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What is a Sales Funnel and How to Use it?

So, you have heard of the One Funnel Away Challenge and you keep wondering what is a sales funnel?

In the last year, Julie Stoian and her business partner came up with feminine sales funnels in the form of Funnel Gorgeous.

If you ever worked with a business coach on any level one thing that is common for them to mention is using a sales funnel.

Let me know if this sounds familiar.

You started your business in the last 1-3 years or you decided to turn your blog into a business in that time period.

However, you feel stagnant because you know that you need to scale things up to take things to the next level but you are not sure how to do it.

Everyone and their cat talks about automating parts of your business to make it scalable but you have no idea what that means.

The truth is that it is very easy to get lost with all this terminology especially if you have no idea what it means.

In this post, you will learn what is a sales funnel and how you should be using it to scale your business.

This post is a 5-part series where you will learn what is a sales funnel, types of funnels, automated webinar funnels, sales funnel stages and sales funnel templates.

Disclosure: Please note that this post may contain affiliate links which means that if you buy one of my recommended products I get paid a commission for sharing the link at no additional cost to you.  I only recommend products that I have tried myself and have experienced success.

What is a Sales Funnel - blog 1

The Sales Funnel Explained

Over the last few years I have been racking my brain to try and find another name for a sales funnel.

Believe it or not I still have not found a word that really incorporate the meaning of sales funnels except to say it is part of the sales process.

If you think of the sales funnel like developing a relationship with the person or company selling the product or service then it is easier to understand.

In simple terms a sales funnel is the mechanism that you go through as a buyer to build a relationship with the seller.

The three key elements of this relationship is the know, like and trust factors.

You can find sales funnels everywhere you shop.

A great example would be a blog post which is normally preceded by a post on social media or a Pinterest pin.

So, think of it as the steps you go through as a buyer before taking out your credit card to make a purchase.

The end goal of course for the seller is for you to make a purchase of their product or service.

As the buyer your end goal is for you to solve a problem or challenge in your life.

Sales Funnel Examples

To help you to really appreciate and understand what sales funnels are for any business let's look at a few examples.

Let's use the popular example of Amazon. Everyone and their children have Amazon Prime right?

Amazon example

You know that you need to buy a tripod stand since you will be doing more photoshoots this year.

So, you head over to your favourite photography blog.

The blogger mentions several options to choose from. You click-through and look at the reviews.

There's one that looks fine so you add it to your basket and the phone rings.

That phone call from your sister lasted forever and you need to cook dinner.

The tripod stand is left in your basket and you shutdown your laptop.

Strangely enough, you get a few email reminders about this tripod stand in your basket from Amazon until you make the purchase.

This Amazon sales funnel example will look like this.

Blog post -> Amazon -> item sales page -> order form -> email sequence -> purchase

Pinterest course example

The struggle with Pinterest is real for you. If only you can figure this out without losing your mind.

While browsing Pinterest one day you see a pin with someone talking about getting 1 million views from Pinterest in 30 days.

You click on the pin to learn more and it brings you over to a landing page with video testimonials from fellow bloggers.

On the page you notice that there is an offer for 5 free high converting Pin templates plus a free email course.

So, you sign up and you receive the Canva ready pin templates. Woohoo!!

Over the next few days, you receive a carefully guided email course showing you how to craft your very own high converting pins.

However, you discover that you actually need to join group boards and master Tailwind scheduling.

On day 3 you receive an email with the option to join an Advanced Pinterest course that will teach you all the Pinterest hacks so you sign up for the program.

The Pinterest course example looks like this.

Pinterest pin -> landing page -> optin form -> email course -> sales page -> order form -> purchase

The Sales Funnel Explained - blog 5

Why are Funnels Important?

Well, remember at the start of this blog post I mentioned about the fact that many entrepreneurs want to scale their business but not sure how?

A very easy way to make that happen for you is by implementing sales funnels for all your products and services.

Think of it as automating all your sales processes so that you don't have to manually do all the selling yourself.

So many people believe that selling is sleazy but the reality is that selling does not need to be that way at all.

In fact, a sales funnel is the perfect way to let someone or something else do the selling for you.

They work so well that there are tons of software available on the market to help you set up one almost instantly.

At this point, you are probably thinking if sales funnels are so easy then why doesn't everyone have one in their business?

Is there a catch somewhere?

Well, there are a few key elements that you need to have in place to ensure a sales funnel works like a well-oiled machine.

Let's spend some time looking at the different stages of a sales funnel.

Sales Funnel Stages

No matter what kind of funnel you have implemented there are 3 main stages that make the set up a real sales funnel.

