The Sales Funnel and How It WorksBy
In any type of business, the sales funnel is what leads customers from the initial contact to the purchase. At each stage as they pass through the funnel they’re qualified. Those that aren’t qualified leave. At the end, you have only qualified buyers ready to purchase your product or service.
As the term ‘funnel’ suggests, the shape is wide at the entry point and it gradually narrows. You may start your sales funnel with something like a free eBook that offers help with some task related to your product. To get the freebie, they have to sign up for your list. You can then make other offers to them through the list, and offers grow gradually in ticket price until your big offer at the end. If your sales funnel is well constructed, that final offer will have a high conversion rate because you’ve primed your prospects and weeded out those who won’t buy.
Sales funnels are important for businesses because they make the sales process smoother and more predictable. Your customers’ movement through the funnel is standardized. You can track what happens at each point in it to tighten it up or improve your marketing.
Types of Offers
The most important part of the funnel is the offers you make to your prospects. These will determine who stays and continues to the end, and who leaves.
Opt-in giveaways, as I mentioned above, are a great entry point to a sales funnel. A freebie requires very little of the person, who at this point is just a casual web surfer who has encountered your content somewhere. All they have to give up is their name and email address. Of course, most people don’t want to give up these, so it has to be something valuable.
Another way to get people into your funnel is through a front-end offer. Front-end offers are the same except that they have a small price. While people will be less likely to buy it, meaning you’ll have fewer prospects signing up, this works to weed out folks in the beginning who aren’t buyers.
As you market to your prospects, you start with low-ticket or free items, and you gradually offer higher ticket items. These later offers are called ‘back-end’ offers. These higher ticket offers are what really work to qualify your prospects. If they’re willing to pay a higher price tag, this means they’re committed.
Subscription products are a great element of a sales tunnel. They keep the prospect ‘tuned in’ and have a high profit potential, even if it’s a low-priced subscription. Most importantly, you’re getting a commitment from them. If they’re paying for your content, they’re more likely to pay for your offers. Like the paid entry offer, this qualifies prospects more effectively.
Communicating with Your Prospects
The key to a successful sales funnel is communication. Keep in steady contact with them. Communication should go both ways – market to them and offer them content; also, listen to their feedback and watch your stats.
The important thing to keep in mind with your sales funnel is that you’re not going to please everybody. Some of your prospects will leave you, and that’s actually a good thing. The ones that stay are the most likely to turn into buyers when they reach the funnel’s end.
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