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  • Writer's pictureNour Boustani


The following story is a typical scenario for six out of ten entrepreneurs starting a new business, I’m sure it will sound very familiar to you, you might be living it right now if so keep reading, and I might be able to give you some help.

The optimistic version of you will spend a large chunk of time planning for your business; you start by calling out everyone and talking about your “new idea,” you begin visiting your old aunty who you never visited for ages and ask her to invest in your new vision with her savings with a promise of significant return investment.

You planned “carefully” for every step and corner of your business; you took awesome photography of your products, you made sure to study your market and price your product accordingly, you spent hours upon hours dreaming about your business and how genius and creative you are.

You “promised” everyone around you that this idea would work great, and everything will be fantastic. Finally, you will be able to give your beloved wife or girlfriend the expensive birthday gift she deserves. Only if everything goes well, only if.

You launched your store; you are so excited to sell your first product, the first hour goes by, and no one buys, you wait, nothing happens, you refresh your website, refresh your PayPal, refresh your mobile, still nothing, damn it!

You wake up the second day hoping that someone has bought your product while you were asleep; you get up excited; you look at your phone and still nothing. The third day, the fourth day, a first week goes by, and still, nothing happens.

You get frustrated; you talk about your products, everyone gives you a friendly compliment, but no one buys, you doubt your website, your pricing, your product, you even doubt yourself, you spend nights upon nights adjusting your website, and still no one buys.

You offer promotions, decrease the price of your product, and justify it by saying I want to deliver a high-quality product at a cheap price, which translates to” I really don’t know how to sell.”

You try to post on social media, and it still does not work out, try paid ads? No way! You are already broke enough to spend money on your lunch, so advertising is a big no-no for you.

Your beloved wife asks you how everything is going, babe, you answer, Perfect! Babe. But deep inside you, we both know it, it’s not working, failed! Again.

So you decide to hide your tail between your legs, give up and call it a failing project, abandoned it, and move toward the next project, hoping that it will be different. Well, it won’t.

Your new idea did not work because you have not overcome the main obstacle yet. The main issue was not your website design, your pricing, your SEO articles, or website speed.

The main problem is you are probably facing one or more of those four situations:

  1. Stuck with the idea of if I build it, they will come, by the way, no one is coming! There is no point in adjusting your business if very few people know it in the first place. ” no traffic = no sales.”

  2. You don’t have excess cash to market your business, which is not good timing to start a business in the first place.

  3. You are in a hurry to sell your product; you forget that building trust with your customers requires time and a lot of marketing and goodwill effort.

  4. You don’t have the knowledge and execution skills to market your business, and this is why you are reading this post.

If it’s for any other reason, please make sure to leave it in the comment section of this post, I will be more than happy to know your situation and offer some suggestions.

However, in this post, I’m going to assume that you lack a clear basic understanding of how marketing and sales work together to move a stranger into a buyer.

I’m going to try my best to simplify and clarify the fundamentals, so you become aware of the big picture and be able to diagnose your business on your own, most of the time the process are quite simple and logical but somehow still unclear to most starting entrepreneurs.

For this article to work out, I would like you to separate yourself from your business and look at it from a place of a logical and rational observer, let’s bring some common sense to this, shall we?

How does a business make a sale?

In order for a brand to make a sale, it needs to offer the right product, designed toward a specific customer wants, present it visually in a desirable way, along with marketing and sales systems. 

I have talked about how to find the right product in depth in both articles, how to find the right products for your customers, and how to find a profitable niche; I have also covered in details the visual presentation aspect of your brand in how to design awesome brand visuals without being a designer article.

In this article, I will focus on how to design marketing systems that attract strangers and hopefully turn them into buying customers.

This skill set is where most business and marketing newbies struggle, hopefully by the end of this article you will understand how to take your product in your working office or garage, sell it to a customer, and make some profit. Let’s begin!

For a business to make a sale, it requires the following elements that work together to deliver a product or service to the end customer.

1. A product in demand: without a tangible product or service that benefits a customer and drives them into a specific outcome, demand can’t be generated, there is nothing to be sold, or a transaction to happen.

Before you try to market your product and services, make sure you have done your market research and found a product in a profitable niche or a service with existing customers’ demand.

2. An offer: without an offer, you only have a product, people normally shop for complete packaged deals rather than a single product, an offer takes into consideration a specific customer with a specific budget, wants, and limitation.

We design the offers to take the risk of the purchase away from the customer’s focus and make the buying decision faster. We bundle different components together to make our product look like a juicy non-brainer deal.

Examples of offers:

  1. Buy X and get Y only for $Z.

  2. Buy X get Y for free.

  3. Buy X and get Y + Free Shipping, easy returns money back guaranteed.

  4. Buy X and get Y + Bonus A and B + easy returns money back guaranteed.

We could group offers into three major categories:

  1. Introductory offers: we use brand introductory offers to market test or launch a new product, generate first sales, collect reviews and feedbacks, or offer a free trial for a future recurring subscription.

  2. Bundled offers: we use bundled offers to up-sell and cross-sell different products or services to the same customer. This will increase the cart value of the customer, cover our customer acquisition cost, and generate extra profit.

