7 Sales Funnel Examples to Help Inspire Your Own

7 Sales Funnel Examples to Inspire Your Own

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7 Sales Funnel Examples to Inspire Your Own

Sales funnels are still not as common as we would like them to be. Companies push products and services down their customers’ throats with their fingers crossed behind their back — hoping a hard sell is going to do the trick.

This is a bad move — especially since customers are smarter than ever. It takes 8 cold call attempts to reach a prospect, but the unfortunate truth is 44% of all salespeople give up on trying to make a sale after only one rejection.

This brings me back to the value of sales funnels; a customer needs to build a relationship with your brand before they part with their hard-earned money. A sales funnel is a step-by-step process to help you build that relationship.

Odds are, you already know what a sales funnel is, but for the sake of those who might not, here is a simplified definition:

A sales funnel (a.k.a. “purchase funnel”) is the journey that is laid out for potential customers by the company, in advance. It ends at the final goal, which is the customer purchasing a service or good of some kind.

More information about the sales funnel to follow.

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The Sales Funnel

The sales funnel will normally have four to five steps — depending on how you see it — which are outlined below.

Awareness

The potential customer makes initial contact with your company and is introduced to your brand for the first time. This will normally be the fruit of the labor from your marketing activities, which will include things, like creating blog posts, podcast episodes, and hosting webinars.

You have now generated a new lead.

Interest

The second step is all about lead nurturing. You are discovering the potential needs of your newly acquired leads and engaging with them for the first time. You will normally do this through opt-in forms followed by email marketing.

The right email drip campaign will allow you to guide your lead down the purchase journey using automation.

Decision/Offer a Solution

Now that you have established a relationship with your lead, you need to let them know you could potentially have a solution to their problem. For example, you could offer them a trial signup or a free tool.

Close the Sale

Once your lead has tried out your service through a trial, demo, or free version, it’s time to close the sale. You could sweeten the deal by offering them a time-sensitive discount or bonus with each purchase — allowing the lead to save money as part of a one time offer (OTO).

Follow Up

If you have more than one service or good to sell, your old customers are your best customers, which is why you need to continue to reach out to them when it’s relevant and further build your relationship.

Sales funnel breakdown

Now that we know what your sales funnel should look like, let’s talk about something most guides — that pledge to give you everything you need to create a sales funnel — don’t talk about.

While having an outline can be helpful, a good sales funnel example could be what inspires your own sales funnel creation. Here are seven sales funnel examples you should take a look at:

1. ConvertKit

ConvertKit homepage

Type of sales funnel: Partnership webinars funnel

ConvertKit, an email marketing software for bloggers, is a great example of how webinars can help even the smallest of businesses grow.

The company was generating $98k in sales every month before Nathan Berry decided to put all of his time and efforts into growing ConvertKit. The company had only grown because of word-of-mouth efforts from past or present customers. This was not enough, which is why Nathan decided to go all-in on hosting webinars in partnership with ConvertKit affiliates.

After hosting over 150 webinars in under a year, ConvertKit grew from making between $70k to $80k per month to earning well over $600k every single month in revenue.

What Does This Sales Funnel Look Like?

Let’s dive a little deeper into what this sales funnel looks like.

ConvertKit used their present pool of customers — that were mostly bloggers — to reach more people within the industry itself. They did this by maintaining a wide-open affiliate program that anyone can join, and then hosting webinars with pretty much any affiliate of theirs that was up for it.

This meant that Nathan was mostly hosting webinars with bloggers that had an audience full of fellow bloggers — the ideal audience for his product. Each webinar was packed with information that could be used to create a great email marketing campaign. Instead of pushing his product on to people who were watching the webinar, he did his best to actually help them.

At the end of the webinar, the viewing audience was left with so many great ideas that signing up for the ConvertKit trial was just a good way to try out those new ideas. The webinar content was helpful without being pushy, which is what helped increase conversions.

He would even give away free courses, t-shirts, and freebies to people who attended his webinars. In the oversaturated world of webinars, this was a breath of fresh air.

