In the fourth quarter of 2017, American desktop users spent over $99 billion on e-commerce.
With so many people spending money online, how do you get your piece of the action? One of the key components is a sales funnel. You may be asking, “What is a sales funnel?” Most people don’t have any idea about sales funnels, how they work and definitely don’t know how to set them up.
If you feel confused about sales funnels, but still want to make money online, continue reading this article to get yourself up to speed.
Understanding Sales Funnels 101
How can you benefit from something that you don’t understand? You may have a basic idea of what a sales funnel is, but you need to have an in-depth understanding so you can properly implement this tool.
What Is a Sales Funnel?
If the marketing world isn’t where you normally spend your time, the sound of a sales funnel may be foreign. The more you look into marketing online, you see professionals talking about the importance of sales funnels.
Once you get past the surface of online marketing that says to get traffic to your website, you start to see how important sales funnels are. Here is your answer to what sales funnels are:
Sales funnels are illustrations put in place to show the ideal way leads take on their way to becoming customers. If you don’t have a standard structure for how leads will progress toward the sale, it may be confusing and easy to get off track.
Sales funnels work because they allow you to see where people are in their journey so you can market to them accordingly. You won’t speak to a lead that has just discovered your company like you would someone who has been circling the sale for a year.
The reason sales funnels are called sales funnels is because the first stage is where most people will encounter your company. Once they discover your company, they can go down the funnel to the next stage and the next stage until they convert to a customer or go out the bottom.
The Stages of the Funnel
There are different names for the stages of sales funnel depending on who you talk to, but the general idea is the same.
- Qualified Prospect
From the titles alone, you can get an idea of what each of these means, but let’s dig in a little bit.
When you get a lead, this is anyone that shows any sort of interest in what you’re doing. They’ve got a pulse, and they’ve either entered their email, sent a request for more information or some other small action.
In the lead stage, you don’t do much with them. You wait until they turn into a prospect.
A prospect is someone that might go to the next step. They’ve shown more interest and given additional signals to show your product or service could be a fit for them.
Even at the prospect stage, you don’t do too much work with them.
The Qualified Prospect
When you qualify a prospect, this is when you start putting in work. A qualified prospect checks off most of the boxes that show you they are serious about doing business with your company.
Now that your prospect is qualified, you have to do the work to get them to commit to buying. This is where you showcase your product benefits and let people know what a great product it is.
Now you’ve got the prospect’s commitment. You’ve not quite made it over the finish line yet, but you’re almost there. Now you need to keep walking them through the sales process to get all the legalities and payments made.
This is the last stage of a traditional sales funnel. You’ve made the sale, and all is good in the world. The client is happy with the product, and you’ve done your job.
While transacted might be the end of the traditional sales funnel, more companies are thinking of their funnels as a neverending funnel. The transacted go back in, and they can go through the process again to buy another product or service.
How to Use Sales Funnels In Your Business
Now that you understand what sales funnels are, you may be wondering how these things apply to you and your business. Everyone always wants to know long it will take to make money when you’re selling online.
The primary purpose of a sales funnel is to convert leads into customers. Using sales funnels is effective when targeted traffic goes through the process. If untargeted traffic goes through the sales funnel, you won’t get the results that you want.
What Do You Need to Build a Sales Funnel?
Now that you have an understanding of what a sales funnel is, you’re probably wondering how to build one. Below we will talk about the basic elements of a sales funnel so you can get started on building yours.
- Landing Page
- Front End Offer
- Upsell Option
- Downsell Option
- Followup Automation
The Landing Page
Before you can start funneling anyone, you need to have a landing page. A landing page is simply a page where people will come to first or “land” as they enter your sales funnel.
The landing page says a lot about your business and is almost like a cover to a book. You want people to get a good impression when they come to your landing page because people do judge books by their covers.
Front End Offer
Your front end offer is the first opportunity to do business with you. The front end offer should set people up to want the next product that you have. The next product that you have is your upsell option.
An upsell option might be a bigger package or larger subscription. Whatever your upsell is, it needs to be related to your front end product. The more closely related they are, the more likely it is that you’re going to sell one or both of these products.
