Have you ever typed in “Get more clients online” in the Google Search Bar? Well, chances are high that you have been advised to build a so-called “Sales Funnel” or “Marketing Funnel” in order to have heaps of traffic piling into your website and ultimately transforming into clients on auto-pilot at any given time. However, as much information there is about this topic, there also is a lot of misinformation going around, confusing its readers and dulling your results.
In today’s blog post, we are going to tend to these misstatements and inaccuracies and give you the full picture, so that you can build a Sales Funnel that will work for your business exactly!
What is a Sales Funnel?
So, before we dive into this head-first, let us just define what exactly a Sales Funnel is and what it helps you achieve.
In its most basic thought, a Sales Funnel is basically the representation of your customer’s journey to a completed sale. In other words, there are different stages a potential customer goes through before actually buying. Think awareness, consideration and conversion.
Source: weBOUND marketing
Through every single one of these stages, a potential customer has different intentions, needs and acts differently based on it. A Sales Funnel divides the customer journey into snippets, so that in every stage a customer can be tended to according to the specific expectations and requirements.
As we have already written a thing or two about Funnels, we are not going to go into depth right here. If you want to learn about Funneling from bottom to top, here are a few useful articles:
- Funnel Building is a huge topic. Start off by learning the basics: How To Triple Your Conversion With A Sales Funnel
- Funneling is not just for Online Businesses. Learn all about Funneling for a traditional business: The Ultimate Sales Funnel for Local Brick and Mortar Businesses
X Myths about Sales Funnels – Debunked!
Myth #1: Sales Funnels need to be long
In today’s society, there is a really strong urge to associate “bigger” with “better”. However, this really does not stand up to the reality. When setting up a Sales Funnel, there are a thousand and one different elements to try out and optimize with. Naturally, you like to give every one of them a try, learning what it does to your business. In the end, this could lengthen a simple, 3-step Sales Funnel to as many as 10 steps, making the whole process 3 times as long and much more complicated than needed.
While it might seem quite fancy to draw out a multiple step Sales Funnel, it actually is not necessary. Much rather, it might actually take a toll on your performance. Since you might end up optimizing for too many things at the same time, you are likely to feel confused as to which optimization led to which result. In addition to that, Marketing is its most efficient when made as simple as possible for the consumer. In other words, you have to reduce their thinking processes by reducing the options you give them. This is what differentiates a Sales Funnel from a traditional website and also what makes it so much more effective!
So most often, it is much better to stick to the KISS-Principle:
Source: weBOUND marketing
Put simply, the KISS-Principle encourages you to craft a process as simple as it can be without taking from the quality of it. Often, this is reflected as a reduction of (unnecessary) choices the consumer can take. This does not only result in a clean, easy to navigate Landing Page. It also shows the people in the Sales Funnel the exact path they have to take without any disorientation or interruption.
In this way, the KISS-Principle helps you to build a foolproof Sales Funnel, that makes it very difficult for its users to drop out or leave beforehand. In the end, this results in the maximum amount of people reaching the lower Sales Funnel Stages and, in turn, converting!
Myth #2: The shorter a Sales Funnel, the better
Just a few sentences ago, we were telling you to comprime your Sales Funnel as much as you can. Now, we are saying that a shorter Sales Funnel is not necessarily always the best choice. Possibly, you are thinking that we should make up my mind already. However, Sales Funnels are not as simple as they would be if they were determined by their length only. In reality, the quality of a Sales Funnel depends on a wide variety of factors, length only being one of them.
And in turn, the ideal length of a Sales Funnel is dependent on the following factors:
- The product you are trying to sell
- The target audience you are trying to sell the product to
- The price and quality of the product
- The customer journey you are trying to map out
- The brand-awareness
So while it is true that you should not draft a Sales Funnel any longer that it actually needs to be, you should also never minimize your Sales Funnel infinitesimally. This might lead to important steps of the Sales Funnel being determined as “non-necessary” and being neglected, while, in reality, they would be very much necessary for a potential client!
