What Is A Sales Funnel?
The 4 Steps of a Sales Funnel Explained
What is a sales funnel?
A sales funnel illustrates the path a visitor takes before purchasing an item.
In marketing terms you can say that a sales funnel is the process to convert potential customers into buyers.
Whether a business owner is aware of it or not, every business has a funnel in place to acquire new prospects and leads, and to convert those leads into buyers.
But business owners who understand how sales funnels work can optimize their funnel to increase conversions, get more leads and more buyers and to sell more of their products. They can also influence how visitors move through their funnel.
The sales funnel process is designed to move potential customers through a series of steps, from becoming aware of a product (or a brand) to making a purchase decision.
The process vary by company and what kind of products you’re selling, but basically it can be divided into the four steps of the AIDA model.
AIDA is an acronym for Attention, Interest, Desire and Action.
The 4 steps of a Sales Funnel Explained:
Whether it’s a local shop or an online shop, the basic sales funnel process is pretty much the same.
First of all, you have to define your target market, that is your best potential customers, and get to know and understand them very well.
You have to get the attention from people most likely to be interested in what you sell. If you have a local shop – you want visitors to come inside your shop who have an interest in what you’re selling. Just like someone who sells products online wants visitors (traffic) to his / her website who have an interest in what they are selling.
The individuals who belong to your target market may have an interest in what you offer because your products or services can help them solve a problem they have or help them reach a desired outcome.
The next step in the funnel is to keep and increase their interest and desire for your products or services with incentives and by adding value throughout the funnel.
As the image here above illustrates, there are lots of people entering the funnel at the top, then the further down in the funnel – the fewer people, and only a few reach the end of the funnel and become your customers.
Step 1 Attention (or Awareness):
So the first step in the sales funnel is to get your product in front of your target market (target audience), that is, people who are most likely to be interested and eventually buy your product or service. Those people are your potential customers.
You can get in front of them by advertising, by social media and by SEO and content marketing – so that they find you when searching on Google (and other browsers) using related keywords and keyword phrases.
For local shops the location is also important. If the location is right, they will get lots of visitors just because of that too.
Step 2 Interest (or Incentive)
To keep and increase their interest in your products, you offer them incentives.
An incentive in a local shop (and an online shop too) can e.g. be a discounted price or a limited time offer (“This special price is only valid today”).
In online marketing you use free Lead Magnets as incentives. You can say it’s a kind of a “bribe”.
By asking your website visitors for their contact information – at least their email address – in exchange for the lead magnet, gives you a way to follow-up with them to increase the potential customers’ interest, to educate them and to build a relationship with them.
The visitors who take this step have now become your Leads.
Step 3 Desire (or Decision)
Adding value during the sales process is a critical part of a sales funnel.
When a salesperson in a store asks questions, they want to overcome your objections. They are also asking questions to understand your needs better, to educate you about the product, and to make sure they help and serve you in the best way possible. This builds the relationship between the sales person and the potential customer – and ultimately the trust factor.
Trust is probably the most important factor to convert your prospects and leads into paying customers.
In an online funnel, you don’t have that same personal connection as in a brick & mortar business. So how can you then add value, build a relationship and trust with your potential customers?
Since you have the email address from those visitors who are interested in your Lead Magnet and have requested it, you can send them follow-up emails.You should focus on explaining the BENEFITS of your product or service.
Don’t focus on what your product is but what it can DO for them. Testimonials and stories from happy and satisfied customers are also powerful to use for sales conversions.
After some follow-up emails about your product you’re selling in your funnel, you continue sending them updates and content you know is interesting for this audience. Focus on giving solutions to problems your potential customers have – and try to help them reach results they want.
The content can be published in different forms and mediums, it can be blog posts, articles, social media posts, videos, podcast etc.
Step 4 Action
This step is where some of your prospects eventually take action and buy your product!
Have a CTA (a call-to-action) and a link to your shopping cart – or to your sales page – in all your follow-up emails, and some people will click on it and buy!
