What are sales funnels?
Sales Funnels are also known as Click Funnels or Purchase Funnels. One can think of funnels as the evolution of a website. Therefore one can say that websites perform better with a funnel incorporated. An advantage of a sales funnel is that it helps you, the seller, understand what potential customers are thinking and doing along each stage of the purchasing journey.
Armed with these insights, you have the ability to invest in the right marketing activities and channels. This way you can create the most relevant messaging that applies to each stage of the sale. Therefore the result is turning more prospective buyers into paying customers.
The key to understanding sales funnels is to understand the marketing behind the funnel. The purpose of sales funnels is not only to make sales but also to help with up selling your products. Just like a normal funnel, a sales funnel is big at the top and small at the bottom. The top is the part where your potential customers gather and enter into the funnel. And the bottom becomes the place where prospective customers perform the buying action.
The anatomy of sales funnels.
Sales funnels have three sections: a top, a middle, and a bottom. The goal is to get prospective customers at the top of your funnel and out the bottom. This makes a completed sales process that results in a closed deal. Therefore exactly what you want in order to generate sales for your business.
Your sales funnel starts at the top. This is the part of the sales process called lead generation. This is where you create awareness of your business and products. So it is important that you find the right customers during the early stages of your sales funnel. At this point, your prospects want to feel educated and confident. Confident enough to be able to talk about their questions.
This is the point in your marketing strategy, where you create awareness by using services like Google Ads, YouTube, and other Social media sites. The goal of the aforementioned services is to make people aware of your business and get them to subscribe by giving you their email addresses. During the first step, your visitors want content that will guide them through the topic that matters to them.
At this point your prospective customers signed up using their email address, meaning they moved on to the second or middle part of the sales funnel. This is the point where the prospective customer’s actions change from awareness to researching solutions. We can see this as interest, and the objective is to support their interest to a place of desire.
In the middle section, prospective buyers have now named and defined their problem. This means that they are looking into all available solutions such as products and services offered by your business. Consequently, the questions in the middle of the funnel are no longer generic. They understand what’s bothering them in great detail and want to know the possible solutions.
The type of content that serves your leads best in this stage includes in-depth guides, comparison-style checklists, and pros versus cons lists.
Finally, your sales funnel worked and managed to change interest into desire. Thus moving your prospective buyers to the bottom of your funnel. At this point, your leads now know everything about their problem. Furthermore, they decided on the type of solution that will work for them, and are ready to select the provider to purchase this solution from.
That means the bottom of the sales funnel is where the leads are making an educated purchase decision, giving you the desired sale. Some factors that aid your leads to the sale include solutions for their exact needs, budget and other relevant resources.
The best content for the bottom of the funnel is frequently-asked-questions pages, videos about product features, live demos, and side-to-side competitive feature analysis.
How To Create A Sales Funnel
The following steps will help you turn more of your visitors into leads and more of your leads into customers.
Steps to create a sales funnel.
The time required depends on how fast you apply test and optimize your sales funnels. Therefore it can take any amount of time to complete.
Select the type of journey map you need and populate it.
Create goals and use analytics to see how prospects move.
Create supportive content for each level of your funnel.
Find out where and why prospects are dropping off pages.
Optimize for conversions applying best practices.
Add additional and relative value to your propositions.
Make use of the many ways to automate your sales funnel processes.
1. Create An Effective Customer Journey Map
What is a Customer Journey Map? A customer journey map is a visual representation of the process a customer goes through to achieve a goal with your company. The goal may be making a purchase, signing up for a newsletter, or joining a loyalty program. Therefore, with the help of a customer journey map, you’ll get a better understanding of what will motivate your customers to achieve these goals.
Customer journey maps come in many different configurations. So, depending on your type of goals and the type of business you are conducting. Hence, an advantage of creating a customer journey map is that you will create touchpoints. In turn, the touchpoints allow you to optimize your sales process. A touchpoint is an instance where your customer can form an opinion of your business.
