You don’t need to do much to understand what a sales funnel is, only imagine a real-world funnel if you are curious about what a sales funnel is.
In an actual funnel, when you pour any material into the top of that funnel, it filters down to a finite end. When we talk of funnels to marketers, we mentally draw the picture of a funnel in their minds.
Lots of visitors may hit the top of your sales funnel. However, unlike the real-world funnel, no visitor who entered your sales funnel will ring through the funnel to get to the bottom.
Picture it as the Squid Games show, each stage, has people filtered out to the next stage. The people who aren’t able to move on, are gone or disqualified. The survivors move through to the next stage.
Creating sales funnels is one of the most important marketing strategies for your businesses when it comes to generating leads and converting them into paying customers.
By understanding how a sales funnel works, you can create one that is tailor-made for your company and maximize its true marketing potential.
In this article, I walk you through what a sales funnel is; the stages in the sales funnel, and more that you need to know as a digital marketer who is out to earn good conversion rates in your marketing campaigns.
What is a Sales Funnel?
A sales funnel is a marketing approach that maps out the journey a customer goes through when making any kind of purchase.
The model uses a funnel as an analogy because a large number of prospects may begin at the top end of the sales process. Still, only a fraction of these people actually ends up making a purchase.
There are numerous stages to a sales funnel, usually called the top, middle, and bottom of the funnel, depending on a business’s sales model.
The 4 Stages of the Sales Funnel
From the moment prospects hear about your product until the moment they make a purchase (or don’t), they pass through various stages of your sales funnel.
That journey through your funnel may change from one potential customer to another, but in the end, they will evaluate it based on their interest level.
They will think about the problem they are trying to solve and conduct competitive research to make sure your offering is the best solution for their pain points.
#1. Awareness Stage
So let’s say a person named Jason has an eCommerce store dealing in dog products and he found a product that she wanted to dropship. That product is a Glow In The Dark Dog Collar
Jason runs a broad ad on social media selling her dog collar. Now her ad is being shown to a cold audience (people who have no idea this collar and her store exist).
Now within the cold audience, depending on the social platform, her ad may show up more than once. This is a good thing because the ad is warming up the potential customer to make a purchase eventually.
Because her broad audience is made up of different types of people, they will have different levels of interest.
For instance: Why would someone without a dog buy a dog collar?
This stage is where users who aren’t interested at all will just scroll and moves away from your ad.
The other people will move on to the next stage, more from this stage to the other could mean they want to find more details about your ad and it is a good thing, so they land into the next stage below
#2. Interest Stage
Now that Jason’s cold audience has seen his brand and product, this is where Jason will gain a warm audience. Interested people, will go forward and click on Jason`s ad for more information.
For those survivors who don’t have dogs, but are interested, there’s a reason why.
Lots of people on social media have posted their own videos and photos of their dogs, and if someone sees one of their friends’ dog videos, that’s an awesome gift idea or something to share.
So remember these types of users:
#1. People who have friends that have dogs but don’t have one themselves will share or tag Jason’s ad
#2. People who are interested in the product but want to know if Jason’s website is legitimate or not will visit her website and possibly become her fans.
#3. People who have seen the product in the past on someone else’s ad are now ready to purchase through Jason`s site or to compare prices.
#3. Decision Stage
It’s decision time and this is where Jason’s warm audience decides whether or not to buy or just walk away. They may add the dog collar to their cart but not complete the purchase.
These are the people that are seated on the fence. Is there a last-second promo offer that Jason set up? Is he giving away a promo product or offering free shipping service?
In this stage too, as you will observe, not every person will filter through to the next stage, there will be survivors and then those who will give up on the journey.
Perhaps the interest is not much to fuel the journey further or your prices have chased them off or they were all the while stationed on the fence.
The survivors will move from here into the next stage.
At this stage, Jason should be hearing beeping sounds on his phone notifying him that he is getting sales.
*Note: Professional marketers show them upsells right after they buy the product so that buyers don’t have to go through adding payment info again.
The action-takers are the ones that Jason should cherish because he’s not done with them.
So Jason learned that he should add another product to the mix for those who already purchased the collar.
He included a bell to attach to the dog collar with a promo price! Very smart, Jason!
The new dog collar owner now purchases the bell go to with it. The funnel is done, and the buyer now awaits their product.
This here is how a simple sales funnel works from start to end. Of course, there may be a sequel if Jason decides to run another funnel and market to her newly discovered email list.
How to Create A Sales Funnel For Your Business?
Creating a sales funnel is basically for moving prospects from initial contact to the final sale. You can then track the level of engagement and behavior at each stage to see where the potential customer is in the sales funnel and determine how efficiently it is working.
There are several ways to create a sales funnel, and different businesses and companies have their own types of sales funnels. Follow these steps below to create a sales funnel for your business:
#1. Create a landing page
The landing page is usually the first opportunity for a prospect to learn about your business and its products.