You were walking away from the webinar with hundreds of dollars worth of free stuff and the ability to try out ConvertKit’s software for free — no questions asked. That being said, anyone’s first experience with the brand was great. They were generous to a fault, and even if the lead did not pay for the software, they had entered their sales funnel.

ConvertKit offer to try software for free sales funnel

Who Should Use This Funnel?

Big companies can afford to spend thousands to find the right influencers to promote their products. On the other hand, for smaller startups, this might not be a financially viable plan.

This is why startups with limited budgets but loads of time could benefit from this sales funnel. Even if you only have 50 affiliates to partner with, they could lead to 50 more. You don’t need to invest in anything other than a webinar tool and some email marketing software.

Unique Aspects of the Funnel

This funnel works well if you have a very narrow target audience. In the case of ConvertKit, that audience was bloggers. This definitely contributes to the success of their funnel, since they were able to target their freebies at the right audience and position themselves as being the right guy for every blogger.

Instead of trying to be a big fish in a big pond, they satisfied themselves with a smaller pond, and it paid off. They were bloggers who had created an email marketing software for blogging, which was then being targeted towards bloggers. Niching down will do you good, if you choose to go this route.

2. Russel Brunson

Most sales funnels will offer a free trial — or maybe even a discounted price — but for big-ticket items that go into the thousands of dollars, companies need to do better than that. This is especially true when you want more than just the customer’s email address (i.e. traditional opt-in form).

Russel Brunson offers a completely free book to customers who are willing to simply type in their name and address. You will have to pay for shipping, but the actual product is 100% free. A lot of leads are often left wondering if this is too good to be true, but if you are in the world of marketing and sales funnels, you’d have already guessed that every penny spent on the free book is made up for down the line.

Russel Brunson sales funnel

What Does This Sales Funnel Look Like?

The customer initially learns about Russel Brunson through social media, paid ads, or blog posts. They are then moved down the sales pipeline towards the landing page that offers the free book in exchange for their information (i.e. address and email).

This is the first domino to fall in a chain of events that will follow. The customer will then be offered a one-time offer for one of Brunson’s products straight after they place the order for the book. This could be a time-sensitive discount or a bonus item with each purchased service.

In short, Russel is willing to put his money where his mouth is when it comes to his sales funnels, and it pays off. If he spends $15–20 sending that free book to each lead, he has a long list of leads that could potentially buy much more costly items from him down the road.

Even if a lead was to only buy a $37 book from him, Russel would still be making a $17 profit from that lead.

Who Should Use This Funnel?

This funnel is ideal for companies that need to sell multiple items with a lot of big-ticket items that will follow. While $20 may be a lot of money down the drain for someone with only one product to pitch, it is well worth it for a company that wants to upsell multiple products to each lead.

If a smaller company that wants to offer a freebie via an opt-in form, it would make more sense to offer something digital, such as an eBook or free course. LFA Capsule Fillers does this, so they can ask for more information about the lead before putting them into a sales funnel.

LFA Capsule Fillers free ebook offer sales funnel

The free eBook — offered to anyone willing to to be added to their newsletter — asks leads what sort of business they identify as (e.g. individual, small business, university, etc.).

This will then help the company put them into a sales funnel that is most appropriate for their type of business. Even if you have a smaller budget to work with, a free eBook could also be a great way to generate leads and learn more about your potential customers.

What Exactly Are Upsells?

Russel’s sales funnel works because he has a lot of upsells that will follow the initial free book. An upsell is a product that is a higher value item than what the customer has purchased previously or is thinking of purchasing.

This is similar to what the brand, ProFlowers, does when a customer is going through the checkout process. Once you select the bouquet of flowers you want, the website will immediately suggest an upgrade to a bigger bouquet.

ProFlowers cross-selling sales funnel

Once you are done selecting the size, ProFlowers will also try to sell cross-sells to customers. These include greeting cards and teddy bears.

