Featured image courtesy of: http://joethegoatfarmer.com/
Without a sales funnel, you’re sending leads to an empty street.
On the other hand, a leaky sales funnel allows qualified leads to pass through it, but they’ll not convert. How pathetic!
Most online marketers are completely lost when it comes to sales funnel management.
To a large extent, it may be the reason why they struggle to convert leads into customers. According to PureB2B, “75% of leads don’t lead to sales, largely due to a lack of nurturing.”
I’ve been driving traffic to my sites and several of my clients’ websites. What I’ve discovered in the past 6 years is that driving traffic is not really a difficult task.
The real challenge is maximizing the free traffic you’ll send to a landing page.
Truth is, without an effective sales funnel, all your efforts will be futile. A sales funnel is usually the point of contact between your nurturing system and the customer.
This funnel provides an avenue where your new leads can learn about your business/offers, without getting overwhelmed with too much information.
If you study the sales funnel below, you’ll notice that at the Top of the Funnel (TOFU), there is no entry barrier.
But when you move to the middle of funnel (MOFU), there is a moderate barrier of content consumption.
A well structured sales funnel helps you cater to ideal customers at every step. Because the challenges are eliminated.
Before I show you some examples of sales funnel that converts well, let’s get our feet soaked on what a typical sales funnel is.
What is a sales funnel?
A sales funnel is a diagrammatic representation of the specific steps required to acquire a lead, and sell your product to them in a timely manner.
At a glance, you’ll notice some keywords in this definition, such as specific steps, acquire a lead, sell your product, and timely manner.
If you truly want to build a solid sales funnel that will grow your business, then you need to pay close attention to these keywords.
i). Specific steps: The steps have to be ordered and specific. This means that a potential lead can not go to step 3, without first experiencing step 2.
ii). Acquire a lead: The top of the funnel is all about acquiring leads. Without a lead, you can’t walk them through the predefined specific steps.
iii). Sell your product: Make no mistakes about it. Every sales funnel is expected to yield sales.
When you acquire leads and begin to take them through the ordered steps, they’ve to convert into customers.
If they don’t, then it means that your funnel is leaking. It’s got to be fixed.
iv). Timely manner: Last but not least, every email that you send to your leads; including lead nurturing and transactional emails must be done in a timely manner.
Here’s an example of a lead nurturing email from Proofreadnow.com:
Once you’ve established a level of trust with your leads, don’t hold back from pitching them.
At this point, pitch them your offer with the mindset of solving their problems, or fixing a particular challenge that they go through.
Of course, you’ll make money, but that’s never the purpose of doing business in the first place. The first purpose is to make impact, and touch lives in a positive way.
For example, if someone opted into my email list and downloaded my free software on sales automation, then, it’s my responsibility to help them automate their sales processes – through my ebooks, software, plugins, services, and so forth.
Components of a sales funnel
Within a sales funnel, there are vital components that must be present.
From the top of the funnel(TOFU), where you first make contact with ideal customers, to the bottom of the funnel (BOFU), where you successfully convert the leads, it’s vital to understand how it all works. Remember that none of these components function independently.
I’ve been using a sales funnel for a long time. And I can boldly say that sales funnel is the best thing that can ever happen to your online business. Never take it lightly.
Within the funnel, there is a synergy between one component and another. That’s what brings effectiveness and efficiency in the system. Let’s briefly explore the essential components of a funnel:
a). Awareness: I know what attracted you to this article, and why you’re still reading. The article headline compelled you to make a single click, and before you know it, you’re all the way down.
That’s attraction. And attraction brings awareness. This is the first stage; it happens right at the top.
It doesn’t matter which content marketing strategy you employ, the headline is so important. According to Brian Clark, founder of Copyblogger Media, “8 out of 10 people will click on the headline.”
The renowned direct response copywriter, Ted Nicholas also agreed that 73% of buying decisions are made at the point of the headline.
Whether it’s an article, a video, a podcast, software, an ebook, or an online course, your headline/title is the most important element.
Make it count.
If you’ve not gained mastery at crafting powerful headlines, it’d be wise to hire a professional copywriter to help you out.
I’ve spent so much time ranting about titles, I know. But, you’ve got to understand why you should spend more time on it.
You may have a great lead nurturing content in your funnel, but if you fail to get leads into the funnel, you’re doing your business a great harm.
b). Lead conversion: No matter how powerful and compelling your headline is, including your branding, you also need to have a strong and invaluable offer that will lure people into your funnel.
Here’s how it works:
Let’s assume you published an epic content that got people excited. As expected, people started sharing it on social media networks.