  3. Deep discounts offer: we use deep discounts offers for seasonal holidays such as Black Friday Cyber Monday, sell left inventories or collect reviews and build a social proof around our brand, deep discounts offers could be offered as a single discount offer such as 50% off or as tier discounts, the more your customer buys the more they save. Deep discount offers should not be your dominant type of offers unless it’s your core strategy. This will devalue your brand and get the customer into the habit of waiting for your next discount. Rely more on introductory offers to acquire new customers, build trust, get to sell them through bundled offers, then occasionally offer deep discounts offers. 

Different offers examples

3. A platform or distribution channel: without a platform, a marketplace, or a store, there is no place for a customer to find or get their hands on your product, you need to host your store or products on a physical or digital platform that attracts a good amount of foot or web traffic for customers looking for specific products categories similar to yours.

Each platform has certain rules, policies, and customers segment, some platforms are designed to sell direct-to-consumer DTC or B2C such as Amazon, Target, and Walmart, while others are designed to connect two businesses together B2B such as

Each platform has different customers’ wants, needs, and search queries.

What people search for on Amazon differs from what people search for on eBay or Etsy, make sure before you host your store to understand the products and customer of each platform.

However, you can still build your separate store such as a pop-shop, a brick and mortar shop, or your personal website, keeping in mind that still has to be hosted on platforms such as a shopping street or a shopping mall for your physical store, and Shopify for your online store.

4. Marketing distribution channels: without a marketing distribution channel, you cannot reach and communicate with a customer, you can’t engage with them and promote your products. Some marketing distribution channels are Social media, TV, Radio, Magazines, and billboards.

The above four components have to exist and work together simultaneously in order for the sale to happen, they are equally important, you must neglect none of them, think of them as a complete system rather than separate parts.

Once you understand the above components, you can group them into three major elements called the 3A’s of marketing.

The 3A’s of marketing:

Awareness: to sell a product, you first have to make people aware of it through promotion. If not, the brand is invisible, and people can’t buy it.

Availability: once people are aware of your product, the product needs to be available to a customer through distribution channels, be it a retail store or online; if not, even if people know your product still they can’t buy it.

Affordability: your customers need to afford your product. If it’s for a person on a budget, then it needs to fit their budget if its premium still needs to fit a specific price point; if not, people still can’t buy it.

How does a business generate sales?

Now that you have a basic understanding of the major parts that every business needs to put in place to make a sale, look at your business and start noticing the missing parts.

  1. Is it an issue of a product with no to low demand?

  2. Is it the lacking of a desirable offer?

  3. Is it presented on the wrong platform?

  4. Is it lacking multi and diverse product distribution channels?

  5. Is it lacking an effective marketing distribution message and channels?

If you don’t have an answer for now don’t worry about it, I will explain more later, just keep reading.

The toughest part of designing your marketing system is not the engineering of the system itself.

Mega platforms such as Shopify, Click Funnels, Amazon, Google, and Facebook have already done an outstanding job of designing those systems and making the usability of such complicated systems much simpler for the ordinary user.

Therefore, you don’t have to worry about designing your eCommerce interface, your email marketing automation, or your payment system, or hard think your digital advertising tactics and tools, for each outcome there is a specific platform and tools that comes with tons of free tutorials and resources.

However, the most difficulty relies on how you connect those systems and platforms together and make a sale, how would you attract a stranger on Facebook, or someone searching on Google for a problem, get them into a marketing system, then drive them to make repeatable sales.

If you can do that consistently then you are golden, you can pat yourself on the back and call yourself a marketing master. If not, worry not, that’s what we are going to talk about next.

Understand where traffic comes from

Most small businesses underestimate the amount of work and planning goes behind driving traffic to their store and making a sale, most of them assume that having a store around the corner or building an online shop will do the job, they act from the mentality of

If I build it they will come” that’s delusional thinking rather than being practical.

There are billions of websites on the internet, what makes you sure that people will easily find you and purposely land on your website?

Traffic does not just come from nowhere, most brands invest hundreds of thousands if not millions of dollars into buying media and paid traffic from Google, Facebook, Yahoo, YouTube, Podcasts, TV, Billboards, Printed Magazines, and Digital portals, hoping to attract new customer and making a sale.

Posting a couple of images on Instagram and hoping for organic sales is not workable anymore, perhaps you can make few sales here and few sales there, however, with the low reach of organic posts and the massive marketing spending of competitor brands, it has become a lot tougher for small business to generate sales without taking into consideration investing in their marketing.

To better understand how sales happen, you first need to understand where most of the effective traffic comes from and by effective, I mean traffic brings buying customers, and not generic traffic from people randomly landed on your website looking to read a blog post, unless you are a blogger, that traffic generates a little to no sales value.

Although traffic includes both online and offline traffic, in this post, I will focus my explanation on online strategies, since I believe nowadays it’s a little more complicated to grasp for the starting entrepreneur. 

How to sell your products online?

There are two major ways to do business online, the first is to build your website, this means you buy your domain name and find a platform such as Shopify to host your e-commerce store, then drive traffic to this site through different marketing channels such as Facebook, Instagram, and Google.

The challenge with this approach is that nowadays paid traffic is relativity costly for most starting small businesses with no to low marketing budget, therefore this approach is not favorable unless you have established a marketing channel with a massive following such as a YouTube channel or Instagram fans page.

