Sales Funnel Design - Sales Funnel Functions & Comparison To Websites & Landing Pages
Basics Of A Sales Funnel
A sales funnel (also known as a marketing funnel) is a series of ordered web pages that guide potential customers along a buyer's journey from the awareness to the conversion (purchase) stage. It represents the series of steps a user takes from becoming aware of a product or service all the way to 'converting' or becoming a paid customer, and eventually, a loyal customer and advocate of the business.
Website vs. Sales Funnel vs. Landing Page – Compared
A website is a set of related web pages, often including a list of products or services, contact information, and sometimes a blog. It is a company’s digital storefront and the site as a whole promotes the company's brand, products and services. It encourages visitors, via a navigation menu, to explore the site with the aim of converting them into buyers of the company's products and services.
A sales funnel is a series of web pages set up so that traffic flows linearly from one point of entry, through a set of steps, to a specific goal/action. This action may be to make a purchase, sign up for a free consultation call, register for a webinar, sign-up to a newsletter, or subscribe to a blog - the permutations are many and varied.
A funnel, whether it is a sales funnel, marketing funnel, or a general opt-in, is designed to guide visitors in a single direction through the buyer’s journey. They focus solely on the offer and move the visitor to act.
Although landing pages and sales funnels are similar in many ways and have the same conversion intent, a landing page is just a single web page designed for one marketing goal, whereas a sales funnel consists of multiple web pages that guide prospects through the buying process.
While a funnel and a landing page have one singular purpose, a website provides a general resource to anyone looking to find out more about a business and its products/services. Websites and funnels are perfect companions in the modern digital landscape. While websites may offer a variety of information geared toward different audience segments, funnels tend to be more end-user specific.
The ultimate aim of a website, a funnel, and a landing page is the same, and that is to convert site visitors into loyal customers and buyers of the company's goods and services.
An apt analogy is that a company's website is its digital storefront, its sales funnel/landing page is its digital salesperson.
Sales Funnel Design - The Stages & Their Components
Every customer journey starts at the top of the funnel, often called the awareness/discovery stage.
A potential customer has a problem or a need, and they are searching for a solution. They are searching for information, and that informational need can be addressed through blog posts, white papers, social content, or e-books which are usually located within the funnel. These are referred to as lead magnets, or high value offers. If the lead finds that information useful, they should then continue down the sales funnel to the evaluation stage.
The evaluation/interest/appraisal stage is mid-funnel which is generally the most critical part of the journey. This phase involves building and nurturing relationships with the lead prospect.
A buyer at this stage is evaluating their various purchase options and making decisions about what is the best option for them. Mid-funnel content should therefore be persuasive, educational, and targeted towards building trust between the buyer and the brand.
The most effective types of content for this stage in the buyer's journey are webinars, case studies, fact sheets, and expert guides usually contained within the funnel. The middle of the funnel content is more focused on specific problems and solutions.
The prospect should now have been nurtured, persuaded, and guided to the bottom of the funnel which is the purchase phase, or the confirmation/conversion stage. At this point a buyer needs to feel secure, confident, and justified in making a purchase. This can be achieved by the use of a compelling call-to-action, usually via a landing page, to further demonstrate the value and benefits of the offered product or service. Offering personalised demos, trial offers, or testimonial videos may further enhance and secure the purchase or commitment. The goal is to nurture and engage the customer, so that they commit to a purchase and, hopefully, remain a loyal customer and advocate for the lifetime of the business.
There are a variety of sales funnels, they are as varied as the potential customer base. Some site visitors purchase instantly, some take weeks or even months to decide. Some customers need many 'touches': sales calls, emails, video webinars, and blog articles in order for them to trust and understand the business before committing.
The type of sales funnel used will depend on the specific product or service offered, or the chosen business model, and not every prospect that enters a sales funnel will convert and purchase — leaks will occur and many prospects will leave the funnel before reaching the final stage. The goal of sales conversion rate optimisation is to fix the leaks in the funnel by redirecting customers to specific sales paths within the funnel based on their past actions and behaviours.
