In this blog post, I’ll go over the basics of sales funnels for beginners and how to use them to sell a lot more of your product or service.
Have you ever wondered how successful businesses consistently turn website visitors into customers?
They use sales funnels.
Sales funnels are a marketing strategy that can be applied to any product or service, and they involve a multi-step process designed to get website visitors to convert into happy customers.
What is a Sales Funnel?
Before we get into the nitty-gritty, let’s go over what a sales funnel really is.
A digital sales funnel is a system for automating the guidance and support required to help potential customers make the most suitable buying decisions.
This process begins with at least one of the following traffic sources:
- Direct traffic: people that land on your website after typing your main website address or one of your website pages directly into an internet browser like Chrome or Firefox.
- Referral traffic: people that land on your website after clicking on a link to your main website address or one of your website pages that they have found on another website.
- Organic Search engine traffic: people that land on your website after making a specific search in a search engine (Google, Bing, Yahoo) and then clicking on your website link in the search engine results page (SERP).
- Campaign traffic: people that land on your website via a dedicated (usually paid advertising channels) campaign or clicking on a link with certain tracking parameters.
Regardless of the traffic source, the best traffic is made up of your target customers and the best marketing and sales systems help these people move through the 4 basic stages of their buyers’ journey.
The 4 basic stages of their buyers’ journey are:
- Awareness stage
- Interest stage
- Decision stage
- Action stage
Now check this out, the acronym for these four stages is AIDA which was developed in 1898 by an American businessman called St Elmo Lewis.
AIDA was his attempt at explaining how personal selling works.
Super cool, right?
I also want you to consider and keep in mind a fifth stage, Retention, which is all about Lifetime Value (LTV).
Learn more about the AIDAR model.
The bottom line is that all successful online businesses use sales funnels.
For example, an ecommerce business like Amazon is a massive collection of hyper-profitable sales funnels that allows them to determine what customers want to buy when they are most likely to want to buy, and when they are ready to make a purchase.
What Are the Main Digital Sales Funnel Stages?
Here’s a brief overview of the main digital sales funnel stages of a service-based business where the main goal for the business owner is turning traffic into leads that are spoken to during a sales call or discovery call.
Bear in mind that the following stages can be customised to suit all types of businesses.
Funnel Stage 1
Your prospective client has no idea who you are or what your business does. They may not even know they have a problem that needs solving. not necessarily in buying it right now.
Funnel Stage 2
Your prospective client becomes aware of a need to fix a problem they have and they find your website or they are guided to your website.
Funnel Stage 3
Your prospective client begins to think that your product or service might be of benefit to them.
Funnel Stage 4
Your prospective client starts to research alternative providers or products but is drawn to your educational email drip campaign and comes to the conclusion that you are the best choice for their needs. They then decide what they want to buy.
Funnel Stage 5
They actually buy your product or service and start using it. Their level of satisfaction will influence their future purchasing decisions so make sure you go above and beyond their expectations!
Download these five funnel stages as a one-page overview.
Sales Funnel For Beginners: Forms and Landing Pages
A lead generation funnel is the simplest type of sales funnel you can create and run.
It’s designed to convert website visitors into leads.
Remember the traffic sources we discussed earlier: Direct traffic, Referral traffic, Organic Search engine traffic and Campaign traffic (usually paid ads).
Let’s imagine that we have created a great paid ad.
When someone clicks on that ad, we do not want to send them to your homepage or one of your standard website pages because there is a very high chance that they will not convert into a customer and this will drive the cost of your ads through the roof due to a low success rate.
So what we do is sending them through to a page optimised to increase their knowledge about the benefits of your product or service.
This is called a landing page.
This page should have no menu navigation and a single call-to-action.
“Call to action is a marketing term for any device designed to prompt an immediate response or encourage an immediate sale. A CTA most often refers to the use of words or phrases that can be incorporated into sales scripts, advertising messages, or web pages, which compel an audience to act in a specific way.”
Sales Funnel For Beginners – Focus on The Buyers’ Journey
The whole aim of this online marketing and sales system is supporting their buyer’s journey so that when they type in a keyword or phrase (seeking a solution to a specific problem), they get shown your relevant and compelling ad, they click on the ad and they are sent to a page customised just for them.
This landing page is designed in such a way that they will instinctively feel like they’ve found exactly what they were looking for.
This landing page will provide them with education that aids their purchase decision, and that’s why they will want to get even more value from you and request more information about that particular service.
This is when they will complete a form to receive a resource that continues that education, just like the content upgrade you saw earlier in this post for my The Client Attraction System Overview.
Sales Funnel For Beginners – Remarketing and Retargeting
You can supercharge your funnel with a Google Remarketing Tag.
A Google Remarketing Tag is a piece of code you can add to your website that will allow you to have ads that will “follow” your site website visitors around the internet.
So, if someone lands on your landing page after clicking on one of your ads, and they (for one reason or another) end up leaving your website without submitting a form requesting more information, remarketing ads will be shown to them as they browse the internet to remind them about your amazing services and products.