At this point, you need a lead magnet (e.g., an ebook, a free video tutorial) that you can offer to your target audience.
For example, Ryan Deiss and the Digital Marketer team offers the “Ultimate Social Media Swipe File” as their lead magnet. And guess what? It converts like crazy.
For the most part, you need to optimize your landing page with compelling call-to-action, and start personalizing user’s experiences. If this becomes your culture, then nurturing your leads will be simple, too.
c). Lead nurturing: Another vital component of the sales funnel is the lead nurturing phase. Nurtured leads make 47% larger purchases than non-nurtured leads.
There is no assumption in marketing. You can’t assume that your leads will eventually convert, even if you did nothing to motivate them.
The harsh truth is that people don’t like spending money.
Sure, I know that a few have excess money to spend recklessly, but the majority of us (including your ideal customers) worked their butts off to make money.
Before they spend money on any product or service, they’ve to be double sure that the marketer behind the product is credible.
That’s where lead nurturing comes in.
For most marketers, the moment they acquire leads, they first pitch them low ticket products (e.g., ebooks, introductory courses, trial offers). These top of the funnel offers ideally should have a price range between $7 – $50.
However, before you can successfully sell middle ticket, high ticket, and extremely high ticket products to your leads, you need to have engaged and nurtured them.
By that time, they no longer see you as a marketer who wants to make quick bucks off their hard earned money, but someone who truly wants them to succeed.
The benefits of building relationship with your leads goes beyond getting them to buy.
When your leads see you as a true friend who cares about their welfare, they can become brand ambassadors – promoting your business, and referring others your way.
According to Harvard Business Review, “willingness to buy and willingness to advocate are two different things.”
Stop looking at the the instant gratification or quick benefits that you’ll get from a your leads, focus on the big picture.
As an example, when Apple iPhone 6 was launched, it was the happy customers who shared the good news and gorgeous features of the device with their friends, colleagues, partners, family members, siblings, etc.
Apple has built a legacy, not just for getting people to buy, but they also excel at inspiring happy customers to refer them new buyers.
Interestingly, I wasn’t an Apple fan until 2014 when my happy client recommended Apple iPad.
I was skeptical about it, but after the recommendation from a friend, I quickly purchased it. According to ReferralCandy, 92% of consumers trust recommendations from friends.
In summary, you can nurture your leads…
- Through content marketing: creating useful blog posts that appeals to them.
- Answering their questions.
- Creating visual content (e.g., infographics) to help and further persuade them.
- By inviting them to a webinar, where you’ll share some insights or secrets related to the lead magnet they downloaded.
- Giving away a free ticket to a live conference offline. This would afford you the opportunity to meet with some of your email subscribers face to face.
- By giving away an unexpected freebie (e.g., a new software tool)
- …And so much more.
d). Sales: Congratulations for getting people into your funnel. You had a high-converting lead magnet that pushed them into the lead nurturing stage.
At this stage, you’ve built a level of trust with your leads.
It’s time to strike. Don’t hold back.
Listen up: Do you know that not knowing when to ask for the sale is one of the challenges that most marketers encounter in their funnel?
Sure, it is.
The general rule of thumb is that after you’ve nurtured your leads, and spoon-fed them with helpful, timely, interesting, and valuable content, you should ask for the sale.
Will everyone of your leads buy?
No, not all of them will respond.
And that is normal.
But a certain percentage will take action. You can follow up on those who didn’t respond to your offers.
They might have good reasons why they didn’t buy your product. Find out by sending a quick survey questionnaire to them. You can get that created with Surveymonkey.com.
That third phase in the sales funnel where you deliberately make attempt to turn prospects into customers should never be ignored or handled with levity.
Derek Halpern knows how to ask for the sale. When he’s about launching his products (either ZippyCourses or YesEngines), he follows the same pattern:
i). First video: This is the introductory video training that identifies what people are struggling with in their business, and possible ways to get proven answers.
Inside the video, He will warm up leads and his email subscribers on why they should eagerly expect the second video training.
ii). Second video: This is where Derek answers questions, and gives examples (backed by data) from brands and marketers who have successfully erased the challenged from off their diary.
iii). Third video: He brings the message home, and tells prospects how his upcoming product can help them get proven results.
iv). Give me the money: Don’t be surprised. But I’ve no better phrase to describe it. After the first 3 video training series, the fourth email you’ll receive is all value packed. But the purpose is to get you to buy.
Truly, at this stage, prospects will have little or no objections. Because, they’ve consumed, enjoyed, and digested the first 3 video training series.
