Implementation of Sales Funnel Using Real Business Examples
Building an online business can get quite complicated—there are so many details and variables to sort out. But there are some pure, underlying constants that we can all cling to for comfort and stability. Case in point: the sales funnel.
All successful marketers use some form of this powerful tool, guiding all of the tactics they implement.
The sales funnel is the secret ingredient behind just about every successful online marketing strategy. It helps marketers bring clarity to their operations and scale their results.
At the top of the funnel, you start with a large number of visitors—people who have just visited your site for the first time and are learning about your offerings.
The fact is, no matter how many people you attract to your site, most of them won’t be interested in making a purchase. Many will never make a purchase, while a few may be interested in making one later on.
The Buyer Pyramid
Marketers call this the “Buyer Pyramid,” or the “3% Rule.” You can hear sales expert Dan Lok explain the entire concept in the video below:
In the simplest terms, the 3% rule says that only 3% of your visitors will be ready to buy at that moment, while 7% may be interested in the near future. The other 90% aren’t interested at all, or could be interested if you nurture them with the use of educational content.
Marketers are aware of this fact, and that is why their efforts are geared toward making people take one step further to the middle of the funnel, instead of looking for a sale right away. In the middle section, you educate people so they know your organization—your products and services—can solve their problems.
The final step of the funnel, known as the “bottom of the funnel,” is made up of an even smaller number of people who are now interested in making purchases, but need a final nudge. This nudge could be in the form of a sales call, a proposal, an FAQ, or some combination of tactics.
Because most of the people who start a sales journey will leave as they move through the process, we get our characteristic funnel-like shape.
The length and complexity of each step changes, depending on the company’s business model. For example, an eCommerce store owner may find that its funnel consists of the following three steps:
- Top of the funnel: A visitor checks an eCommerce page.
- Middle of the funnel: A visitor adds a product to their cart.
- Bottom of the funnel: A visitor adds their paying information and makes a purchase.
A consultant, on the other hand, may see their funnel looks something like this:
- Top of the funnel: A visitor checks their services page.
- Middle of the funnel: A visitor contacts the company for more information.
- Bottom of the funnel: A visitor jumps on a sales call.
At each point in a funnel, the marketer will have to work on making sure the people who are truly interested in their offerings move successfully down the funnel.
How to Build a Sales Funnel Fast
You’re stoked now, right? You want to create a sales funnel now — and fast. Don’t worry. It’s not as difficult as it might seem.
Step 1: Analyze Your Audience’s Behavior
The more you know about your audience, the more effective your sales funnel becomes. You’re not marketing to everybody. You’re marketing to people who are a good fit for what you sell.
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Where do they click? When do they scroll? How much time do they spend on a particular page? All of these data points will help you refine your buyer personas.
Step 2: Capture Your Audience’s Attention
The only way your sales funnel works is if you can lure people into it. This means putting your content in front of your target audience.
Take the organic route and post tons of content across all of your platforms. Diversify with infographics, videos, and other types of content.
If you’re willing to spend more cash, run a few ads. The ideal place to run those ads depends on where your target audience hangs out. If you’re selling B2B, LinkedIn ads might be the perfect solution.
Step 3: Build a Landing Page
Your ad or other content needs to take your prospects somewhere. Ideally, you want to direct them to a landing page with a can’t-miss offer.
Since these people are still low in the sales funnel, focus on capturing leads instead of pushing the sale.
A landing page should steer the visitor toward the next step.
You need a bold call to action that tells them exactly what to do, whether it’s downloading a free e-book or watching an instructional video.
Step 4: Create an Email Drip Campaign
Market to your leads through email by providing amazing content. Do so regularly, but not too frequently. One or two emails per week should suffice.
Build up to the sale by educating your market first. What do they want to learn? What obstacles and objections do you need to overcome to convince them to buy?
At the end of your drip campaign, make an incredible offer. That’s the piece of content that will inspire your leads to act.
Step 5: Keep in Touch
Don’t forget about your existing customers. Instead, continue reaching out to them. Thank them for their purchases, offer additional coupon codes, and involve them in your social media sphere.
Examples of How Sales Funnel Looks Like in Real Life
As explained before, a sales funnel will vary for each company, based on their industry and business model. That means:
- Foundr has its own sales funnel built around digital courses.
- Hubspot has its own sales funnel for its software.
- King Kong has its own sales funnel for its agency.
- Soylent has its own sales funnel for its eCommerce store.
While all of these companies are very different from one another, their funnels all share a similar structure, starting at the top of the funnel (also known as TOFU), moving on to the middle of the funnel (also known as MOFU), and finishing at the bottom of the funnel (also known as BOFU).
Let’s take a look at some examples of real-life sales funnels for each of these businesses.
Top of the Funnel (TOFU)
The top of the funnel is where you attract a wide audience of potential prospects to your site. The goal is to build brand awareness and solve problems for your visitors without focusing on your offer.
There are many marketing tactics you can leverage in order to attract people at this stage of the funnel, the most common being:
- Blog content (articles, guides, tutorials)
- Social media content
You can then distribute this content organically, through Google search results, platforms like YouTube and iTunes (for your podcasts), and your social media following.
And if you’re looking for more traffic, you can certainly pay for it. Google has a large advertising network known as Adwords, which can help you do just that. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and LinkedIn also have ad networks you can leverage to drive more traffic to your site.
Your top-of-the-funnel content should educate your audience on a need or pain point they’re struggling with. At this point, the job isn’t to generate sales, but to build trust and goodwill through the content you publish.
All the companies mentioned above, and all those with successful sales funnels in place, create content and distribute it to drive traffic into their funnels.
