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Sales Funnels for Beginners

A Step-by-Step Process for Growing Your Email List and Selling Your Offers Online

In the fast-paced world of online business, success hinges on more than just having a great product or service. It's about strategically guiding potential customers through a journey that ends in a sale. Here's where the sales funnel comes in. It's a powerful tool that when done right can unlock the key to online success.

Image of Conversion copywriter Natalie Milligan. The copy reads: How to Build a Sales Funnel

What is a Sales Funnel?

A sales funnel is a specific process designed to lead potential customers through a series of steps, from initial awareness to eventual purchase. Think of it as a pathway that nurtures leads and converts them into buyers.

Why are Sales Funnels Important?

Sales funnels are the lifeblood of any online business for several reasons:

  1. Efficient Customer Acquisition: By segmenting prospects based on their level of interest and engagement, sales funnels allow businesses to focus their efforts on the people who are most likely to convert.

  2. Streamlined Conversion Process: Rather than relying on random interactions, sales funnels provide a structured framework for guiding prospects toward making a purchase decision.

  3. Maximised Revenue Potential: By optimising each stage of the funnel, businesses can increase conversion rates and maximise their revenue potential.

How Sales Funnels Grow Your Email List

One added bonus to setting up sales funnels in your business is the exponential growth of your email list.

Sales funnels serve as powerful lead generation tool, capturing contact information from potential customers at the top (and sometimes other stages) of the funnel.

By offering valuable content or incentives in exchange for email sign-ups, businesses can steadily expand their email list with engaged and interested subscribers. This growing list becomes a valuable asset for nurturing leads, building relationships, and ultimately driving conversions throughout the lifecycle of your business.

With a robust email list, businesses can communicate directly with their audience, deliver targeted messages, and promote new products or services, contributing to ongoing growth and success.

Before the Sales Funnel

Your job is to drum up brand awareness and grow a community of people with shared ideals seeking the same outcome. This can be done on social media through groups, followers and subscribers or your email list. 

Aim to gain clarity and insights around the awareness level as it relates to your brand, what you do, the problems you solve and the solutions you offer. 

This is important BEFORE you build your sales funnel 😉

The Anatomy of a Sales Funnel

Here's where the concept of the copywriting formula AIDA can be helpful.

Conversion copywriter, Natalie Milligan's example of a classic sales funnel.

1. The Offer

Identify the problem that needs solving and package a low-hanging fruit as the solution to the problem. This is usually free but doesn’t have to be.

Marketing assets to consider here:

  • A webinar

  • Workshop

  • Challenge

  • Quiz

Copy assets to plug ‘n’ play at this stage: 

  • Landing Page and Thank you Page

  • Social media posts

  • PR specific content if you have a YouTube channel, podcast or blog 

  • Advertising campaigns

2. The Added Value

On the free event, don’t hold back. Give your audience your best stuff. Make the content engaging, fun and interactive. Invite people to post in the comments and share their ideas and experiences as you move through the content.

Share evidence-backed proof that your idea, process, methodology, system, strategy etc. works. Include quotes, stats and customer data to back up your ideas. Make it all seem DOABLE for them.

Copy assets needed here: 

  • Engaging emails in the run-up to the event

  • Interactive content (slides, b-roll, downloadable resources)

  • Case studies and testimonials

3. The Paid Offer

It’s time to present your paid offer. Hopefully, your audience is engaged and excited to learn more. All roads in your content and delivery have led to this point.

Keep the energy high as you segue into the sales pitch, which should feel natural and unapologetic. 

Keep the tone and cadence of your voice conversational and natural to you. These are your people. They’ve invested their time and energy to join you on the journey up to this point. You owe it to everyone (yourself included) to sell wholeheartedly. 

Copy assets to support the pitch: 

  • Transformational statements 

  • Benefit stacks

  • Future pacing copy and language

  • Copywriting formulas STAR and Before-After-Bridge work well here

4. Make the Sale

If people resonate with what you’ve shared and they feel compelled to buy, they will. There’s no twisting of the arm or fear-based sales rhetoric needed. 

If what you shared in your event compliments how you came across and their desire to move forward with you is aligned, the purchase should feel like a no-brainer choice. 

Aaaaaand, drum roll please! Ta-da, you make sales! 🎉

Copy Assets to have in-situ: 

  • Sales Page

  • Payment Page 

  • Follow-up emails (to the fence-sitters)

Key Elements of a Successful Sales Funnel

We ran through some of the marketing and copy assets you should consider at the different stages of the sales funnel. But in case you don't do all of them, here are the key elements you should do your best to have in place.

  • Landing Page (and Thank You Page): A dedicated landing page is essential for capturing leads and guiding them through the funnel. The thank you page serves as a confirmation of their registration to your free event.

  • Emails: Email marketing plays a crucial role in nurturing leads and maintaining engagement throughout the funnel. From event invitations to follow-up sequences, personalised emails help move prospects closer to conversion.

  • Sales Page: The sales page is where the offer is presented in detail, highlighting its benefits and value proposition. Clear calls-to-action prompt prospects to take the final step and make a purchase.

  • Follow-up Emails: Following up with prospects post-event or post-offer is vital for maintaining momentum and addressing any lingering objections. Whether it's moving fence-sitters off the fence or gracefully acknowledging that the offer may not be the right fit, compassionate follow-up emails can make all the difference in building long lasting relationships with your audience, whether they buy or not.

In essence, a well-designed sales funnel is like a finely tuned machine, guiding prospects seamlessly from awareness to action. By understanding its components and leveraging them effectively, you can unlock your full potential when it comes to making money online.

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