Sales Funnel’s Explained & How to Build Your Own
The online sales funnel is an extremely important part of any business. But what is it?
A sales funnel is simply a multi-stage process a consumer takes before they become a customer. A typical sales funnel will have 4 stages; Awareness, Interest, Decision and Action. You’re essentially trying to pour consumers into the top of your funnel and hopefully what will come out at the bottom are paying customers.
Let’s take a look at these stages in a little more detail.
Stage 1: Awareness
Awareness focusses on how you’re going to get yourself in front of a potential customer and try to entice them to check out your website, buy your product, subscribe to your email list etc.
Stage 2: Interest
The interest stage comes when you’ve got your content or ads in front of the right consumers and they begin to, well, show interest in what you’re talking about. They’re starting to think about you and your product and likely researching the market you’re in.
Stage 3: Decision
By this point you’ve gained the consumers attention, they’ve carried out their own research and are now ready to decide if they want to purchase from you or a competitor.
Stage 4: Action
At this final stage, the consumer has taken an action and is now a paying customer. This shouldn’t be the end of their journey though. Now you have the opportunity to turn them into a returning customer, use their feedback to improve your product/service and use their influence to gain more customers.
How to Build a Sales Funnel
Now that we know what a sales funnel is, let’s look at how you can set up a simple sales funnel that will produce results.
Generating Traffic – Getting in Front of Consumers
We’re going to focus on just two methods here to gain attention:
Organic Traffic – this is traffic that finds our website through a search engine without the need to pay for advertising.
Paid Ads – here we’re looking at paying Google or a social media platform to drive consumers to our website.
Gaining organic traffic is extremely important for the longevity of your business. It means that people are finding your website at the top of Google when they search, at no extra cost to you.
Increasing Your Organic Traffic
The simplest way to boost your organic traffic is to write blogs and content for your website. Here are 4 simple tips on how you can use blogs:
1. Blog regularly and provide real value.
Consistently create blogs that provide real value to readers around your market niche.
2. Focus on your meta data.
Make sure that your URL, title and description are accurate and make it easy for Google to know exactly what you’re talking about.
4. Build yourself up on social media.
Link your content to your preferred social media platforms. This lets people who already engage with you on social media see what you’re up to and potentially share your content to their network. Remember though to make sure that your content is worthy of being shared.
5. Build relationships.
Tap in to BNI’s philosophy, Givers Gain. When you see other blogs being posted, read them, leave a comment and share them with your network. Chances are this will encourage others to read, comment and share your posts too.
There are many forms of paid advertising you can use to gain traffic for your funnel but we’re just going to focus on the most popular; Google (PPC) and Facebook.
Google PPC Ads
You might be wondering why you would pay Google to show your ads when you can get on their front page for free. The simple answer is driving organic traffic to your site can take a lot of time, effort and money. Whilst this should be the goal for any sustainable business, the fact remains that you likely need to be attracting new customers right now and Google ads provide this opportunity.
Here are a few tips on how you can build a better PPC campaign:
1. Trim the fat by using negative keywords.
Negative keywords give you the opportunity to remove searches that use keywords that do not fit what you are advertising. Here’s a great article to get you going: https://neilpatel.com/blog/using-negative-keywords/
2. Use relevant ad extensions.
Using ad extensions not only gives you the opportunity to show the searcher more about what you do but also allows you to build a more prominent ad. The 3 main extensions you should take a look at are Sitelink Extensions, Callout Extensions and Structured Snippets.
3. Make sure you stand out.
The simplest way to do this is to fill out every field for your ad. Grab the searchers attention with your business name and your awesome service or offer in the headline. Build all fields out with relevant and accurate information, make sure you connect with the searcher have a great call to action that will have them click on your ad.
Facebook advertising is an excellent way for you to get in front of a huge audience at a low cost. Not only do you get access to Facebook’s 2.6 billion active users, you can target who you want to show your ads to. This means your ad campaigns can get a head start by putting them in front of people who are likely to be interested in your content.
Facebook provides a lot of great tools for their advertisers to get the most out of their ads. To keep this post (somewhat) short and sweet we won’t go into all of them but here are some quick, useful tips for your next campaign:
1. Build an avatar of your ideal customer.
Write down the characteristics of your typical customer. Here are a few ideas to get you started: gender, age, location, what do they do for work? what hobbies do they have? what pages do they follow? do they share a common role model? All of these bits of information can be plugged in to Facebook’s detailed targeting section so you can find your perfect audience.
2. Create at least 3 different versions of ad copy.
Doing this means you can approach consumers from different angles and see what gets the best results. Even if you only run one or two at a time it means you can quickly change out the copy to make your ads appear fresh to your audience.