However, it’s favorable for businesses that want to develop their businesses into a legit brand, diversify their distribution channels, take full control of customers' relationship, and eliminate commission and transaction costs.

The second approach is to host your store on a marketplace with existing traffic and purchase intent buyers.

When people head to Amazon and search for a product, they are highly likely in a research or a purchase mode and want to buy a product that product.

Presenting your product in the search result or next to a competitor product will highly likely get you a sale compared to a random click on a Facebook ad from a person with no buying intent.

This approach works great for starting an online business with a limited marketing budget, or if you want to try your products and get used to how selling on the internet works without struggling and being frustrated with different marketing systems, then this is a good start.

However, the challenges with this approach are that the platform mostly controls the conversation with and the data of the customers.

Add to that the hefty commission and handling fees, which make it difficult to generate worthy profit if you sell low-price commodity products.

1. How to drive traffic to your marketplace online store: hosting your online store on a marketplace such as Amazon gives you the benefits of the attention of hundreds of millions of shopping customers ready to swipe their card for immediate purchase.

The platform also provide you with all the required tool to make the process simpler, this will make you focus on promoting your products, rather than struggling with the tools themselves.

However, the downside of such marketplaces is that they are overly supplied with different products similar to yours, besides being aggressively competitive in terms of different price points.

To win in this competition, think in terms of mathematics and adapt to the mindset of growth marketing rather than thinking like a traditional marketer and entrepreneur.

Amazon and different marketplaces operate for the benefit of their customers, that’s means every time the customer search for a product, the platform algorithm will suggest the best listing available for that customer which makes the customer happy, come back later, and buy more.

For the algorithm to make such a decision it relies on 3 key criteria:

1. The quality of your listing: this includes the overall quality of your product presentation and your title and product description keyword discoverability, a great listing contains: Product Images:

  1. A minimum of seven high-quality images taken from different perspectives on a light or white background.

  2. Lifestyle images of the product that show the product in use.

  3. Measurement description and diagrams, images if needed.

  4. Product videos.

Product Copy:

  1. 150 characters or longer descriptive and keywords rich title.

  2. 5 bullet points product description – keywords rich product benefits-oriented.

  3. Enhanced brand content: this section allows you to talk about your product features, your brand values, purpose, and story in visual content. 

You should fully optimize your listing for both keywords discoverability and clarity of readability. If you find it difficult to write your copy, hire a professional copywriter on Fiverr or Upwork, consider it as an investment rather than a cost.

2. Number of sales: this includes both your selling history and conversion rate, how many people have bought your product after visiting your listing, the higher the number of sales and conversion rate, the more probable the algorithm will list your product at the top of the search results or suggest it to a customer.

This is one of the most frustrating challenges that a new listing faces. With no sales, the customer cannot discover your product, no matter how good your listing is, so many people try to cheat their way around and make fake sales to be discovered and banned from the platform.

Here is a better strategy for you. Why not work with the algorithm rather than against it? Whenever you publish a new listing or want to boost the ranking of your product, follow this simple strategy.

  1. Allocate marketing budget for free giveaways.

  2. When you lunch a new product, you probably need to make as many sales as possible as fast possible, to push your listing, and generate some sales and reviews. Therefore, share deep discounts offers “up to 80% off ” coupons on deals websites such as:

  1. Once people claim their coupons and buy, deliver a great product and service, then request a review through the platform.

  2. Once you collect 10 reviews or more, promote and advertise your product inside the platform this will boost your product to the top of the list or suggest it to the customer.

Sponsored products suggestion |

3. Product Reviews: this includes the number of reviews and the overall quality of your product, now you might think you can cheat your way into buying fake reviews, do a Google search for “buy fake Amazon reviews” and you will find tons of websites that offer you such service, avoid them at any cost, taking such an action will get you banned one day or the others.

The secret to reviews is to focus on promoting your product, making sales even with taking some loss, serving well then kindly requesting a legit review through the platform.

How to request a product review | – Image: Jungle Scout

Keep in mind that almost all online platforms share similar processes of listing, promoting, and selling your product, therefore if you are just starting out try to learn how to sell on Amazon first, since it’s pretty advanced and convenient.

Then transfer the same knowledge and experience to different marketplaces. If this idea sounds exciting for you, I recommend watching the Jungle Scout YouTube channel; they have done a superb job of providing tons of free resources and case studies on how to start, list, promote, and sell your product on Amazon.

2. How to drive traffic to your website: when you sell your products from your eCommerce website, you enjoy the privilege of avoiding comparative competition, when customers visit your site, they only look at your products, this will isolate you from the noisy market and make you focus on presenting your brand elegantly, how awesome is that.

However, this privilege comes at a hefty price. You lose the outrageous amount of organic traffic and product discoverability that comes with massive platforms such as Amazon and eBay.

To better learn how to drive traffic to your website, Let’s look at some data of established brands and try to figure out how they generate most of their traffic, for this exercise, I would use the free version of SimilarWeb to collect data analytics, let’s look at and

As you can see that most web traffic comes from six distinct channels, search, direct, display, social, referrals, and mail. Let’s look at each source separately and dissect it.

1. Search: this makes most web traffic, and it’s close to 50%, the source “search” includes traffic generated from both organic and paid search “PPC” or pay per click.