Visitors will arrive at your landing page in different ways; they might click an advert or link on a social media page, sign up for a webinar or download an e-book.
Your landing page should clearly describe your brand and the unique benefits of your product. The landing page might be your only opportunity to impress potential customers, so the copy should be strong, attractive, and relevant. It should also include a way to capture the user’s contact information so you can continue to communicate your value to them after they have left your site.
#2. Offer valuable Products or Services
For a potential customer to provide their email address, you must offer them something valuable in return. For instance, you might offer a free e-book or whitepaper with relevant and informative content.
#3. Nurture the prospect.
Now that the prospect has shown enough interest to give their email address, nurture the prospect with content that educates them about your product.
You will want to stay in touch with them regularly but not so frequently that they get bored or turned off by all the content your push their way. Make sure the content addresses their key needs.
#4. Close the deal.
Make your best offer, one that is difficult for the prospect to turn down or ignore – to close the deal. For instance, you could offer a product demonstration, a special discount code, or a free trial
#5. Keep the relationship-building process going.
At this stage in the sales funnel, the prospect has either converted into a customer or decided not to make the purchase.
In either case, you should keep on with the communication and relationship-building process.
If the prospect becomes a customer, continue to build the relationship by educating them about your products, engaging them frequently to build loyalty, and offering them highly valued service to retain them as valued customers.
If the prospect does not make a purchase, stay in touch with them via regular emails. Continue to work on turning them into customers by leveraging different email nurturing series.
#6. Optimize your funnel.
Even though you have created a sales funnel, your work is not done, I mean it is never done. You should regularly look for ways to improve and optimize your sales funnel, and determine where you are losing prospects.
Concentrate on the areas where prospects move from one stage of the sales funnel to the next phase.
#1. Begin at the top of the funnel: Examine how well each piece of content is doing. Are you capturing sufficient prospects with your initial content?
The goal of your content is to get prospects to click the (CTA) button. If they are not doing that, or one piece of content is getting lesser clicks on the CTA, then rework that piece or try something new.
#2. Assess your landing page: Your offer and CTA should reflect the content (e.g. Facebook ad, blog post,) that attracted the prospect to your landing page.
Are potential customers trusting you with their contact information? Test every part of your landing page (e.g., images, headline, body copy, CTA) to see what is working and what is not.
Test every offer in the action stage of your funnel. Compare the results of various offers (for example, free shipping versus discounts).
How many purchases are you getting with your email marketing campaigns and other marketing efforts? If one offer earns much better results than another, focus on leveraging that offer to close prospects and see if you can improve upon it.
Track your buyer retention rates. Determine how often customers return to purchase your products.
Do customers come back more than once, and are they buying other products? Keep track of how often they refer others to your business.
Why a Sales Funnel is Important for Marketers?
As a fresher in business, you may often discover yourself in a visionary state. You have great ideas and other schemes that make you feel fired up and driven to get a jump start with your plans.
Sadly, a grand idea and the motivation to pursue a business are not enough to make it succeed. A marketer must understand the tricks of the industry to avoid the pitfalls of a business flop.
Below are some of the reasons every marketer should create a sales funnel:
#1: Sales Funnel Helps You Pick A Marketing Strategy
Do you often find yourself bankrupt on marketing strategies that yield minimum to no results? This is why the sales funnel is essential–for you to understand which marketing tools, approaches, or business models you would need to help you succeed as a marketer.
Some marketers prefer to focus on customers who are already in the “Decision” section of the sales funnel.
This makes it easier for them to drive the customers toward the “Action” stage.
#2. The Sales Funnel Helps Marketers Know How to Relate to Their Customers
Do you know that brands also operate in their own language? Sometimes, the way we describe our products, produce content, or talk to our customers affects how we can drive them further down the bottom of the funnel.
Once you can identify the sales funnel stage of a to-be customer, you can easily change the tone of your copy, make well-tailored content, or provide enticing offers that will help you relate better to their challenges.
#3. Funnels Help You Generate More Sales
As you pick a grand marketing strategy and know how to relate to your prospects better, you will consequentially pull more prospects into the Action stage.
If you mastered the sales funnel, you can make more sales in the long run. The principle of the sales funnel is learning how to pull them systematically toward your conversion point.
#4. The Funnel Provides An Edge Against Other Newbie Marketers
The common problem of some marketers is their lack of direction. They may have grand ideas, but they fail to execute them since there is no application of tried and tested systems to make sales.
A better understanding of how the sales funnel works helps marketers gain a competitive advantage over other competitors in their niche.
And also add that the sales funnel helps marketers understand a customer’s buying journey with them.
Indeed, the sales funnel is an indispensable tool in business growth. As you learn to identify each customer’s level in your funnel, you will begin to become a master in lead generation and generating more sales for your exciting entrepreneurial venture which soon begins to feel like an adventure
This guide has taken you through what a sales funnel is its stages; the creative process and its importance of a sales funnel. I hope this guide takes your business promotion to the next level.