When approaching the process of building your sales funnel, it’s important that you don’t overthink the concept. It’s not an overly complicated one unless you make it so.
Many small business owners and entrepreneurs have never heard of a sales funnel and become anxious when they discover the idea, but they need not to – and neither should you.
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Let’s take a look at how marketing professionals typically approach building a sales funnel.
The funnel itself is so named because typically the concept is described in such a way that a large number of potential customers are attracted to the “top” of the funnel and as they pass through the process, the funnel becomes narrower as it moves towards the “bottom” where the smaller number of prospects make it through.
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Start at the end.
Understanding your end goal is a must. It’s just like any other process you undertake.
The expression that a goal without a date is just a dream is very true. You wouldn’t start a diet without an idea of how much weight you wanted to lose or start training for a marathon without knowing what distance a marathon actually is.
Smart goals have deadlines!
What is the business goal of your sales funnel?
Usually, it’s to sell something. The more specific you can be about your goal the easier it will be to achieve it.
- Are you selling a service or a product?
- Maybe in this case you want to build a subscriber database?
The goal may differ. You may require more than one funnel.
Let’s just focus on one for now and we’ll discuss multiple funnels later. Having decided on the specific goal of this particular funnel, you’ll need to decide on how you will measure your success.
That means understanding your customer value (more on that later) or profit margin for your products.
So, beginning at the end,
- What is it that performs the function of completing the sale for you?
- Is it a sales page with a buy button?
- Or is it a phone number where people call you with their credit card?
Define it as specifically as possible.
- What happens to get your customer to that page?
- Is it another web page?
- Is it a poster at a bus stop, a QR code, or a flyer?
You need to play detective with the process by which your customer arrives at the final step in your funnel.
Your sales funnel is based on encouraging a gradual building of trust between you and your lead, from the moment you acquire that lead until the point of sale.
Sales Funnel Journey
Usually, it begins with the publication of free and helpful information about the product and its benefits,
Then it graduates to the offer of an ethical bribe in the form of a free resource and culminates in a sale.
Along the way, the lead may experience further helpful free information and/or encouragement to make a purchase via the email they gave in return for the free download.
Such emails are part of an autoresponder sequence – a series of emails designed to build a relationship with the lead in order to help move them further down the sales funnel.
While the initial stage of the sales funnel encourages a lead to take up the offer of a free resource, and the final stage is a prompt to make a purchase, there will usually be a gradual sequence of offers in between.
These would be offers of products that might lie within a smaller budget than the high ticket item.
Their purpose is to establish trust with the lead that experiences a smooth transaction with no issues – solidifying the expectation that all future transactions will go just as smoothly.
A small product also builds something else that’s just as important: the evidence that your products–even the budget-friendly ones–are high quality and that you over-deliver on value.
Both aspects of the small purchase serve to break down possible barriers to a sale and reduce the perception of risk that new customers might associate with your website.
It’s not one size fits all…
Not every step of a sales funnel suits every business, which is why marketers who are new to building sales funnels get tripped up when they try to figure out how many stages theirs should include.
Many businesses will use their own blend of web content, free downloads, and email marketing. Others will include free webinars, consultations, and other means of engagement.
There is no one typical blend of activities or sequences. One thing is common among all sales funnels: they escalate the level of engagement between the lead and the sales team.
Given the variance in steps, confusion seems inevitable. All we can say for sure is that it takes multiple contacts with a salesperson before rapport is built and a sale is made.
There may well be stages of your sales funnel that doesn’t add value to either you or your lead. The only way to truly understand whether a stage is necessary is to test it and eliminate it as necessary.
Always test everything about your funnel, from the download button to the sales copy.
This post is part of a series to help you understand what a sales funnel is, why it’s so important, and how to set one up. View the other posts here:
- Understanding What Sales Funnels Are
- Why You Need To Build A Sales Funnel
- 4 Stages of a Sales Funnel
- How to Provide a Good User Experience For a Successful Sales Funnel
- Why You Need To Track Your Sales Funnels Conversion Rates
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