If you inspect the top searched keywords, you would find branded keywords generate the most traffic, a branded keyword is a keyword that includes the brand name as a single word or as a phrase such as the brand name added before and after a product name or category, in this scenario, some branded keywords are purple, purple mattress, and purple pillow.

This means that the customers searched for the brand name rather than broad keywords, this shows that the brand has invested heavily through advertising be it on social media, radio, or other marketing distribution channels, to build awareness around the brand name and its offering.

It also means that the people who search for the brand are already in research or buying mode and looking for that specific brand, rather than randomly looking for an article around sleep.

2. Direct: with up to 42% of total traffic, this makes the second-largest source of traffic.

Direct traffic shows that the customer inputted the domain name of the brand directly in their browser link bar.

This means that the visitors have the intention of researching, comparing, and buying the product.

Direct traffic results from the brand investing heavily in building brand awareness through different marketing distribution channels.

3. Display: the third-largest source of traffic is through display advertising with about 7% to 10% of total web traffic.

Display traffic shows that the customer has discovered the brand while surfing on the internet through Google partner’s network. It also shows that some customers are being re-targeted with different offers through display banners to revisit the website and make a purchase.

4. Referrals: this source of traffic refers to the traffic that back-link to the brand website through published media on websites such as online portals, magazines, and blogs, or through affiliate programs, it makes up to 6% of the total traffic less or more depending on the brand investment in “public relations marketing” or PR.

5. Social media: as much as small businesses depend on social media for marketing, it only makes a tiny portion of the total traffic 3% ~ 5%.

Social media channels refer to both organic and paid advertising on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube. Social traffic source |

However, even if the amount of traffic of this channel makes a small portion of the total traffic for a large brand, paid social media promotion will generate a large portion of the total traffic for starting businesses with a little known brand name. traffic channels | social traffic source |

To better understand how to leverage social media to generate traffic and make sales, first, you need to understand the purpose behind social media content and how you can use each post to create awareness and nurture a relationship with the customer or drive them to take a specific action.

Branding content Vs. Direct marketing content

Branding content: is content you post about your brand highlighting the lifestyle and benefits around your products and brand experience, you also position yourself as an authority by providing educational content around your industry, you post this content on your social media channels and feed.

To learn more about how to develop branding content for your business, read: How to use social media to grow your business. Where I teach you in depth about how to leverage social media to build a brand and market your business.

Direct response marketing content: is content you create to promote an offer of your product; you show-case your products along with customers’ testimonials and special offers such as% OFF or free shipping;

we post this content through the Facebook business manager, Google AdWords Manager, Radio, Billboard, TV, Magazines, and other direct marketing channels.

Direct response marketing needs to be measured through data and analytics: if you spend $1, you need to know the return on that $1 in terms of brand reach, numbers of gained customers, revenue, and net profit. Key data metrics to track and measure:

Cost per customer acquisition: How much does it cost to make a sale?

Customer average cart value: How much does the average customer spend during one buying season? Including up-selling and cross-selling.

Customer average lifetime value: How much does the average customer spend over a lifetime? Assuming you have a subscription-based product.

Most profitable channel: Which marketing channel brings the most profitable customers?

These numbers could be easily measured by using data analytics and tracking tools, such as Facebook ads dashboard and Google analytics.

Try to keep things simple, visually readable, and organized, you don’t have to go crazy with understanding every aspect of data analytics; we are not trying to become data scientists, don’t also fear it if you are weak at math. Right now there are many tools that convert data to visual elements easy to understand.

Remember that the whole point of data tracking analytics for small businesses is to learn how much money are you making, which offers and channels are the most profitable, so you can double down your effort on the winners and avoid the losers, that’s it!

6. Email: this shows the amount of traffic of the people who clicked on a link in an email message linked to an offer on your site.

Most brands’ email marketing makes on average up to 3% of the total traffic, however, in some scenarios they might reach up to 10% depending on the strength of the relationship between the brand and the customer, and the seasonality of the product.

Brands that consistently release new products or discounts such as fashion nova tend to have a higher click rate than brands that only send regular newsletters and seasonal promotions. 

Building an email list for a small business is a time-consuming and costly process, it takes an extended period and money to drive traffic to your website, make strangers join your mailing list then sell to them, therefore for most small e-commerce stores, email marketing is considered as a small portion of the marketing system but isn’t the primary source of traffic and revenue, especially if the business is just starting out.

key takeaways:

– If you are staring with a low-budget, list your products on a marketplace, rather than having your website, leverage the traffic, marketing systems, advertising tools, and the credibility of the marketplace brand to kick start your business.

– Focus on driving targeted and purchase intent traffic rather than generic traffic.

– Think of your traffic as a system of diversified sources and channels that work together rather than separate parts.

– Leverage free educational content such as the Facebook academy, Google AdWords academy, Shopify academy, Semrush academy, Jungle Scout YouTube channel, and Oberlo YouTube channel to learn about the latest techniques of how to promote your product and services. 

Product sales page

Now that you understand where traffic comes from, you should learn where you should direct it. Most starting marketers make the mistake of sending the traffic to the homepage of their website. What a waste of money and traffic.

Think about a customer who just saw your Facebook ad or clicked on your Google search result promoted link. The last thing you want them to do is to wander around your site, get frustrated, then leave.

