When I was trying to sell my iPhone apps, I had no system for capturing attention and making people fall in love with my products.
It was like shouting into a void: Selling my course was a different story. Thanks to the sales funnel I built, it looked like this:
By the time I was closing sales, every single one of those people had been through a series of stages designed to qualify them as prospects and warm them up to the sale.
Let’s talk about those. Do a Google image search for “sales funnel” and you’ll get a bunch of diagrams .
Most of these make sense—your funnel starts by generating awareness for your product (or the problem it solves), then captures leads who are interested in a solution, guides them toward making a purchasing decision, and finally allows them to take action and buy.
By itself, that information is a little hard to take action on.
So let’s take a look at what you actually need to build at each stage in order to move people from one stage to the next.
Think of the awareness stage as the point where people first hear about your business or product. This usually happens when: Another website links to you Your business shows up in a search result on Google
People see an advertisement you create Someone mentions you on a podcast
A happy client tells other people how much they loved working with you
The bottom line is that awareness happens when you get your stuff in front of people in places where they hang out.
Once people become aware of your business, they have the option to express interest.
That might mean: Clicking on a link to your website from one of their favorite blogs Clicking an ad in their Facebook feed Checking out your Twitter page after someone retweets you Looking up your website after a friend tells them about it, Once someone enters the Interest stage, your #1 goal should be to capture that interest by getting them to sign up for your email list.
That way, you have the ability to contact them in the future and continue nudging them through your funnel.
Your goal is to present interested prospects with a compelling offer that makes them decide whether they will become a customer or not.
Basically, this is your sales process, and there are tons of different ways to get here.
You might: Send them a series of emails designed to warm them up to the sale .
Send them to a long-form sales page that taps into their emotional needs and explains the benefits of your product .
Get them to register for a webinar where you pitch your product
Get them to book a phone call where you pitch your services .
The Action happens once someone decides to purchase your product.
Think of it as the purchasing experience—the checkout page, ordering process, shopping cart, booking form, etc.
In each sales funnel stage, you should have two goals:
Identify the people who are ready to move to the next stage (and convince them to do so) Identify the people who are not ready to move to the next stage, so you can continue nurturing them until they are ready.
Before you start thinking about what you’ll need to create for each of the sales funnel stages, it’s important to answer #3 questions:
What will my funnel sell?
What’s the best way to sell that product?
Where will my funnel get qualified traffic from?
There is basically an infinite number of things you can combine to create your funnel. Getting crystal clear on answers to these questions will help you dramatically simplify the process of figuring out what yours needs.
Let’s start with Question 1. For some, the answer to this question will be obvious. You have one product, you know people like it, you just want to sell more of it.
If that’s the case, awesome! Skip ahead to Question #2.
BUT…if you sell more than one product (or offer more than one service), it’s important to figure out exactly what you want your funnel to sell.
For example, if you’re a web designer, don’t just create a funnel built around a vague idea like “selling web design.
” Build a funnel designed to sell a specific service you offer.
Ask yourself questions like:
What’s my most popular service?
Which service do I enjoy doing the most?
Which service usually leads to lots of future work?
Which service is the easiest for me to sell to people?
If you’re selling a product instead of a service the questions might look like:
What’s my most popular product?
Which product usually leads to future purchases?
Which product is the easiest to sell?
Which products have the best margins?
For most businesses, your sales funnel should be designed to sell one thing.
However, there are exceptions. It probably wouldn’t make much sense, for example, for an online clothing store that sells 300 different products to make a sales funnel for each individual item.
But it would make sense to make one for a certain category of items.
Designing a sales funnel to sell more superhero t-shirts would be much easier (and likely more effective) than designing one to achieve a vague outcome like “sell more clothes.
Get specific! Every sales funnel builds up to a pitch, but that pitch can happen in a variety of different places/formats.
If you run an eCommerce store that sells t-shirts, the answer is probably pretty easy—people buy the shirt on the product pages in your online store.
If you sell high-end coaching services, you probably have the easiest time convincing people to buy in a high-touch setting like a phone call or a webinar.
If you sell software, people probably buy most frequently from your pricing page. If you sell a course, a long-form sales page might be the way to go.
Once you know the answer, the objective for your funnel becomes a little more clear: get qualified traffic to reach that sales mechanism.
Which brings us to Question 3.
When most people think about building their first funnel, they start thinking they have to go out and find a bunch of new traffic for it. Wrong! The best thing you can do is start with the traffic you already have.
Do you already have a website? Is it getting traffic? (It’s okay if it’s only a little bit.) Congrats! You already have people in the Interest stage of your funnel!