This retargeting strategy is great for increasing the ROI you get from your marketing campaigns.
You can achieve something very similar with Facebook Ads.
Facebook Ads are a potent marketing tool.
This is because you can target people very, very precisely based on their age, based on their gender, income level, location, hobbies, interests, other brands they engage with etc.
Using Ads to Get Your Message In Front of The Right People
Facebook Ads are a great tactic, a very direct way of getting your marketing message in front of exactly the right people.
I would definitely suggest that you start testing different Facebook Ad formats and audiences, as a way to generate leads.
As we saw earlier, you need to make sure that you’re sending those leads to a very targeted landing page that has a very simple and compelling next step that people take in order to request more information.
Just as with the Google Remarketing Tag, you want to make sure that you have a Facebook Pixel installed on your website before you start running any paid advertisement campaigns.
This is an important step for tracking marketing campaign performance.
The Facebook pixel provides important information you can use to create better Facebook ads, and better target your ads.
It helps ensure your Facebook ads are seen by the people who are most likely to take your desired action: buy your services and products so that you generate more revenue.
Regardless of the type of business that you own, the first step in building your first marketing or sales funnel is strategy.
Marketing Funnel Strategy
Marketing funnel strategy consists of the same steps for any business objective:
- identifying your business goals
- mapping out practical action plans for achieving those goals
- implement systems, software and procedures
- remain focused on those achieving those goals
These initial steps are the same for complex and simple sales funnels.
For example, these are the 9 steps I guide my service-based business clients through to create a super successful sales funnel:
- Goals – define your ultimate personal life vision and your business vision
- Business – choose the business model that will best support your purpose-driven goals for yourself, your clients and your employees
- Client – identity your most suitable prospective customers – those people who will inspire you to do your very best work, the people who will most benefit from and value your experience
- Service – define your flagship offering and/or signature solutions that will sit at the top of your value ladder
- Products – create a suite of digital products that will supercharge your sales conversion rates because they will cater to different sections of your target market
- Offer – create a valuable lead magnet that will provide entry to your value ladder
- Prepare – create all the types of content needed for the funnel. This valuable content will include sales copy, videos, promotional blog posts and nurturing follow up emails
- Build – select all the funnel software tools and creation of pages, forms and automations
- Launch – use free and paid traffic strategies to attract ideal customers e.g. paid ads, webinars and a killer piece of content that builds instant authority.
Basic Sales Funnel Structure
Regardless of the sales funnel builder used there is a basic structure to be followed.
There are 4 main funnel pages:
This is where people will access your valuable lead magnet in exchange for their email address and your permission to continue marketing to them.
This lead magnet could be a short ebook
This page is also known as a Thank You page.
This page is usually used to say “Thank You for your email address, here’s the lead magnet you wanted”.
However, this is a missed opportunity to provide Even More Value via a video walk-through of the lead magnet with more related tips and advice.
Even better, the Thank You page could be used to present your new subscriber with a low-cost upsell.
This sales page could sell the low-cost upsell offered on the Congratulations page or it could be a completely different offer.
It is recommended to have at least two sales page variations: one that has text and images and one that has text and video (a video sales page).
The most important element here is the copywriting structure of the page.
A good structure to follow is one created by Ray Edwards, a renowned copywriter and communications strategist.
Ray’s structure uses 6 distinct sections:
- STORY and SOLUTION
- TRANSFORMATION and TESTIMONY
Of course, your marketing and sales funnel would not be complete without a checkout page.
A checkout page gives your customers the opportunity to enter payment details and complete their order.
You can also use an order bump to provide a related upsell or cross-sell to increase the order value.
The Magic Ingredient AKA Email Marketing
This sales conversion funnel is nothing without a followup email sequence.
97% of people that land on your website will not buy from you.
Don’t be disheartened. This is more to do with them and less to do with you.
The majority of people landing on your website are seeking decision-making information.
The opt-in form on the first page of your funnel is hooked up to an email autoresponder.
An email autoresponder like Mailchimp or Activecampaign is made for a lot more than email newsletters.
An important part of growing an email list is remembering that all these email addresses represent people who potentially needs your help.
Email marketing allows you to inform, educate and convince email subscribers to become your loyal clients and loyal customers.
These nurturing campaigns are a massive part of consistent business growth.
Download these Sales Funnel Templates.
Using Sales Funnels to Get More Leads and Sales
When you run a business that sells online, you need sales funnels to convert visitors into leads, and prospects into customers – on autopilot.
This sales funnel is one of the most effective digital marketing and sales strategies.
Sales funnels will accelerate and shorten your sales process.
Sales funnels are an essential marketing strategy that can be applied to any product or service, and they involve a multi-step process designed to get visitors to convert into email subscribers and then guide them to make the first purchase of many and become happy customers.
Take The 30 Second Sales Funnel Quiz
Discover which sales funnel is right for your business or if you would prefer some one-to-one assistance, apply for a free digital marketing consultation.