The Effective Sales Funnel

Sales Funnel
The Basic Sales Funnel

In order to be successful in any online business, including affiliate marketing, you have to be able to get people through your sales funnel effectively. We all get introduced to sales funnels daily through our interaction with print and video media. If you watch a commercial or read an ad you are at the top of that company’s sales funnel.

When building your business your success is determined, not only by getting clients into the top of your funnel, but by having a reasonable number travel all the way through to the end.

Part of the reason for the shape and the name of the funnel is due to the fact that many more people enter the large upper portion than finally make it to the bottom where the sales occur.

Your funnel might have more steps or levels in it, but I would like to cover the steps listed in the illustration. I feel that some of the finer breakdown of more complex funnels are properly covered in the four steps outlined in our illustration.

Awareness of your company.

Kayaker at Sunset
Beautiful awareness.

This is done through effective marketing. You have to let people know what you offer and how it will help them solve the problem they are trying to overcome. You can use a hard sell approach with a variety of hard hitting ads, or what has worked better for me, a softer educational approach.

This is often done through blogs, videos, newsletters, direct advertising, podcasts, or educational articles. These are all no risk offers to your potential clients. All they have to do is take the time to review the information you provide. If it is something that resonates with them they will continue their relationship with you.

Another step is to offer them some free content that applies to your product or service. In this instance, however, you offer them an ebook, pertinent reports, or any of the items listed above in exchange for their contact information.

This is considered a low risk connection for your client. They will be giving up their email address in order to review your content. In exchange you can send them information related to their interests.

Stone Arrow
Help people find their direction.

Don’t over do that part. Be gentle and only offer information that makes sense to their original interests. And always give them a way to opt out so they don’t feel trapped, spammed or harassed by your emails.

If your audience is looking for information to fix something in their life, giving them helpful information to do that will earn your trust and give them time to consider the product or service you have to offer.

Interest in your product or service.

This is driven by building the ongoing opportunities you provide through your awareness campaign. Though some will see your first ad or article and buy your product, most will take their time considering their options. If you keep your awareness options in front of them your name will be on their minds when they get to the next step.

Having a series of informational and educational pieces will help this step immensely.

Again, you don’t have to push hard, just keep your name in the front of their mind. You are developing a relationship with your audience. Make sure they find value in what you are sending to them.

Decision to pursue.

They now will decide what to do. Did you give them enough good information to choose your product or service? If so you will see them in the next step.

Though sales are your goal don’t be discouraged if your client decides to opt out. If you did the previous step well, you may hear from them in the future. They may also be telling others about you even if they decide to wait before they move ahead. Be sure you are giving them something to be happy to pass on or return to when they are ready.


Pondering your next move.
Help them decide their next move.

They will now choose what they will do. They may live without the solution, buy from you or buy somewhere else based on your educational material.

Again, don’t be discouraged if they don’t choose you. They have followed your blog or newsletter and they are still connected. The next step, not shown on this funnel, is where you will have another chance at a sale.

Follow up.

Keep on sending them pertinent information. In fact, do this even after they purchase from you. If you provide free, quality content, they will turn to you for information, education and a chance to see your additional products. Be sure you develop multiple, effective, related products so you can earn a customer who returns to you again and again.

For instance, if they like your free information, have a low-cost option that helps them further along their path. Use that option to let them know of the bigger, high ticket item that will help transform their situation and bring them the high level of success you both want for them.

When developing your sales funnel think of how you like to be approached when you are looking for solutions. You will have the best success in your business if you market to your clients in that way.

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