It may come as a surprise but the core concept for digital marketing is a sales funnel. No matter which platform you sell on at the core of it is a sales funnel. A deep understanding of sales funnels can take a business from a complete unknown to a multi-million-dollar-niche-dominating company seemingly overnight.
So let’s cover this foundational concept and solidify the information you need to know about sales funnels.
Understanding the 4 Sales Funnel Stages
Stage 1: Awareness
First impressions are vital so as you can imagine this is arguably the most important stage. Without building awareness for your brand and what you can do for your customers. How will they ever know you have something to offer them and then end up purchasing from you? They wont.
This is your opportunity to make customers aware you exist and that you have a solution to a problem. They may not even know there is a solution and they were suffering from a problem (this is gold).
A lot of businesses suffer here by asking for them to purchase right out of the gate. People are smart, They are not going to buy from someone unless there is intense value or trust there. Give, give and give.
Stage 2: Interest
You hopefully gain immediate interest but the reality is you gain interest from your potential customers through email sequences.
Give relatable stories that tie them to you and let them know how you got to where you are today. This is most often achieved with what is known as your “origin story” as told through an “epiphany bridge” most often.
Do not worry if those two concepts do not make sense yet. They’re not necessary to understand sales funnels.
Stage 3: Decision
This can be the most difficult stage of the process but if able to overcome customer objections and obstacles. They’re all but certain to complete the final action stage in the process.
This is an extremely complicated stage so I will be brief. But understand this is not the complete picture. Employe one of these main principles:
- Principle of reciprocity – give a lot of value and customers will feel compelled to “give back” to you. This can be through sales but not always.
- Principle of authority – Customers do not want to buy from anybody they want to buy the best from the best. Are you the go to brand in your market? Do you have studies backing you?
- Principle of social proof – One of the best ways to visualize this is the saying “nothing draws a crowd, quite like a crowd”. Influencers do so well because they have authority and can easily get social proof with millions of likes, views, comments ect.
Stage 4: Action
Finally you need to tell your customers what action you want them to take. Was this funnel for a sale or for them to subscribe to your email, webinar ect.
You may be thinking, “But wait, I thought they were on my email, how can I build interest through an email sequence if my action is to get their email?”
That’s a great question and the answer is complicated.
For simplicity a sales funnel doesn’t have to be multiple stages and can potentially happen all on 1 page. Sales funnels are a bit of a misnomer as going through the funnel doesn’t always mean it results in a sale. Sales funnels are far more dynamic than that.
What Does A Sales Funnel Look Like?
Picture there is a regular kitchen funnel in front of you. When you pour water into the top of the funnel it is filtered down to a specific point. Now you can direct that stream of water where you want. The funnel can take a lot of water on the top but it is filtered down.
However unlike a real world funnel. A sales funnel will not give out as much at the bottom as you put in the top. In this case, the water would be traffic you are putting into the top of your funnel.
Once they’re in the funnel there are different stages. At the top is awareness, the traffic is in your funnel and you can make them AWARE of your business.
Once aware of your business some are going to move further down in the funnel because they are INTERESTED in what you have to offer.
If your offer is right for them they will make a DECISION to take ACTION. The action being your call to action which may be anything from subscribing to making a purchase.
" Perfect World " Sales Funnel
At it’s most basic a quick sales funnel would look something like this:
Traffic (Ads, Organic)
Squeeze Page (A page you own for them to land on and give you their email)
Bridge Page (A second page you own they are redirected to after they give you their email. You make the case to your traffic about why they should buy from you)
Order Page (The order form for your product.)
One Time Offer OTO (Upsell and/or Downsell another relevant product to increase profit.)
Post Purchase Followup Email Series (Continuous education about the product. Relationship building. Done through email marketing)
Repurchase (You built trust with your followup email series. Give them new opportunities to purchase from you)
" Real World " Sales Funnel
That would be the exception and not the rule. In a perfect would all the traffic you sent would follow that sequence of events through your sales funnel. The reality is slightly different....
- Traffic (Ads, Organic)
- Squeeze Page (A page you own for them to land on and give you their email)
- New Subscriber email sequence building trust. 5-10 emails roughly but there is no limit. These emails are explaining pain points the product solves but never actually directly mentioning the product. Product is mentioned as the solution to the previous emails pain points after 5+ emails. Link sends them to your bridge page for your warmed up traffic.
- Bridge Page (A second page you own they are redirected to after they give you their email. You make the case to your traffic about why they should buy from you. )
- Order Page (The order form for your product.)
- Cart Abandonment Email Series (Can be as easy as 1 reminder but 2-4 should be set up to remind no more than 1 time a day after an initial twice on the first day.)
- Order Page
- One Time Offer OTO (Upsell and/or Downsell another relevant product to increase profit.)
- Post Purchase Followup Email Series (Continuous education about the product. Relationship building. Done through email marketing)
- Repurchase (You built additional trust and authority with your followup email series. Give them new opportunities to purchase from you)
Written out they don’t seem all that much different. But the “perfect world” funnel should result in a purchase the same day traffic enters your funnel. The “real world” funnel may take up to 10 days or more depending on how you have set up and how well your new subscriber email series is. Add in someone who abandons cart and from traffic entering your funnel to their first purchase could be two weeks or more.
A deep understanding and mastering of this process is the key to making a living online. A good sales funnel can compensate for bad marketing. However a bad sales funnel is extremely difficult to get to work even if you’re the best internet marketer. Check out below what a simple sales funnel would look like.