Did you know we are part of some sort of sales funnel every time we buy a product, and even before we buy? Either we deal with a brick-and-mortar business or with an online store, we as consumers have already entered their funnel.

These days every online marketer and business owner talks about online sales funnels. Search Google News or read any sales or marketing blog, and you’ll see that sales funnels stories are there.

Why is that? Because competition for a slice of the users’ pie has grown to be so intense, that companies find it too difficult to acquire new customers. Internet users have a limited attention span and, at the same time, they are exposed to a ton of advertising messages.

From a business perspective, how do you stand out from the crowd?

The only way left for the small business to gain momentum and drive sustainable growth is sales funnels.

sales funnel components

Sales funnel structure

In this post, we will explain sales funnels in plain English. Our goal is to help you understand not their value –you probably know already that your business can’t survive without a funnel– but the integral components of a sales funnel.

Let’s say you were about to hire a sales funnel expert to design your online sales process for you. How would that service look like? What deliverables would you expect to get? What would be the pages, tools and other elements that you’d want to see in your sales funnel?

Knowing exactly what a sales funnel is (or what it can be in an more elaborate version) will help you negotiate a DFY funnel, ask for what you need and manage your expectations.

A basic funnel breakdown

A basic funnel (and this is our approach to building successful sales funnels) comprises of three stages:

  • Offer – What you’re selling.
  • Follow-up – Your communication with your lead once they’re in your sales process.
  • Traffic – The people coming to your website or landing page.

When you combine all three – traffic, your offer, and a follow-up process – you get sales!

Read more about the exact sales funnel formula that we use to drive tons of targeted, high-converting traffic to our business and our clients’ business in our brand new version of the Funnel Factor report.

No time to read? Register for our on-demand Sales Funnel webinar that you can watch at any time from the comfort of your home.

Now, these three sales funnel components are the minimum you’d expect to see in an effective funnel. Let’s break them down so you know exactly what comes with each one of these.

1. Offer

How to find targeted leads

You cannot expect to have sales if you have nothing to sell. It should go without saying, but, in reality, some small business owners don’t realize that they get no sales because they have no offers. In these cases, their bottom line won’t reflect an increase in web visitors.

For your sales funnel to work, you need to have a clear, well-defined, branded product (or productized service) to sell.

Sales page

You also need a page where the potential customer can actually buy. This would be your “sales page”. A product and a sales page are the bare minimum.

Downsell / Upsell

Then you’d also want to create downsells or upsells, which are another way to say complimentary products.

These are products of a lower or higher price than the initial offer. They will be shown to non-buyers or buyers of the initial offer accordingly.

So, if a sales page visitor doesn’t buy, then they might be presented with the downsell. On the other hand, if they buy, they will see an upsell on the next page, before they get access to the product.

Product

Now, what could your offer be? It could be anything from a physical product to a digital service. A pair of shoes, an eBook, a DVD, a downloadable training course, a monthly service, or yearly access to a cloud app.

Anything that you can create and sell can play the role of an online offer.

Lead magnet

Before the offer, it’s best practice to first show people a free offer (called “lead magnet“). Most website visitors won’t be familiar with your brand. This is why they won’t buy right away. But still, you don’t want them to leave empty-handed.

So, instead of driving traffic to a sales page, you’d want to have an opt-in page, where people give up their email to download a freebie. This way you add them to your mailing list and are able to contact them again.

Offer checklist

When planning your funnel, this is a list of items or tools you’d expect to have to be able to sell your offer:

  1. Product or service
  2. Lead magnet (optional but recommended)
  3. Opt-in page
  4. Email marketing service
  5. Thank you page for people who opt in
  6. Welcome email
  7. Download page
  8. Sales page
  9. Thank you page for buyers
  10. Upsell page + thank you page (optional)
  11. Downsell page + thank you page (optional)

Now, this list of elements that are part of a sales funnel, may vary depending on your offer.

For example, if your product is a webinar, then you’ll need a webinar registration page. If your product is a consulting session, then you’ll need a call scheduling form.

Watch this video to learn how you can build your funnel pages and more with Scriptly's Page Builder.

2. Follow-up

The reason why sales funnels have gained in popularity is that they can work for you on auto-pilot.