Before you run any ads make sure you have an offer page which also known as a landing page or a product sales page well designed and in place, the job of the landing page to sell your product and drive your traffic to take a specific action such as booking an appointment, registering for a webinar or buying a product.

Landing page elements:

An effective landing page includes the following elements:

  1. Clear presentation of the product images.

  2. Clear and descriptive title.

  3. Clear and well-written product features and benefits copy.

  4. Clear presentation of the product price, besides any extra shipping fees and payment methods.

  5. A clear description of the exchange and return policy.

  6. A clear description of the product risk-free policy.

  7. A clear call to action.

  8. Clear and well-written Q&A section.

  9. Clear phone, email, and live chat support.

 Your landing page should make the customer clear about:

  1. What is that I’m buying?

  2. How does it work?

  3. What are the benefits? And What can I do with it?

  4. How does it differ from other solutions?

  5. How did it work for others? And what if it does not work for me?

  6. What is your complete offer?

  7. How will you make it possible for me to buy it?

– Examples of sales pages to study:

The Ads

Now that you have a basic idea about how to generate traffic and you know the principles of designing your sales page, I will teach you the fastest way for small businesses to connect those two ends together and generate sales, then later on I will explain to you the details and logic of complete marketing systems and funnels.

As we mentioned before that hosting your site outside a marketplace has its biggest challenge, which is driving traffic, and the fastest way for a small business to generate that traffic is through paid Facebook and Instagram ads and or Google PPC and YouTube ads.

To make things simpler, let’s break down the process of social media advertising into two steps: 1. Targeting:

Facebook and Google ads work hand in hand with businesses to accomplish specific revenue goals, some of the most critical goals for a small business are:

  1. Brand engagement: engage new and loyal customers with your marketing content and drive a conversation around a specific product.

  2. Lead generation: target people interested in your services and drive them into an online form.

  3. Conversions: target online shoppers interested in a product similar to yours and drive them to take a specific action on your website, such as buying a product.

  4. Store traffic: target people around your geographical area interested in visiting your store with special offers, such as take away or store happy hours offers.

Facebook marketing campaign objectives | Facebook ads manager

Facebook and Google are data-driven platforms, therefore, they target people according to specific data points and attributes the user fills in their profile, such as personal demographical information, interests, and hobbies, or target people’ geo-location, or find a segment of customers with previous behavioral records, such as online shopping.

Facebook ad demographics targeting

Facebook ad interest targeting

Google targeting works similar to Facebook with displaying Ads and YouTube since it attracts people with specific interests and topics, Google also allows you to target different YouTube channels and videos with specific topics and interests.

Google ads targeting

Both platforms make it easy and possible to target new customers according to the demographics, interests, behavioral, and Geo-location data besides keywords targeting for both Google and YouTube.

Both platforms also allow you to re-target and re-market your offers to a specific group of people and drive them back to your sales page.

Things to consider with targeting:

  1. Make sure when you set up Google or YouTube targeting to include your brand and your competitors ‘ brands names in the keywords and YouTube channels targeting section.

  2. When you target on Facebook and Instagram, have different ads campaigns and ad sets with different group audiences including: 1. Broad targeting ad set: in this group of audiences you target a large group of audiences with a set of broad interests such as fitness, running, basketball, and swimming, create 1 Adset per interest, this will make it easier for you later to analyze what interest does not worth your money and what to budget and scale. 2. Specific categories of ad set: for each ad set you manage to group small sets of your customers’ interest categories into a separate ad set, for example, influencers ad set, magazines ad set, celebrities ad set, and brands ad set. This could easily be achieved by first identifying the top list of a specific category on Google, such as top basketball magazines, Google will identify the top basketball magazines then provide you with a list of magazines you can input in the interest targeting section of Facebook targeting, make sure to group them all into one magazines’ ad set. Note: you might not be able to find the entire list on Facebook, however, make sure to include all the ones you find.

Top Basketball magazines | Google search

Facebook interest targeting by category ad set | Facebook ad manager

3. Re-targeting campaign: create a separate campaign or ad set and target the people who visited your product page, products category, or purchased from your store, then re-target them with different content and offers.

Notes to consider:

  1. Start with 8 to 10 separate Adsets and a budget of $10 to $15 /per Adset/per day.

  2. Once you run your Facebook or Google ads leave them running for at least three days without any extra configuration or optimization, this will allow the algorithm to collect data and learn more about your audience, don’t fall into the mistake of adjusting or turning off ads way too quickly.

  3. Always start from a small budget, as low as $10 a day per or as high as $50 a day per campaign however the larger your audience is, the more data you need to collect, and the shorter timeframe of collecting that data the more you need to spend. However, this does not mean that you have to blow your marketing budget, without making sure what works and what does not.

  4. Always rely on analytics to make a quantitative decision around which ad sets perform the best and need to boost and which to turn off.

  5. If you run on a low-budget, don’t advertise on social media, it takes an investment of both skills, money, and time to collect the right amount of data and start generating profitable sales, instead switch to hosting and promoting your product on a marketplace such as Amazon.

2. Advertising creatives:

The job of the ad creative is to stop, attract and motivate a stranger to click on the ad, its primary job is to sell the click on the offer rather than to sell the product itself, that’s the job of the landing page, each ad creative includes 4 main sections.

