What is a sales funnel?

What is a sales funnel, and why do you need one?

Let’s debunk this salesy jargon and help you understand why sales funnels are key to growing and nurturing your audience, as well as securing your dream clients.

Even if you’ve never heard of a ‘sales funnel’, as a prospective customer for another business, you have undoubtedly been a part of one. If you’ve ever given your email address online in exchange for a discount, a download, or online training, then you have journeyed through a funnel for the person providing the incentive. Having been a customer in this process for someone else means you have the added advantage of knowing what you do and don’t like.

Here are some of mine:
The download process is cumbersome; there’s just too many steps to get what I want.

The branding is off. There’s no consistency throughout.

I receive the download, but then I’m ghosted. I’ve chosen this freebie above others, so let me get to know you.

It’s all sell, sell, sell. I want the freebie for a reason, and one of them is that I’m not ready to pay for a 1:1 service right now. It’s good to know what you offer, but not right away.

TOP TIP: Before you start building your sales funnel, think back to the ones you have been a part of. What did you like or dislike? What will your audience appreciate through this journey?

Let’s get started with the basics so you can fully understand how each step in this journey is key to building and nurturing an engaged community of potential clients.

Sales funnel basics

A sales funnel offers an effective method for growing an email list brimming with your perfect clientele, ultimately converting them into paying customers. It is shaped like a funnel for good reason: it widens at the top to capture a broad audience of sign-ups. As this audience moves through the funnel, the narrowing base represents the space where your dream clients emerge, those ready to engage with your offerings.

Let’s look at each stage in a bit more detail.

Traffic generators

These are online platforms where you connect with your audience and guide them towards signing up. This includes your social media profiles, website, blogs, articles, and podcast episodes. You can also attract traffic through guest appearances on podcasts, websites, and membership groups. When constructing a sales funnel, it’s crucial to brainstorm the locations to share your link—the more places, the merrier. Add it to your email signature and social media bios.

Lead magnet

It’s aptly named a magnet because it should draw in your dream audience. You’ll want it to be incredibly appealing and full of value, tailored precisely to your ideal client’s needs. Consider their pain points thoughtfully and craft a freebie that aids them in overcoming a hurdle. Get creative with this. While you might assume an e-book would be beneficial, if your audience lacks the time to read, perhaps a brief webinar would be more appealing.

Download my lead magnet ideas for inspiration.

Landing page

This is the place where your audience can subscribe to receive the lead magnet. It’s an online page that showcases the freebie while requesting a name and email address.

These can be built within your own website or hosted in email marketing systems like Mailerlite.

Thank you page

Remember to say thank you to your new subscriber, so don’t skip this part. Design a branded page with a warm thank-you message and details about the next steps, such as “Keep an eye out for an email from me with your download!”.

Welcome emails

You’ll want to establish a method for the subscriber to not only receive your download but also to extend a warm welcome.

With a welcome sequence, you have the opportunity to offer more insights into who you are and how subscribing will bring them heaps of value. A good rule of thumb is to send 3-5 emails in this sequence.

Most email marketing platforms come with built-in automation to streamline this process. The screenshot below illustrates Mailerlite’s straightforward automation feature.

Remember to create and add them to a main group once they have been through the welcome sequence. This is the group you will send nurture emails to.

Nurture emails

After you’ve warmly welcomed your new subscribers and provided them with ample value through your freebie, it’s time to develop a strategy to engage and nurture your audience.

This involves sending regular emails that deliver value and updates. These emails serve as an excellent method to establish the know-like-trust factor. Allow your audience to become acquainted with you, your expertise, and the services you offer.

Paying clients

Consistent and engaging email communication is a powerful tool for transforming subscribers into paying clients.

By regularly staying in touch with valuable content, updates, and insights, you’re nurturing a relationship of trust and credibility. This steady stream of emails allows your audience to become more familiar with your brand, expertise, and the solutions you offer.

As they grow accustomed to the value you provide, they are more likely to perceive your services as beneficial and worth investing in. Over time, this consistent communication builds a strong foundation of trust, positioning you as the go-to expert in their minds when they are ready to make a purchase or seek out your services.

Through the power of regular emails, you’re not just connecting; you’re cultivating a loyal client base that sees the true value in what you have to offer.

Top tips

  1. Don’t forget to inject your brand colours when designing your sales funnel. Keep colours consistent and logos present so it all flows harmoniously.
  2. Automation is your friend. Find a tool that can help you deliver a seamless user experience, from branded visuals and compelling copy to automated processes. You want this process to run quietly and efficiently in the background while you focus on your transformational work.
  3. Don’t forget to keep shouting about your lead magnet to generate traffic!
  4. Use multiple sales funnels to promote lead magnets, events, courses, and memberships. Whether it’s growing your email list or drumming up excitement for a new membership or course, there are endless possibilities.
  5. Check analytics regularly to see which sales funnels are working better than others, so you can tweak and test.
  6. Use sales funnels to segment your audience and provide them with a more personalised approach through your email marketing.

If you’re looking for help crafting a sales funnel or you’d like to have your current one reviewed, I’m here to lend a hand! Let’s work together to develop an irresistible lead magnet and funnel tailored to your needs.