Building a Meaningful Online Sales Funnel

Maybe you have one of those businesses with only a few competitors. A niche business, where your customers either need you or they don’t. For you, building a sales funnel could be as simple as you answering the phone and taking credit card numbers. For the rest of us, effective sales funnels are the bread and butter of business.

You may not know it, but there’s a lot of competition out there. From Amazon to eBay and beyond, people are constantly looking for the best deals on products. – And having an effective sales funnel is one way to stand out in your target market’s mind, draw them in, and keep them there.

What is the sales funnel?

You may already know what it is, and just know that what it’s called. The marketing world has so many terms, even we have to look them up once in awhile. “Oh yeah. We’re already doing that. Didn’t realize it had a name…” But anyway…

The sales funnel is a step-by-step process designed to attract customers and encourage them to make a purchase. You built your site, but how do people get to it? And once they get to it, what do they do there? And once they’ve done whatever you wanted them to do, how do you keep them interested? And once they’re your customer, how do you keep them that way? The sales funnel answers all these questions.

In simple terms, you want to get them there and keep them there. A sales funnel can be made up of numerous parts, and if done correctly, you will see results.

What makes a sales funnel effective?

An effective sales funnel consists of several things which make the customer feel safe and valued, such as:

  • A guarantee of some sort to ensure the customer knows they won’t lose their money if they aren’t satisfied with what you offer.
  • Trust badges and certification so that people can see that your platform is legitimate.
  • A clear path to make it easier for people to follow. The fewer steps they have to take, the better it is for your conversion rate.
  • Helpful content about how to use your product, what its benefits are and so on. This will give people a reason to purchase your product or sign up for membership.

How do you build a meaningful sales funnel?

What is the ultimate goal of your website? For almost every organization, the final result of their sales funnel is good ole cash money. Even in non-profit “Save the _____” fundraisers, the final results is money. And money is very hard won. So how are you going to win it?

You’re going to advertise your business in the form of a product or service. Depending on budget, you’re going to do display ads and SEO. You’re going to look at social media marketing. You may look at print or television. In today’s multi-touchpoint world of marketing, you can reach out to them several different ways.

So now you have the very top of the funnel: advertisement. And you have the very bottom of the funnel: money. -But how do you get from top to bottom? Here are a few steps that almost every successful sales funnel has (there’s exceptions to every rule):

A landing page

No matter how wonderful your ads and marketing are, you have to lead, or “funnel” them somewhere. So where are the people going that are interested in your ads? A landing page that is specifically targeted to match your ad is just the key. A landing page can include the product or service you’re talking about, why people need it and its benefits. Make sure to have an opt-in form and CTA options.

A landing page doesn’t have to go straight to the sale, by the way. It could be a PDF offer, where all they have to do is enter their name and email, and they’ll get “100 Uses for Paper Towels Beyond Picking Up the Mess”, for example. They’ve filled out the form, you have their contact information and you’re ready to move them down the funnel.

Nurture your loads

Once you’ve built up a following on social media or through email marketing, make sure that you provide them with everything they need to purchase your product. That means that if someone is interested in one of your membership offers but doesn’t want to pay for it right away, you should send them content that will convince them of its value. That could be a series of videos and blog posts about how people who have subscribed to your offer are getting benefits from it and so on.

Whenever someone subscribes to your platform, they should get instant access to something that will convince them of its value.

Provide Additional Offers

Once someone has purchased your main offer, don’t stop there. Make sure you constantly provide additional content to make people come back and get even more value from your platform. This could be through discounts, special offers or other added functionalities which make it worthwhile for them to sign up or buy your product.

This leads me to another significant thing you need to remember when building a sales funnel. Don’t try to sell something right away, especially if it’s something that people might not be interested in at the moment. Make sure they are getting value from what you are offering before trying to sell them something else. That’s why you must explain what your main product is, what its benefits are and how people can get the most out of using it.

Present a front end offer

The front-end product is the first thing that people will see – like the “100 Uses” PDF I mentioned a few paragraphs ago. It’s what you need to sell if you want them to sign up for your membership or purchase any of your other products. Make sure this offer is something that appeals to everyone, regardless of whether they are interested in one of your additional offers or not.

Also, make sure that people don’t have to pay for this product right away, but instead, you offer them the chance to subscribe to your email list or like your page on Facebook, so they can get more content related to what you are offering.

Present a back end offer

Once people have signed up to your front-end product, they will get an email notification later that you have something else they might be interested in. Make sure this offer is something similar in value to what they received for their initial investment of the time to sign up. However, also add a little bit about your main money point – what you really want them to buy.

Present a continuity offer

This is another step in your sales funnel, and it’s where you should try giving people as much as possible in exchange for their money. They’ve downloaded your gated assets. They’ve purchased your product/service. But most businesses have something they want more than new business. And that’s repeat business.

How are you going to keep them coming back? What is your stand-out value that will keep them interested? Find a way to present a way to keep your sales offer going without being obnoxious.

Keep it Going

The whole point of building a sales funnel is to make it easier to engage and convince the people who visit your site that they want to buy your product or service. Once they have purchased one of your products, make sure you use all kinds of promotional content, like video presentations and everything else, which will help you keep this process going and allow them to see the full potential of what you are offering. This will keep them coming back for more, and they will appreciate your engagement.

Remember, your sales funnel is the backbone of your business. The work you put into it today will pay off in time and money for years to come. If you have the time, break it down into channels. Map it out. Take as much time as possible to really understand what’s going on in your company. Because once it’s clear to you, you can make it clear to your potential clients.

Today's Author

International SEO consultant is my title…but who cares about those? What I love is creating strategies that include marketing, social, SEO, relevance, ruffling feathers and starting revolutions. What you read on this blog will hopefully inspire you to continue the conversation. When I’m not multitasking around Level343 I sneak away and go sailing. I’m crazy about pistachios, and of course Nutella.

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