The Step By Step Process To Building An Online Sales Funnel

December 18, 2014 | Marketing Strategies

The need to build an effective ‘sales funnel’ is essential for your business to attract and convert new customers and keep them coming back for more.

Add subtitle text (3)

This article will be your guide on what’s needed to create a world-class sales funnel, from building a great landing page, sourcing targeted traffic and all the tools you need to achieve your goals.

What exactly is a sales funnel?

In a nutshell, a sales funnel is a marketing system that leads someone through a systematic process with the goal of purchasing your product or service.

The idea behind it is to turn a lead into a prospect, then a prospect into a customer, who finally becomes a repeat customer buying over and over again. Sales funnels have been around for decades, but since the introduction of a number of online marketing tools & methodologies they have become easier to scale and manage.

What are leads, prospects and customers?

Leads – are anyone who is aware of your business or someone you have decided to ‘chase’ for a sale. Leads vary greatly from one another and they can be further segregated into what’s known as ‘qualified leads’ or ‘warm leads’, these are groups of people who fit a set criteria. For example, if you’re selling golf products, a qualified lead is someone who plays golf rather than a casual sports fan who is not too enthusiastic about the sport. 

Prospect – is someone who has either a contact with your business or is interested in what you offer as they have signed up to your newsletter or shown interest. Prospects are interchangeable with qualified leads.

Customers – well we don’t need to explain what a customer is too much we hope. This group can be further separated by customers who have made a single purchase to customers who are repeat buyers.

When visualizing an actual sales funnel, the top is wide heavy with many people while the lower end is much smaller with fewer people, this is how you should view your leads, prospects and customers. At the top of your funnel you have a vast amount of leads, it’s unrealistic to expect all your leads to turn into customers at the end as not all leads will be interested in your product or service. However, there will be a percentage of leads who are interested, these will then become your prospects.

Depending on how truly awesome your sales funnel is, will ultimately decide on how many of these prospects will become customers. Once again, don’t expect to turn all prospects into customers as it’s an impossible task. At the bottom of your funnel you have your customers. As you work down each step of the funnel, you will filter out the weak leads (who have no interest in buying), allowing you to focus your energy on ‘qualified leads’ who have a higher chance of buying.

Sales funnels are awesome because they avoid you from wasting time and money to sell to people who aren’t interested, and instead allows you to focus on the meaty leads where the money is tied up. The more well defined your lead generation tactics, landing pages and follow up emails are, will greatly increase the number of qualified leads, prospects and customers your funnel will produce.

What is a landing page? Better yet, how do I make an amazing landing page?

As the name suggests, a landing page is a page on a website where a potential lead lands on after clicking a link from another website. These links include social media sites, Google searches or paid ads. The landing page will contain information relating to your product or service with a call to action (CTA) for the lead to enter their details for more information. Any leads who enter their details are interested in your product or service and become a prospect.

Note: A call to action is a specific instruction to initiate a reaction from the audience (in this case lead) to do something.  In our example this would be to give us their name and email address.

However, it’s not as simple as that. Creating a kickass landing page is not as easy as you think and this part of the jigsaw is where most businesses fail. A landing page needs to be slick while informing the reader immediately what the message is using carefully crafted titles and sentences. If your landing page is clumsy and not optimized, don’t expect to capture many emails.

Here are 10 simple tips you should follow to ensure your landing page will kick-ass!

Make sure the headline on the landing page matches the ad or link visitors clicked to land there, and is has a clear message.

Ensure the CTA is above the fold (users aren’t required to scroll down to enter their details).

All landing pages need to have a single focus and message.

Add a relevant video. Videos have been proven to increase conversions by as much as 80%.

Don’t waffle, use lists or bullet points to convey your points.

Implement A/B testing to see which landing pages work best.

Use cues such as text, images or videos that direct the visitors attention to the CTA. This can be done using arrows or people in the video looking towards the CTA.

Have your product or service being used on the landing page if possible.

Display real testimonials from previous customers to improve authenticity.

Offer a free trial or a guarantee to provide customer a safeguard when buying.

To get the most out of your landing page, we recommend using a content agency or an expert copywriter who has proven results in creating high converting sales pages. If your landing page fails to capture the person’s attention in the first few seconds, they will leave and may have just lost a long-term customer. 

Note: A landing page is also know as a lead capture page, lander page or a squeeze page.

How to drive targeted traffic to your landing page

So now we have created our kickass landing page, next we need to drive targeted traffic to it. Sure we could spam several Internet forums and blast out our landing page URL to numerous random sources but that would just be a waste of time and resources. Why? Because we want targeted leads!

