Recently I have been spending quite a bit of time developing my supplement e-commence website and you may be wondering why I am talking about sales funnels (sometimes known as Marketing Funnels, Conversion Funnels or Just Landing Pages).
You may even be curious as to what a sales or marketing funnel is?
If you ever read about online marketing, then you may have stumbled across sales funnels before. If not, the concept is straight forward, a sales funnel is the process where you take your visitor (prospect) to a being a customer and then onto being a repeat buyer.
Now it’s important to know sales funnels don’t replace websites they are part of your sales/marketing strategy. And when we talk about Website in this context we are really talking about your home page or another normal page on your website.
There are several distinct advantages to using sales funnels over websites in that they are more targeted and designed to take visitors through a particular process. The point of this is to get a better conversion rate, whether that’s a sign-up form or in my case a supplement purchase.
The effectiveness of sales funnels has meant they are used more and more by online marketers, leading to some people questioning the use of the traditional website. With the fact that a number of online tools make sales funnels so easy to build, on the face of it asks the question, is a traditional website dead?
- 1 What is a Sales Funnel and Why Use One?
- 2 Brand versus Direct Marketing
- 3 Mapping Out your Sales Funnel
- 4 How to Build a Sales Funnel?
- 5 Websites vs Sales Funnels – Do you need both?
- 6 Sales Funnel Strategies
- 7 Sales Funnels Set and Forget?
- 8 Quick Wrap Up
What is a Sales Funnel and Why Use One?
Let’s start with a definition of what exactly a sales funnel is:
A sales funnel is the process of gathering potential customers and then leading them through to the eventual sale. It’s called a funnel because that is the shape, wide at the top narrow at the bottom.
For example you may have a campaign that uses email Facebook Adverts, Good Adwords, Television, Radio as well as any other method you can think of.
Every single one of those adverts takes the prospect to the same page.
This page is designed with one intention and that is to get people to buy my amazing offer, note “Its Sole Purpose”. All the content will be designed with this mission. “Buy My Amazing Offer”. Therefore there will be no distractions no other links to great deals elsewhere no other adverts.
In essence, it will be a page that does the following:
- Here’s my amazing offer it’s only $9.99
- Maybe some extra detail about the offer, “Hey did you know that my offer will change your life forever!
- Tell the prospect something else about why this is a once in a lifetime opportunity “Seriously dude, don’t pass up this offer it’s the best deal you will ever get and I guarantee you will regret not taking this offer up; because when this offer finishes in 6 hours 17 minutes and 30 seconds it’s gone forever.
- Big Red Button “Buy My Amazing Offer NOW!”
The biggest advantage of using a sales funnel over a standard page on a traditional website is the clearer path followed by your visitor.
A traditional website, especially a multi-product e-commerce store, has many distractions giving your visitor way many choices to make. It’s not surprising with so many choices that many customers abandon their journey to the check-out page!
Benefits of a one-page sales funnel
- No distracting menus
- No links to other pages
- No other call to actions (CTAs) to distract your visitor
- There is only one, and ONLY ONE clear purpose on your sales funnel page
- Click Buy
Your desired outcome of your sales funnel, whether it’s a lead generation form or product purchase, should be to convert visitors to becoming customers.
Sales funnels are a lot more effective at doing this over traditional page on a website.
With this in mind, the focus shouldn’t be on how beautiful your website looks, but how well it functions in terms of making the sale, If it looking beautiful helps that then make it beautiful, but it should be an aide to making the sale, a mistake often made by companies starting out and even some that have been in the game for some time.
Jason from Convertwithcontent.com explains what you’re trying to achieve with sales funnels:
For every 10,000 prospects you put into the top of the funnel, only 2,000 will become leads. And of those 2,000 leads only 1,000 will buy your lead product. Then, only 200 will buy your backend product and go on to buy more from you over the years to come.
Implementing effective sales funnels will make it much easier to increase the Lifetime Customer Value (LTV) of your customers. This ultimately means that you need fewer customers to achieve your projected sales turnover.
Brand versus Direct Marketing
There is a real difference when it comes to marketing a brand as opposed to using direct marketing. Both are significantly different in how they aim to engage their audience and poles apart when it comes to their cost!
Brand marketing is spreading the word about your company or product and tends not to be easily measurable, if it is even measurable at all.
This type of marketing is incredibly expensive. You only need to check out how much money the big brands spend on getting the word out.
Everyone knows Coke Cola, yet they spent nearly 4 billion USD in 2017 alone. They do this to maintain a competitive advantage over the likes of PepsiCo. Source.
Compare this to direct marketing (or direct response marketing – DRM), where you’re building sales funnels that laser focus your marketing to achieve a measurable outcome. Having said this “Direct Response Marketing” must stay “on-brand”.
An example of DRM is where a visitor gives you their email in exchange for something you deliver (an ebook or some other content) or they buy something from you.
Difference Between Brand Marketing and Direct Response Marketing
- Brand Marketing Helps People Choose
- Direct-Response Marketing Helps People Buy
We want to be helping people buy our products, and if you get enough people buying they will hopefully be your brand ambassadors, spreading the word with their peers.
