As a business owner, you need to understand the importance of having a solid marketing strategy. Without it, your business would fail because of the lack of customers. Thus, if you still haven’t invested effort and time into this area, now would be the best time to begin.

One of the fastest and simplest ways to do that is by learning how to build a sales funnel.

Creating a sales funnel–also referred to as your sales process or revenue funnel–enables you to effectively lead prospects throughout their buying journey.

In order to have successful marketing campaigns, you need to execute a sales funnel properly. An ideal marketing funnel is made up of four stages: decision, action, interest, and awareness. This helps increase your conversion rates and turn prospects into paying customers.

A well designed and properly executed sales funnel has four stages: awareness, interest, decision, and action. And it helps a business to convert their leads into paying customers.

Knowing how to build a sales funnel is crucial but it’s not easy. You need to create one that enables you to identify the ideal buyer early on, and creates a positive experience for your target audience.

Before we get through the process of creating a sales funnel, let’s define it first.

What Exactly is a Sales Funnel?

A sales funnel or a conversion funnel is a path your prospect takes through your website that ends up converting them into paying customers. Since there will likely be a larger amount of traffic driving through your website as prospects drop off at different parts of that path, those who become converted will be a much smaller percentage–the reason why it’s a funnel-shaped model.

Why do prospects leave the path? A wide range of reasons may come into play. These factors can range from disconnects on the landing page of your business to a myriad of technical issues. Every drop off reduces your conversion rate and increases your bounce rate.

As you go along your sales funnel, you’ll eventually get better at identifying and solving these problems. This helps you convert more of your occasional visitors into potential customers who will buy your product or service.

Sales Funnel Example

Here’s a simple explanation of the sales funnel: Before buying your product, website visitors will start at the top of the funnel. Unfortunately, not all people get through this stage. Some stay at the top while a few others manage to reach the end.

The good news is you can do something to change the number of people who will reach the bottom of your sales funnel.

Take the sales funnel of a brick-and-mortar as an example. Those who visit their physical shop are at the top of the funnel. Prospects start by browsing through your product or service. Then, they are given a warm greeting by a sales associate who offers them help or assistance on what they are looking for.

The customer notices a section of jackets that are on clearance sale. As he tries to select an item on the rack, the sales associate engages with him, saying that a discount can be given to customers who buy two or more jackets.

Interested by the offer, the customer decides to buy three jackets. At the point-of-sale stage, the sales associate suggests a shirt that goes along well with the jacket. The customer agrees to buy the additional item, pays for his/her purchases, then leaves the store.

However, it doesn’t mark the end, as the customer is happy with the great deal he received that he decided to return after a month to purchase another set of jackets.

The same cycle happens in your company website when it comes to digital marketing. Instead of a sales associate, you have web pages and pieces of content like blog posts to guide visitors through the funnel.

Steps in Making a Sales Funnel

#1 Figure out who your prospects are.

During the sales process, you need to identify prospects first. Your goal should be to drive potentially interested people into your sales funnel’s wide end. Doing so allows you to determine the good prospects and set them apart from everyone else.

Come up with a questionnaire about the questions your ideal customer may have. This questionnaire is not supposed to be shared with anyone because its mere purpose is for you to plan your strategy better. In this stage, you’re aiming to find out what your ideal buyer desires or needs.

Digital marketing expert Neil Patel recommends asking a few questions to yourself to see how you can help your customers succeed.

#2 Start qualifying prospects.

Even if a person fits your ideal customer demographics, it doesn’t mean they are already your ideal customer. Let’s say you’re in the flower arrangement business. Customer A might be getting married soon but she prefers paper flowers over real ones. If that’s the case, this customer would not be in your prospect range.

Thus, there should be a way for you to qualify prospects after you’re done identifying each of them. The qualifying step should also be done after you’ve directed them to your sales funnel.

The process of qualifying prospects is easy. You may conduct polls/surveys or simply start random conversations to encourage people to talk about their specific needs your business may address. You can also create a product that appeals to your ideal buyer and promote it to your audience. Those who qualify will buy your product and those who don’t qualify will not.

#3 Use sales funnel fundamentals.

With your sales funnel, you can drive potential customers to your business and ultimately close the sale. For example, you might have an online blog where you put content regularly. Then, you promote this blog via social media platforms to gain traction for your business.

Once prospects make their way to your blog, the next step is to attract them with an offer to obtain their email addresses. When you have an email list, you can periodically send out messages to keep those prospects interested in items you want them to purchase.

#4 Finalize your funnel.

The key to a great sales funnel is to build it backward. Think about your product and its value. If you have an item worth $50, you need to find customers who are willing to spend that amount for the benefits that come with your product. Not all people will let go of that money unless they can trust you, so it’s crucial to establish trust first.

Try to understand your customer’s wants. Identify what you need to do in order to give them those benefits. During the starting stage of the sales journey, you have to plan everything backward from the moment you want your potential customer to wind up in.

Upsell, Downsell, and Order Bump

An upsell is a technique you can use to entice a customer into buying more by offering them a different item of value. This can be done through add-ons, upgrades, or other expensive items provided on top of what they’re buying to increase the amount of their complete purchase. This usually happens at the checkout process but you can also do this gradually through retargeted ads or automated emails.

Downsell is the opposite–this sales strategy can be used to convert customers who decide not to push through with their purchase. Rather than giving up on the sale, you attempt to sell a different service or product of a lower value which could better fit the budget of the customer.

Imagine you’re in a car dealership and a salesman shows you an expensive car model with high-tech features. You like everything about it but the asking price is way above your budget. Instead of pushing you away, the salesman will show you a lower-end model with less features at a much lower price. This means the salesman is attempting to downsell you.

An order bump, on the other hand, is a kind of supplementary product seen on your checkout page. When shopping online, this is typically seen as a checkbox you can tick off to add an order bump to your order during the checkout process. You can think of this as a last-minute upsell.

Conclusion

An important thing to remember in terms of using a conversion funnel is that work doesn’t stop when you get many customers. In fact, that marks the beginning of real work.

Returning customers spend approximately 67% more compared to new customers. Entrepreneurs need to exert more effort in establishing relationships with existing customers for two main reasons: 1. so they return and keep supporting your business and 2. so they help promote your business to other prospects.

Sales funnels serve as the backbone of any digital marketing campaign. However, there are times when these funnels can seem complicated and intimidating. By learning the basics of building a sales funnel, you will realize that it’s actually easy to measure, create, and launch.

When you develop a high-quality sales funnel, you can strategically drive your business to new heights. It can help skyrocket your sales more effectively than just trying out random techniques as you engage with new prospects.