In this guide, you will learn how to create a sales funnel for your business.
But first, it’s likely that a Google search brought you to this article, so I assume that you already know what a sales funnel is and you are familiar with the different sales funnel stages.
If not, you will struggle to build a sales funnel that actually works, so be sure to use the links below to learn what you need to know about sales funnels before creating one.
What You Need to Build a Sales Funnel
Here are the things you need before creating a sales funnel.
1. Know Your Audience
It is essential to know your target audience because you need to tailor your marketing message and offers to their specific needs and wants to get their attention and convert them into customers.
There are a number of ways to get to know your audience, including market research, surveys, social media, interviews, and studying demographic data.
Once you have a good understanding of who your target market is, you can provide a solution to their problem and build an effective sales funnel for your business.
To state the obvious, you need a website. Without one, you have nowhere to send potential leads. Whether you use a content management system like WordPress or a website builder like Wix. You need a website for your funnel pages. I recommend Groovefunnels.
3. Free Offer
To get people into your sales funnel, you need to give them something of value for free in exchange for their email address. This adds them to your email list and allows you to market to them after they’ve signed up.
This is called a lead magnet. It can be an ebook, email course, cheat sheet, or anything else that will help solve your target market’s problem. And it should be closely related to the product or service you are selling.
For example, if you are selling a course on how to get blog traffic, your lead magnet might be a free email course on how to start a blog.
By offering a lead magnet that is closely related to your products and services, you can ensure that the people who sign up are interested in what you have to offer, increasing the chances of them making a purchase.
4. Email Marketing Tool
To build an email list, you need an email marketing tool.
There are many to choose from, but I like ActiveCampaign. While it’s not the cheapest it’s still affordable and it has the best email automation workflow.
If ActiveCampaign is out of your budget, Aweber is a good alternative.
5. Something to Sell
Of course, you need something to sell. After all, without a product or service to offer, there would be no need for a sales funnel in the first place.
However, simply having something to sell is not enough.
Your offer must appeal to a wide range of potential customers, solve their problems, and be affordable for your target market.
6. Payment Processor
You need a payment processor to accept payments. PayPal and Stripe are the most popular ones. It doesn’t matter which one you use. They are both widely accepted and give customers a safe and easy way to make payments online.
How to Create a Sales Funnel Step by Step
Now that you know what you need, let’s take a look at how to create a sales funnel.
1. Create a Landing page
First, create a landing page for your free gift with an email opt-in form to capture leads.
The lead capture form should ask for the bare minimum only. Ideally, just an email address. Asking for too much information is proven to result in fewer sign-ups.
The landing page is where you’ll send people when you start promoting your funnel, so it must make a good first impression. We’ll talk more about sales funnel promotion soon.
You need a bold, attention-grabbing, benefit-driven headline that clearly says what you are offering and how it solves the reader’s problem.
It should also have a strong call to action that leaves no room for interpretation and tells the reader exactly what you want them to do next.
A strong call to action is short, to the point, and uses actionable language. For example, “Download your free guide now” or “Sign up for our email course today.”
The landing page has one job and one job only – to convert visitors into customers – so it should be simple with no distractions, well-designed, and persuasive.
After the landing page, you send leads straight to a sales page where they can make a purchase or decline your offer and go to a thank you page to access their free gift.
2. Create a Sales page
Whether you use long-form copy, short-form copy, or video on your sales page, there are a few key elements you should include.
Just like the lead capture page, your sales page needs an irresistible headline that grabs the reader’s attention and makes it clear how your product or service will help them.
Use persuasive language throughout your sales page highlighting the benefits of your product or service, and if possible, include social proof such as customer testimonials.
Testimonials are THE best way to build trust and give leads who are on the fence a gentle nudge to take action since people often look for reassurance that others are happy with a product or service before making a commitment themselves.
Scarcity is also another powerful way to persuade people to take action because it creates a sense of urgency. This can be done by adding countdown timers and making limited or one-time only offers.
For example, you can offer a special 24 hour discount that is gone forever once the timer reaches zero or limit the availability of products and services to 100 people on a first come first serve basis.
And don’t forget to use strong call to actions. Add ‘buy now’ buttons multiple times throughout your sales page, not just at the top and bottom, especially if you’re using long-form sales copy.
Lastly, for leads who are not ready to buy right now, add a ‘No thank you. I’m not interested’ link under each buy button on the sales page.