Stage 1 - Traffic or Prospects

You can have the very best offer in the world but unless you get eyeballs on that offer then there will be no buyers.

It is important to get visibility on that offer and the good news is that offer can be placed anywhere your potential buyers hang out.

Okay I need to be honest and say that the traffic can be organic or paid.

However, you are better off ensuring that it converts before going to paid traffic.

Here is a list of traffic sources.

  1. Pinterest
  2. Facebook
  3. Instagram
  4. LinkedIn
  5. YouTube
  6. Twitter
  7. Tik Tok
  8. Search engine

As you can imagine the post, advert, link, image or video advertising your offer should be appropriate for that platform.

Stage 2 - Warm up or Deliver Value

Once the person clicks through to the information you will need to offer them a lot of value.

Earlier on I mentioned building the know, like and trust when it comes to the buyer journey.

Buyer Journey + Know, Like, Trust

In the image above you can see a more complex view of what is involved in adding value before someone can trust you.

So, adding value can be a blog post, free checklist, workbook, cheat sheet or even an email course or webinar.

Think of it as solving one part of the problem but not all of it.

Stage 3 - Offer

The final stage of this journey is the actual pitch or offer where you are proposing to the prospect a solution to their problem.

Before you can make an offer you need to have a keen understanding in what it takes to solve the problem.

You also need to know what that transformation will mean for this person in many ways.

This is the stage where someone trusts you enough to buy something from you or through your affiliate links.

Sales Funnel Examples - blog 4

What Sales Funnel Tools are Available?

Now that you know what is a sales funnel you are in a better position to start looking at what tools you can use to build one.

Value tools

If you are a blogger, you should already have blog posts published that can serve as a way to add value to your prospects.

Also, if you already have freebies like checklist, cheat sheets and workbooks these can serve to warm up your audience and build that like factor.

There are platforms like Canva that will help you to create pretty freebies which is great.

However, if you need gorgeous templates for e-books, workbooks and checklists then here are my two top recommended sources.

  1. Ivory mix
  2. Styled Stock Society

Offer tools

The simplest form of an offer tool is a review post where you are giving your experience of using a product or service.

In one sense a review post can be a combined offer and value post depending on the set up.

A typical offer tool is a landing page with a sales letter which is also known as a sales page.

I have created several sales pages over the years and some tools I tend to recommend are as follows:

  1. Elementor
  2. Systeme
  3. Thrive Architect
  4. LeadPages
  5. ClickFunnels

Traffic

You already know this but I will say it anyway. There isn't a single tool that you can use to generate traffic to your offer.

As it stands, you have two options which are free or paid traffic.

Promoting your offer using SEO or social media does take some time and it is not instant.

If you need a much quicker method then you can try paid traffic in the form of Facebook Ads or pay per click advertising via Google ads or even promoted pins.

SEO and social media marketing are the things that I teach in my group program.

Feel free to sign up here if you want to learn how to get more visibility to your offers.

What is a Sales Funnel and how to use it

Summary

As an entrepreneur, you will realise at some point that scaling your business is super important if you want consistent sales.

I wish that there was another way to make it happen but building a few sales funnels can significantly change things for you.

Depending on where you are in your business you may want to start thinking of the next step you need to take to go full-time.

The hardest part of developing your sales funnel is knowing your ideal client really well.

If you understand their needs, challenges and obstacles as well as their dreams then you are ready to build a funnel.

It is like getting inside their head and having an unbelievable understanding of their transformation process.

Over to you, are you ready to build a sales funnel? Let me know your thoughts in the comments.

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If you are thinking of building an email list as part of your sales process then my comparison of ConvertKit vs Mailchimp will help.

Are you in trying to grow your email list quickly? I wrote an entire post on how to get 1%-9% lead conversion using a cool tool.

Want to take advantage of course platforms to help you create your first offer? Check out my comparison of Teachable vs Thinkific here.

I'm focused on helping female entrepreneurs like you to build a successful online business by showing you how to get the visibility that you need.

My signature course is designed to help you transform your business using four key pillars which are voice, value, visuals and visibility.

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36 Comments on What is a Sales Funnel and How to Use it?

  1. I have always found the steps that take a consumer to purchasing interesting. Especially in an online format where competitors are only a click away. I really should learn more about this to start turning up views and profits of my own website.

  2. This is such an awesome piece of writing. I always related the term sales funnel to a very corporate and business kinda dealing, because that’s what I have done for years, but being a blogger the tips you have shared have made the term so vast for me and its become like an inspiration to get more out of my blog.

  3. I’ve come across sales funnels before, but never fully understood the process. I’m not sure I can implement it in my site, but this was so useful to read, especially about Pinterest.

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