The best sales funnel strategy helps a stranger become a customer. That’s the purpose of your website, after all; if your website helps a stranger become a customer, it doesn’t matter how ugly it is, or what fonts you use, or what kind of CMS or fancy plugins you use. If your digital platform helps a stranger become a customer because of a solid online sales funnel strategy, your website is a win.
What is a Sales Funnel?
A sales funnel is a series of steps that communicate to your customer in the language of the different stages that your customer goes through, from discovery all the way through to purchase.
Your online sales funnel strategy is a map of all the digital infrastructures that guide a stranger through the journey to becoming your customer.
How to Make an Online Sales Funnel Strategy
There are many different ways to map your sales funnel, based on the stages that your prospective customer goes through. Three typical methods we use at Stellar Platforms to map out these stages are:
- Actions the user takes
- Website URLs for each stage
- Emotional reactions that cause them to progress to the next stage
You can use any of these methods individually, but I like to look at my funnel through the lens of each of these three. The action, the page, and the emotion are all relevant pieces of each stage; by looking at the continuum of the sales funnel, from start to finish, through these frameworks, you can identify ways to smooth the transition from one stage to the next.
That’s the ultimate purpose of a sales funnel, in the end – identify and remove any friction that could keep a stranger from becoming a customer.
Stages of an Online Sales Funnel
Many digital sales funnels look like this:
- Landing page
- Opt-in incentive
- Thank-you page
- Email autoresponders
- Sales page
- Purchase page
- Access page
As I said before, there are infinite variations on this framework, but this is a general the outline to get you started.
If we are building a brand new website, the pages of the online sales funnel would look like this:
Website Pages of Sales Funnel Stages
Blog – Someone clicks on a link on social media, and they end up on your website, reading an article you’ve written. This is not the place to sell to them. This is the place to gain their interest.
About – When they are interested, they go the most highly trafficked page on your website – the About page. This is where people go when they wan to know more about you, and what you do.
Subscribe – Your qualified prospects find your call-to-action intriguing, because they face the major problem that your product or service solves. They agree to let you into their inbox.
Thanks – Whatever free PDF or opt-in incentive you’ve offered is delivered to them. This is the best place for introducing yourself in a deep and meaningful way, setting the stage, letting them know how often you will email them, and how to find and follow you on social media.
Services – after a few educational emails that deliver good value, they have a hunch that they could work with you. They open an email from you about your gateway offer, they decide to research you, and they read the specifics about your rates and terms.
Checkout – This is where they buy. Please note: they do not buy from you at earlier stages in the online sales funnel, so don’t sell to them there. You should reserve your sales messages for people who have advanced far enough in your sales funnel that they know, like, and trust you.
Online Sales Funnel Platforms
While you can make a sales funnel in your own WordPress website, there are online platforms that make page creation, email integration, and lead magnet delivery a breeze.
Here are three of our favorites sales funnel creation tools:
“Marketing my personal business has a new direction and focus thanks to Caelan. His talent for listening and understanding combined with his skills for painting the big picture really helps me to spend my advertising budget most effectively for getting the best results. Not only does he see the big picture from a unique perspective, he is able to map the steps to take my business in the direction that will be most beneficial for me and my clients.”Sara Mustonen