3. Create Thank You Pages
You need two thank you pages. One for leads who did not buy and one for customers.
The thank you page for leads should include instructions on how to access the free gift they signed up for and a link back to the sales page in case they change their mind.
You may also want to add links to other related content, such as a blog post that provides value and again sends people back to the sales page.
Similarly, the thank you page for customers should include instructions on how to access the product they purchased, how to get support, what happens next, a link to their free gift, and any related upsell offers you may have.
4. Write an Email Follow-Up Sequence to Nurture Leads
Just because a lead did not convert immediately after signing up for your free gift, that doesn’t mean they will never buy from you. They probably just don’t know if they can trust you yet.
To gain their trust and build a relationship over time, use email marketing to send valuable content designed to help them with their specific problems and needs with the goal of guiding them back to your sales page.
But respect their inbox. Don’t bombard them with multiple emails every day asking them to buy something before you’ve provided any value upfront because they’ll just unsubscribe.
Instead, send one email per day for the first week since this is when leads are most likely to convert into customers after consuming your free lead magnet.
Then slow things down to one or two emails a week. If they don’t convert during that first week, it’s likely that they are not ready to buy from you yet, so don’t push them.
First and foremost, focus on providing value. If you do that, the sales will come.
Note: the exact number of emails in a sales funnel follow-up sequence varies from niche to niche and also depends on what you are selling. High-priced products and services may need as many as 14 emails. But seven is a good place to start regardless.
5. Link Everything Today
When you’ve created all the assets needed for your sales funnel, you need to automate the process by linking everything together. Follow the steps below.
Step 1: After signing up for your free gift, leads go straight to the sales page. To make that happen, configure your lead capture form to redirect to the sales page after submission.
Step 2: On the sales page, link buy now buttons to the thank you page for customers, and ‘No thank you. I’m not interested’ links to the thank you page for leads.
Step 3: To keep things simple, in your email automation tool, create a new email list for leads and a new email list for customers.
Step 4: Integrate your lead capture form with the leads email list.
Step 5: Most email marketing tools have PayPal and Stripe apps to add customers to an email list of your choice. Use the app for whichever payment processor you are using to add customers to the customer email list.
Step 6: When a lead converts into a customer, you need to remove them from the ‘leads’ email follow-up sequence. To do that, set up an automaton rule inside your email marketing tool to remove leads from the ‘leads’ email list when they are added to the ‘customer’ email list.
Congratulations. You have learned how to create a sales funnel. Next, you need to send traffic to your lead capture form. Here’s how you do that.
Getting Eyes On Your Sales Funnel
There are many ways to promote a sales funnel, including paid advertising, joint venture partnerships, emailing your existing email list, and social media marketing.
But the most successful sales funnels require a steady stream of traffic, not just one-time promotions and random traffic spikes like you get with the methods listed above.
That’s why my favorite method is blogging and search engine optimization (SEO).
Create lots of relevant, high-quality content for your target audience and optimize it for organic traffic from Google. Use the content to direct readers to your landing page.
Blogging and SEO is an effective and free way to promote your sales funnel.
Tracking Sales Funnel Performance
Ask any experienced salesperson and they will tell you that the key to success is continuous improvement. The same is true for your sales funnel.
No matter how well you design it, it won’t be perfect from the get-go. There will always be room for improvement and the only way to ensure your funnel performs well is to track its performance and continually test and optimize it.
How? Know your numbers and track the conversion rate at each funnel stage to identify where prospects drop off.
- Number of website visitors
- How many visitors sign up for the free offer
- How many leads buy your product or service
- Email open and clickthrough rates
When you know how many people visit your landing page and how many go on to sign up, you can work out the conversion rate. A low conversion rate tells you that you need to optimize the page.
But let’s assume that your lead generation page is converting well. However, leads are not converting into customers. Then you should focus on optimizing the sales page.
The same goes for the rest of the funnel. If you see a drop in conversion from one stage to the next, that’s an indication that something isn’t working as it should and needs to be fixed.
You can use Google Analytics to track landing page visitors and set up goals to measure conversion rates but there is a much easier way to get the data.
Also read: Kartra Review 2022
How to Optimize Your Sales Funnel
Once you know exactly where in the sales funnel people are dropping off, there are a number of ways to test and optimize it, but the most effective way is A/B split testing.