Cross-selling is when companies try to sell related products to the customer before they checkout. Physical stores and restaurants, like McDonald’s, do this as well — when they suggest buying fries with your hamburger.

ProFlowers online checkout

This selling technique is true to far more expensive items as well, such as Tesla cars. The company offers customers the option to customize their car with additional features in the interior and exterior, adding the autopilot feature, and more during the checkout process.

Tesla online checkout

3. CoSchedule

CoSchedule Headline Analyzer

The CoSchedule sales funnel uses a tool (Headline Analyzer Studio) to bring in people who might be interested in their premium Headline Studio Pro. This is a great way of getting people interested in their product.

The free tool is available with no deadline and with no strings attached, which is what makes it even better.

What Does This Sales Funnel Look Like?

A very common sales funnel is the offering of a free trial month, but CoSchedule takes it up a notch by offering a completely free tool instead. The Headline Analyzer Studio allows people to test out their headlines, and then work on them based on suggestions that the tool delivers.

Every blogger knows how important it is to have a great headline that goes alongside each blog post, which is why the upgrade is well worth it for a lot of people.

Who Should Use This Funnel?

This funnel works well for services that need to be test run for months on end before making the final leap (i.e. spending money on the service). CoSchedule knows that headline analyzers are available online by the dozen, which is why they have their free tool to show everyone exactly what they can offer.

Once someone is happy with the services they are receiving, they can choose to upgrade to the premium version of the product. This could be compared to Amazon as well; Amazon lets you use their platform for free, but a premium account gives users the benefit of free shipping — among other features.

Amazon Prime free trial sales funnel

It might not be a tempting purchase to someone who has never used Amazon, but for someone who has, it’s well worth the money.

4. Mailshake

The Mailshake sales funnel allows customers to book a free demo of the product before they invest a minimum of $60 per month on the item. This allows the company to give potential customers the demo they need without having to offer free trials.

Booking a demo with Mailshake for their sales funnel

What Does This Sales Funnel Look Like?

Once the potential customer learns about Mailshake — this could be through affiliates, blog posts, webinars, etc. — they will then visit the Mailshake landing page and book a demo.

After they select the “Book a Demo” button, Mailshake will prompt the lead to select a date and time (within their time zone) to book a 30-minute demo session.

Setting Mailshake demo date and time

Once the session is finalized, Mailshake will send you a confirmation email along with multiple reminders down the road. The demo will then take place, which will include a member of the Mailshake team giving you and anyone else who has booked into that time slot a quick run-through of how the software works and how it can help you.

The session will allow leads to get any potential queries they have resolved.

Mailshake - entering personal/company info for signup

Who Should Use This Funnel?

This sales funnel can work well for expensive services that are normally targeted towards companies. They might not want to offer a trial for a couple of reasons: either they do not think it’s worth the time and resources, or they feel that the company would not be able to make up their mind — even after using the service for a trial period.

This is true in the case of outreach software, since there are multiple options on the market and each service has multiple features that are best displayed through a demo.

This sales funnel also works for expensive services that are very personalized. A good example would be legal services. This is why you will often see law firms offer consultations rather than free services.

Roman & Gaynor are a good example of this in action. These lawyers offer a consultation to anyone interested in their services. Potential customers who visit their website can easily fill out a quick form that will help them book a consultation.

Roman & Gaynor offering free consultations as their sales funnel

Lawyers sell their services for thousands, which is why offering anything for free online does not make much sense. However, a consultation is a great way of building a relationship with the client with minimal investment of resources.

The Allen Law firm even offers a free live chat that allows you to ask questions to a real person for free.

Free live chat with Allen Law Firm

The point of these consultations, demos, and live chats is to give customers the ability to build a relationship with the company without having to part with their money. When it comes to spending big amounts, people want to be sure they trust where the money is going. A free consultation or a quick demo could be what convinces them.

5. Hulu

Hulu free trial sales funnel

The Hulu sales funnel is all about the classic free trial. The online streaming service gives new customers a month to test run their services, after which they will be automatically debited for the months that follow — unless they cancel their subscription.