There are two methods to directing traffic to your landing page, they are free traffic and paid traffic. Common free traffic methods include:

Email marketing – is a great way of turning prospects into customers. Your list is full of people who are interested in what you’re selling, create a well crafted email with a link leading them to your landing page.

Leverage your blog – find out your most popular blog posts and insert a relevant CTA to redirect them to your landing page. Since they are reading your blog, there’s a strong probability they will be qualified leads. If you have yet to start a blog, check out our 10 Strategies To Improve Your Blog Starting Today article for some epic tips.

Social media – followers who have subscribed to your social media accounts are once again interested in your business, and are strong leads who can certainly be turned into customers using the right tactics.

Paid methods include:

Pay per click (PPC) – this involves creating a small advert that redirects users to your landing page when clicked. Each click is set at an agreed price and you will only be charged for when a user clicks your ad. This method can be used on websites, search engines and social media sites.

Social media campaigns – we discussed the benefits of creating Promoted Posts and other social media marketing tips in our 6 Essential Steps To Generate Quality Leads Using Facebook article. Sites like Twitter, Pinterest and even LinkedIn can work in the same way to generate targeted leads to your landing page.

Guest posting is posting an article on another website that relates closely to your business. Creating a quality guest post on an already established website can allow you to leverage their blog readers to generate leads to your landing page by leaving a small link at the bottom.

Tip: Guest posts should be aimed to provide value to readers and to not spam your products or services, provide useful information and the leads will come. Some sites may allow you to guest post for free.

Setting up the wrong ads using poor quality pictures or not understanding your target demographic will leave you high and dry with no leads and a big hole in your pocket. Start with a small budget and test several different adds to see which paid traffic method yields the greatest results.

Following up on leads with an auto-responder

A landing page combined with a well thought-out lead generating campaign can get you hundreds or thousands of leads. With so many leads it’s impractical to email each one individually several times a week, as you will spend all your time emailing and not doing much else. This is where we reveal our secret weapon (cue evil theme music)… the auto-responder.

An auto-responder is a way of sending preset emails to your leads over a period of time. These emails are not sent to all your list but rather individuals who meet certain requirements. For example, people who have given you their email via your landing page can be segregated to receive preset emails. Auto-responder strategies vary depending on your goals, In the example of using it for a sales funnel, a typical auto-responder setup may look like this:

Email 1 (day 1) – Thanking them for showing interest in your awesome product or service.

Email 2 (day 3) – Offering them free useful content in the way of blog articles, eBooks or other digital products.

Email 3 (day 5) – The hard sell. Send them the sales pitch to your product or service with a link to buy at the bottom.

Email 4 (day 7) – If successful, you can then follow up with a ‘upsell’ that involves selling more of your products or services. If they didn’t buy, you can put them on another auto-responder using similar methods as above to try again.

This is just a basic example of how you can utilize an autoresponder to follow up on prospects and turn them into customers. Depending on your specific goal, auto-responder setups can be really advanced involving a number of steps.

There are several reliable platforms to choose when you’re looking to create a newsletter or auto-responder strategy. We personally recommend Mailchimp and Aweber for your all in one email marketing solutions.

Why every business need a sales funnel

Businesses tend to create online ad campaigns to draw people onto their website or social media pages hoping they will buy or do ‘something’. Spending money on online campaigns that don’t prioritize on turning leads into prospects or customers is uneconomical, we’d even go as far as to say it’s setting money on fire. A sales funnel when utilized correctly is the most effective strategy to expanding your customer base and constantly gaining new leads.

Let’s paint a picture to give you a better idea of how important a sales funnel is. As mentioned earlier, a qualified lead is someone who is interested in what you have to offer but may need a small push or an incentive to buy. By mealy redirecting them to your website or social media page is hardly going to alter their mind too much. While a well written auto-responder explaining the benefits or a kickass landing page that offers a free trial or money back guarantee could just be the incentive they were looking for.

Creating a well oiled sales funnel doesn’t happen overnight and will require a lot of testing and patience. Remember this: a sales funnel is only as strong as its weakest point. If your landing page is un-engaging or your auto-responder setup is poorly constructed, don’t expect to convert. This applies to your lead generation methods too, using a poor ad campaign targeting the wrong keywords or using ineffective mediums will stop your sales funnel in its tracks.

When Crush Campaigns create sales funnels for clients, our funnels do exactly that, crush! We understand no two businesses are ever the same and implement bespoke sales funnels that will best suit your business, with the goal to generate solid leads who will turn into customers. If you would like more information about creating your very own sales funnel, leave a comment below or send us an email and we will get back to you right away.

James Dickerson

Founder of CrushCampaigns

Want to acquire more customers? Learn how our products and services can improve your lead generation, mobile, or e-commerce growth today.

Learn More