And congrats again if you’ve already gotten some of them to sign up for your email list—those interested prospects will be even better leads.
The best thing you can do is start building a funnel that will capture those interested people and move them along to the next stage.
When you’re first getting into building sales funnels, I almost always recommend starting with existing traffic sources like this. It’s the easiest way to get started and learn the process.
Think of your traffic options this way:
Existing web traffic Email list subscribers Generate new traffic organically through methods like SEO, guest posting, social media, etc.
Buy traffic with ads Partner with other people and get them to send you their traffic
There are more methods for finding qualified traffic for your funnel, but these are the main ones we’re going to discuss in the rest of this post.
Raise your hand if you have ever overcomplicated something? *raising my hand* Not too long ago, I was banging my head against the wall for 3 weeks straight trying to get a membership site for my company.
I was super pumped about it, but the technology side of it was a massive pain in the butt.
After spending more than 3 weeks trying to get the dumb thing up and running,
I took a step back and asked myself: “Self, how can you simplify this?” .. .
EPIPHANY!! . .. Instead of trying to go super fancy in the beginning I decided to make the entire membership site one page… I couldn’t figure out the payment system. So I made it free.
I couldn’t figure out a caching plugin conflict.
So I disabled it. I couldn’t decide on a design for my subpages.
So I got rid of the sub pages.
A couple hours after I made those decisions, the site was nearly done.
After 21 days of working on the site I had barely made progress.
After simplifying, it was ready to go the next day.
I would make it more fancy later.
For now, simple. Complicated has its place, but mostly it’s just a form of procrastination.
Sales funnels are the same way. You can make them infinitely complex. Upsells Downsells Cross sells Drip campaigns Or, you could just ask your customer to buy your product! Sometimes, you just need to simplify.
That’s why I want to show you a good mix of both simple and more complicated sales funnel templates below.
I’ve rated the degree of difficulty of each one on a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being the most difficult/time-intensive.
I’ve also included some prerequisites you should have before implementing each one. Let’s go.
Degree of Difficulty: 1 out of 5
Traffic Source: Any existing traffic your website is getting Buffer is a social media scheduling/calendar software tool with a popular blog that gets just over 750,000 readers each month.
They have a very simple call to action on the sidebar of their blog.
In fact, it’s the only thing on the sidebar at all.
It is also a sticky widget. So as you scroll down the page it goes with you.
The copy is plain and easy to understand: TRY. OUR. PRODUCT. By the time someone has clicked on a link to their blog, they’ve already moved from the Awareness stage to the Interest stage.
The sidebar widget captures that interest and moves them straight to the the Decision stage:
When you click through the blog widget you are sent directly to a signup page.
No drip email campaign or free download. Just their product. Nice and simple.
Tips: I would recommend that you make sure the language on the landing page directly coincides with the call to action that the user originated from.
In this example, it is slightly confusing.
The user clicks a link to “Sign up” but the landing page came to asks them to “Log In.” The basic formula here is incredibly simple and you can apply it in many different ways.
Buffer does two things: Creates content that attracts people interested in digital marketing
Gives them a clear, simple call to action If you want to create a sales funnel for a low-cost product.
This formula can work really well.
Since the price is low, people don’t need an email sequence or lengthy sales pitch to convert them into customers.
The product just needs to be relevant to the people whose interest you captured with content.
Your Action Steps for Implementing This Sales Funnel:
Identify the pages on your website that are already getting steady traffic.
This is as simple as opening Google Analytics and going to Behavior > Site Content > Landing Pages.
Place a call to action for your product on that page.
Create a simple page that allows people to sign up for / purchase that product.
Expected Results: In the past, we’ve seen email signup forms in the sidebar of our blog convert at around 10%.
Since signing up for a Buffer account is free, it’s fair to think they might have achieved a similar conversion rate.
However, if you want to direct visitors to a paid product from the sidebar, you can probably expect a lower conversion rate.
If you have an existing sales page, start by seeing what the current conversion rate is.
By adding a sidebar link to that page, you’re essentially just sending it more warm traffic, so it’s not unreasonable to assume the conversion rate would stay relatively similar (depending on its current primary sources of traffic).
Degree of Difficulty: 2 out of 5
Traffic Source: Your blog Ever seen a lead magnet offered at the bottom of a blog post? It usually goes like this: Someone reads your blog post, enjoys it, and is offered a high-quality downloadable resource in exchange for their email address.
It’s a nice way to use a blog to grow your email list. But it’s not the best way. A content upgrade is this strategy on steroids.
Instead of offering the same generic lead magnet on every blog post, a content upgrade is a lead magnet you create specifically for one blog post, and it’s 100% related to the topic of that post.