  1. A clear product benefits copy.

  2. A clear image or video demonstration of the product.

  3. A bold and irresistible offer as a motivator.

  4. A clear call to action, such as subscribe now or buy now.

Keep in mind that the content you display on your ad should mirror the same message on your landing page, if your ad copy says 40% OFF, then your landing page should mirror the same offer, that’s why people clicked on your ad in the first place.

Facebook ad creative example |

Facebook makes it possible for small business to display their products and services in different formats be it text, images, or videos.

Facebook ad creatives examples

However, One of the most successful formats is to write a simple copy of the three to five most important benefits of your product, along with a simple demonstrative video or an image of your product, then follow it with a direct call to action. Facebook ads | Facebook ad library

Another offer that works great is to offer your product at a discounted price, then up-sell and cross-sell to different products and services later on in your sales funnel to increase the cart value, recover your marketing cost and make more profit.

Casper mattresses Facebook ads | Facebook ad library

Please take the time to watch the following video as I explain the basic steps of how to leverage Facebook ads to generate traffic, drive business to your store, and make sales.

How to target customers and sell to them.

Marketing and sales funnels

Now that you understand the basics about how to set up a simple marketing system, let’s dive a little deeper into marketing funnels.

Every new business once it gets into the market or needs to be known by new customers it requires going through steps and process and get introduced to the market, regardless of it’s an online or offline business, the tools, tactics, and techniques might differ, but the process and steps are similar, It’s pretty logical and straightforward.

Before you know someone you need to get introduced to them, or at least receive an invitation to meet them, then you slowly get to know them, decide if you can trust them, and later on, in the process, you can decide if you want to do business with them or not, but first, you got to know them.

The three types of audiences

Let me introduce you to three different levels of audiences. This concept of different levels of audiences is critical to understand if you want to nurture trust and turn a stranger into a loyal customer.

1. Cold audience:

This audience is unaware of your brand and business; we rarely communicate to this audience with a direct offer unless the price of the product is low ~ around $50 or less, we normally attract them by a compelling and attractive offer then walk them into the process of introducing the brand and making them getting familiar with us. 

Some segments of the cold audience are:

  1. Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Google Ads.

  2. Bloggers, Influencers, Newspapers, Magazines.

  3. Billboard, Banners advertising.

  4. Trade shows, Events.

2. Warm audience:

This audience is familiar with your brand but still not ready to purchase yet; your job is to provide value, deliver educational content, and build trust.

Some segments of the warm audience are:

  1. People who engaged with your brand or social media page.

  2. People who followed you on social media.

  3. People who opt-in to your mailing list.

  4. People who clicked on your ads and been re-marketed.

  5. People who replied to your cold email with interest in your offering.

  6. People who visited your physical store.

  7. People who were referred to your business by friends, affiliates, or partners.

3. Hot audience:

This audience has gone through the research phase and ready to make a purchase. Your job is to provide testimonials, answer objections, eliminate risks, and ask for the sale (close the sale)

Some segments of the hot audience are:

  1. People who searched for your brand and products.

  2. People who add your product to the cart.

The four steps of the marketing funnel

Awareness, interest, desire, and action, known as AIDA, are the core pillars when it comes to marketing your business, don’t worry about the name now, those are only steps and process to move someone from not knowing you into a repeating buyer.

We also build a funnel as a system to save ourselves money in the future, the cost of acquiring a new customer is pretty expensive therefore for every new customer we bring in, we need to make sure that we have the opportunity to sell and up-sell them in the future.

Marketing Funnel |

Now that I have introduced you to AIDA, let’s make things simpler and more manageable; every funnel is better to be designed with a beginning, a middle. And an end or in other words, top, middle, and bottom.

It’s not always the case; sometimes, the sale just happens on the spot, “love at first sight.” but keeping a system in mind, the process becomes more predictable.

1. Top funnel

Awareness or reach are the most important steps for new businesses: if your customers don’t know of your existence, logically they won’t be able to find you or try your offers, regardless of how awesome your stuff is.

Every business needs to start from somewhere, and it mostly depends on how much money and time you have, your skills, and relations.

  1. If you are planning for a brick and mortar or a physical space store, then the location and store design will be your savior for attracting the first few customers.

  2. If you sell commodities or expensive items, then trade shows and events, making connections, and displaying your products in galleries might be the right choice.

  3. If you sell services, then attending events or joining a business group, being introduced by a friend or looking for your prospect on LinkedIn and sending them a personalized email might be a good way to get your foot in.

  4. If you sell products and services online, then advertising on Google, social media, or working with influencers and bloggers, driving word of mouth is an excellent way to start.

Some tactics that you could make people aware of your business are through Facebook, Instagram, Google, YouTube, and Yelp be it organic or paid ads, podcasts, guest blogging, joint venture, Influencers marketing, Word of mouth, and Blogging, all of those methods will help drive traffic to your site and make people aware of your brand.

Top of funnel marketing examples | Google local businesses and paid promotions.

Top of funnel marketing examples | Facebook local businesses Geo-targeting ads

People must know about you if you got the money then advertise if you don’t then rely on building word of mouth, however starting a business with building a likable brand in mind will diffidently make your job easier.

2. Middle funnel:

Once people have heard of your business and brand multiple time, your job is to nurture a relationship and make them interested in your business, keep in mind that most people will ignore and have no interest in your stuff, that’s fine, even Jesus could not win them all, so let’s just focus on the interested people.