In fact, even if they didn’t buy, those free videos have enough helpful information to make them better marketers.
Most marketers are broke, because they think it’s evil asking people to buy something online. But you shouldn’t be like that. As much as you can, ask for the sale fearlessly.
d). After sales: According to HuffingTon Post, “55% of consumers are willing to pay more for a guaranteed good experience.”
Real businesses are not built on a one-off sale. Imagine where Amazon, Zappos, Apple, and the like would be today, if they only sold once to customers – and those customers never returned.
“Customer experience is the last source of sustainable differentiation and the new competitive battleground.” — Tiffani Bova, Gartner Vice President and Distinguished Analyst.
Lead nurturing is vital. Asking for sale is a necessary step. But customer service is what cements the experience that you’ve created for your customers.
Remember that people aren’t actually buying products, but experiences. How you treat them after the first sale, will determine whether or not they’ll buy again.
Recent Studies shows that about 86% of consumers will stop doing business with you, if you don’t provide a good after-sales experience.
In summary, here are some of the ways to deliver a great after-sales customer experience that keeps them buying from you:
i). Keep the fire lit long after the sale: According to Catalytic Management, a renowned consultancy firm, “one of the ways to continually keep the first burning long after the sale is by sending a handwritten note for her time and business.”
If you’ve ever received a handwritten note from a retail store, you know how inspired and satisfied you were.
This provides a personal touch, which in turn brings the consciousness of your company and product into their minds.
Here’s how Small Business Chrom summarizes it:
“Following up two weeks after the sale to check on the progress of the purchase and how the experience has been for the customer and over the course of six months, continuing to follow up, rotating the use of phone calls, emails and other formats so that you touch base at least once a month.”
ii). Address unforeseen problems: After purchasing a product, a customer may encounter challenges along the way.
Even if you provided a tutorial video on how to set up the item, or a manual, most people are not technically inclined.
As the seller, it’s your responsibility to address these unforeseen problems.
iii). Recommend complementary offers: If you sell boots, you could offer a free socks to every buyer. However, this complementary socks may not be included in the initial order. You only need to send it after 24 hours to your customers.
Trust me, they’ll love it.
iv). Reconnect with evergreen content: Content marketing is still very effective. Brands that have embraced it totally are generating more leads, nurturing them, and making more sales.
A sales funnel gives you the ample opportunity to actually reconnect with your customers after the sale.
The way I achieve results is by creating in-depth article, like the one you’re reading – and the topic must be evergreen.
Evergreen content will drive more traffic and better leads to your funnel – especially when you target long-tail keywords.
The topic for this article is “sale funnel examples.”
I can assure you that in the next 10 years, brands and marketers will continue to look for sales funnel examples. The topic is always fresh.
If I send this to my customers, they will not only benefit from it, but they’ll bookmark it, share it, and some will go the extra mile and print the article out.
Examples of effective sales funnels:
1) A Real Estate Pro Doubled His Opt-in Rate with LeadPages
Not all sales funnels are created equal.
Some will convert better than others. But at the heart of every sales funnel is the email list.
You don’t even refer to visitors as leads. They only become leads the moment they’re subscribed to your email list.
With so many lead management tools, it can be difficult choosing the right one. But Dan McCabe was smart. He choose LeadPages – a lead generation tool that you’re probably familiar with.
Dan is a real estate investor, President and Founder of the Minnesota Real Estate Club. But He’s not your typical digital marketer. Knowing a lot about digital marketing best practices means that we have advantage over others in non internet marketing niches.
Regardless, Dan didn’t give up. He was introduced to a sales funnel. Excitedly, He took total control of his company’s lead generation campaigns.
Okay, if you’re not a programmer, you wouldn’t even dare writing Java scripts. You would prefer hiring a professional, or using a done-for-you software.
Dan choose the second option. He found out about LeadPages from an article he read (it’s content marketing, again).
With LeadPages, he was able to set up his first landing page within 5 minutes, and structured his funnel such that when real estate prospects arrive at the landing page, they’ll opt-in to get a free valuable offer (lead magnet).
Then, they’ll be added to the email autoresponder series. The objective is to build strong rapport with the leads, nurture the relationship further, and ask for the sale.
Remember that Dan was more concerned about growing his email list. Because, prior to using LeadPages, they had struggled to build their list seamlessly.
Through a proven funnel, Dan doubled his email subscribers, and expanded his business.
Dan McCabe designed a 3-phase sales funnel system using LeadPages. See the summary:
- High-converting landing page
- Lead magnet:
- Lead nurturing
We’ve addressed these 3-phase sales funnel earlier. Although, it’s not completed yet, because the “sales” and after-sales phases are supposed to be there. But don’t forget that every company has its own objective.