In the end, it all boils down to the point that, in a Sales Funnel, you need to give the users everything they need in order to transform from a prospect into a buying, returning customer. Not more than required, but most certainly not any less either!
Myth #3: Sales Funnels are only for Online Businesses and Coaches
“Aren’t Sales Funnels a thing for those americanized coaching-businesses, speakers or online businesses? Isn’t it too sales-y for our market?”” is something we regularly hear during Discovery Calls.
Most businesses treat their website like a business card, while it should rather be seen as the marketing and sales person of your company. In other words, your website is supposed to make an impression and sell for you 24/7, even when you are not there. Even worse, most companies have a conversion rate below industry standards without realizing it: A sales funnel can help to test and optimize each single page aside from your current website, no matter its status. But with communication channels arising it is crucial to have a system in place that helps converting traffic into leads or sales without being overwhelmed with communication and administration.
So the answer is Yes, even if you are a local Business, an Online Sales Funnel can be very much the deciding factor whether your business will still be standing in the future. Do not miss out on the power of the Internet and let potential clients find you online. And yes, this also applies to local (Offline) Businesses that do not even have an Online Store!
The only difference between an Online Business using an (Online) Sales Funnel and a Local Business is the usage of Digital Media. While an Online Business is more likely to have its full Sales Funnel automated online, an Offline Business’ Sales Funnel will often be a combination of the online and the offline world.
Source: weBOUND marketing
Going back to our Funnel visualization from the beginning, this could mean that a Sales Funnel starts online, e.g. to create awareness about the offline store and then slowly turns into an offline Sales Funnel by leading the prospects to the offline store, where they can experience the product and get advice from a Salesperson. In other cases, an Offline Business could use an Online Sales Funnel as far as to the “Consideration” stage. For example, by offering a discount online that can be cashed in a physical store or by booking a discovery call for a physical meeting.
As always, which Sales Funnel is ideal solely depends on your business, your products and your target audience!
Myth #4: Paid Traffic is a must for Sales Funnels
Another really big misconception about Sales Funnels is the thought that you need Paid Traffic in order to kickstart a Funnel. (Which I can already tell you, is not the truth!)
Almost no other traffic source is as predictable and as easily maneuverable as Paid Traffic, which usually makes it the obvious choice when it comes to choosing a traffic source for a Sales Funnel. Especially smaller businesses that might have just started out benefit from the rate at which traffic starts to drop in, once a few dollars are spent on Ads.However, even though it might be the obvious choice, it certainly is not the only one and other traffic sources can be just as good, if not better!
Other traffic sources for your Sales Funnel could be:
- Organic Search: Create SEO-optimized content that is filled to the brim with value
- Organic Social Media: Build a trustworthy online presence and establish relationships with your following. Think Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, etc.
- Q&A-Websites: Pose as an expert and link to your own sources
- An existing Email List: Send out a Drip Campaign to your Email List. This one works especially well for established businesses!
Find heaps of creative Traffic Sources here: 19 Ways To Generate Traffic And Brand Awareness For Your Business And Personal Brand
Myth #5: You need to be able to code
Building a Sales Funnel involves creating Landing Pages, linking to other websites and continuously optimizing these assets according to your analytics data. That sounds like an awfully complicated process, involving a lot of tech-y thinking and coding, am I right?
Well, we are glad to be able to lighten your spirits here. Because building a Funnel does not even have to involve a single line of code-writing! Over the past years numerous tools for Funnel Building that work in a modular building block system have been established. These simplify your life immensely by visualizing the process of your Sales Funnel and offering you certain blueprints.
When you are deciding for a tool, always make sure it includes these two things:
- A Drag-and-Drop Landing Page Builder so you can see the Landing Page you are building without having to code anything and by moving content blocks around .
- A visual, automated Sequence Builder, sometimes also referred to as blueprint. This will help you to line up your automated sequence, so that you can actually see which step of the Sales Funnel follows a previous step.
