The sales funnel. You may have heard it called the revenue funnel or even sales process. Or recently the digital sales funnel. They all refer to the buying process that customers are put through when purchasing products from companies. There are a few steps in the funnel, which depending on the product differs.

It can be the most important tool in marketing that you have. Just like all great tools, in order for you to use it like a pro, you need to learn about it first.

A simple funnel

The most basic consists of free content that require nothing of your readers. They begin with blog posts, YouTube videos, Facebook posts. Anything a person doesn’t need to pay for in order to access. This is followed by attractive offers that require a small effort on the part of readers. Usually just an email address is required to buy into the offer. While they get that offer (free ebook, workbook, video series..) you get an opt-in list. Next you have the low cost offers that require more from your readers turned subscribers. Low priced eBook, or perhaps a trial membership. Each step a person takes, moves them down the funnel. At each new step they take they are offered higher prices products. They only move forward (or downward) buy buying the next set of offers until they are at the bottom of the funnel.

How the funnel works.

Thinking of a typical funnel, the very top is wide and it narrows as you go down. Then at the tip, is a small opening. The free content is consumed by the largest number of people and is therefore at the top of the funnel. Your attractive offer that costs an email address is below that as it attracts a smaller subset of the freebie seekers. The low-price products is yet a smaller group. As you can see, the larger the price the small the group and the further down the funnel you go. Your job is to lead the people naturally from the top to the bottom where only the most loyal of customers reside.

The top of the funnel is always the easiest to envision. But for great business growth you will need to be a master of the entire funnel. This means keeping a good eye on it and patch it up when it develops leaks or isn’t funneling people down to the tip. When you discover leaks you need to address them quickly so you do not lose too much. Look for these common causes of leaks.

Not enough traffic

The heart of every sales funnel is the traffic your website brings in. People cannot start the trip down the funnel if they don’t know it’s there. Make sure your blog or website is in search engines, has great landing pages and an easy to sign up for opt-in page. This will help your funnel be found and people to jump on the funnel train.

No follow-up

You’ve spent time and energy setting up a great page or blog and are doing wonderfully in bringing in traffic and delivering that brim of free goods.

Then nothing? No follow up emails, offers to buy other products or related services. Just nothing. This isn’t a funnel, it’s just a circle. Circles can be made into funnels and all you have to do is promote and set things up in the back end. Autoresponders with great marketing emails to go out to all those who opt-in is where you start.

No call-to-action

That little push that says what you think the reader should do next. Comment below with some great ideas for call-to-actions!

Psst! That’s a call-to-action. These need to be at every level of your funnel. Every single article you put out there that is free should have a call-to-action in it. What are they to do next? Suggestion is a great push to get them to take that next step. Just ask yourself what do you want them to do when they are done with this? Ask them to do it. The call-to-action can appear anywhere and everywhere – just don’t go annoying with it.

No product offers

All this work up and nothing to offer? You may be setting everything up for a future product. Good idea if that future is in a month or so. The online industry changes quickly. Tomorrow this blog post could be a dinosaur and the information no longer useful.

You don’t need a product to sell. Really you don’t. You can promote affiliate offers. Your niche will always have a need for a tool or service that’s needed. Find them, sign up for the affiliate program, do reviews and show them to your people!

Are you ready?

Yeah you are! Let’s set this up then. Your first step is to create three pages every single funnel needs to survive. If you think you’ll be doing a few funnels, set up a workable template and modify as the need arises.

Sales/Landing/Squeezing page

Yes, I know. Amazing. It has one purpose and it isn’t exactly shy about it either. Get the people into action! This needs to push the reader to offer up their email address or buy a product. Get them through the gateway and into the funnel itself. It must have a call to action. Tell them what they need to do and what they’ll get if they do it. Tell them why they should be doing it, how are you providing a solution to their need? Absolutely no distractions. A simple page with no navigation bar, no links to other websites, nothing but what they need to do and the means to make it happen when they do indeed do it.

Confirmation/Checkout Page

Confirm their intent. While this might give them a moment to think about if they really want to do this, if you were successful on the previous page, they won’t think about it for too long. Remind them of what they are getting by confirming that they want to go through with the process. Never put any important information on this page as they will only see it once. Leave the important stuff for that welcoming email.

Thank You Page

Manners maketh good people. This is where you give them what they are signing up for. This is valuable so use it wisely. Showcase other offers from the next level. An object in motion tends to stay in motion until it isn’t in motion any more. Take advantage of their buying mood and put the most relevant offers on this page. Make something a limited time offer – and mean it. Coupon offers are great as well and can be a powerful motivator if you’re offering a truly fantastic price.

Later this week I’ll let you in on a few more sales funnel tips. What have you done to get things flowing through a funnel? Let us know in the comments!

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