I believe that as soon as the real estate firm establishes a level of trust with its leads, through lead nurturing processes, they’ll ask for the sale. This should happen sooner or later.
Note: If your immediate goal isn’t to get the sale, I strongly recommend these 3-phase funnel.
The major downside is that if you nurture your leads and culture them to never expect a sales pitch, when you eventually ask for the sale, majority of them will feel disappointed, and might even opt-out from your list.
2) Digital Marketer built multiple 7-figure web assets using 5-step sales funnel
If you’ve never come across the blog, Digitalmarketer.com, then you must have been living under the oldest rock in Canada.
Ryan Deiss and his team are intelligent set of people. Their sales funnel is one of the most envied in the digital marketing space. And this funnel has enabled them to build multiple 7-figure web assets.
By “web assets,” I’m referring to authority sites that are generating a lot of money. Sites like Survivallife.com, diy-ready.com, digitalmarketer.com, amongst others are owned by the same company.
And guess what?
The tens of thousands of email subscribers, leads, and customers the company have acquired and nurtured came through this 5-step sales funnel.
Don’t be confused by the Facebook Retargeting funnel. All of their funnels basically have the same pattern. I’m subscribed to a few of their offers, and I’ve learned so much from them.
This 5-step funnel has lead to…
Basically, customer value optimization is the process of taking an unhappy customer from that present state to a happy state.
For example, if a typical mom feels dejected and scared, after passing through the various stages of the funnel becomes, she’s guaranteed to gain confidence and transform into a super mom.
Let’s quickly explore the 5-step sales funnel that Ryan Deiss and his inspiring team uses:
i). Lead magnet: Digital Marketer usually offers a Swipe File for free in their landing pages. You may not believe it at first, but this little baby generated 28,507 leads in 45 days…
Prospects love swipe files, because it makes their job easier. When it comes to email marketing, for example, a swipe file is simply a document that contains all the emails written, the frequency they were sent, and virtually everything that went behind increasing open/click-through rates.
ii). Tripwire: You may not be familiar with “tripwire” before, but that term is common with conversion rate experts.
Tripwire is simply the process of segmenting your leads into interest groups, and offering low priced item – then upselling customers who purchase the low-cost product into one of your main products or high-ticket offers.
That’s exactly what Digital Marketer does. When you opt-in to download their Social Media Swipe File, you’ll be sent to a sales page that offers a low priced item (for less than $7).
Tripwire marketing is vital, because it helps you recover your investment, assuming you spent $2.7 to acquire leads from Google AdWords or Facebook PPC.
Digital Marketer runs a lot of Facebook Ads. This Tripwire offer gives them the initial profit, before they even sell the main product in their funnel.
iii). Core offer: After the tripwire offer, Digital Marketer will begin the process of relationship marketing.
The funnel is already set up to convert people who buy the tripwire offer. The core offer is usually what Digital Marketer does: where majority of its revenue comes from.
iv). Profit maximizer: You may call this the high ticket offers. This is where the Digital Marketer’s Certification courses fall into. It’s in their funnel as well, to help them maximize profit.
v). Thank you page: There is always a thank you page in the sales funnel.
Whether a prospect responds to the tripwire offer, the core offer, or the profit maximizer, the thank you page has been set up to appreciate, and further educate them.
Will this 5-step sales funnel work for you?
Well, you may need to give it a try first. Since there is no right or wrong answer to that question, testing is the only way to verify.
3) How Perry Marshall triples his sales page conversions using a sales funnel
You should know Perry Marshall?
Okay, you don’t have to.
He’s one of the pioneers of online marketing. One of his flagship books, “Ultimate Guide To Google AdWords” has helped tens of thousands of marketers benefit from Google’s influx of targeted search traffic.
However, what we’re concerned about in this case study is Perry’s sales funnel.
In today’s digital space, you have to stand out, provide immense value in your funnel, if you ever want to strike a note in your customer’s ear.
The days of putting a red-headline-yellow-highlighter sales page, and simply buying Google traffic is no longer in existence. I’m sure you still know that.
For majority of brands and marketers, conversions are miserable.
Bloggers and content marketers struggle to produce engaging content. Making every effort to get the sale is no longer inspiring. What’s the solution?
That’s where Perry Marshall’s sales funnel comes in. He integrates the 80/20 rule into his funnel as well. Why? Because his focus is to get 20% of his leads to buy 80% of his products.
Although, most people are familiar with this strategy that can increase their email leads, and double sales, but they still ignore it.
