High Converting Funnels That Will Convert You in a Sales Guru
Sales funnels! Voila some other fancy name and apparently Gordian knot that you need to solve. But wait, that doesn’t need to be overwhelming, if you approach the notion step by step, you will see it is achievable.
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So, what is a sales funnel and why do you need it?
A sales funnel, or a conversion funnel is a sum of steps that a prospect/visitor is following through your site towards their purpose corresponding to the stage of their customer journey. In essence, users arrive on a landing page - from ads, mails or organic search -, and all the additional information and pages he is directed to achieve his immediate goal, is a sales funnel.
Along this path, a large part of traffic that arrives on your site, will drop off in different points and in the final stage will arrive just a small part. This explains the form of the funnel, with a larger top and a smaller bottom.
Why does this happen?
There is a plethora of reasons – a bunch of them on your side like technical dysfunctions, incoherence between your ads and your landing pages, or reasons related to the customer. These could be: visitor is just looking for information, he is not looking to buy; the visitor is not aware he has a problem that your product/service could solve.
All that means that the visitor is not ready to buy yet, so, pushing him in a funnel to buy right away is simply not appropriate and will not bring the results you want.
The conversion funnels should be constructed as client centric. Their mission is to align customer’s needs with your needs, in a win-win manner. You need to polish continuously your conversion funnels to identify where the “breaches” are in these paths, fix them and anticipate the questions of a potential client and answer them even before he asks.
From your point of view, the main purpose of a conversion funnel is to translate as many as possible visitors into paying customers. This is why you need a conversion funnel.
Ok, and what’s next?
The number one question is how do you attract a larger part of these visitors to become customers.
Through lead nurturing. Meaning answering all the questions, doubts and concerns a potential client might have.
Why nurturing leads counts?
A research of Marketo confirms that 96% of visitors arriving on your site are not prepared to buy in that moment.
The reality is that leads which don’t convert at all are a burden on your marketing expenses, fact that propels leading nurturing among the top priorities of any business.
48% of businesses confirm that great part of their leads is involved in “long cycle” nurturing.
Businesses that best employ lead nurturing observe a 50% increase in sales and a reduction of 33% of costs.
Based on these numbers, the conclusion is obvious: users will trust and buy from you, only after you prove you pay great attention to and anticipate their needs.
So, how to create a sales funnel?
In order to simplify the process of creating your sales funnel you need to clearly establish some details like: what do you want to sell through the funnel? How do you want to sell the product? Where do you find the qualified traffic?
What product will your funnel sell?
If you have just one product/service, the answer is obvious.
If you have more, you should make a decision. Aim to build a funnel for a specific service/product not a general one. For instance, a writer should not consider building a funnel for “writing services”, but for “content marketing writing services for real estate industry”.
Being specific will facilitate your efforts in defining the stages of the funnel.
Take into consideration several criteria like:
· Popularity of a product/service
· Potential of that product/service to drive sales (a product that can lead to sell other products, or services that involve more work)
· Ease to sell
As general rule, a sales funnel should sell one product/service.
How do you sell the product/service? From where?
Depending of the specificity of your business the place where you place your pitch is different:
· Long form sales pages – for courses, conferences
· Pricing pages – for books, software applications, consulting services
· Product pages – for online stores
Where do you find the qualified traffic?
Firstly, you can count on the traffic you have for your site or your email list (if you have one). Your existing visitors already know about you and are already positioned somewhere inside the stages of the funnel.
Sources of qualified traffic are:
· Existent traffic
· Subscribers list
· Paid traffic through ads
· Partnerships with influencers and other specialists in your industry
Now that you have clarified the basics, start with defining the sales funnels’ stages:
The genuine art of converting means a flow and a funnel that doesn’t end with a sale. It’s a perpetual mission of reaching, keeping and increasing your buyers’ persona base, using technology, content marketing, social media, emails automation, etc. to satisfy better their needs.
