If you’ve been around digital marketing within the past five years, you are more than likely aware of the term, “sales funnel“. But do you know exactly what a sales funnel is, and how can it help your online business?
Congratulations, you landed on the perfect article that will explain exactly that.
What is a Sales Funnel?
The main goal of your business is to get visitors to perform a specific action on your site. It could include subscribing to your newsletter, downloading a PDF guide, or making a purchase. These actions are what keeps online businesses thriving.
You turned that visitor into a lead (buyer in some cases), their email is now in your database, and you can continue to provide value to them.
In simple terms, a sales funnel is the step by step journey a customer experiences with a company or brand. The main goal is to turn those very first visitors, into lifelong customers.
Let’s take a look at a few examples of real-life sales funnels.
Grocery Store Funnel
- Walks into the store
- Fills their cart with groceries
- Walks to the checkout line
- Pays for the grocery’s
- Sees an ad online
- Visits the product page
- Adds that product to their cart
- Visits the checkout page
- Pays for the product
These are very high-level examples but show that we are experiencing sales funnels in our everyday lives. Since we mostly operate on our subconscious, we are never really aware of the customer journey.
Why is it called a sales funnel?
Because it’s in the shape of a funnel…and its primary goal is to generate sales.
But, let’s break it down a little bit and show you what happens inside an online sales funnel.
The top of the funnel (“attract”) is your website traffic. This traffic could have found you a gazillion different ways. Typically, it’s through social media, paid advertising, or organic traffic from search engines.
To convert those visitors, you are going to need an irresistible offer, in exchange for their email address. If you’ve done the proper research on your target audience, you have a good idea of what problems they encounter daily. That offer should solve a major pain point.
To create an irresistible offer, consider offering your most valuable asset. If you have a training course or authored a book, give that away for free — something they can’t refuse.
Ok, so this is where the funnel starts to get smaller (and why it’s called a “funnel”). People are going to start dropping out of your “journey.” Either they aren’t interested in your solution or don’t find enough value in your offer. A large number of them won’t. That’s ok.
For the ones that stick around, you need to continue offering them an incredible value.
Engaging with your prospects is a key ingredient in converting them further down into the funnel. You want to stay top of mind.
Some ways to engage with your audience are:
- Add them to a drip email sequence
- Send them daily or weekly email broadcasts
- Follow them on Facebook, LinkedIn, and comment on their posts
- Write blog posts and share with them
- Add them to a private Facebook Group to make them feel like a VIP
- Pick up the phone and talk to them (I know…so 1999, right?)
- BONUS: Surprise them with a physical gift, delivered to their door
Now it’s time to sell!
At this point, your leads are getting to know you a little better and, hopefully, start to like you.
So let’s send them an offer, say a $197 training program they can use to solve another one of their problems. Look, not everybody will purchase.
Statistics show that it takes between 8-12 touches for a visitor to convert into a paying customer.
Also remember, only about 30% of your initial visitors you attracted to the top of the funnel will still be around. Your goal is always to be improving that number.
One way to do that is to install tracking software on your site, like Hotjar, to track what page(s) in your funnel visitors are dropping off. Below is an example where 81% of visitors were dropping off on the first page of a funnel (btw, that’s not good).
Once they make a purchase, you want to be connecting with them continuously. We are now at the bottom of the funnel, where about 5-10% of your initial visitors end up. Again, that’s why it’s called a sales funnel!
I like to say, once a buyer, always a buyer. So don’t be afraid to make additional offers to your customers. Use the 80/20 rule here when it comes to providing value and making offers. Eighty percent of your content should be a value add, while the other 20% can be for sales, or making offers.
Over time, you can start automating the process and start generating money on autopilot. That’s for a different article at a different time.
If you found this explanation for what is a sales funnel helpful, please let me know below. I respond to all comments.
To your success,