Journey Map Steps
Creating your customer journey map follows these steps:
- Set clear objectives for the customer journey.
- Profile personas and define their individual goals.
- Highlight your target customer personas.
- List your touchpoints.
- Determine your resources and shortcomings.
- Take your customer journey yourself.
- Make necessary changes.
Journey Map Types
Some of the different types of customer journey maps are:
- Current state journey map.
- Day in the life journey map.
- Future state journey map.
- Service blueprint journey map.
- Buyers journey map.
Here is a very detailed article by HubSpot regarding Customer Journey maps.
2. Set up conversion goals in Google Analytics
Setting up goals in Google Analytics allows you to create segments of each website page. With conversions in place, you can track how users engage with each unique page. Another advantage is that goals help you understand how micro-conversions relate to macro-conversions. Therefore allowing you to better customize your website’s customer experience.
We use Google Analytics combined with Google Ads Remarketing Campaigns, but you also have the option to install a Facebook Pixel to compliment your Sales Funnel. By using conversion goals you can determine, where users enter and exit the conversion/sales process. This then allows you to determine and eliminate bottlenecks in your sales funnel.
Analytics is one of the best ways to measure your site’s performance. It provides you with information on what you’re trying to accomplish. Therefore giving you an idea of your success.
Your Sales Funnel And Remarketing
Remarketing connects with people who previously interacted with your website. Then position your ads in front of these audiences as they browse or access partner networks. Thus helping you to bring those visitors back into your sales funnel. Therefore remarketing allows for advertising to a “Hotter audience” than first-time visitors.
Fortunately, adding conversion goals is a relatively easy process. Beyond that, adding Thank You pages makes tracking conversions a simple process. So, setting up your marketing conversion funnel is as easy as adding page URLs as steps to your conversion goals. Set up different funnels for different goals on your website.
You can use the following platforms/networks for remarketing:
- Display Network
3. Build interest with content
With regards to content on your website, your content is essential to drive leads from one step in your conversion funnel to the next. So, for SEO reasons, content on your website is a must. Where quality and value of your content are the top priorities. Therefore SEO fits well into most on-page and off-page aspects of your content marketing.
High Value Content
Keep in mind that high-value content comes with higher conversions. This means that if your content solves a big problem for your readers, they’re going to remember it better.
So, the first rule is that when you create content, first do everything you can to make it as good as possible for the reader.
By focusing on evergreen content you get the best of both worlds. Meaning you can get a short-term traffic boost from content marketing. And the steady, long-term traffic from search engines.
So, keep in mind that many topics evolve over time. If you want to be successful, you can’t just say, “I think this is going well.” Publish quality content.
Regarding content conversion funnels, your subscriber rate is indicative of how valuable your content and call to action are. Therefore, a good overall metric for content marketing.
Both SEO and content marketing are highly effective ways to drive traffic, conversions, and profit for the vast majority of businesses online.
It’s a good idea as you publish a post to add a few internal links to your new page. Internal links to older (relevant) posts on your website. It only takes a few minutes and will help your search engine rankings significantly.
Another tip is that as you come up with topics and create new content for your site, make sure that you’re developing content for each stage of your sales funnel. By doing this, prospects get a valuable resource for free, and you get to add them to your email list – the next step of your sales funnel.
As a closing point, keep in mind that users who are reading your content are likely already familiar with your products and services. Meaning they’ve made it to your content pages because they want to learn more about your company and whether you’re the right fit for their needs.
4. Identify leaks in your website conversion funnel
Behaviour Flow Drop-offs
This section applies if you’ve added funnels to your goals in Analytics. One of the best ways to identify leaks in your sales funnel is by using the Funnel Visualization report. Analytics for Humans gives an in-depth description of how to configure funnel visualization reports.
Fortunately, there are many tools to identify where your “leaks” are and many steps to minimize them. As you can see, analytics makes it easy to tell where you’re losing your visitors. With this report, you can see exactly which steps they aren’t taking. The report also shows what they’re doing instead.
