Understanding Sales Funnels (and why you need one) 

A sales funnel is simply a series of emails that are sent to anyone who enters their name and email address in the opt-in form on your landing page in exchange for something of value. It consists of a landing page, an opt-in form, a thank you page, a lead magnet, and a series of automated emails.

This is not rocket science, as some people may lead you to believe, but it does take some time to build. It also helps to have a basic knowledge copywriting and direct response marketing principles to build a good one.

Why do you need a sales funnel?

A sales funnel is a great way to build a relationship with your audience over a period of time. It usually takes around eight touches (and usually many more) to actually make a sale. But, of course, it depends on the relationship you have built with your audience prior to them going to your landing page. It also can be dependent on the price of what you are selling. Higher ticket items generally require a longer sales cycle and more touches to get the sale.

As with all your marketing, the main purpose of a sales funnel is to turn your prospects and suspects into paying customers and clients.

Do this first…

Before actually building your sales funnel, get very clear on the problem you are solving for the person who goes to your landing page. This will help you develop content for your landing page and help you decide what type lead magnet you will be offering in exchange for your visitor’s contact information.

The step-by-step process of creating your sales funnel

Step 1 – Set up an account with a professional email service provider, such as Constant Contact or Convertkit. Your professional email service provider will have an autoresponder as part of your account. The autoresponder is what you will use to create the automated series of emails you create for your sales funnel.  

Even though there is more expensive funnel building software, such as ClickFunnels, a basic professional email service provider account will suffice to get you started. No matter what you use to build your funnel, creating the content is always the challenge. You can have the best funnel building tools available, but you still have to produce the content. So, as I have said many times, learn everything you can about direct response copywriting. The tech part will come to you eventually, even if you don’t consider yourself a techie.

Step 2 – Build your landing page. In it’s most basic form, this is simply a one page website. You can use the standard templates that come with your WordPress install or there are several premium landing page templates you can use.

Step 3 – Install the opt-in form on your landing page. This is the form you will use to collect visitors name and email address. You will connect the form to your professional email service provider.

Step 4 – Create your Thank You Page. This is the page they will see after they enter their contact information and click on the Submit button on your landing page. It will usually have a link to download your lead magnet. You also have a lot of opportunity on this page to tell more about your business via a short video or more copy.

Step 5 – Create a lead magnet. This is what you will give to anyone who enters their contact information into the opt-in form on your landing page. Free reports, guides, checklists, eBooks, downloads are all examples of lead magnets that could be used.

Step 6 – Write your emails for your autoresponder series of emails they will receive once they enter their contact information on your landing page. You can create from three to fifty-two emails. You may start with three and work your way up to 52 emails (enough for one year of follow-up).

One of my clients I’ve been working with for seven years received my emails for almost 12 months before deciding to pick up the phone and call me. I actually didn’t even know him personally. He downloaded one of my lead magnets, so he was on my list and receiving my weekly emails. He has paid me a lot of money over the years. So even though that one-year of emails took a lot of time to create, I am still generating income from that series of emails.

Just know, as with most marketing, this is not a magic bullet or a quick fix. I’m not saying it you will not get immediate results, but more than likely it will take consistent effort over a period of time to get a sales funnel working for you.

Driving traffic to your landing page

My intent is this section is to give you a high-level overview of a five ways you can drive traffic to your landing page and sales funnel. This will at least let you know what your options are. I will go into more detail on each of these in future blog posts.

Facebook Ads

This is a way for you to target specific demographics in your chosen market without spending a lot of money initially. You can start testing with a budget of $5.00 a day to see what works and what doesn’t before ramping up your ad spend. That is a very simplistic overview of Facebook Ads, but for now I just want you to know what your options are for driving traffic.

Google Ads

This is a great way to drive traffic to your website. It can be costly but you could get good results and a good ROI if you do proper keyword research, set an appropriate budget, split test your ads, and monitor your ads regularly.

Organic Traffic

This is the best way to get traffic. It is also the one that will require the most effort. But the traffic your get organically will generally be a better quality prospect or client. The best way to get organic traffic is to produce a lot of content via blogging, podcasting, making videos, newsletter, weekly email, etc. where you have already developed a certain level of authority. But it does take quite a bit of work on your part to produce the content.

Direct Mail

So many business owners discount direct mail and think it no longer works. And it doesn’t work if the content of your mailing is no good or if you are mailing to the wrong people. But it works great if you have those two things in place.

Word of mouth

For those of you who go to in-person networking functions (or networking meetings online via Zoom), having a landing page you can direct someone to so they download your free lead magnet can be an extremely good way to start a relationship. This can be invaluable to your business and your bottom line because you are starting the relationship by giving them something of value versus asking for something.

Of course, you don’t offer this to everyone you meet. You’ll want to know they have a need for your service and they are a good fit for your business before mentioning your landing page and lead magnet. You will also want to put your landing page URL on your business card.

Final thoughts

Most business owners think that having a website is all they need in their business. And they are correct to a point. Having a website is essential, but if you want to build real authority in your marketplace, you will want to have additional landing pages with valuable lead magnets – free reports, checklists, guides, case studies, etc.

If you implement just a few of these strategies, you will be so far ahead of your competition. Because I know from experience, they are not doing these things. So having a sales funnel will potentially generate more income for your business, help you gain more exposure, and give you a leg up on your competition by presenting you as the authority in your chosen field.

You will also have the advantage of an automated follow up system via your sales funnel. The real value of having a sales funnel is keeping that top of mind presence with your marketplace that is so essential to your business success.

All the best,
Mike Coleman