Mapping Out your Sales Funnel
Before dive straight into creating your first sales funnel and so that you get the most out of it, map out each step of the funnel, there’s even a name for this process and it’s called funnel mapping.
Each sales funnel will vary according to your product and your target audience.
For a great in-depth article that outlines exactly how to build a sales funnel (Please note, Neil Patel calls it a conversion funnel), check out Neil Patel’s article here.
Funnel mapping can help identify each step of the sales process; from traffic sources to landing pages, and subsequent email follow-ups.
Whilst you can sketch this out with a pen and paper there are tools online that can make this process much easier. UpViral outline 10 funnel mapping tools worth checking out.
How to Build a Sales Funnel?
There are two parts to building a successful sales funnel. After you have mapped our funnel outlined above, you now need to build it.
But before you start, you need to know one important thing, Sales Funnels/LandingPages/Conversion Funnels all need to be FAST, in-fact it should Super Fast because it’s all about the experience and as such you should really budget for building this page outside of your WordPress or other CMS that you may use.
It’s a simple fact that straight HTML and CSS or PHP and CSS have lightning responses in comparison to Database driven sites See my article on this here
In the early days, sales funnels were all built by hand but these days there are plenty of tools that speed up the deployment of sales funnels. The main part of a sales funnel is the landing page and there are a number of software services that provide ready-made editable templates.
A number of Contact Relationship Management Software (CRMs), such as Infusionsoft (now Keap) and Ontraport, also offer easy to build sales landing pages too – I will be looking at one in particular in an upcoming article.
And most email campaign software such as EasySendy, SendX, Constant Contact, and MailChimp have landing page builders too.
Of course, there is nothing wrong with going old school and being ultra-lean and building your landing page by hand, should you wish.
To visualise how to build a successful sales funnel, check out this really great infographic by the team at Mention.com.
Websites vs Sales Funnels – Do you need both?
There is some debate on this, but in general, the arguments are more a discussion on semantics. What you need to remember is sales funnels are part of your website, they just don’t have to be linked.
Websites and sales funnels have distinct purposes and aims.
Websites are more than just sales, they are branding, information devices, and shop windows.
Funnels are sales devices.
In my opinion, most online businesses selling their own product should always build both, in fact, you should probably build many sales funnels, as each funnel will target specific market segments. For instance, a sales funnel for a woman would probably be different from that of a men’s sales funnel for the same product.
Remember I said earlier, that funnels need laser focus, therefore a female sales funnel, would have different imagery, your colors, and even your language will change to make a sale to a woman from that of a man. You can’t do this on a generic page.
Remember the point is to convert more of that specific segment.
For me, a big reason other than branding and information is because I will be recruiting affiliates to promote my product and I need a place where they can sign up and we can communicate.
For those of you that haven’t done anything like this before, you also need a website to show your merchant processing company; it’s so they can see what you are selling and ensure the claims you make are in line with their policies.
It is entirely possible visitors may first be introduced to your brand via a sales funnel but may leave and come back via a Google search and be presented with your website. Having both the website and sales funnel will mean you capture the potential sale from both methods.
Sales Funnel Strategies
The end goal for a sales funnel is to make a sale or capture a lead, leads can be details like an email or telephone number, .
So, what are the common sales funnel strategies you can use to increase conversion rates?
There are four steps in a sales funnel that aims to make visitors aware of your product/service, there is a model for this it’s called the AIDA model you can read more here.
- Attention (Attract Attention)
- Interest (Maintain Interest)
- Desire (Create Desire)
- Action (Take Action)
Even the best sales funnel will unlikely get your visitors taking action the first time someone is exposed to your brand. Therefore getting visitors back to your funnel is imperative, once you have done this it is more likely you can get them to take action.
There are several ways to do this:
- it can be by collecting their email and sending them through an email funnel
- Re-targeting them via Facebook or other networks and then send them targeted ads to get them back to your sales funnel
Typically, sales funnels are landing pages that include a number of elements:
- call to actions (CTAs), images
- content (see my forthcoming article on website content)
All these elements should be aligned with what you looking to achieve with the landing page.
For an excellent book that goes into Sales Funnels in real detail with a step-by-step approach to how to implement them, I would recommend DotComSecrets by Russell Brunson (it’s one of the best books I read in 2018).
Sales Funnels Set and Forget?
Not at all.
If you’re using tools like ClickFunnels then split testing is available within the platform, saving you having to set this up separately.
How to set up and run split tests is out of the scope for this article, I will look to write about this later. However, if you’re interested in taking a look now, check out the blog on Convertica.
Quick Wrap Up
The website is in the process of being built, with the aim of going live in the next few weeks, and so one of my next tasks is to develop my first sales funnel.
There are many tools available that can be used to build sales funnels/Landing Pages, you don’t need to be a coder or even a graphic designer to make high converting sales pages.
I will be using a contact relationship management (CRM) software package that manages my customers, which I know this platform has the ability to create landing pages.
Once I have set this up, I will see how effective this is, and if not explore one of the many tools available (Clickfunnels, 10minutepages, etc).
For me, and I believe many e-commerce one-product sites, there is a big advantage to using both a website and sales funnel, and so should you.