DISCLAIMER: Ryan Toth is no longer a StoryBrand Certified Guide. After over 6 years, he decided it was time to part ways. We’re still big fans, though!
Creating Sales Funnels That Work
In today’s competitive market, crafting an effective sales funnel is one of the best strategies you can use to fuel business growth. With so much conflicting marketing advice available online, business owners need to focus on building their own sales funnel that aligns with their marketing efforts and sales strategies.
The goal of a successful sales funnel is to guide prospective customers through the sales process and transform them into paying customers. This article will guide you through the intricacies of building a sales funnel to help you achieve a significant increase in ROI.
What is a Sales Funnel?
Your sales funnel represents the journey all of your potential customers go through in order to become paying clients.
A well-defined sales funnel is like a roadmap that details the customer journey from awareness to purchase. The aim is to attract a large target audience at the top and strategically guide them to the bottom of the funnel, where they convert into customers.
Sales Funnel Stages
An effective sales funnel has many key components. But the foundation is a clear brand message, which acts as the walls of the funnel. Without it, the entire structure crumbles. This message is what resonates with your target audience and keeps them engaged through every stage of the sales funnel.
The next stage is focused on generating traffic. Without traffic, you won’t get eyes on your sales funnel. Which means it won’t work.
The next stage is engagement. For this, you’ll need a compelling lead magnet, an engaging email sequence, and a persuasive landing page.
These components all work together to move potential customers seamlessly from the awareness stage to the consideration and decision stages where they’ll decide to work with you.
Building Your Sales Funnel: A Reverse Approach
Interestingly, the most effective way to build your sales funnel is to start from the bottom and work upwards. This reverse engineering ensures that each element of your funnel aligns with the final goal – converting leads into paying customers. Let’s delve into this process step-by-step to create a sales funnel that not only works but excels.
Know Who You Are: Understand Your Brand
Defining your brand’s identity clearly is arguably the most important step in the sales funnel process. Full clarity is something all high-quality sales funnels have in common.
This is hard to do on your own. It’s like trying to read the label of a bottle… from inside the bottle.
That’s why we offer Branding & Messaging as part of all of our services. We always start there when taking on a new client. With well over a hundred clients, we’ve developed systems and strategies to help you clarify your brand and messaging.
It’s easier to do when working with someone outside your company. But some folks like to take on the challenge themselves. In that case, we recommend books by Donald Miller and Alex Hormozi to get clear on what you’re doing and selling.
Optimizing Landing Pages For The Sales Process
Once you’ve got a clearly defined brand message, the next area to focus on is creating compelling landing pages.
These pages are a key customer touchpoint where potential customers decide if they’ll engage further with your product or service.
This stage comes in the middle of the funnel, and it’s where sales conversations begin and interest turns into action. Remember, effective sales funnel management is about driving traffic and ensuring that traffic is meaningful and likely to convert.
This is where a lot of people mistakenly put their trust into the first reputable-sounding SEO company they can find. The problem is that these agencies aren’t actually driving traffic from people who might purchase – they’re just driving traffic. Making sure that your landing pages talk about how you can help rather than throwing around buzzwords is the most direct way to make sure you’re getting more than “just traffic” from your SEO agency.
To optimize your landing pages for the sales funnel, first ask yourself: what is the action that you want people to take?
Is it going to be buying something right away? If you’ve got a service-based business, is it scheduling a call? Figure out what you want your customers todo, and write your entire landing page with that action in mind.
We have a course that teaches you exactly how to do this. It’s called ClearBrand Academy. Check it out it if you’d like to walk through how to create a landing page that gets you results section by section.
Now, after you have this landing page, you’ve got to get people to visit. How do we do that? With an email sequence.
Whether marketers admit it or not, trust is the foundation for successful marketing and sales efforts. People buy in direct relation to how much they trust you.
Sometimes they trust you right off the bat, but it doesn’t happen most of the time. Instead people need some lead time, just like in dating… you’re not going to marry somebody the first day you meet them, right?
Instead, you got to get to know them a little bit. You got to take them on dates. How do we do that? In the business world, that’s with your emails. When written well, an email sequence can be a great way to nurture trust and move your leads from the interest stage to the consideration stage.
The first part of your email sequence should provide value. There are plenty of different ways to do this. You might send blog articles, informational videos, or other marketing campaigns with useful content that addresses your customer’s dilemma.
Once you’ve given your audience a reason to trust you, the sequence should shift focus to direct sales efforts that guide leads to your landing pages.
There are different ways to do this depending on what you’re selling. For example, if you own an e-commerce website, something like a discount deadline countdown is great for creating a sense of urgency and getting customers to visit your landing page and take your desired action.
