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.
7 sales funnel examples to inspire your own.Click To Tweet
Download Your Very Own Funnel TemplateBefore you dive head-first into all you need to know about a handful of sales funnel examples, we want to give you the opportunity to download your very own marketing funnel content mapping template. With this handy-dandy template, you will be able to easily craft ideas and content for your own marketing funnel and keep track of the expectations and examples within your business. Download now!
The Sales FunnelThe sales funnel will normally have four to five steps — depending on how you see it — which are outlined below. Entrepreneur
AwarenessThe 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.
InterestThe 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 SolutionNow 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 SaleOnce 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 UpIf 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. 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. ConvertKitType 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.
@ConvertKit, an email marketing software for bloggers, is a great example of how webinars can help even the smallest of businesses grow.Click To Tweet
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. Lead Feeder 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.
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 FunnelThis 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 BrunsonMost 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.
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. 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. 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. 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.
3. CoScheduleThe 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.
CoSchedule's Headline Analyzer Studio is available with no deadline and with no strings attached.Click To Tweet
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. 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. MailshakeThe 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.
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. 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.
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. 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. 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.
A free consultation or a quick demo could be what convinces people to trust where their money is going.Click To Tweet