A sales funnel is the process your prospects go through to end up as one of your customers. Each step of the funnel is designed to take the potential buyer closer to making a purchase.
You may have heard of sales funnels or a marketing funnel but you are not exactly sure what it means. So let me break it down for you so that you can be clear on what a sales funnel is and how it works.
Sales Funnel Explained – How Does It Work?
Every person goes through a buying cycle or a process before they end up buying a product. This can be as simple as them seeing an advertisement, clicking on a link to read more about it, and ending up on the online store to purchase the item.
This process can also be much more complex where the decision to purchase an item can take months from where the person ended up on a webinar, received newsletters, perhaps a sales call, or downloadable resources.
The idea is to create an effective sales funnel for your business and to provide an excellent customer experience so that you can maximize your sales.
Let’s go ahead and look at the levels of a typical sales funnel.
Breaking Down The Funnel
Starting at the top of the funnel, you cast your hook or net (with your offer) out to a wide audience. This could be from YouTube, Google, Twitter, Facebook, etc.
Those interested will then enter the first stage of your funnel. These are visitors coming to your landing page. Also known as your lead capture page. To give a bit more clarity: Each stage of the funnel is an actual web page that your visitors will land on.
Your lead capture page is where you want to collect your potential customer’s e-mail address, which now makes them a lead and whom you can then follow up with by means of a sales letter or a newsletter, and that now makes them a prospect. The point is that you can introduce your offers to them.
So now they have opted-in to your email list and they move down to the next step of the sales funnel, which is your order page. Ordering from you makes them your customer and from here you can offer them more value through upsells to things they may also be interested in.
It is not just pushing another product in there. It must provide value to your customers. Say you are selling this awesome-looking container for $1, but if they want, they can pay $1.50 and get the matching lid as well. For $5 dollars they can have 3 of these containers with the lids. But you also have an option for tight-fitting silicone lids to keep things fresh.
This is called your value ladder and you ascend your customers up this ladder. Much like going to a restaurant and you order something and they will ask you: Is that all or do you want this or that to go with it or that they have a special on something when you order this or that extra.
What Is The Difference Between A Sales Funnel And A Website?
The question many ponder about is: Why not just create a landing page on your website?
When you want to maximize the sale of a particular product, a sales funnel is much better to use and the reason is simple: You are not in control of prospects’ actions when they land on your website.
You can still steer the user to where you want him to go with links and a call to action on the page, but people can wander off to your about page or any menu item they find interesting.
Have you ever gone to YouTube to search for something specific and ended up watching funny videos?
There are no distractions in a sales funnel and each user action takes them closer to you making a sale.
Where a website delivers quality content to the end-user, a sales funnel only focuses on making a sale.
Why Do You Need A Sales Funnel?
One of the most valuable assets you can have is to build an email list of your potential customers. Those interested in what you offer but not yet ready to purchase, as well as those that became your loyal fans.
You can then keep in touch and provide them with valuable information and nurture those that still need to make a buying decision.
A sales funnel helps you do just that, but it is more than that.
Instead of having your offers scattered all over a website, you can focus on one product that your audience is interested in. You can then guide your prospects and control their actions. With this statement, I am not implying that you should not have a website. A website that brings in lots of organic traffic can be an immensely valuable digital asset.
For selling a specific product, I do believe that a sales funnel will take the win in sales and profit instead of a website. Just know that every business does have a website and a website is not just for selling products.
You can learn from the actions your prospects take on activities and improve your sales funnel so that it can convert better which leads to more sales.
It is easy to, later on, determine your profit margin when calculating the average percentage of prospects that make a purchase. This will help with budgeting for things like advertising costs.
How Do You Get Traffic To Your Sales Funnel?
You can do paid advertising on different platforms to make your product known.
If you are a content creator, you can write articles and drop your link to your funnel in there and you can also share your link on the social media platforms that you use.
Find out where you’re ideal audience hangs out (Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, Instagram, YouTube, etc.) and then post or advertise there.
What Makes An E-mail List So Valuable?
Driving traffic to your sales funnel usually comes at a price. This could be in the form of time or advertising costs.
It can easily cost you $20 per lead and some time to get your offer out to your audience.
When you are building an e-mail list, you are creating your own laser-targeted traffic source of people interested in your products.
Sending your offer to your own traffic source will save you a lot of money per interested lead, but it also gives you the ability to keep in touch with your customers.
Very powerful as well, is the ability to re-target leads that did not purchase from you on autopilot.
When providing great value to your customers, you will only need 1000 true fans to fuel your online business.
The way you structure your sales funnel is therefore important and making use of the correct tools for the job.
What Are The Steps In Creating A Sales Funnel?
1. Create Your Ideal Customer Avatar
You will need to get customers to your sales funnel and for that, you will need to know who your ideal audience is and where they hang out.
It is pointless to advertise on Instagram if you are looking to target company executives. Being active on Linkedin will most likely be a better option to find your audience.
You can use your ideal customer avatar (buyer persona) for some inspiration here.
2. Get People Into Your Funnel
For your prospect to take action and decide to move into your sales funnel and give you their e-mail address, you can make use of a lead magnet like a free eBook on the topic or a free tool that may solve a problem for them.
This offer will need to resonate with your audience in order for it to work.
3. Provide Value to Leads Via Email Marketing
By this stage, you have their e-mail address and the key is to now convince them to have another look at your product and convert them from someone that simply wanted a free resource to one that is considering purchasing your offer.
You can send them valuable information on how your product can solve their problem or an in-depth guide on your product.
Yay! Your prospects are now interested in your product and it is now key to guide them to take action on the final steps.
A Frequently Asked Questions page or a compelling sales page can be one way of closing this final step for this basic funnel.
5. Implement Marketing Automation Tools And Sales Funnel Software
Earlier on I explained the difference between a website and a sales funnel page. You need tools for anything you set up and it is true for sales funnels as well.
For a website, you need a hosting company, a domain, and a platform you will create your website on.
For creating effective sales funnels while saving you a lot of time, you can make use of tools like Clickfunnels or you can make use of free tools (when starting out) like GrooveFunnels (lifetime access offered for one payment till 22 February 2022), or Systeme.io.
For keeping in contact with your clients on your e-mail list and doing re-targeting of leads on autopilot, you will need to make use of an autoresponder like GetResponse.
While Getresponse can also create landing pages and have templates, it is rather frustrating. It is best to use a proper sales funnel builder and connect your autoresponder to your sales funnel builder application.
Sales funnels are everywhere you go and it is an effective way to maximize sales. If you are not implementing a sales funnel for your online business as well, you may be leaving money on the table.
Sales funnels differ in structure depending on what it is you are selling or promoting. Let me know if this is something you would be interested in learning and I will do a post or two about popular funnel structures.