Now that you have your email sequence, it’s time to sell people on your product. How do you do that? With your lead magnet.
Downloading an effective lead magnet is the step in your sales funnel strategy that customers complete before they receive your email sequence. Your goal is to design a lead magnet that resonates with your target customers while offering something valuable enough that they’ll provide their contact information. The lead magnet is what lets you start building a database of qualified leads to hand off to your sales team.
Lead magnets and their content can vary from educational content to checklists and exclusive offers. And each can serve as an opt-in point where customers will enter your sales pipeline.
Your lead magnet should solve the same problem that your product solves. Yep, you read that right. Let me say it again: your lead magnet has to solve the same problem that your product solves.
The reason is simple. If your lead magnet doesn’t solve the same problem these people have right now, then they aren’t interested in the product that you’re about to sell them.
So figure out the problem that your product solves, then create a lead magnet that solves that problem. The key is to solve it in a free way that isn’t quite as simple as just buying your product or service.
Here’s an example. Our best lead magnet is a free website blueprint PDF. It’s a PDF that tells you exactly what to put on your website and where to put it, but it doesn’t build your website for you.
For us, the whole process is designed to drive customers from one step to the next along their journey, with every step being a bit closer to making a purchase from ClearBrand.
For you, a lead magnet could be a series of articles that are not on your blog. It could be a PDF. Or it could be something totally different. Whatever you choose, your lead magnet should act as the first piece of value you provide to customers before you get them into your email sequence. The rest of the sequence should build on the lead magnet.
Now, it’s time to look at how we drive traffic.
Driving Traffic With Ads
You can spend days, months, or weeks creating a sales funnel – but if it doesn’t have traffic, it won’t work.
One way to generate traffic is through paid advertising. When investing in ads, it’s important to monitor sales funnel metrics closely to make sure your marketing efforts are yielding a positive ROI. Remember, the goal is not just spending money on ads but nurturing potential customers into loyal ones.
Make sure that you’ve got high conversions all the way through this sales funnel. You’re in business to make the world better and in order to do that, you need to make money. If you’re paying for ads, you want to be sure that they’re making you more money than you’re paying to run them.
Driving Traffic With Content Marketing
Another way to drive traffic is with content marketing.
That means writing valuable blog articles on a regular basis related to terms people are actively searching for.
Do not write blog articles that make you feel good. That is not the point. The goal is traffic.
Use tools to learn what people are searching for. Google Keyword is inside of Google ads and is a great place to start. It lets you see the traffic for different searches related to terms and websites you specify.
Another tool that we love is called Ubersuggest. It’s similar to Google Keyword Planner and makes a great starting point for keyword research.
When writing blog content, focus on topics that generate interest and are relevant to your sales funnel model.
For example, if your business sells running shoes, create content around top queries related to running shoes. Offer insights and social proof to position your products as the best solution.
Blogging isn’t just about writing for writing’s sake; your blog posts should follow a deliberate and careful content strategy to attract qualified prospects. This is one of the ways to guide them through the sales funnel stages, all the way from awareness to purchase.
Again, you’re not writing about what makes you feel good. You’re writing about things that people are searching for because blogs are built to get you traffic. That’s the whole point. So be sure to use the keyword tools mentioned earlier to make sure you’re writing content people are actually searching for on a regular basis.
Get More Customers To Complete The Sales Journey
Now you have your sales funnel. People will see your ads, then either click them or search Google for something related to what you do. Your blog articles and landing pages pave the way for your lead magnet. Your lead magnet persuades people to share their contact details. And your email sequence nurtures them into a purchase.
If you’re running ads and want to remove friction from the buying process, run ads directly to your lead magnet. More people clicking means more downloading your resources. Which means you can fill your mailing list with engaged visitors willing to buy your product.
The exception to that is remarketing. If they’ve already been to your website, run ads straight to your product. If they haven’t been to your website, running ads to lead magnets tends to work really well.
Make sure all of your blog articles include a clear call to action. Blogs are a great spot to link your lead magnet so you can collect more contact information from qualified leads.
Your sales funnel is not an either-or scenario. You’ve got to have compelling landing pages, blogs, email sequences, and lead magnets in order to see results.
And don’t forget that everything in your sales funnel is supported by its walls, which are formed by your clear messaging.
Looking for a tool to help you create awesome sales funnels that keep new customers coming in day after day? Then you’ll love the ClearBrand Website Blueprint.
All you’ve got to do is fill it in with your content. It’s that easy, just like mad-libs. You just go through this thing, fill it in, then apply it to your website and you’ve got a website that sells. Click the link to access the ClearBrand Website Blueprint and build a website that sells today.