Sales funnels are the exact replacement for a sales process in a brick-and-mortar business, plus they can be fully or semi-automated. Funnels are a nearly set-and-forget solution to attract, nurture and convert customers.

Automated email sequences

Let’s assume, someone enters your funnel by filling out a form. Right after that, you need to have an automated lead nurturing process in place.

So, when people subscribe to your email list, an automated email sequence is triggered. Whether it’s Monday morning or Sunday at midnight, automated workflows will take over and do the heavy lifting for your marketing on auto-pilot.

Follow up checklist

To create email automation, you will need:

  1. Email marketing service with automation (and optional website tracking features)
  2. Emails (copy, images)
  3. Automated sequences set up to serve different goals or segments

Other content

Follow up may also include other types of free content, like webinars or videos.

Some examples of automated sequences that could be set up are a webinar promo email sequence and a webinar replay email sequence (click here to download a template you can plug in to your autoresponder right now.)

Did you know that our software, Scriptly, can practically write the email sequences for you? Watch this video to learn more.

It is important to understand that follow up sequences are vital to a sales funnels.

Only a fraction of your subscribers will be ready to buy immediately after they come across your pages.

For the majority of your email list subscribers, you’d want automated emails and processes to do the job of warming up the leads until they are ready to become customers.

Endless automation

You might be wondering, where does the follow-up stage end? Well, you can choose to stop following up when a prospect becomes a customer. But then why not have them become a repeat buyer? Email automation can be an infinite process that you can set up once and have it work for your business 24/7.

3. Traffic

Ecommerce Store Traffic

Sometimes when you buy a DFY sales funnel, the freelancer or the agency you chose will “forget” to tell you about traffic.

In reality, you wouldn’t expect to sell without having a way of getting the right people to see your offer.

Organic vs. other sources of traffic

Unless your website has enough organic traffic already (coming from Google search results), you need a traffic method to attract people that are interested in what you have to offer.

That is why we are advocates for traffic as a major part of a sales funnel. You need to have solved the puzzle of targeted traffic before a sales funnel is ready to go live. To drive traffic you also need to know who your ideal customer is.

Traffic checklist

As explained above, this is what you need at this stage, the traffic stage:

  1. Customer avatar
  2. Traffic source
  3. Traffic budget
  4. Advertising copy and creatives
  5. Other promo copy and images

Some examples of traffic sources are Facebook Ads, Google AdWords, LinkedIn posts, Quora answers, guest posts, podcasts, YouTube videos to name just a few of the most popular ones.

Sales funnels: Putting it all together

Are you’re looking for a done-for-you sales funnel, or do you need to understand what exactly a sales funnel looks like? We hope that this article about the structure of a base funnel helped you find the answer. Now, let’s wrap up.

You need to drive web traffic (visitors) to your offer (product or service) and then follow up (automation) until the leads proceed to purchase.

Sales funnel components — A checklist

Now, to build these three stages (traffic, offer and follow up) you need the following elements (at the bare minimum):

  1. Offer
  2. Lead magnet
  3. Opt-in page
  4. Email marketing service with automation
  5. Thank you page for people who opt in
  6. Welcome email
  7. Download page
  8. Sales page
  9. Thank you page for buyers
  10. Email messages
  11. Automated email sequences set up
  12. Customer avatar
  13. Traffic source
  14. Traffic budget
  15. Ad copy and creatives
  16. Other promo material

In short, all of the above elements are the basic components of a sales funnel. Therefore, if you worked with a sales funnel expert you should be able to discuss these elements and get them done for you — except the offer, the lead magnet and the advertising budget, which are basically your job.

Our team at DoneForYou.com can manage the whole process (even the product or lead magnet creation) and deliver a complete done-for-you sales funnel that is customized to your needs -- but still proven to convert, because of the tested funnel parts (e.g. opt-in page) that we plug in and optimize.

Our experts can work from square one to create an offer, design and build all of the pages, write high-converting copy, and set up automated email sequences. We create, test and deliver sales funnels that operate like clockwork 24/7 without you having to do the work.

Sound interesting? Schedule a free session to discuss what your own sales funnel would look like.