It’s part of a broader marketing strategy that mixes lead nurturing, targets behaviors, uses retention tactics and in the end, obtains referrals.
Here are the stages of a conversion funnel and a relevant chart:
If you do a research, you will obtain various good-looking versions like these:
The sales funnels have a logical flow — they start with generating awareness for your brand and problems it solves, captures the interest of those users searching for a solution to such a problem, attentively guides the lead to a purchasing decision, and arrives in the final stage of taking action and buying.
To each of these stages you have to assign corresponding messages, that are buyer centric:
The question is: which is the awareness level of my prospect?
This stage is the first contact point, you have to present your business, your mission and your offer. You need to inform the users that you exist.
Most often this happens when:
* Traffic is redirected to your site from an advertising campaign
* Backlinks link to your site
* Your business is mentioned on a video, webinar or podcast
* Word of mouth is spreading – happy clients make advocacy for your business
* Search engines pop your business within organic search
The essential is that awareness emerges when your activity appears in front of potential leads in places where they spend time.
On his side the customer may find himself in, so called various stages of awareness, depending on the acknowledgement he has on his problem, existing solutions and the role of your brand.
The famous copywriter Eugene Schwartz pinpointed several stages of awareness:
Not aware: the user doesn’t consider he has a problem, nor is looking for a solution and knows nothing about your brand
Problem aware: the user suspects he has an issue, but no clue about a possible solution
Solution aware: the user knows his purpose, but does not know your brand can be a solution.
Product aware: the user is familiar with your business and brand, knows that you can offer a solution, but hasn’t decided that your product is his best option. User is considering various options.
Most aware: the user had decided in favor of your product and just needs to take action and buy.
How long is the sales funnel and how much you have to work to convince the potential client, depends highly on which level of the above spectrum he is. This refers to individual parts of the buyers’ journey and also to the whole funnel.
If the client is the “totally unaware” position of course the sales funnel will be longer and more convincing elements will be needed. The best case, from sales point of view, is the most aware position when the prospect is prepared to become paying client.
Depicting where the potential client is on his journey, will help you identify elements that the client responds favorably to and moves him a step further in the funnel.
From the very beginning is vital to know exactly (research is important) which are the pain points and desires of your audience.
At this point you have to indicate how your solution is a benefit for clients from various perspectives. Potential customers are in different stages of the sales funnel and a multi direction approach can help generate more qualified leads.
Here is an example from Self Publishing School:
Arrive on a sales funnel from a Facebook ad:
Or from an affiliate email:
You have to show a potential client which is the value you deliver and how are you going to do it. You need to put in front something that clients value, not what you consider they judge as valuable.
The question is: which problem fixes my product?
As general idea, what you sell is not the product/service itself, but its benefits, the improvements that it can bring into your clients’ life.
Thus, it is compulsory to clearly depict the problems and issues that your product solves for your client and how it will impact his life after such problems are eliminated.
Consequently, you have to do your homework and search in detail which are the pain points, desires, needs of your prospects, how they see your product, which issues appear while using it, which are their exact requirements, which are the messages that resonate better with your target audience.
Ask your clients, listen to them and also check on forums or question and answer sites like Quora to get some answers. Keen understanding of your prospects’ needs and behavioral targeting will support you in your endeavors. Remember: you encourage action to help your prospects solve their problems and in exchange you endorse your brand awareness.
Using the exact words that clients use to describe their situation proved to be the most reliable option, as it helps improving conversions.
Speak to your audience in their language with their own words about your offer, why is it valuable, how is it different from your competition, why is it a better alternative. Identify and answer to all objections and fears your buyer persona might have even before their questions pop up.
To generate a high converting sales funnel, you need to educate your audience concerning the benefits of your offer.
Craft informative articles on your blog, make video demonstrations, tutorials or testimonials to emphasize on the value you offer. Open up conversation, show your potential clients you are always open to discuss and listen to their problems and that you are easy to reach, that your actually care. Ask for feedback. Gain their trust.
