Marketing Insights for Tech Creators

How to Build a Sales Funnel that Converts: The 4 Steps to Build Your Sales Foundation

You’ve put in a ton of hard work, but people aren’t converting. Something’s obviously missing but you don’t know what; which makes it hard to start optimizing.

You really don’t have time for trial and error solutions or testing. You need to start generating more leads and getting more conversions now.

You have a sales funnel in place, however,

  • Not as many people as you would like are showing up at the top of the funnel and starting a downward journey.
  • And, only a tiny percentage of those who do are making it all the way to the bottom of the funnel – and becoming loyal leads and customers.

Your funnel is in need of a little tweaking, if not a complete rework.

You can do it, and we’ve put together this guide to give you a helping hand.

What is a Sales Funnel, Why Is It Called That, and Why Is It So Important?

The domino effect is a chain of events that causes something to happen.

A well-thought-out sales funnel works something like that. One good thing causes the next good thing to happen. Occasionally, however, a key domino doesn’t fall and you have a problem.

A sales funnel is something like that. You have several key concepts (dominoes) in place. When one falls the next one should as well.

When you build a sales funnel, you place the emphasis on who your visitors are, how they behave, when to nurture them, and what you need to do to retain them as they move through the following 4 steps of the journey.

Your sales funnel dominoes:

  • Create Awareness – the things that need to be done to make potential customers aware of your brand.
  • Build Interest – the things that need to be done once a visitor is “on-site” to entice that visitor with an irresistible offer.
  • Inspire Decision – knowing the visitor’s pain points, or the product or solution they are looking for.
  • Trigger Action – recognizing what will be required to convince the visitor to take the final step.

It doesn’t end at checkout either. That’s one of the secrets of growing your business.

Your sales funnel is wide at the top: You’re casting a wide net in hopes of attracting as much of your target audience(s) as possible.

You’re not trying to attract anyone and everyone. You want the types of people (potential leads and customers) that will make your business grow.

Leads are not a commodity, although they’re often treated that way (lead   generation). They are people. You have to treat them as such, and you have to nurture them.

Companies who nurture their leads have realized as much as a 450% increase in the number of qualified prospects, and doubled their sales while spending up to a third less on advertising.

The funnel narrows at the bottom since only about 1 in 4 of those who started the journey will become dependable leads, buying customers, or constant clients.

A few “super leads” will buy your most expensive products and spread the word about your brand to others. Getting 1 super lead for every 10 that stay with you isn’t bad at all; and it’s doable.

Step 1: Create Awareness

The first step is to start advertising your presence in a way that will attract those who make up your target audience to the top of your sales funnel –

Whether you have one target audience or several, each has its ideal user persona you’re creating the ad for.

  • What problem or problems are these ideal personas seeking solutions for?
  • What are their main interests?
  • Why would they want to buy your product, how will they use it, and how much do they need it?
  • What are they apt to find most annoying about online shopping?
  • Where do they hang out; Facebook? LinkedIn? Another social media channel? A particular business sector on the Web?

Get answers to these and build your ads accordingly.

Step 2: Build Interest

You’ve created your user profile(s) and designed and placed your ads.

Next? Ad -> Content

Visitors enter your funnel. You want to keep them moving toward the other end by putting valuable, engaging content in front of their eyes.

At this point, your visitors likely know next to nothing about your brand or what you have to offer, so it’s a good idea to say a few things about both before you send them to a landing page. You need to convince them that you can be useful to them and that they’re not wasting their time.

  • Provide content that’s relevant to their needs and desires, and what you can offer to meet those needs and satisfy those desires.
  • The content can be an advertorial, blog post, or article that bridges your readers’ interests with the product or service you offer.
  • Blog posts are especially effective in bringing customers back for more.

Link your landing page towards the end of your content piece, and to give your visitors the incentive to continue, tell them what they can gain by visiting it.

Step 3: Inspire decision 

Visitors now know something about you and what you have to offer; they’ve become potential leads, and you need to start nurturing them; which is where your landing page comes in. That is, a landing page with a difference.

Ad -> Content -> Landing page

Image source: GitBook

Sure, you want your visitors to know how your product or service can ease a pain or solve a problem. That’s what a landing page is supposed to do.

You would also like to see some of those visitors-turned-leads become loyal customers who will come back for more and spread the word.

You start by offering something of significant value in exchange for a name and email address so you can send them personalized emails.

Most people hesitate to part with their personal data – or flat-out don’t like to do so.

Most of them will however, willingly give their name and email address in exchange for newsletters, an eBook, a free webinar or email course, a valuable case study, or whatever you believe will get them to sign up and keep moving down the funnel.

For example: Giving them a sneak peek at how they can benefit by taking part in a free webinar, or how it might solve a problem for them, is one way to keep them involved.

Step 4: Trigger Action

If your visitor hits the CTA button, that’s great, but the real purpose of a sales funnel is to continue to build trust so your leads will start seeing you as their go-to expert and see your website as a one-stop-shop from which you are able to sell, up-sell, re-sell, and cross-sell.

The action? Ad -> Content -> Landing page (opt-in) -> Email marketing

Don’t let your email list go to waste. Build a list of leads, and use email marketing to nurture them by:

  • Sending them valuable content to build more trust so they’ll start seeing you as their go-to expert.
  • Writing about things that are relevant to what you have to offer (if you’re selling a time management app, offer them time management tips, a new time management approach that’s become a trend, time management mistakes, interviews with people who’ve mastered time management, etc.)
  • Adding an offer to your product or service at the end of each email. It could be a link to a sales page, a one-time or free trial offer, a 25% discount, etc.)

Testing & measuring

The performance of parts of your sales funnel, including your emails, needs to be constantly evaluated and re-evaluated.

Schedule periodic reviews where you or your team can see which of your initiatives are helping to make your company grow, and which need fixing or can be dropped.

  • A/B test your landing pages. The beauty of A/B testing is you can always drop what’s not working, and you can turbocharge the pages that are.
  • Read case studies to see where and how others have been successful
  • Look for tools that can help you do a better job of targeting (AdRoll is one).
  • Track your conversion rates.
  • Track the number of email signups (and, the number of unsubscribes)

Wrapping Up

Building a successful sales funnel goes far beyond creating an awesome website. A sales funnel is designed to attract visitors to your website or email marketing initiative, to create and nurture leads, and to help your business grow.

A well-thought-out sales funnel can help you start getting good conversion rates now, not sometime down the road.

It attracts the right people, some of whom you’ll be able to retain for future conversion opportunities.

  • You start with ads to create
  • You put engaging content in place that explains who you are and what you do, to build
  • You offer prospective customers (leads) something of value in exchange for their names and email addresses to inspire decisions that lead to taking actions.
  • You build a list of email addresses and initiate an email marketing campaign in which you continue to nurture your leads, and your leads-turned customers.
  • You continually test, evaluate, and re-evaluate the performance of your sales funnel.

Your business begins to grow.

It never hurts to have a pair of expert eyes go over your sales funnel design and performance to ensure it’s attracting the right crowd and allowing your email list to grow and your business to prosper.

We would be more than happy to help. All you have to do is ask.