In this step of the process, your future customers might dig more into your business, In the term of a physical store, they might go through Yelp reviews of your business or consider visiting your store for multiple times and make sure you offer what benefits and entertains them.

On the other hand, if you are an online business, they might keep visiting your site back and forth, searching for YouTube reviews, reading Amazon reviews, download extra information about your business, and do basic research. 

Your job at this stage is to keep them engaged and set up your marketing information in a way that makes it easy to access and understand.

  1. If you have a newsletter, make it easy to subscribe.

  2. If you have a catalog, make it easy to download.

Just make it as easy as possible and as simple to understand so you can hook them in.

Once they subscribe or be a part of your marketing system, you can now slowly unveil your brand story and offering one step at a time.

Middle funnel facebook ad examples | –

Middle funnel YouTube content examples |

In the case of online marketing, you take your future customers through an email marketing journey, or social media posts and advertising educating them about your brand values, products offering, and why they should invest in buying your products over alternative solutions.

Middle funnel email marketing examples |

3. Bottom Funnel:

At this stage of the funnel, most of the people in the last two steps will filter out and leave your funnel for the reason of not being interested in what you offer; this could be the functionality, the design, or the price of your product.

This also could be caused by the reputation of your brand. Keep in mind that nowadays customers are getting more sophisticated and care more about the purpose of the brand than only caring about the price or the functionality of the product itself.

However, if everything seems to look perfect to them and matches their wants, then they will move down toward the end of the funnel which is taking action, and here where the purchase happens. 

Your job is to:

  1. Recommend the best offers that fit each customer.

  2. Make the sales process as pleasurable and straightforward as possible.

  3. Minimize the risk of your offer.

  4. Provide easy and secure payment options.

  5. Ask for the sale, collect money, and deliver your product.

Now keep in mind that reaching the end of the funnel does not mean the end of the relationship, you should stay in touch with your clients, deliver customer service, ask for feedback, provide educational content and send promotional materials.

Remember what we said at the beginning of this article. The cost of acquiring a new customer is pretty expensive. Therefore, your job as a marketer is to keep the customer engaged.

This will build a loyal based customer who feels treated nicely by your brand, which allows you to increase the frequency of their visit and the lifetime value, which will increase the bottom line of your business without extra spending on acquiring new customers.

Notes to consider:

– Leverage social media and platforms advertising to drive new customers toward your business. Only relying on organic reach is not enough, especially if you are a new business.

– Don’t overuse discounts and promotions; this will devalue your brand and attract the wrong customers, think of alternative ways to adjust your offer, rather than just discounting your price.

– Always try to up-sell and cross-sell your customers to increase the average cart value and bottom-line profit.

Please, take the time to watch the following video as I explain the basics of how to plan a strategy around designing your marketing funnels.

How to plan for your marketing funnel

Keep in mind that your AIDA should be connected through three main separate processes.

Marketing Process: how would you make people aware of your business, engage them with your brand, and convert them into interested leads. “lead magnet and nurture relationships, prepare them for the next step.” The steps of a marketing system are: 1. Awareness: you first need to make people know your brand.

2. Interest: you must pull enthusiasm toward your brand by promoting to the right audience.

3. Desire: your brand needs to be desirable by your target audience.

4. Action: if you have accomplished the first three steps, then a stranger will take an action and become a lead.

Sales process: how would you convert your leads into customers.” qualifying leads and closing the sale.”

The steps of a sales system are:

1. Prospecting: finding and reaching out to new customers. Through phone calls, events, and trade shows, the marketing department could establish this step for an online business.

2. Connecting: contacting your lead and starting a conversation.

3. Discovery: understanding the customer’s wants, needs, and desires, qualifying if you are the right solution for their challenges.

4. Presenting: presenting your solution to the customer.

5. Closing: asking for the sale.

6. Objection: negotiating customers’ concerns and objections.

 Service Process: how would you fulfill, serve your customers, and turn them into advocates. The steps of the service system are:

1. Product Fulfillment: fulfilling what you promised includes product quality and shipping.

2. After Sales Service: providing support to customers after they purchase your product.

3. Referral system: asking customers for business opportunities, referrals.

These systems should work together for a business to take a stranger and turn them into brand advocates.

Here are a few examples for you:

– Join a trade show, introduce your products, collect leads and business cards, follow up with your leads and verify buyers, communicate a proposal, nurture relation, deliver your product, close the sale, repeat!

– Find a cool product, build a website, find bloggers or influencers in your industry, drive word-of-mouth traffic to your website, sell your product, nurture relationships with existing customers through social media and email, upsell and cross-sell your exciting customers, repeat!

– Build a website, drive traffic through paid advertising, re-target your website, visitors on social media with different creatives, sell your product, ask for reviews, engage through email marketing and social media, up-sell, and cross-sell, repeat!

As you can see that each type of business requires different kinds of funnel structure, steps, and process, sometimes we might mix different funnels to diversify our marketing, the above examples are simplified for this article. However, they are repeatable, and once they are properly designed and tested, they become predictable.

How should you structure your funnel?

The goal of a simple funnel is to convert a stranger into a brand advocate from someone who does not know about your business, to someone who would hand you his credit card number or cash then talk nicely about your brand, that is not an easy task, there is a lot to consider in here.