In fact, this article itself is an example of the top of the funnel. The same can be said for all the content on our blog.
Similarly, Hubspot leverages its blog’s content and distributes it through social media accounts, which helps to drive more traffic to its site.
King Kong, one of Australia’s fastest-growing digital marketing agencies, leverages a mix of blog content with videos to generate awareness and build its audience.
Neil Patel one of US leading SEO and marketing expert creates daily youtube videos as well as writing blog contents weekly, he has a podcast as well, and one of his biggest means of generating top of the funnel qualified visitor is through is tool know as Ubersuggest
Even if your audience is small, if you’re working to drive traffic to your site and help people, you’re on the right track to having a successful sales funnel.
Middle of the Funnel (MOFU)
The middle of the funnel is the stage when your visitors become leads, something that happens when they hand you their name, email, and other personal information in exchange for something valuable you offer them.
Often a piece of content, this offer must be gated—that means, it’s behind some type of form that requires them to give you their personal information. The product you offer might be an ebook, a webinar, an email course, or something else.
At this stage in the funnel, you continue engaging and educating your leads further, helping them with their problems and needs. The piece of content you offer them, however, must be related to what you offer as a paid solution to their problems.
Here at Ecagon, we use webinars and Email Sequences to engage and nurture our audience to make a buying decision, by providing them educational contents they can apply to their businesses and start seeing visible results.
At Foundr, they use masterclasses to educate their visitors and help them launch their eCommerce stores, consulting businesses, and more.
While the masterclass on its own can help entrepreneurs launch and grow their online businesses, the course that is tied to the masterclass can help even further.
Another company – Hubspot offers a wide range of free content, including ebooks, webinars, quizzes, and much more:
Agencies can use the same mix of varied content to convert their visitors into leads. Single Grain, a digital marketing agency, uses a mix of ebooks with tools and webinars to help their visitors:
Marketers also use automated email campaigns to continue communicating with those people who still don’t convert based on the offer made at the end of the content piece. Some of these people will need a final nudge which will come in the next step of the funnel.
Ecommerce stores often take a different approach. Instead of offering ebooks and webinars, one of the most popular tactics eCommerce store owners use in the middle of the funnel is product reviews—their own or third party.
Tactics, a skateboard store, has created dozens of videos showcasing its products on YouTube and its own site. This type of content helps visitors understand more about their products and see how they look and work in real life.
Gretta van Riel, founder of several multimillion-dollar eCommerce stores on the other hand, famously leveraged the use of influencers to promote her products.
Influencer marketing works because people trust other consumers more than marketers. By partnering with influencers—people who have large social media followings or high engagement around relevant niches (fitness, travel, etc.)—eCommerce marketers can communicate to potential customers their products’ effectiveness.
The middle of the funnel is the bridge between your visitors learning about solutions to their problems and becoming customers. Your job is to continue building trust and goodwill so those who’re getting ready to purchase will end up doing so in the next and final step of the funnel.
Bottom of the Funnel (BOFU)
By the time a lead reaches the bottom of your sales funnel, you’ve helped them learn more about their problems, understand the potential solutions, and how your company could be a potential partner in those solutions.
The bottom of the funnel content is tailored to helping your leads make the leap and become customers. They’re on the verge of making a purchase, so you need to help them overcome any objections.
Your content should specifically address their pain points and concerns, helping to motivate them to go over the threshold of making a purchase.
The types of content that you can use in the bottom of the funnel include:
- Case studies and testimonials
- Product tours and demos
- Trials, free consultations, and samples
- Live chat (this isn’t content per se, but it does help with conversions)
As you can see, most of these content types focus on closing the potential objections the lead might have about your offer. Your goal is to reassure them that their purchase decision will be the right one.
Most software companies offer demos and trials, so their leads can try their products for themselves and see how they work.
Agencies use a mix of free consultations, case studies, and guarantees to help lower the objections their leads have.
King Kong has used all of these tactics to close its leads. Its most famous tactic for SEO service, however, is a guarantee of rankings—a hard task to achieve, but one that has shown to be incredibly effective as attested by Sabri, the agency’s owner.
Ecommerce stores, in contrast, use a mix of free return guarantees, testimonials, and security badges in their checkout pages to reduce the number of doubts customers may have.
Remember that at this stage, the lead is almost ready to buy; all you have to do is answer their objections and motivate the lead to convert into a customer.
Measuring the Success of a Sales Funnel
Your sales funnel might need tweaks as your business grows, you learn more about your customers, and you diversify your products and services. That’s okay.
A great way to measure the success of your sales funnel is to track your conversion rates.
For Example: How many people, for instance, sign up for your email list after clicking through on a Facebook Ad?
Pay careful attention to each stage of the sales funnel:
- Are you capturing the attention of enough consumers with your initial content?
- Do your prospects trust you enough to give you their contact information?
- Have you secured purchases from your email drip campaign and other marketing efforts?
- Do existing customers come back and buy from you again?
Knowing the answers to these questions will tell you where you need to tweak your sales funnel.
Embrace the Sales Funnel!
The sales funnel is a powerful tool that pretty much all marketers use to unlock business growth. They’re hidden behind a wide range of marketing tactics, but they’re there, bringing people to their sites and helping them generate sales.
Now that you’ve seen the real-life application of sales funnel in Top Businesses
Think about the sales funnel in terms of your own business, using the examples you see here.
How are you driving traffic to your site? And how are you communicating with the people who don’t convert right away? And what about those who are almost ready to buy but haven’t crossed the finish line?
Where does your own sales funnel need work? How can we help you improve it? Let us know in the comments.