Did you know we are actively taking part of some sort of sales funnel every time we buy a product? Actually, and even before we buy?
It doesn’t matter whether we are in a brick-and-mortar business or browsing 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 and sales psychology are making the news.
Why is that?
Because competition has grown to be so intense and digital business best practices are so commonplace, that companies NEED to have an automated sales process acquire new customers. The sheer fact that we’re exposed to thousands of advertising messages every single day re-inforces that.
So, from a business perspective, how do you stand out from the crowd?
The answer: Developing an effective, automated sales funnel.
Sales Funnel Structure
In this post, we will explain sales funnels in plain English. Our goal is to help you not only understand 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 build your online sales process for you. (Notice, I didn’t say designer!)
A designer or developer is going to start and stop at your website. The truth is, a website is required. It’s mandatory. But it’s the least important part of the entire sales funnel conversation.
The sales funnel, as you’ll see, is a complete system that starts with web pages, includes email marketing, multi-media content, order forms, call scheduling, and more… All built custom for you and your business!
The sales funnel should automate your sales and reinforce your existing processes… Not make you re-invent how and your team work!
A Basic Funnel Breakdown
A basic funnel (and this is our approach to building successful sales funnel development) is comprised of three stages:
- Your Offer – What you’re selling.
- Your Follow-up – Your communication with your lead once they’re in your sales process.
- Your 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!
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. Your Offer
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.
Video Sales Page
At the very minimum, you need a page where the potential customer can click the Add To Cart button. This would be your “sales page”. Also, thanks to our short attention spans, this page should also have at least one sales video on it. Anymore, people would rather watch than read.
Typically, for offers under $100, a sales video is about all you need to sell.
Downsell / Upsell Pages
To maximize your average customer value, you’ll 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 customers of the initial offer accordingly.
So, if a sales page visitor doesn’t buy, then they might be presented with the downsell through an exit-pop. On the other hand, if they buy, they will see an upsell on the next page, before they get access to the product.
Live or Automated Webinars
If your offer is higher than a few hundred bucks or is a complex offer, you’ll want to sell it through a webinar. The webinar needs to be scripted, recorded, edited and then set up to play so many times throughout the day.
We’ve had the best luck with starting webinars every 15 minutes in most markets. Sometimes though, they test better when they’re set to start every night at say 9 PM or deliver immediately after registration. Each niche is a little different.
Now, what could your offer be? It could be anything from a physical product to a digital service. A pair of shoes, coaching, consulting, an eBook, a DVD, a downloadable training course, a monthly service, or yearly access to a cloud app.
If you create it and there are buyers for it – it’s your offer!
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.
(We always split test a few different things when we start running traffic for our funnel clients. Usually, we start out promoting a lead magnet and a webinar side-by-side to see where are leads are the cheapest!)
When planning your funnel, this is a list of items or tools you'd expect to have to be able to sell your offer:
- Product or service
- Lead magnet (optional but recommended)
- Opt-in page
- Email marketing service
- Thank you page for people who opt in
- Welcome email
- Download page
- Sales page
- Thank you page for buyers
- Upsell page + thank you page (optional)
- 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.
If you'd like to go over what your sales funnel would look like, watch this video to find out the next steps!
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:
- Email marketing service with automation (and optional website tracking features)
- Emails (copy, images)
- Automated sequences set up to serve different goals or segments
In the sales funnels we deploy for clients, we usually write and schedule between 20 and 25 emails before it even goes live!
This way, every marketing automation contingency is accounted for. If someone registers for the webinar OR doesn’t register for the webinar OR buys OR doesn’t buy… It’s all already automated.
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.
Most sales funnels have a pre-defined term of marketing that is already done… 30 or 45 days is pretty standard for our clients. So, when someone gets into their funnel, all of the marketing is handled for at least 30 days.
Then after the 30 day period, they either get added to the next funnel (called: Funnel Stacking) or weekly broadcast emails and newsletters take over.
That way, there’s always continuity in your marketing messages. And if your prospects and customers jump down another rabbit hole for your next offer – that’s awesome!
Setting up the CRM and marketing automation for ^^^^ can be a little bit tricky but totally doable.
Sometimes when you approach a web developer or choose to work with a “Funnel Page Building Software,” you won’t have a plan for getting traffic. Sometimes this is on purpose. Web developers are paid media experts. And ‘funnel software’ does integrate with Facebook or Google Ads.
As far as we’re concerned – this is a little bit like selling someone an electric car but not including an extension cord to plug it into the outlet in your garage. You can’t hope to have an automated sales process without people there to buy your stuff.
In reality, you wouldn’t expect to sell without having a way of getting the right people to see your offer.
Organic vs. Paid Media/Ads
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. We start every sales funnel conversation with traffic, in fact. Once the funnel is built, you’ve already got ads ready to go live to promote your landing pages! And, if you’ve got assets like an email list or a social media following, we’ll account for those in the rollout phase!
As explained above, this is what you need at this stage, the traffic stage:
- Customer avatar
- Traffic source
- Traffic budget
- Advertising copy and creatives
- 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.
... All of these traffic sources we can run and manage for you too!
Sales Funnels: Putting It All Together
In short, all of the above elements are the basic components of a sales funnel. They won’t all be needed for every funnel, but it should get you a good overview of the things you’ll need to have in place before launching.
In the past 5 years, we’ve built and launched over 400 sales funnels in pretty much every niche you can think of. The absolute most popular types of sales funnels we’ve deployed are:
- Automated Webinar Sales Funnels: For higher ticket offers where the Call To Action is either a sales call or a purchase through an order form.
- Video Sales Funnels: Featuring one-click upsell and downsell sales process to maximize customer value.
- eCommerce Sales Funnels: Also with upsell and downsell functionality, but for physical products :0)
- Survey Sales Funnels: These work really well in highly volatile advertising markets and where you need to segment buyers into buckets before marketing automation.
We’d love the opportunity to learn more about your business and figure out which sales funnel will work best for you!
Plus, our team will 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 plugin 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.