You as a business owner should thank them for the purchase, invite your customer to reach out with feedback, connect on social media, and make yourself available for tech support, if applicable. You can also offer them a coupon code for their next purchase.
Why you want to build a list of your prospects and customers
Lead generation is an essential part of an effective sales funnel. For both an offline and online business, it’s important to build a list of prospects and customers.
The reason for this is that it’s more difficult and much more expensive to acquire new leads and customers, than to follow-up with and sell to existing prospects (leads) and customers.
When you have your prospects’ and customers’ contact information, you can follow-up with them, send them special offers, make surveys, make sure they are satisfied, send them news – and sell more products to them.
An offline business usually gets their prospects’ contact information at the very last step of the funnel – when they have already decided to buy a product or service.
For online businesses on the other hand, it’s important to get their visitors’ contact information in the beginning of the funnel, so that they can continue the conversation with them, build a relationship and trust.
This is why the incentive with a “must-have” lead magnet is super important – to get the contact information from interested website visitors.
>> If you want to know more about Lead Magnets, click here => 6 Step Lead Magnet Creation Guide & Worksheet
Sell MORE by adding up-sells and down-sells
Both offline and online businesses can add up-sells and down-sells to their funnels.
Think about it.
When you buy something online, you’re almost always recommended to buy an additional, related product or a more expensive (upgraded) version of the product you’re about to purchase.
In the offline world, you’re offered up-sells and down-sells too.
Think about McDonald’s. Whenever you order a BigMac the salesperson will ask you:
“Would you like fries with that?” and “How about a soda?”
And then they suggest a bigger size of the fries and soda…!!
And when you buy a new car, there are an endless number of options of up-sells and down-sells.
The BIG advantage with an online sales funnels is: AUTOMATION.
Having an automated sales funnel will save you lots of TIME. You just do the work once to set it up, then it works for you 24/7, even when you sleep!
Can automated sales funnels work effectively for all kinds of products?
Let’s face it. Sales funnels will work and look different depending on
- your kind of business (real estate, affiliate marketing, coaching, consulting)
- what kind of product you’re selling (digital, physical, or services)
- the price of your product or service
As a rule of thumb, you can’t expect to sell something very expensive online to a person who has never heard of you before, and doesn’t know anything about the product or service you’re selling.
It’s of course different if you go online, browsing for a specific product you want to buy and know about already. That’s a different story.
Then you’re familiar with the product and you’re probably willing to buy from sellers you don’t know on Amazon, eBay etc, as long as their ratings are good.
But the very first time you “meet” someone online, you’re most likely not ready to pay this person several hundreds of $$ for a product or service you don’t know anything about since before.
However, if you get something for free FIRST from this “new online person”, and you find the free gift from this “new online person” really useful and valuable – then you would start to feel that you kind of liked and trust this person, right?
And when you keep getting valuable information from this “online person”, you’ll feel more trust and eventually, if he or she has a link in an email to a sales page presenting a product or service you think can really help you to get what you want, you probably won’t hesitate to buy it – even if it costs several hundreds of $$.
That’s the magic of sales funnels and valuable follow-up communication!
How to set up an automated online sales funnel
If you want to set up your first automated online sales funnel that works 24/7, here’s what you need and how to do it:
=> How to set up an automated sales funnel
And if you want to learn more about how to set up high converting sales funnels, with up-sells, down-sells, back end offers and profit maximisers, click here:
=> Online Marketing Training To Make Money From Home
The training you’ll get access to will teach you everything you need to know about online marketing, sales funnels and value ladders, and you can use it for any kind of business and product.
Did you find value in this blog post? Then I’d really appreciate it if you LIKE and SHARE this post on your social media channels. Thanks!! 🙂
To Your Success!!
This Chatbot can be used for any website and requires no coding => Chatbot
=> Find and get to know your best customers online
=> Lead Magnet Creation Guide + Worksheet
=> Aweber – a reliable autoresponder system for your email follow-ups