Council Post: What Goes Into An Effective Sales Funnel?

By Solomon Thimothy, CEO of OneIMS. A sales and marketing guru who has built a number of successful companies over the last decade. Read more at Thimothy.com.

She gets a funnel, he gets a funnel, you get a funnel! It may be no surprise that everybody is talking funnels these days. 

Sorry to burst your bubble, but the idea of a systemized process to get your buyers to take a certain action is by no means a new concept. In reality, a “funnel” is just a fancier term for getting your customer from point A to point Z. The only things we’ve refined and perfected as marketers are the modalities and steps we use that ultimately lead to better conversions. 

Before diving into the steps, one should examine the overall objective of their funnel. Is it to upsell a client? Are you targeting repeat customers or brand new prospects? Do you want to lead them to your page to purchase a complementary product? Alternatively, is this the first intro they’ll receive to your business? 

So, how do we give clients (and ourselves) foolproof funnels that convert for every type of customer along the buyer’s journey? 

Start With The Problem Or Need

While we always follow best practices for funnel creation, we should first take a step back and ask: What does the client want first and foremost? In an ideal world, what is the precise outcome they are looking for? Once you have a clear picture of what they’re looking for, you’ll know what copy to include that speaks to their ideal outcome. 

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Next, examine every step of the buyer’s journey. I’m not talking about a plug-and-play buyer’s journey. Dive deep into different target markets (potential clients and customers for your client), and think about the thought processes, the hurdles and the pondering they may do before finally making a purchase. 

The goal of this exercise is to decipher how each ad (or stage in your funnel) will affect them, both emotionally and psychologically. 

There are many ways to optimize the perfect funnel built for conversions. Will your funnel include an eye-catching lead generation piece, a stunning landing page or an e-book and video sales letter (VSL) that really speaks to the audience and provides the value they’ve been dying to discover?  

Let’s run through a solid five-stage funnel process and examples of content you might include with it:

1. Awareness Stage

First impressions are everything. Just as you want to go on a few dates before you put a ring on anyone’s finger, you’ll want to warm up new leads so they become familiar with your brand. Try pieces that really dive into the psychology of your target market’s problem or, similarly, tell a strong brand story. 

2. Lead Generation

A strong lead generation piece usually acts as a teaser. Oftentimes it asks your potential customer to download a valuable piece of content where they have to share their email address. Aim for catchy headlines and “clickable” content. You might offer an e-book that lays out step-by-step action items to help coaches bring in new clients, for example. 

3. Landing Page

A landing page is a specified page that includes a unique selling point (USP), hero image, benefits, social proof and, of course, a strong call to action. This piece is focused on one sole outcome: getting the prospect to take a specified action. 

4. VSL

A video sales letter is a short “elevator pitch” that allows prospects to get to know the speaker and builds brand awareness and loyalty. Your video sales letter should include similar aspects of your landing page but can be done all through audio. 

5. Thank You Page

A funnel wouldn’t be complete without a strong thank you or follow-up page. After all, the best way to receive brand loyalty is to let customers know how grateful you are after they have made a purchase. These items help you create repeat customers who will tell others about your brand. 

Creating a complete funnel is no easy task. If you skimp over any of the steps, your customers will drop off like flies. Pay attention to the beginning stages, especially, as this is where your market research is done. Speak your target customers’ language. Be the solution to their problems. And lastly, guide them through a seamless sales process.

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