Still looking for the right tool to build your Sales Funnel? Check out these: ClickFunnels for Landing Pages and A/B Testing, Funnelytics for Blueprints and Optimization or Active Campaign for Email Sequences.
So for all of those people, that have not yet taken a step towards their own Marketing or Sales Funnel, here comes the enlightenment. In order to build a converting Funnel, there are only two things you need: A little bit of patience and Google! Furthermore, there already is a ton of content about Funnel Building out there. Think blog posts, videos, how-tos solely dedicated to teach you how to build a Funnel that converts using these tools.
Myth #6: Funneling is expensive
Often, this myth goes hand in hand with the previous one. After all, Funneling Tools do not come for free. However, these tools come at different features and price points. This means that by choosing only the features that you actually require, you will definitely not be spending heaps of money on building your own Sales Funnel!
As previously mentioned, when you are deciding which Funnel Building tool you settle on, make sure that it enables you to build a Landing Page, a Checkout Page, enables (basic) A/B testing as well as to trigger email sequences after a person has taken a specific action, e.g. opted-in. Sometimes this requires multiple softwares or one that is a bit more expensive. Tools like Zapier help you combine those GDPR-compliant and for free or a small fee, depending on how many automations you need.
Tools that include these three features start at about 58€ monthly, proving that building your own Marketing or Sales Funnel can actually be quite affordable!
Myth #7: Sales Funnel are One-Size-Fits-All
Have you ever heard about those funnel blueprints or “Done-For-You Funnels that have generated one million Euros and can give you the same results? All you have to do is download or rebuild it.” Unfortunately this is only half the truth. As much as Funneling-Gurus might tell you that there is a universal, One-Size-Fits-All Sales Funnel that will work for every product or service, every company and every target audience, is just simply a lie.
Over the past few paragraphs, we have introduced you into the nitty-gritty details of building the ideal Funnel and if you paid close attention, we always got around to the fact that while there are certain Funnel-blueprints that are likely to work in a wide variety of cases, there is no such thing as a “Alltime Funnel”! Because, if a Funnel is able to convert the traffic dropping in, does not entirely depend on the Sales Funnel itself. In most cases, other factors do not only contribute, but are also much more important. Think trust and brand value, the quality of your product, the validation of your offer or the type of target audience you have.
In other words: You can have the most beautiful landing page and perfectly aligned automations but if your targeting, copy, offer, payment process or customer service sucks, your results will too!
However, that is still not all! In the beginning, I mentioned that a Sales Funnel should not be seen as a one-time event. Ideally, once a customer has converted, said customer should be fed back into the loop within the right timeframe so that he will convert time and time again, resulting in a returning customer that feels connected to your business or product without feeling pushed. This is exactly where other factors, like customer service, customer relationship management and all the other parts of a functioning company step into the ring.
The ugly truth: In the end, a great Sales Funnel does not only depend on product, offer and objective, but is much more a reflection of the business itself and how unique or trustworthy it has been perceived by the consumer. If the customers don’t understand or trust you and what you’re offering or if you’re making it too hard for them to take action, then the best Sales Funnel will not result in expected conversions!
In the end, a Sales Funnel is nothing other than one string of the Customer Journey that you map out for your ideal clients. So, in turn, you should not only get a grip of the technical and strategic components of this topic. Much rather, you need to understand the psychology behind your customer and a Sales Funnel in order for it to be converting the way you have always wanted to.
Is there any question you have around Sales Funnels leave a comment down below and we will answer them as quickly as possible!
When networking wizard Bettina is not working on the next big idea, then she is focusing on how to constantly improve workflows, and systemizing the “stuff that is not so much fun but needs to be done”. She believes in giving and that being kind gets you a long way.
You might spot her as a keynote speaker, a guest lecturer at universities, or a mentor at StartupLive or Greenstart by Climate and Energy Fonds Austria.
Bettina describes herself as a foodie, travel addict, and her team sees her as a true leader, who always encourages everyone she is working with.