In this article, we are going to take a look at what makes a profitable sales funnel.
A sales funnel is how you present and sell your products to your audience and guide them through the process of buying what you have to offer. To be successful online you need to have a clear idea of what you want to achieve.
A sales funnel can be as simple or complex as you want, but you must always keep in mind your end objective. It is often said that all you need to do is put up a webpage, send traffic and the rest will take care of itself. Well, this is true up to a certain point, but if you want to build a sustainable business that will a steady income for years to come, you need to plan each stage carefully.
One of the biggest mistakes that I see is bad planning and lack of focus. It is all too easy to start something and then be distracted by the next shiny object. My advice is to plan and build your first funnel, build it, tweak it for maximum efficiency and then, and only then move onto the next project.
The biggest problem for most people is not having the confidence to even start. It stands to reason that if you never start anything you will never get results. I have coaching clients that have good ideas but never see them through. On the other hand, those that do, make a lot of money. Most of the ones that are the successsful start off slowly and as their knowledge and experience grow, they expand their business at an astonishing rate.
This article is a starting point that will show you the basics of what a sales funnel should be. It is not a tutorial on how to make webpages and set up autoresponders. It is an outline, or blueprint if you like, on how to structure your online business.
With that said, let’s get into it!
Step 1: Take Control Of The Buying Process
Most of the profits from Internet marketing come to those who own their own digital products and have complete control of their sales funnel. Although you can use affiliate products from other product creators, you won’t have any control over what happens when they buy. You will just be a middleman between the buyer and the creator. You will get a commission, which is on average 50% of the product price. This may be profitable for you depending on how much you pay for your traffic. On the other hand, if you own your product then you will get 100% of the sale which will give you more cash to promote your product.
You also need to consider, then when you promote an affiliate product, they are going to collect the customer’s email and promote more products to them for which you won’t earn any commissions. You are in effect building a list for them!
When selling a product, you must take into consideration the amount it costs you to get that prospect into your funnel, so the more profit you can make, the more you can afford to spend on driving traffic to your funnel.
Here is a basic sales funnel:
- A squeeze page to get a prospect’s name and email address.
- The main product offer.
- One or more upsells and downsells (often referred to as one-time offers or OTOs).
There are two main rules regarding sales funnels and corresponding upsells and downsells…
First – the one-time offers (i.e. upsells and downsells) relate to the main product offer in some way so that you add more value to the overall product offer.
Second – the one-time offers are optional purchases and NOT necessary to enable the main product offer to fulfill the value it is supposed to as described in the product’s sales letter.
Note: The more people you can get to buy your main offer, the greater the chance that they will buy one or more of your one-time offers since they have already purchased from you.
Step 2: The Squeeze Page
A squeeze page is just a Web page that offers the visitor something of value, such as a report on a specific topic of interest, in return for the person’s contact information (usually the person’s name and email address).
The information you provide in this free report should be useful to the person, but it should NOT include everything about the topic in question. If you include all of the information in that free report, they’ll have no reason to buy any of your related offers, which is exactly the ultimate goal you have in mind for them.
The idea behind the squeeze page is to entice the visitor to willingly give up their name and email address so that you can follow up with them later with other relevant and useful information. By doing this you can build a relationship with them and show that you are an expert in this industry or niche. Once the prospect is comfortable enough with you, they will likely make a purchase, thereby entering your sales funnel.
Step 3: Offer A Directly Related PAID Product
Research has shown that it takes at least seven contacts with a prospect before they are willing to buy something from you. Thus, you must contact the prospect by email to give them the link to download the free report offered on your squeeze page and to build up the relationship.
Good email marketing practices and building the relationship are key to making those sales.
You must provide more valuable information on the topic or subject in your follow-up emails to convince the prospect you are trustworthy and are respected in your field, eventually leading to him/her buying from you.
Don’t “hard-sell” in most of your follow-up emails; only “soft-sell” by providing valuable information about the topic, then adding a link to your main product page at the end of your emails.
Step 4: Now Is The Time To Slip In An Upsell or Downsell
After the prospect has turned into a customer by buying your main product offer, offer one or more offers designed to enhance the value of the main product offer, known as upsells and downsells.
Upsells are shown immediately after the main or previous product was purchased and are only available for that price at that moment; if the person leaves the page, the upsell deal is gone.
Downsells are shown immediately after an upsell offer is rejected; downsell offers are either the same upsell offer for a lower price or a slightly-reduced offer (one or more elements of the upsell offer is missing) at a lower price.
Upsells and downsells are not required to be purchased to get the value and benefits to the main offer; they are only optional purchases to enhance the value and features/benefits of the main offer. Having a combination of upsells and downsells in your sales funnels will increase the chances for conversions and additional profits.
Most Internet marketers make the bulk of their profits on the back-end of the funnel (i.e. upsells and downsells), not from the front-end of the funnel (i.e. main product offer).
Step 5: Set Up Your Autoresponder Follow-Up Sequence
A series of around seven email messages will be sent out over about a two-week period after the prospect has requested the free report from your squeeze page. The most convenient and easiest way to do this is to set up the email messages in your autoresponder; they’ll be sent out at pre-determined intervals automatically to the prospect.
- The first message should include a link to download the free report and ensure the prospect has downloaded.
- Subsequent messages should look to build the relationship, show the prospect you’re trustworthy and knowledgeable in your field to build trust with him/her and convince him/her that he/she should buy your main product offer.
Out of seven email messages, no more than two should hard-sell your product; the others should only provide additional valuable information and include a link to your main product offer’s sales page at the end of your message.
Step 6: Test To Make Sure Your New Sales Funnel Works
Testing to ensure your new sales funnel works before you present it to the public will ensure you don’t lose out on sales and new buyers to your email list. Losing customers you would have had if your sales funnel worked properly will result in the loss of present and future profits.
A non-working sales funnel will also cause you to lose credibility in the eyes of your prospects/customers/subscribers and fellow Internet marketers.
Go through the funnel yourself, use the $0 or $0.01 payment option in such platforms as JVZoo, ClickBank, WarriorPlus, etc. to ensure the funnel works as it should at every stage. Also get a friend or an experienced Internet marketer to test your funnel to ensure it works for them, but you must be sure the sales funnel works correctly before you present it to the public.
Step 7: Launch Your New Product
Set all price points to their proper values (especially if you were testing the funnel at $0 or $0.01) before you launch your product.
Start promoting your product via email marketing, forum marketing, social media, your blog/newsletter, paid advertising, and joint ventures. The key is to get the word out about your new product and let the world know that the problem or issue they are dealing with can be effectively remedied or solved by your product.
Use testimonials from beta-testers of your product and from owners of previous versions of the product on your site and in your promotional material to convince people of the quality of your product to boost sales. Don’t fake testimonials, they must be genuine or you could get yourself into trouble. Social proof through testimonials are very effective in boosting sales of your product.
Use Google Analytics or other analytics software to determine how well your sales funnel is turning prospects into customers and into repeat customers.
Analyze what parts of the sales funnel are performing as expected and those that are not. Make adjustments where necessary and re-test. Small changes in headlines and sales copy can make big improvements to your profits.
By following these simple steps you will be able to develop a successful and profitable sales funnel. Once you have your first funnel working and profitable you can build another and another. You will soon get to know what works and what doesn’t work. Building an online business does take some work and you have to stick with it, but if you do the reward can be huge.