A sales funnel is an essential tool for making sales online. Yet most businesses and marketers don’t even know it exists, let alone what it is and pay the price with a lack of sales. Fortunately, it’s easy to master the art of sales funnels and as with all things it all starts with a plan.
The Two Main Types of Sales Funnel
There are two main types of funnel:
- Getting subscribers onto an email marketing list (also referred to as lead generation) through a series of steps
- Selling a product through a series of steps
Why a Funnel?
The shape of a funnel should give us a clue. It is wide at the top and narrow at the bottom. The wide top represents your range of marketing methods to let people know you exist. Those who are interested in your topic, commonly referred to as a niche, will hopefully enter the funnel to find out more. Through the series of steps you will plan out and create, you hope to propel them down the funnel to take the action you wish, such as subscribe to your list or purchase something.
The funnel gets narrower at the bottom, showing fewer and fewer people will take the action compared to those who first discovered your product. However, those people will show they are genuinely interested in all you have to offer, and can therefore be valuable leads and/or customers and these people deserve your attention.
Planning the Steps of Your Funnel
The most important part of funnel planning is to keep the number of steps to a minimum.
For a lead generation funnel, it will look like this:
- Offer on page with sign-up form
- Confirmation page
- Confirmation email
- Welcome email
For a sales funnel, it will look like this:
- Sales landing page
- Order form
- Confirmation of order
- Thank you email and confirmation of order
You might also add a lead funnel at the end of the sales funnel in order to put them on a customer list to support them now that they have made a purchase, and to market to them better in the future. If you know they have bought product A, for example, you wouldn’t want to keep marketing A to them. You would want to offer them B, C and so on.
In other words, once they get onto your list, you will be introducing them to more and more sales funnels, one funnel per product you are trying to sell.
Why a Funnel and Not a Shopping Cart?
A lot of people think a shopping cart is the most important sales marketing tool they could have, but this is not the case. The rate of completion of a sale through a shopping cart is around 35%. Sales funnels convert higher.
Planning Your Funnel
As you can see, there are very few moving parts to a funnel. Create a flow chart that shows each step in the process.
Once you have your flow chart, start organizing the content for each stage in the funnel and each email. You will soon have a draft funnel you can start to build, and best of all, a model for all the other funnels you might wish to create as you grow your business.