Most often a clear sign of interest is subscribing to your email list. If a visitor of your site gives you his email, in exchange of a freebie for example, this is clear proof of interest.
Sparkling interest is crucial for migration on the next level of the conversion funnel.
Back to our example here is the excerpt from the long sales page.
The question is: What’s the leading need/desire that will make my prospect decide?
This stage relates to presenting prospects your offer in such a persuasive manner to make them decide if they buy or not.
The decision process is function of your prospects’ purposes and desires. Even if their problems and struggles are the ones that are requiring a solution, their emotional needs are the real trigger of the decision.
Your message, to be effective should appeal to these deep emotional needs, the benefits of your offer should deliver at this level. Something like “we are the best in the world” or “we save you money” is not relevant enough.
You have to dig deeper to find meaningful answers. A way to discover this is to ask why until there are no questions left.
Practically this is a sales process. There are infinite options to arrive in this stage. Some ways are:
* Registering to a webinar
* A long-form sales page displaying the benefits of your offer, touching emotional needs, showing social trust and testimonials
* Scheduling a free consultation where you speak about your offer
* An email series to warm the lead up for sale
The convincing work part from Self Publishing School, with testimonials for categories, answers, guarantee and frequent asked questions:
The question is: why is my prospect still hesitating? Are there still unsolved concerns?
This is the purchasing stage. Prospects arriving at this stage will split into two categories:
· Those that are ready to buy, act and become customers
· Those that are not ready to buy, and you need to nurture them further
Not all prospects arrived in this stage will buy, most of them will not, that’s the reality. They will still have hesitations, for various reasons ranging from not trusting you to not being really convinced they need your product. Whether you like it or not, your visitors will have hesitations about buying from you.
It will be your task to minimize these hesitations by displaying the expected information in the right phase of the funnel. And how do you find that? What to say in which stage? Well, customer research is here to help you discover what to say, when and also what makes your visitors stop and not act.
After passing through the above-mentioned stages, from informing clients about your business, from rising their interest to having them engage in some form with your brand, it’s the moment to ask for the sale.
Now, your prospects should be prepared to trust you and your business. Use powerful attention-grabbing calls to action in email, ads and sales pages. Offer incentives to urge the need of buying, like limited discounts (20% discount if your buy in the next 15 minutes) or free bonuses.
The client bought, end of story! Right?!
Wrong!! You should continue to engage your clients and transform them into evangelists of your offer.
And for those that finally didn’t buy, you have to continue your efforts by putting in place a marketing sequence. Send them a series of emails offering valuable information and propose another item from your sales funnels. Don’t waste such an opportunity!
The conversion funnels are in a continuous modifying cycle as clients modify their expectations and you should adapt your funnel to the new changing conditions. Improving user experience should be a top priority for you.
What will make your copy more compelling?
· Avoid ambiguity be clear and concise, people react better when they face known and calculated risks.
· Clear and common language is better than complex, people trust more what they can understand quickly.
· Short and sweet, stay focused and to the object.
Test Your Funnel
After creating and settling in your funnel, you should always be looking for ways to improve it. And testing is the best method to do that. Be aware that you should focus on each stage of the funnel, not just on the awareness one. Final buying stage is more than important also.
Since you may have multiple pages that need testing, you need to filter and prioritize them. Start with the best performing and improve them if possible. Take a look at the implementation necessities: Are they easy to do or challenging from technical point of view and require lots of time? Which is the conversion value brought by these modifications? How likely is to have more prospects that convert?
Provided that you choose which page are to be tested, they should go live and the results to be tracked.
Firstly, you have to set some realistic conversion goals and pick a tracking system, like Google Analytics. Analytics tracks the users on your site and provide a series of information like sources of visitors, how long they spend on your site, which country are they from, which device and browser they use to connect.
Tools like Google Analytics support you in testing, refining and optimizing your funnel.
Here you have it – a game plan to convert your next funnel into a journey that inspires your customers and multiplies your sales.