For an online business owner, a sales funnel is probably the most important marketing tool you have. And yet many entrepreneurs – both new and established – have no clear understanding of what a funnel is or how it works.
As you can imagine, failing to fully understand this critical part of your business means fewer sales, lower profits, and ultimately, an unstable business.
A Simple Sales Funnel
At its most basic, a sales funnel consists of free content, which typically requires nothing of your readers. Many sales funnels begin with blog posts, YouTube videos, Facebook content, and other information readers can access at no cost. This is the “top” of your funnel.
So the top of my sales funnel begins with my blog at Leave The Corporate World Behind and my Facebook page Leave The Corporate World Behind. People can also download free reports on my website. These are at the top of my sales funnel.
Next, you’ll have an attractive offer that requires a very small “payment” of sorts – typically an email address. You’ve seen this type of offer on websites all over the internet, and probably even signed up for some. This is the free ebook or guide, video series, checklist, workbook, or other valuable content that is available in exchange for “opting in” to an email list.
My example of this type of an offer, is the opt-in box on my blog. For their first name and email, the prospect gets the report 10 Things You Must Do Before You Leave The Corporate World Behind. I need to create more opt-in pages outside of my blog for this niche. For my other niche which is Amazon FBA, I do have a free giveaway on a separate page at Get Started With FBA Now.
Once on your mailing list, you’ll then present your readers with a series of low-cost offers. Perhaps you have a low-priced ebook or a trial membership. This can be down using an autoresponder. The autoresponder I use is Aweber. You can send broadcast messages or autoresponder messages. Autoresponder messages are saved and are sent in a sequence.
Customers who purchase your low-priced product move further down the funnel, and are presented with more, higher priced products. As they continue to buy, they move closer and closer to your top-end offers, which make up the bottom of your funnel. If you are using an autoresponder like Aweber, you can set it up so each time they move down the funnel, they are automatically added to another list and removed from the previous one. For example, if people opt in to a free report associated with a product, they are added to a list that continues to market the product. Once they buy the product, they are removed from that list and added to a buyer list.
How Your Sales Funnel Works
If you imagine your sales funnel as looking like, well, a funnel, it’s easy to see that your free content—at the top—is consumed by the largest number of readers. Below that, your extreme low-cost item (available only for the cost of an email address) attracts a smaller subset of the true freebie seekers. Next, your low-priced products bring in yet a smaller group. Finally, as you near the tip of the funnel, only the loyalest of fans and customers will purchase your highest priced offers.
Your job, as the business owner, is to ensure that your funnel leads buyers naturally from the top, free offers all the way to the bottom. The more buyers you can keep in your funnel, the more money you will make.
Most new—and even established—business owners can easily envision the top of the funnel, but if you truly want your business to grow, you must master the entire process, and that starts with understanding what a sales funnel really is and how it works.