A sales funnel is one of those terms we see thrown around so often; everyone has a notion of what it is. Yet, it seems like such a complicated process, requiring the help of an expert, all kinds of tools and a tech stack.
I’ll be the first to tell you that a sales funnel is one area of your business you’d benefit from investing in, but this doesn’t mean you absolutely need to hire an expert or select the most expensive options to succeed. Instead, the quality of your offer will set you apart.
This article breaks down everything you need to start your sales funnel and convert your followers into paying clients.
First, what is a sales funnel?
At its core, a sales funnel is a set of interconnected marketing and sales materials that build on one another to drive your followers through a journey that, hopefully, ends with them buying your highest-priced offer.
The idea of the funnel is that it starts wide, usually with a more general, free offer that captures your prospects’ contact information. From there, you begin building a relationship with them via email marketing, blogs, and social media. The next step starts to get narrower with lower-priced options, like small packages or group offers, with a portion of your prospects signing up. And finally, the neck of the funnel is your highest tier, often a personalized service.
Stages of the sales funnel
The sales funnel is broken down into four stages:
Awareness. This stage refers to the prospect’s awareness of their problem. They know they need to change something, so they research potential solutions.
Interest or discovery. At this stage, they find you and start learning about what you do. During this stage, a prospect often starts interacting with you by following you or downloading your resources.
Consideration or evaluation. As you nurture the relationship (by posting valuable content, for example), your prospects’ interest increases and they consider working with you.
Decision. Now, they are aware of what you do and how your service fits their needs, and they feel ready to buy.
Your sales funnel is made up of five different elements
The first step is to reach your audience. You can achieve this by using SEO, advertising, or social media. Ideally, all of these work together to maximize results. An inbound marketing strategy will help you drive traffic, reach a broader audience, and build expertise in your industry.
The second step is lead generation, and you use a lead magnet or freebie to capture their contact information. A lead magnet is gated content that provides your prospects a DIY solution or privileged information. Webinars, checklists, FAQs, challenges, e-courses, and templates are some of the most common formats service providers use to capture leads.
The third piece of your sales funnel is a landing page. You’ll need this page to promote your lead magnet. Your landing page explains your free offer and its core benefits. I also recommend specifying for whom it is and isn’t to set clear expectations upfront. Your landing page has a form your prospects fill in to request access to the resource, and it is connected to your CRM or email service provider.
The fourth step is nurturing your leads, aka your list. Your list is the people who request access to your resource. And you want to foster this relationship over time via regular check-ins, usually through email marketing. You’ll want to create a short sequence, with three to five emails, to deliver your lead magnet and follow up shortly after. This is known as a welcome sequence.
Additionally, consider sending regular newsletters with resources, tips, and updates. Many people recommend weekly emails, but I’d say find a rhythm you can sustain and stick with it, even if it is once a month. Consistency is crucial.
The fifth step is the upsell. Your upsell is the paid service to which your sales funnel leads your prospect. For example, if your service is done-for-you bookkeeping, a good lead magnet could be a budgeting template. You will need a sales page, which is a more elaborate landing page that dives into exactly what your offer is, how it’s different from other solutions, whom it is designed for, and how to buy on the spot. Your sales funnel is a powerful marketing piece, requiring high-converting copy for maximum results.
The secret to a successful sales funnel
The success of your sales funnel depends on the quality of your offer and how aligned it is to your target audience’s needs and pain points. A truly effective sales funnel provides different solutions to a single problem, ensuring that your prospect will get what they need — regardless of how far they go in your funnel.
For example, you may attract a prospect via social media content and drive them to your website to expand on a how-to article. From there, they may request your downloadable template or guide to attempt a DIY solution to their problem. By leaving a positive impression with your free resource, you earn their trust and increase their odds of signing up for your paid course. Once you’ve cemented this relationship, it’s even more likely that they will hire your one-on-one services.
There are countless tools for sales funnels. Kartra, Kajabi, Clickfunnel, and the list goes on. But in reality, you don’t need a tech degree to launch a sales funnel. Free or affordable tools, and even ones you already have, are enough when your offer is valuable.
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