8 Examples Of Types Of Sales Funnel
There are many formats of sales funnel, here are eight of the most popular types of funnels that are in use today with examples.
1. Opt-In Lead Generation Sales Funnel - An opt-in funnel (aka a lead magnet funnel) is one of the most popular and simplest types of funnel. It involves offering a prospect something (a lead magnet) in exchange for their email address. The lead magnet may be an 'explainer' pdf document, a free guide, a report, or video, it is typically something tangible that the prospect receives for their email address.
2. Free-Plus-Shipping Sales Funnel - The free-plus-shipping model is a popular funnel type where the front-end product is offered for free and the shipping costs are paid for by the company. These types of funnels are very effective in attracting prospects, they are basically a type of loss-leader for future upselling of other profitable products.
Example of a Free-Plus-Shipping Sales Funnel and link to live site.
3. Self-Liquidating Offer Sales Funnel - The self-liquidating offer funnel delivers an inexpensive entry-level purchase opportunity that leads the target audience toward investing in one or more substantial purchases. The initial purchase typically covers ('liquidates') its ad campaign costs.
Example of a Self-Liquidating Offer Sales Funnel and link to live site.
4. Continuity Sales Funnel - The continuity sales funnel (aka a membership sales funnel) is a type of funnel for visitors to sign-up and pay regularly for access to content or a service. These types of sales funnel typically provide recurring income every month.
Example of a Continuity Sales Funnel and link to live site.
5. Webinar Sales Funnel - The goal of the webinar funnel is to build brand awareness, and to generate leads and make sales. Since webinars are in video format, they feel more personal to the people who are considering a product or service.The webinar funnel gives the seller more time to close potential customers at a higher price point, offering what might feel like a one-on-one interaction with each person in the viewing audience.
Example of a Webinar Sales Funnel and link to live site.
6. Product Launch Sales Funnel - The product launch funnel lets a seller build anticipation before a customer is allowed to buy a product. Small marketing 'previews' about the product are sent, usually at least a day apart, to build scarcity and urgency for the final day when the 'sales cart opens' and customers may buy for a limited time. A feature of the product launch funnel is the possibility of closing the cart after a few days, thus increasing the urgency to buy.
Example of a Product Launch Sales Funnel and link to live site.
7. Consultation Sales Funnel - A consultation sales funnel works for products or services that require a consultation with a potential lead before purchase, for example, personal training. Visitors are attracted to the registration page via the offer of a free consultation. On signing up a free one-on-one consultation is arranged via a phone or video call. After the consultation emails promoting the fully-priced products or services are sent to the prospect in the expectation of generating a sale.
Example of a Consultation Sales Funnel and link to live site.
8. High-Ticket Sales Funnel - A high-ticket sales funnel (aka an application funnel) is when a seller invites prospective clients to fill out an application form to see if they qualify for a product or service before making them an offer. This type of funnel is not concerned about the number of leads generated as it is with the quality of the lead itself. The funnel is used for focusing on leads that are a fit for specific higher-priced products and services.
Example of a High-Ticket Sales Funnel and link to live site.
A website acts as an introduction to a business’s brand, products, services, values, and capabilities. It encompasses all that a company has to offer, and it encourages visitors to explore and learn more throughout different sections of the site to, ultimately, buy the product/s or service/s on offer.
Sales funnels, on the other hand, are about focus rather than exploration. A sales funnel has precise stages that convert visitors into leads and then into paying customers. It does so by eliminating customer distractions by limiting and narrowing their action options within the sales funnel to just one action choice which is to purchase the product or service on offer.
Websites and sales funnels complement each other. A properly constructed website that guides visitors to act in a certain way is, in itself, a form of sales funnel. A sales funnel site can exist on a standalone basis, or it can be component part of a website. When done effectively, using websites and funnels in tandem can accelerate business growth.
However, a sales funnel is not the right choice for every business. Traditional websites are still the standard, and customers might be more at home on these types of sites. It all depends on the types of products or services a business is offering, its chosen business model, its marketing strategies and its target audience.