If you run a Facebook ads for example, you can spend $10 – $50 and still double your revenue.
How does it work?
Well, a note of warning first:
“Don’t ever send qualified visitors and clicks to your landing page that asks for a sale. Instead, drive clicks to a lander that asks for an opt-in. Then use an email autoresponder follow up emails to drive leads to the original sales page.”
When you first ask for the opt-in, without presenting any paid offer, this is what your result will look like at the end:
As a general rule of thumb, it takes about 7 contacts with a potential customers before they make a sale. You first have to built trust. And building trust doesn’t happen overnight.
Hmm, well, it doesn’t take months or years either.
It can happen in 7 days. If you’re passionate about answering your users’ questions, I can assure you that within the next 7 days, a level of trust should be established.
And that’s enough to sell your core product.
This is why you still see popular brands like McDonald’s Burger on Billboards. Because the more you look at the Billboard, the more wake-up call you feel from within you to go out there and order one of McDonald’s.
Always remember that people like to make small commitments before the big ones.
Therefore, by asking people to opt-in to your email list and get a valuable material for free, to them, that’s a small commitment. After all, they’re not parting with their money.
Interestingly, the very fact that you didn’t ask for the sale when prospects first land on your sales page means that you’re credible. You’re not “really” after the money, but to see others succeed.
That’s why Perry Marshall’s sales funnel works. And it can help you double or even triple your sales conversion (because every business is different, right?).
4) How this sales funnel resulted in a $430,000 in book sales, 46,000 subscribers
If you’re ready to land more clients, launch your book, and increase email subscribers, I admonish you to pay close attention to this sales funnel.
Peter Diamandis and his team used a smart sales funnel to generate $430,000 in book sales.
How did they do it?
Well, here’s the sales funnel roadmap they used:
Let’s see the breakdown:
Page 1: On the landing page, this is the first page potential leads see. They’re offered either free ebook/training video opt-in page. Make sure to provide plenty of social proofs.
Page 2: Book order page – This page functions like the Tripwire offer. It’s low-cost, and the objective is to recoup your ad spend.
Page 3: Upsell page – When people take you on the “page 2” offer, it means that you’ve potential customers who can buy more.
On this page 3, you can offer complementary products.
Page 4 – 5: Thank you pages – It doesn’t matter which offer people take on, you always have to send them to a thank you page.
Here are the core reasons:
- Let people know their payment was successful.
- Tell them what to expect next i.e. you will receive your product in the mail in 2 weeks, someone will be contacting you regarding your interest in the conference, etc.
- Reinforce their buying decision to reduce any buyer’s remorse.
- Provide contact information if they have any questions.
- Connect with them on social media.
Page 6 – 8: Training videos – After people opt-in, and it doesn’t matter whether or not they purchased any product, Peter Diamandis and his team puts them on a 3 free training videos.
The goal of these video training series is to offer enormous value before recommending their $1,000 product. And gauging from the comments, you’ll agree with me that people love these videos.
Page 9: Eat page – Inside the funnel, this is where the high ticket product is being offered to qualified leads, right after they’ve watched the 3 free training videos.
Page 10: Sue Opt-in – This is the final product in their funnel. It’s usually a high ticket product, and as you would expect, the sales process needs to be top notch.
So, people are required to opt-in first, and get contacted by a salesperson to discuss joining SUE. If you sell a premium product in the $1,000s, you may consider using this tactic to increase sales.
Page 11 – 12: Thank you pages – This is similar to the thank you pages we saw earlier, except that on these ones, you’ve to change the copy to align with those who take advantage of the final offer.
Note: This sales funnel is somewhat complicated. Honestly, if you’re a beginner, I would strongly recommend you try the 5-step sales funnel by the folks at DigitalMarketer.com.
As you gain more knowledge and become more experienced in sales funnel designs, you can try using this one.
There you’ve it. The easy steps to acquire more leads and increase sales using sales funnel.
Throughout this page, I’ve shown you the best practices, the components of an effective sales funnel, and several sales funnel examples that you can learn from.
Don’t forget that you may need to refine the various stages/steps in your funnel, to align with your target audience and offers. You’ve absolute control. Always remember that.
You can’t begin to imagine how a funnel can transform your entire content marketing strategy. As an example, a dedicated sales funnel enabled CrazyEgg to increase its user signups dramatically.
Shockingly, one sales funnel allowed a holistic doctor to sell 6 figures worth of product online.
So what are you waiting for?
Go and design your sales funnel today.
Want To Work Together On Your Business’s Funnel? Click Here
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