Other ways to identify leaks
- On-site Surveys
- Customer Interviews
- Customer Surveys
- User testing
Now that you know where your sales funnel is leaking, you need to determine the reasons for each leak. Why are people dropping off at the points where they are? Some of the more common reasons are:
- Confusion: Your landing page may contain too many different elements and my be obscuring the goal you are trying to achieve.
- Irrelevance: Due to a previous link or description, or content on the page that does not support the visitors desire.
- No Follow-up: Once prospective buyers are in your funnel, you have to keep the momentum, and follow up. This is also a good point to add more value and offer something for free.
Once you know where prospects are dropping out of your sales funnel you can focus on conversion rate optimization efforts. So, at this point, you can optimize problem pages to be even more effective at converting visitors into leads and sales.
5. Optimize your sales funnels for conversions
If you’re familiar with conversion rate optimization, you know that there are many changes you can test to increase conversions. These changes range from different button colours to new calls to action to updated forms. Start by focusing your efforts on the pages that you’ve identified as leaks in your funnel. We have a detailed blog post on landing pages – take a look here.
Google Optimize for A/B Testing
Google Optimize offers a variety of really handy tests and more. Some of these are:
- A/B test: Tests two or more variants of a page.
- Multivariate test: Tests variants with two or more different sections.
- Redirect test: Tests separate web pages identified by different URLs or paths.
Another way to optimize for conversions is by utilizing heatmaps. Heatmaps is a graphical representation that utilizes a colour-coding system to represent data. The more an element on a page is interacted with, the more intense the colour display. Heatmaps give you a true representation of exactly what your visitors are doing on the page. Therefore removing all guessing.
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6. Create additional offers to your sales funnels
So, at this point you have prospects in your sales funnel. This does not mean that everyone will qualify or be interested in your main offer or service. But, they might be the perfect customer for your other products or services. Therefore this is the perfect opportunity to make another offer that may be better suited to their needs. Meaning it’s time to nurture your leads with other offers. But what is a real offer and what is not?
What’s not an offer
These are not real offers and will most likely not contribute to improving your conversions. So, do not use them at this point in your sales funnel.
- Contact Us Links
- Product centric content
- Customer case studies
- Fact Sheets
What is an offer
These are good offers that add value. This type of offer contributes positively and will increase your conversion rate.
- Free trials
- Free tools
- Product Demos
The next question is: How do you present these offers? Once again, create CTA’s (Call To Action) for each of the offers you are adding. Make them smaller but highly targeted. Asking your prospective buyers to complete a smaller conversion, keeps them engaged and in your funnel. By adding additional offers and retaining them in your funnel does not mean that they will convert immediately, but at least you won’t lose them altogether.
7. Use automation to keep leads in your sales funnels
Using automation like drip campaigns and autoresponder emails become extremely valuable. With automation, you can send your content to lists of subscribers. These emails can contain helpful tips, updates, and company-specific information. Right from the start, automated emails does an excellent job of establishing the brand’s personality.
Use automated email sequences, these are time-based email sequences that send emails at predetermined time intervals. You only have to set them up once and then they work. An advantage of automated email sequences is that you can come across as friendly and accessible. These are great traits for encouraging new subscribers to reach out to you. The possibilities are virtually endless with automated email sequences.
Based on the ways users interact with your email content, you can tailor your campaigns. A good way to bring buyers back to abandoned shopping carts. Behavioural-based email isn’t only an option for e-commerce retailers, but also a way to supply individual prospects in your sales funnel to very relevant content.
A fact to remember is that the more effective you are at tailoring your email content to subscribers, the more successful you’ll be in bringing them back to your site.
Meet the Author
Renier is a Full Stack PHP Developer who helps businesses with digital transformation. Before starting Quickfood, Renier worked as a technician and a business owner in the hospitality industry and website developer. After a successful career helping various retail stores, leasing agents and more with their websites, Renier now dedicates his time to Cloud-Based Business Applications. Learn how Renier got his start as a Cloud Application Developer.