Twenty years ago, when the websites were not that common and there were just a few of them, having a website was a big deal.
Companies could easily make sales by just having a generic website that made the customer do their own searching around to find what they need.
It was a form of prestige that separated the large companies from the little guy.
Unfortunately, competition has gotten stronger, more and more websites were made, online advertising costs went through the roof, and the same website that was making you money is now pushing you closer to bankruptcy with each sale.
The reason for this tragedy is a lot of websites offer too many choices and too little directions.
As a result, visitors get confused by all the pages and find it difficult to navigate the web route to find what they are looking for.
In most cases, people would just click away because they cannot find what they were looking for. Remember, a confused mind will always say NO!
Today, with all the online competition that battles for each product sale, you simply cannot afford to lose a prospect because they are confused after landing on your site.
Add here another ounce of visitor’s uncertainty with whom you have not built a relationship yet, or ignorance of what the optimal next step for their business is, and even the small chance for a sale goes away.
Let me ask you a simple question…
“How many sales and/or leads have come directly from your website?”
Well, don’t be embarrassed, because if you’re like most businesses, the answer is probably none!
I don’t mean to be the bearer of bad news, but websites don’t make sales very well.
The main reason for that is that websites offer too many choices and leave the process of decision making to the visitor.
The truth is, people love and need guidance, and any brand’s job is to lead them to the solution they’ve been looking for.
Once the website owners have come to that conclusion, it forced them to get even more creative, creating “paths” on a website that guided the customer on their journey.
In this endeavor of trying to put the customer on the right journey, websites became a thing of the past and sales funnels were born.
What is a sales funnel, actually?
So, what is a sales funnel?
A sales funnel is the marketing term for the journey your potential customers go through on their way to a purchase.
The definition also refers to the process through which a company finds, qualifies, and sells its products to buyers.
It’s not an actual tangible funnel by itself, rather it’s a metaphorical representation of the sales process.
Let’s say you took the concept of a traditional website, decided to trim out all the fat and instead of sending people to a website that forced people to click around, figuring things out on their own and inevitably get lost, you created specific paths that are designed for only ONE customer and only ONE purpose – getting a lead and/or going straight for the sale.
These paths eliminated all the extra stuff that distracted customers, and instead, essentially worked as a digital salesman that guided the customer along their journey, showing them only what they needed to see.
Much like a real funnel, the top of a sales funnel is the largest area and more generalized portion of the funnel, which is where your leads prospects are first introduced to the company or its respective product or service for the first time.
This stage of the funnel is often referred to as an Awareness stage.
As the prospect is nurtured through the sales process, he or she continues through the sales funnel and goes through the Interest stage of the funnel.
And as the prospect enters the narrow section of the sales funnel, he or she will feel more inclined to consider purchasing what you have to offer.
Now the prospect is in a Decision stage.
By the time the prospect reaches the bottom, hopefully you’ve nurtured him or her enough to convince them to buy your services. So, the bottom of your sales funnel is where the sale is conducted and that’s the final stage of any sales funnel, an Action stage.
Benefits of using a sales funnel
Now, let’s discuss some of the benefits of using a sales funnel.
You may attract the same number of visitors as you would normally do to your website, which depends on the free or paid traffic, but with the proper system in place such as sales funnel, conversions would be much higher than the ones on your website, because visitors would go through a well-though journey you put together for them with only one action at the end.
There’s no sideways they could go through and eventually get lost.
Within non-leaking sales funnels, people could either convert or not – there’s no chance you lose them because they get confused by not knowing what they are supposed to do.
That’s the no. 1 reason why sales funnels have such high conversion rates.
A traditional website is an equivalent of a salesman just handing a flyer or brochure with all different products of yours to people and just walking away.
You would fire that salesman, right?
On the other hand, a funnel is like having the best salesman on planet Earth that takes each visitor individually through a customized journey, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year, and never asks for a vacation or a raise.
That’s how effective sales funnels are.
Now, if you want to run a successful business, we can all agree that knowing your numbers is an essential skill.
With a sales funnel, you’re able to predict its sales volume because you have a 360-degree view of the way every lead passes through, and you have exact data on how many people have converted and on which step.
This can be extremely useful in the long run because you can make small tweaks and increase conversion rates even more.
At that point it’s all about how many new customers your business can handle and therefore how much traffic you want to drive to your funnel that converts like a clockwork.
Now, since your leads go through a customized journey you’ve built, they are familiar with products or services you offer and therefore more qualified, and chances are that the ones they become your clients are gonna be good clients and easy to work with.
Also, leads that don’t convert in your sales funnel can be tagged and you can remarket your offer to them through paid advertising or email campaign sequence. And last but not least, sales funnels are pretty easy to build if you use the right software, which I’ll introduce to you and go through in the next lecture.
The structure of an online sales funnel
Now, I’m gonna explain to you what the sales funnel actually looks like.
