you have for your funnel.

Where is it you want to eventually end up with any prospect who enters your new funnel? What is the end you have in mind for them?

Is there a specific product you want them to buy? Or webinar you want them to be on so that they purchase a specific service?

Step Three: Flow chart out the core pathway.
How do you plan to walk your prospect through the funnel so that logically and emotionally you have the best odds of getting the highest number of them to your desired end result?

Map this out on paper into a flow chart that shows all the specific steps and sub-steps along the way. Each arrow between two boxes is a "conversion point" that you'll want to track. What percentage of prospects "convert" through each step in the flow chart?
Here are a few key tips with this step:

· You core pathway must address both the "logic" and the "emotion" to get your prospects to your end result. Too much focus just on the logic, and there is no drive or motivation for your prospect to feel compelled to take the next step, and the next. Too much emotion without the structure of the logic of the sales process and your funnel will be too vague and diffused. Your sales logic gives a sharp edge and clear next step for them to take. You need both.

· Reduce the number of steps and branches of your marketing funnel. In version 1.0, cut out most of the steps. Chances are, and this is backed up by 20 years of coaching thousands of companies, that you're making your initial version of your marketing funnel too complicated. Simplify it!

· Play the odds. Rather than make one funnel for every type of prospect in every type of situation, pick your most likely or most profitable (or both) prospect and situation and build your first, or next, funnel for this specific need.

Step Four: Create your written funnel build plan of action.

What steps do you need to take in what order? Who will do each step and by when? This includes things like marketing collateral you might need, web landing pages that need to be wire-framed and built out, and database work to build in key funnel automation.

Step Five: Build out your funnel.

Once you've follow your build out plan and finished the funnel, make sure you test it out to fix any final bugs.

Step Six: Launch your funnel and track your results.

Over time you'll notice which steps along the way of your funnel need more attention to optimize. Don't try to fix and refine your funnel all in one massive move, instead pick one conversion point at a time and implement a wave of improvements to the funnel. This iterative approach is powerful because it both feels doable and fits in to the busy business day of you and your team.

Good luck with creating your marketing funnel(s) and remember to think "iteratively".

If you enjoyed the ideas I shared, then I encourage you to download a free copy of my newest book, Build a Business, Not a Job. Click here for full details and to get your complimentary copy.