3. Use the same approach as tip 2 for your ad images.
4. Try out Facebook video ads.
This doesn’t really need much explanation. Simply use an eye-catching video in place of an image. Research has shown that shoppers that view videos are 1.81x more likely to purchase than non-video viewers. If you want to maximise the effect of your video ad, you can increase the average viewing time by 12% by simply adding captions.
Now you need to move your lead down the sales funnel and the best place to start is a landing page.
A landing page is a single page on your website which is designed to show the visitor information regarding a single product, service or offer and encourage them to carry out a specific task.
I strongly recommend you do not take your lead to the homepage of your website as it can be far too easy for them to forget what they were looking at, get distracted by something else on your site and ultimately leave having taken no action.
In order to build a high converting landing page there are a number of things we need to do:
1. Have A Goal.
Have a goal in mind for your landing page. What are you trying to have your website visitor do? Make a purchase, provide an email address, fill in a form, book a consultation, join a mailing list? Whatever your goal is, make sure your design and all of your content has that in mind.
2. Stay on Topic.
Your landing page should show the visitor exactly what they came to see. For example, if they clicked a link on an advert for first-time home buyer mortgage advice, show them a page about that, not a generic screen with a list of your services.
3. Keep It Simple.
4. Have A Call to Action.
Use clear calls to action where appropriate. A good call to action will catch someone’s eye and have them take action right away. If your goal is to get an email address in return for a lead magnet then your CTA might be as simple as having an email entry field and submit button top and centre of your landing page. If perhaps your goal involves a little more effort on the users end, like filling out a survey, you may need multiple CTA’s across the landing page in between things like a service/product overview section, a section of testimonials, a case study etc. It’s worth adding these calls to action after any piece of content which might have just helped the reader make a decision.
5. Pick A Domain.
If you have an existing website and domain then this will be simple. Just create a URL path which is specific and describes your offer/service.
If this landing page will be a standalone website, then I would recommend you go with a domain that reflects exactly what you’re offering. i.e. if you’re a car detailing specialist picking up leads in your local area, I might go with something as simple (and on the nose) as cardetailingexperts-cardiff.co.uk/special-offer.
6. Be Compliant.
Don’t forget, especially if you are building a standalone site, that you need to be GDPR compliant. Luckily, there are plenty of websites that will provide free Privacy Policies, Terms & Conditions and Cookies Pop-ups. Here are a couple of good ones we’ve come across:
Free Cookies Policy Pop-Ups
I would recommend you have a quality email drip campaign set up whether it comes at the ‘Decision’ or ‘Action’ stage of your funnel.
Don’t be aggressive and don’t oversell in your campaign. Drop an email into your new leads’ inbox once a week, delivering great information for them.
If they haven’t yet become a customer, keep delivering something of value to them. Consider what questions they might have, what objections are in their mind and what would encourage them to purchase from you. At the end of your campaign hit them with a great offer that will drive them to take action.
If they’re already a customer, you now have the opportunity to make them a returning customer and hopefully forward on your valuable emails to their friends.
Measure Your Results & Optimise
This is where you can turn a good campaign into a great one and troubleshoot any issues you might be experiencing. To do this effectively you should focus on each individual aspect of your funnel and see what’s working and what’s not.
Here are some tips for optimising your sales funnel:
1. Keep trying new angles.
Build new Facebook and Google ads, trying different approaches and targeting new audiences. Rotate them and replace the worst performers.
2. A/B test your landing pages.
Depending on what you’re offering, people will respond in different ways. Some will prefer lots of information up front, others sharp and to the point, videos may work better at the top of the page, different colour schemes may increase performance and the list goes on. Build out variations of your landing page and monitor the conversions of each one. This might seem like hard work, but it will be worth it in the long run as you’ll know what performs better for your target audience.
3. A/B test your email campaign.
Play around with the way you deliver your content. Consider your sentence structure, lexical sentiment, use of images and your layout.
4. Try different offers.
Do this to figure out what works best for you. Here are a few things you might try; discounts, free delivery, free trials, a free gift with a purchase, better payment terms, free initial reports or consultations.
Creating a powerful and efficient sales funnel may seem a daunting task but it’s the best way to secure longevity and success for you and your business.
Build a sales funnel that speaks to your target audience and reflects who you are as a business. Consumers don’t like to be sold to; they like to figure things out for themselves so just be there with awesome content and a guiding hand that moves them down through your sales funnel.
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Robert is the owner of Digital Marketing Haus having created it in 2018.
Expertise: Facebook Ads, Google PPC Ads, Web Design.