If people get to your upsell option and choose to opt out of it, you should have a down sell option. Of course, you want to make the biggest sale, but some sale is better than no sale at all.
Follow up Email
The last important component that you need to have when you’re setting up your sales funnel is follow up email automation. Since it takes most people at least 7 times before they make a purchase, you need a follow-up system. Not only do you need a follow-up system, but you need an automated follow-up system.
If you try to keep up with all of your customers manually, some people are going to fall through the cracks. If you forget to follow up with someone that may not be ready to buy yet but only needs a few more nudges, you’ve lost the sale.
How to Make Your Sales Funnel Better
Not all sales funnels are created equal. You need to focus on increasing your sales funnel’s conversion rate. If you have a lot of traffic going through your sales funnel but a low conversion rate, you are wasting a lot of money bringing in traffic and throwing it through a faulty funnel.
Whether you’re selling your own product or you’re working to sell affiliate products, you still need to know what a good sales funnel looks like. By knowing how to make a sales funnel and what a good sales funnel looks like, you’ll be sending the right leads to the right funnel to generate sales. Don’t put good leads through a bad funnel!
While affiliate marketing is a great business model, you need to make sure the merchant has everything in place to make sure you win. Here are some of the key things you need to make your sales funnel better.
1. Don’t Rely on One Source of Traffic
If you want your sales funnel to dry up, the best way to do that is to depend on one source for your traffic. While that one platform might be doing wonders for you right now, that doesn’t mean it is going to continue yielding those kinds of results.
Relying on one source of traffic is risky business. Having two is better, but have three or more will allow you to get better results. Even though you can start a business online for free, you still might have to put some money into generating traffic.
Here are some examples of different places to get traffic:
- Social Media
- Email Marketing
Using a combination of these methods will allow you to protect your business from totally collapsing if something happens to one of these channels.
2. See Which Campaigns Are Most Effective
To improve your funnel, you need to see which campaigns are winning and which ones are flopping. When you see campaigns that are performing well, you can continue to optimize them to do better.
Run A/B split tests to see which variation of different elements of your campaign is working best. Only change one thing at a time so that you know what caused the increase or the decrease in results.
3. Regularly Update Your Site’s Blog
Regularly updating your site’s blog gives your potential leads the confidence that your business is active and running. If your blog hasn’t been updated for a long time, that’s a signal that you might not be active with your company.
A weekly or even a monthly blog post is better than not doing anything at all. By creating content on a fixed schedule, people get to know your company’s personality through the blog and its content.
4. Keep an Ear to Your Audience
A sales funnel shouldn’t be static. If your audience isn’t responding to different parts within the funnel, you need to pay attention. When you get feedback, make changes and test their effectiveness.
If your clients aren’t interested in something, you shouldn’t keep pushing it on them even if you are interested in it. Your business is there to service your clients, and no one will be forced to buy just because you think it is a good idea.
5. Create Multiple Compelling CTAs
Your sales funnel shouldn’t have only one CTA. While one CTA might speak to one person, it won’t speak to another. You can also test your CTAs and see which ones are getting the most clicks, which ones are converting and more. By using multiple CTA’s you’ll see a higher response rate.
6. Become THE Authority in Your Niche or Locale
Everyone wants to hear from the expert on the topic. When you want to learn, you most often go to speak to the expert. You don’t want to learn from the guy or gal that is just getting started themselves.
Use the strategy of becoming the go-to authority to the world, or you can get more location or niche specific. You don’t really need to be known to the entire world as the Bee Hive Builder. Being known as the Bee Hiver Builder to your audience of people that want to learn how to build beehives, on the other hand, is a very good move.
You can become an authority by having a lot to say. Show up on blogs, podcasts, YouTube videos and more. You don’t have to have something different to say all of the time.
When things change in your industry, give your opinion. Let people know that you know what you’re talking about. People will start coming to you for help.
Learn More About Making Money Online
As more people continue to come online, that means more opportunity. More credit cards and online purchasers make it possible for your online store, affiliate site or other online business to level up.
Don’t spin your wheels trying to learn more than your answer to “What is a sales funnel?”. Use our information resources to learn what you need to go to get a good foundation online. Start with our article on how to get people to click on your affiliate links today.
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