What Does This Sales Funnel Look Like?

Most Hulu customers discover the brand through social media, paid ads, or blog posts. Once a customer enters the first step of the sales funnel (awareness), they are directed to the Hulu landing page, which includes a CTA that very clearly offers a month free.

The free services allow customers to watch various TV shows, movies, and Hulu Originals on up to two devices at a time. However, unlike companies, like Netflix, that have the traditional “one month free trial”, Hulu has done things a bit differently.

The length of your trial depends on the service you go for — the more expensive the service, the shorter the trial.

Choosing your plan on Hulu sales funnel

The basic Hulu packages allow users a one month trial, while the “Hulu + Live TV” package that allows users to access over 65 different live channels only offers a week free.

This is a pretty great way of allowing users to try out every service without wasting too many resources on trials.

The Beaconstac QR code generator has also seen great results following a similar strategy. The tool lets you create multiple QR codes for free during the 14-day trial. After this, you can choose to go for the premium paid model.

QR Code Generator 14-day free trial sales funnel

Who Should Use This Funnel?

This sales funnel works best for subscription models that can afford to give every user a one-month long trial. After the trial, if a customer decides to stick with the service, Hulu receives a constant stream of passive income every month.

6. Kurzgesagt — In a Nutshell

Kurzgesagt YouTube page

Kurzgesagt is an extremely famous infographic show on YouTube that delves into topics, like the earth getting kicked out of the solar system and alien life among plenty of other topics. Their videos reach millions of people every single day, and the most noticeable element of each upload is the amazing graphics that help each piece of information come alive.

At first glance, you would think Kurzgesagt is nothing more than a successful YouTube channel, but you would be surprised to know it is also a digital marketing agency. The agency offers multiple graphic design services, such as explanatory videos and illustrations.

Learning about the Kurzgesagt agency

Their clients include some pretty big companies, such as Microsoft and Lyft, and a lot of those clients discovered Kurzgesagt through their YouTube channel.

Kurzgesagt clients

What Does This Sales Funnel Look Like?

People who watch Kurzgesagt’s videos on YouTube get a kind of live demo of their services. If they are impressed with what they see, they can get in contact with them through their website and hire them.

Who Should Use This Funnel?

This sales funnel can work for anyone in the creative space. A singer, dancer, graphic designer, producer, advertising agency, photographer, etc. — they are all people/companies that could benefit from putting themselves out there.

Showcasing what they are capable of doing can best be done through social media, and this is exactly what Kurzgesagt has managed to do.

7. Mixergy

Mixergy and learning from other entrepreneurs

Mixergy sells online courses and interviews from famous entrepreneurs that have amassed large followings. The funnel starts with a free video interview that you can receive by giving them your email address.

You will then receive a link to the interview in your inbox. Once Mixergy has your email address and you become a lead, they will then move on to the lead nurturing process where they try and get leads to sign up for their premium version.

Sales funnel sign up for Mixergy Premium

What Does This Sales Funnel Look Like?

Once the customer finds Mixergy through social media, referrals, or paid traffic, they will click on their CTA to get the free video interview. This will lead them to the landing page, which will include an opt-in form.

Once the lead has opted-in to the email list, Mixergy nurtures the relationship with the lead and tries to move them over to the monthly subscription plan.

Who Should Use This Funnel?

This type of funnel would work well for companies that are offering membership-only zones or content. Once you sign in to your Mixergy account, you will find multiple videos that are only accessible to members.

Wrapping It Up

As Brian Tracy, a motivational public speaker, said, “A good sales funnel will always use the same foundation — approaching each customer with the idea of helping him or her solve a problem or achieve a goal, not of selling a product or service.”

About the Author

Freya is the founder of the personal finance blog CollectingCents that teaches readers how to grow their passive income, save money, improve their credit score, and manage debt. She has been featured in publications like Business Insider, Fox Business, the Huffington Post, and GoBankingRates.

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