You create two or more different variations of the funnel page that needs optimizing and send equal amounts of traffic to each variation to find the one that converts best.
Then, rinse and repeat until conversion rates are at an all-time high.
While it is possible to split test two completely different variations of a page, you should only ever test one change at a time. Otherwise, you won’t know what change increased conversions.
The most important page elements to split test (in order of importance) are:
- The headline
- The subheadline
- Call to action (words, location, and color)
- The free offer
When split testing emails, start with the email subject line and see which one gets the highest open rate. Other elements to test and optimize include the copy and images.
What is a Sales Funnel?
A sales funnel is an automated series of strategic steps designed to convert prospects into paying customers.
Why is it called a sales funnel? Because the visual representation of a sales funnel looks like a funnel, divided into three sections labeled TOFU, MOFU, and BOFU.
Each section represents one of the sales funnel stages. We’ll talk more about the different sales funnel stages soon.
TOFU is short for top of the funnel. This is where potential customers first become aware of your business and learn about what you have to offer.
In order to move them further down the funnel, you need to provide something of value that grabs their attention, such as your free offer.
The middle of the funnel (MOFU) is where people are beginning to engage with your business. At this point, they have already taken some kind of action, for example, they signed up and downloaded your free offer.
If the time is right, they may even make a purchase when they see your sales page after signing up, but not always. Not everyone who makes it to the middle of funnel is ready to buy. They likely need more time or information to decide if your product is right for them or not.
To help them make a decision, you need to gain their trust by providing relevant and helpful content. Educate them on the benefits of your products or services and the problem it will solve for them. This is where your email follow-up sequence comes in.
Leads who make it to the bottom of funnel (BOFU) are ready to buy because they already know that you have a solution to their problem, and they have had time to consider the benefits and compare your solution against the competition.
At this stage of the sales funnel, they’ve done their research and they know what they want. They just need a gentle nudge to make a purchase.
Creating a sense of urgency and offering discounts, demos, free trials, bonuses, and other incentives are just some of the ways you can encourage people to make a purchase sooner rather than later.
Why Is a Sales Funnel Important?
Not only does a sales funnel help you turn more prospects into customers, it helps you see where you are losing customers.
This is important because when you know where leads are dropping off you can make the necessary changes to increase conversions and ultimately, revenue.
The different sales funnel stages help you create targeted marketing messages that resonate with people based on where they are in the buying cycle. As a result, they are much more likely to take action.
And the entire process is automated, freeing up your time to focus on other important matters to grow your business.
Four Stages of the Sales Funnel
As I mentioned earlier, top of the funnel (TOFU), middle of the funnel (MOFU), and bottom of the funnel each represent one of the sales funnel stages.
There are four stages in a sales funnel: awareness, interest, decision, and action.
Each stage is a different step in the buyer’s journey based on the overall awareness and level of interest in your products or services.
The customer journey typically starts when a potential buyer becomes aware of a problem or need that they have. For example, their regular paycheck is barely enough to pay the bills and they need to make some extra money from home.
At this stage, they are not ready to make a purchase, but they start browsing the internet looking for ideas to earn a side income.
They find your blog post talking about different ways to make money from home and see that you sell a product teaching people how to make money online.
In the interest stage, people are already aware that you have a product or service that can solve their problem or need and begin to consider it as a solution.
So in the example above, where a potential customer has found your product, if it interests them they will consider buying it.
But first, to make sure it is the best solution, they will look at other options and research your product looking for reviews and testimonials before making a decision.
As the name suggests, at this stage in the funnel, the prospect has decided that your product is the best solution.
They have all the information they need and are (almost) ready to buy. However, depending on the cost, they may need a gentle push to make a purchase.
In most cases, offering a discount, a money back guarantee, free shipping, a bonus, etc, will encourage them to take the final step.
Action is the final stage of the sales funnel. This is where prospects turn into paying customers with very little convincing. They are confident that your product is the best solution and are ready to make a commitment.
A well-crafted sales funnel is an essential part of any business. It helps you turn more prospects into customers and see where you are losing customers.
In this article, I have shared tips to help you create a funnel that actually converts. However, designing and creating a sales funnel from scratch is not easy.
But don’t worry. There are tools you can use to make the process easier. See my guide to find one that’s right for you: 10 Best Sales Funnel Builders in 2022.