Before we end this article, I want us to go through the big picture and take into consideration a few important factors; those elements will play an important role in planning for your funnel map.

1. Online Vs Omni:

If you are planning to be 100% online, then your entire marketing and sales system “might” be designed around as little face to face human interaction as possible (automation) if you have offline stores, then you might leverage the internet for your marketing to drive foot traffic while your sales team close the sale at the store.

2. The price of your product:

Low to mid-price products probably won’t require very complicated marketing and sales funnel, a price range of $7 to $50 does not require a big commitment and a lot of objections to be answered, most of those purchases happen on the spot, “impulsive purchase” If people like your offer they will buy immediately.

If you are selling a product of a higher price, you might need to create a longer and more detailed funnel to build trust, answer different objections, demonstrate features, and show testimonials, or you might need to get on the phone, provide a proposal or meet face to face to close the deal.

3. The credibility of your brand:

If you are an old and credible brand, it will take you a shorter period to persuade people to purchase your product since you need less time to convince them to trust your brand; people have confidence in your business.

If you are a new brand, you need to build a longer funnel to introduce your brand, get them engaged, and build trust, which might make your sales cycle much longer.

4. The type of your product:

Some types of products are trendy and hot; they don’t require long and multiple steps to sell, people will just get excited and buy if your products have to do with analyzing and deep thinking then it might take you longer and more detailed funnels to close the sale.

5. What do you want the customer to do at the end of the funnel?

Do you want them to buy your book? Buy your product? Come to an event? Buy an online course? Book a consulting season? Each one of these funnels is structured differently.

Please understand that the bottom line of a marketing and selling funnel and process is to attract a new customer, nurture the relationship, educate them about your product, answer objections, and sell, then convert customers into advocates.

This could be a product, a strategy season, or a coaching program; it does not matter, as long as you are clear of what you will be offering.

Now that you understand the big picture and the theory of building a funnel and different type of audience, realize that different marketing and sales funnels fit different types of businesses, they typically start with an eye-grabbing bribe called “lead magnet” and end with a sale.

For now, you don’t have to worry about all the tech and fancy stuff, that is the job of a marketing agency or digital marketer specialist, if you are one then there is no point in explaining to you what you know, and if you are not, then no worries, there are many free to low-cost tutorials and videos on YouTube.

Most small businesses start by word of mouth, or working together with few bloggers, to drive interest and traffic, once you validate your market, make predictable sales then you can hire a professional to build complete systems for your business.

For now, I need you to focus on the big picture and be clear on the following questions:

  1. How would people know/hear about your products?

  2. What is your offer to them that will attract their attention?

  3. How would you influence people to buy your product?

  4. How and where would people engage with your business?

  5. How would people buy your product?

  6. How and why would people keep buying your product?

  7. How and why would people promote your product?

You should be able to fill each box and map out the customers’ journey process of your business, starting with your traffic source and ending with how people would promote your product, learn more about Digital Marketer customers value journey.

What if you did all the above and still no-one is buying?

Well, that’s a great question, normally people won’t buy your product for many reasons, mostly it has to do with your offering, people mostly don’t buy a single product, but they do buy an appealing offer, make sure to revisit your offer pricing, products bundling, do you offer any bonuses? Do you offer a risk-free return policy?

Another reason would be that they don’t need or want your product, it’s nice to have but no urgency. The third reason is they want your product, but they don’t trust your business. A relationship is built and developed over time.

Lastly, your customers might don’t trust themselves and their decisions; they were cheated and misled by many people, they don’t have confidence in their judgment or abilities to buy the same sort of stuff anymore.

Key take-aways:

– Use specific tools for a specific need. If you want to sell products, then don’t try to go with word-press, find an e-commerce hosting platform with all the supporting tools and funnels such as Shopify.

– For a business to generate a sale, it requires a product that is offered at the right timing, the right platform, an online or physical store, the right marketing strategy, distribution channels, and an attractive offer.

– Leverage tools such as SimilarWeb, Semrush, Ispionage, Ubersuggest, Jungle Scout, and Facebook ad library to collect market intelligence, keywords suggestions, and creative ideas.

– Think in terms of a complete system from start to end rather than single tactics and parts.

– The end-goal of every marketing system is to drive loyalty toward your brand and hook your customers to come back for more.

– Work on automating your process and systems, however, keep the interaction with the customer personalized.


Here you go, you made it till the end; I hope by now you come to realize why most businesses fail with marketing and promoting their products and services.

Nowadays, making a sale online is not a matter of having a website, and a simple social media account. That was a long time ago.

Right now you need to see the complete picture as a system rather than separate parts, then develop the technical skills or hire professionals to build effective systems that fit your business need and budget. 

Keep in mind that relying on a low price strategy to sell your product is not a healthy marketing strategy for the long run, adopting such a strategy to increase your revenue for the sake of increasing sales without taking into consideration your profit is a strategy that is doomed to fail for small businesses.

Every customer would love to buy more of any product at a heavily discounted price, it’s an easy decision deal, and you should not brag about it.

Focus on improving your marketing skills and providing value to your customer through great service and product quality, invest in nurturing the trust and relationship between your brand and the customer, so your brand becomes their best choice.

At the end of the day, people buy from brands they love, trust, care for them, and serve their best interests. 

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