Real talk time: “sales funnel” is one of those terms that gets thrown around constantly in the online business world … and yet some of us aren’t 100% sure what it means.
Or if we should find out and start “funneling” right away!
So today, I’m gonna do some sales funnel demystification and help you see why this system is absolutely vital to keeping your business growing.
What the heck is a sales funnel?
Let’s start at the top: A sales funnel is a series of steps that potential customers take on the way to purchasing a product or offering.
Basically it’s another way of talking about the customer journey, although that “journey” is definitely a guided tour led by you, as the seller.
And, in the simplest possible terms, it’s a series of emails that leads the recipient slowly and carefully towards a purchase.
There are several stages within a sales funnel, usually referred to as the top, middle, and bottom.
- The top of the funnel is meant to raise awareness around your brand and product. This is the wide-open end of the funnel, so it addresses the largest number of people.
- The middle of the funnel is filled with people who have already shown interest in your business, but might not be ready to purchase. There are fewer of them, but they are more likely to commit at some point … and maybe with a little nudging.
- The bottom of the funnel is small, but full of actual customers; the folks you can hit with a strategic pitch and reasonably expect to buy.
So why should we care?
Well, the sales funnel marketing model allows online entrepreneurs (like us) to simultaneously refine our messaging and get real-time data capturing which customer segments are responsive to our offers.
So not only do they help us make sales, they help us become better at marketing what we sell!
How Do I Create a Sales Funnel for My Business?
Start by creating a lead magnet (AKA an opt-in or freebie).
This will be a free piece of downloadable content that encourages email list subscriptions; important, since your funnel is delivered via email.
It might be an ebook, a PDF checklist, a template, a quiz, a recipe guide, an audio meditation, or even a video that readers receive access to after signing up.
The idea is to dangle the alluring—and 100% free—content to entice people to join your list. And it generally works beautifully, adding great prospects to your growing roster of potential customers.
People will sign up for your list on your website or via social media, and you’ll want that action to take them to a thank-you page with a tripwire.
A tripwire is a low-priced offer that’s shown to new subscribers, and intended to convert them quickly into customers.
This small, affordable offer helps accelerate the buyer’s journey by letting customers dip their toes in without having to make a big purchase.
So it’s important that you NOT put the actual lead magnet on your thank-you page!
Instead, keep those new subscribers engaged. They are hot leads right now, so keep them on your site and taking action as long as possible.
After that, it’s time to build an autoresponder email sequence.
- The first email will likely deliver the link to download the lead magnet, and is focused on delivering valuable information or tools to the subscriber.
- Your second email should position you as a thought leader in your niche, and build your relationship with the subscriber.
- At email 3, you can start nudging towards calls to action but with GOBS of supporting info such as client testimonials and FAQs.
- By email 4, your sales funnel software will have weeded out the folks who aren’t yet positioned to purchase, so you can begin pitching your offer a little deeper.
You get the idea!
You want to start at the top of the funnel—raising awareness—and move toward the bottom where you’re addressing likely customers.
Your autoresponder email sequence should do this gradually and strategically.
What Tools Can I Use to Build a Sales Funnel?
Clickfunnels is my all-time favorite tool for sales funnels.
I use it to sell upgrades on existing packages, evergreen products, and new offers. It also makes building leadpages for ongoing virtual classes or workshops a breeze!
Other folks recommend Leadpages and Kajabi, but I’m a lifelong Clickfunnels girl myself.
Can My Virtual Assistant Help Me With Sales Funnels?
I have so many thoughts on this I’m going to point you to 2 advice-packed posts: Hire a Virtual Assistant to Help You Keep Your Funnel Filled With Clients and Assign New Offer Funnel to Your Virtual Assistant? Check!
Both will walk you through the most efficient and effective ways to collaborate with your VA to keep that funnel working for you.
Looking for more help building and maintaining sales funnels? Check out my kit titled, Cha-Ching! Automated Offer Funnels Sending Cash While You Play.
Packed with guides, checklists, and worksheets this project kit is your shortcut to creating funnels that deliver results fast!
PS. Here’s how to get more done every single day, click here to download my workbook to up your productivity 60%.