Of course, you’re not going to see anywhere on the internet some sort of funnel with stages like I showed you on the sketch a few moments ago.
Actually, sales funnel is a carefully built serious of landing pages, which are basically one-page websites with single call-to-action, that potential customer goes through and gets more familiar with products or service you offer.
A basic funnel would look something like this…
Getting traffic from either free or paid sources is the step no. 1.
Then, depending on the type of industry you’re in, they’ll land on the Sales page where you’ll have a tempting low-cost or even free offer in the form of an e-book or a video or something else, to get your prospects into your funnel.
For the sake of this example, let’s assume you’re offering some low-cost offer.
Here they’ll leave their contact information, usually just name and email address…
…and then they will be directed to an Order page where they will leave their credit card information in a secure environment.
Before they submit their credit card info, you can offer them something strictly related to the subject they are going to read in that e-book or watch in that video, and you can charge it for, let’s say $29.
This is called a “bump offer”, and it is an impulse buy.
People tend to just add it to the cart when they are already shopping.
The order bump occurs before payment is received, so you want to make sure you offer something that isn’t going to cause friction in that process.
Then, the transaction takes place but after that, the customer buying journey is not over yet. Once someone becomes a customer, they are far more likely to spend even more with you, and the absolute best time to make another offer to them is when they trust you most, which is right after they’ve purchased something from you.
So, they are brought to another page where you offer them another product or service of yours.
This is called an “upsell page”, and this is where you offer them preferably your high-ticket offer.
Depending on their decision (whether they purchased the high-ticket offer or not), on the next page, you can offer them another upsell or…
… maybe this time, a “downsell”.
A downsell would be an offer more suitable for their budget if they didn’t already take the high-ticket offer.
A downsell occurs right after someone says “no” to your upsell.
For example, let’s say that you offer a product for $497 as an upsell.
If someone decides not to take that offer you can show them a downsell offering some complimentary product for $97 this time.
How many upsell and downsell offers your funnel has, depends on you. What we’re doing most of the time is we try to aim at 2 NOs.
Meaning, if a prospect declines our offer two times, we direct them straight to the thank-you page.
The best part is, when you’re using the right funnel builder software like the one that I’m going to introduce to you in the next lecture, shoppers don’t have to re-enter their credit card details every time they decide to purchase one of your upsell or downsell offers.
That would kill conversions.
Instead, once they type in their credit card details at the beginning of the funnel for a low-cost offer, their credit card is immediately charged whenever they decide to click the button “buy this offer as well” later in the funnel. This feature is called “one-click upsell” and is one of the main reasons why the whole funnel system works like a clockwork.
Upsells, Downsells and Bump Offers
Well, the one thing that all these offers have in common is that they increase your customer’s cart value during their checkout process.
If you think about it, the entire sales funnel is not very useful if nobody sees it, right?
As I mentioned earlier, bringing the eyeballs can be done by either using free methods, which require a lot of time effort (sometimes it takes even years for free organic traffic to start coming in), or by using paid traffic, which has become pretty expensive over the last couple of years.
So, if you decide to go with paid traffic, getting a lead or acquiring a customer will cost you money, and for that reason bump offer, upsell & downsell offers are here to ideally earn you that money back almost instantly, so that you can get a lead or a customer for free.
However, if you have bump offer and different upsell & downsell offers that increase your customer’s average cart value and you still lose money when acquiring a new customer, you shouldn’t be concerned, because now you can use email marketing to promote your high-ticket offer or any other offer you might have for no extra cost.
If you pay money to bring people to your offer that might even be a free e-book or a video, it is pretty obvious that you’re not going to make a profit.
But what you will get is a lead. A lead that could be very profitable to you over the long run.
The big truth is, that lifeblood of any business is leads (your current and potential customers), and building a list should be your no.1 business priority.
Some studies have shown that the average value of an email lead is around $1 per month per subscriber, if email marketing is implemented properly.
For example, if you have an email list of 10,000 leads, you should earn around $10,000 per month on average.
Of course, these numbers depend on the type of industry you’re in, but I hope you get the point.
But, if you’re not focused on building a list of subscribers for your business, you’re missing the whole game of marketing.
Also, I would like to mention here that business websites are not built to effectively generate leads, while sales funnels most definitely are.
If you ask website owners, they don’t actually know what their website’s goal is – is it people finding them, getting know with their brand, or something else.
On the other hand, the goal of a sales funnel is either to generate lead (email addresses, scheduled phone consultations, etc.) or, in some cases, directly sell a product or service. So, that’s another point for sales funnels over traditional websites.
I hope you guys now have a clear image of what a sales funnel can do for your business if implemented correctly.
Your list of subscribers and customers really is the most valuable asset in your business, because you can then offer them your other products or services at no extra cost and make a huge profit on the backend.
That’s how our business and other successful businesses operate.
if you have any questions or would like to get our help in creating a sales funnel for you (or consult you on existing one), don’t hesitate to schedule a free consultation with us.