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What’s All the Hubbub About a Sales Funnel? How Do They Work?

Okay, so what is a sales funnel anyway? Sales funnels are just about the hottest thing in marketing these days. People throw around words such as lead pages, landing pages, drip campaigns, webinars, and email blasts like they’re candy or something.  

Mostly they are really interesting sounding buzz words, but until you start to understand what all the components are, how they go together and why what you really need is a good strategy, all these words are just going to be alphabet soup.  

sales funnel 

First, let’s start with some terminology typically associated with a Sales Funnel.

1. Autoresponder

This is email marketing software that automatically sends out emails after someone opts in or buys a product from you. It can be smart or relatively simple. Smarter software would include platforms like Ontraport. Less sophisticated software would be something like MailChimp. If you have multiple lists, multiple opt-ins, etc, you need to get and implement something like Ontraport. That will allow you the more sophisticated “If-Then-Else” coding to make sure that no one ends up getting multiple copies of the same emails.

2. Video Conferencing Software

There are SO many video conferencing software options out there. My current favorite is Zoom because I can get the Pro version and do webinars. With the Webinar version I can have up to 100 people on the call, or I can do Facebook Live to my business page or Facebook Group. The opportunities for this are endless.

3. Drip Campaign

This is typically a set of emails that are delivered over a period of 7-21 days that encourage contacts to buy. They come with delivering an opt-in or product. You might sometimes see  the terms “autoresponder” and “drip campaign” used interchangeably.

4. Email Blast

I’ll confess, I don’t like this term. It leaves the impression that you are just throwing stuff out at your list to get them to buy. Of course you do want people to buy from you, but blasting it in their face is not necessarily the best way to nurture your list so they’ll want to continue receiving emails from you. So, I avoid the term “blast” as it has negative connotations to me.

5. Newsletter

Companies often send out newsletters anywhere between once a day to once a week, or even once a month or quarter. Sending out fewer than one email per month will make it difficult to maintain contact with your list. Emails should be simple and include relatively few graphics. In fact, most businesses with larger lists tend towards very short teasers, with the rest of the information on their website. They may not have any graphics at all in their newsletter either! All of that lives on the website.

Content is an integral part to a good newsletter. Be helpful, interesting and informative, and you’ll have clients for life!

Types of Funnels

There are many different kinds of sales funnels. They can range from building a large Facebook Group and doing regular Facebook Live sessions for your group to building a large email list and sending emails to your list. I agree that these are useful, but they are also fairly simple to use and implement.

You can also build more formal sales funnels. There are two main types of funnels I see used extensively in the online world.  

1. Webinar-Based Sales Funnel

sales funnelThese funnels are typically implemented by running Facebook Ads, Banner Ads and Google Ads. They traffic users to a sign-up for a webinar or free training. You get people to sign up for your free training, then you sell them your product. Once you’ve perfected the process, you can set it up so that it is fully automated. Then the webinar will run on its own with minimal human intervention. 

In the beginning, you will have to hold webinars on a regular basis. One reason I was able to grow my Facebook group so quickly in the beginning was because I held webinars on a weekly basis for months. When people registered for the webinar, I invited them to join my Facebook group on the ‘Thank You’ page. Then, at the end of the webinar, I again invited those who attended to join my Facebook group.

2. Freebie to Product-Based Sales Funnel

These are fabulous funnels because you can put so many pieces together. You will need a much more sophisticated email marketing service for this, such as Ontraport. If you have a single product, it isn’t an issue, but the point at which you have a multi-tiered sales funnel, you must have one of these services. It works like this: you run traffic to an opt-in (ad traffic, Pinterest traffic, etc). Then, when someone opts in to receive your product, on the ‘Thank You’ page you can offer them a low-cost product. I like $7 as my low-end product.

By adding in a series of emails through your autoresponder and your landing pages, you can get up-sells, down-sells and cross-sells, depending on the prospect’s behavior and what actions they take. It requires some programming of the conditions so that you don’t end up going in a circle or having other programming related issues.

There is, unfortunately, no single right way to build your business. I’ve seen people spend too much time trying to develop the “perfect” sales funnel, and freaking out because it wasn’t all perfect.

Don’t spend too much time driving yourself crazy on this point. Build your sales funnel or give us a call to help you out. And know that it is a process that requires setup, sales copy and testing to get to a completed state and ready to launch.


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Meet the Author: Haley Lynn Gray

Haley Lynn GrayHaley helps female entrepreneurs create a strategy plan for their businesses – so they can make enough money to spend quality time with their family, pay for their children’s dance lessons, pay bills – and not worry about where the next client is coming from.

Haley is a serial entrepreneur and founder of Leadership Girl. She helps other entrepreneurs build their businesses by sharing the benefits of her business education and experience through Business Coaching.

Whether you want to get a new business off the ground or expand an existing business, Haley can assist you.

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