Sales funnels (a.k.a marketing funnels) are one of the core concepts of digital marketing. Sure, websites can get sales, but sales funnels can get MORE sales in a shorter period of time.
And who doesn’t want that?
Whether you’re a business owner or a copywriter, you should understand sales funnels… how they work, the different types of sales funnels, what works best and what doesn’t, etc.
A deeper understanding of sales funnels will help you effectively optimize landing pages, sales pages, email marketing campaigns, and Facebook ads.
In this blog post, I’ll help you understand how 6 and 7-figure business use sales funnels to maximize their revenue, increase profit, and get more customers!
Make sure you already know how to recognize and avoid cliché copy so you can start writing copy that actually sells!
What the Heck Is a Sales Funnel?
Sales funnels (a.k.a marketing funnels) act like a funnel that gets people who might be interested in buying your product, pushes them down by providing value and nurturing content, and eventually turns a portion into paying customers as they exit the funnel.
If you don’t get what I’m saying, see the image below:
According to Ryan Deiss, co-founder of Digital Marketer, sales funnel are a multi-step, multi-modality process that moves prospective browsers into buyers. The goal is to warm up cold prospects so they turn into leads and nurture leads so they eventually become paying customers.
Sounds freakin’ easy, right? But it’s not as simple as that!
You need to understand consumer psychology and the buyer’s journey… you need to know at what stage they currently are!
Are they even aware they have a problem?
Are they looking for a solution to a problem they already know they have?
Or are they comparing solutions and actually considering your product?
These are just some of the many questions you should be asking yourself when building and optimizing a sales funnel or writing copy for every piece of the sales funnel—landing pages, emails, sales pages, VSL’s, thank you pages, etc.
The 4 Stages of a Sales Funnel
Imagine King Leonidas leading (or rather kicking) people into your sales funnel…
Wouldn’t that be awesome?
Now, let’s move on to the core concepts of a sales funnel. There are four stages of a sales funnel that most, if not all, people go through before buying a product or service.
At this stage, you get cold leads from either organic or paid traffic (Facebook ads, Google AdWords, etc.) and this is where you start collecting email addresses and add people to your email list. Email lists are awesome, by the way, it’s like they’re giving you permission to send offers as long as they’re in your email list!
This is usually done by offering a lead magnet that interests your ideal customer. A lead magnet or bait is anything of value which is usually offered for free in exchange for someone’s email address. Sounds familiar?
Here are some examples of lead magnets:
- Case studies
- Online quizzes
- Newsletter signups
- Discount coupons
Once you turn a prospect into a lead (meaning they’re in your email list already), you’re good to move to the next step.
Note: There’s a huge demand for effective, high-value lead magnets. It takes tons of market research to know what your ideal customer wants so you can successfully attract people you want as customers and weed out people you don’t want as customers.
Now, through your email autoresponders, you begin catching and keeping your the interest of your leads. You can choose to tell stories that relate to their pains, problems, and desires. You can show them that there’s transformation at the end of your funnel.
You need to know how to nurture your leads so that they turn into warmer leads that are ready to buy your products… you need to connect the dots for them and let them know that the problems they are facing can easily be solved with whatever you plan on offering.
Most of the time, after prospects go to an opt-in landing page to download a lead magnet, they get sent a 1 to 2 week email nurture sequence that provides value and makes them more familiar with your brand.
Once they’re warm enough, you bring them to the next step…
Note: There’s a huge demand for email autoresponders as well! Clients are more than willing to pay high rates for emails that move effectively nurture cold leads—which they spent money acquiring—and turn them into hot, qualified leads. Selling is easier if you sell to warm traffic!
At this point, your leased are already aware of their problems and they’re looking to solve it. Now, though you’ll have the upper hand because you helped them identify their problems and provided value, it doesn’t mean that they will automatically choose you over your competitors.
There are a lot of factors that can influence a person’s buying decision and at this stage of the sales funnel, you need to prove to them that your solution is the perfect solution for them.
After warming up your leads, you send them to another page in your sales funnel. Usually, we send them to a sales page. Most of the time, you’ll be offering your core product or service, but there are times when you’d want to offer something that has a low commitment requirement.
You bring them to a sales page, long-form sales letter, or even a webinar to persuade them to take action now!
Not tomorrow. Not next week. Today!
You can retarget them and try to have them purchase again if they don’t buy today. But for the most part, you should make them take action as soon as possible!
And direct response persuasion technique will help you do that…
Note: Sales pages, long-form sales letters, VSL’s and webinars are super important to every sales funnel. Clients are willing to pay big money for sales copy that actually gets sales, so it’s really, really helpful to learn how to write these properly!
Last but definitely not the least, is the “Action” stage. This is where leads start taking action! In most cases, the action you want them to take is to buy your product or service.
Sometimes they buy right off the bat as soon as they finish reading your sales page—or sometimes even without reading half of what you’ve written. They’re now paying customers!
Awesome sauce! But do you stop there?
The answer is a big, resounding NO.
You send them offers as soon as they purchase, while they’re still in the buying mode. Don’t agree with me?
Why do you think supermarkets place products beside the cashier? Was there ever a time when you took one from that specific shelf even if you thought you’ve bought everything you need?
You just fell for an old-school psychological trick. People tend to buy stuff they don’t actually need as long as they’re in the buying mode. Works just as great on sales funnels as well!
So after someone purchases, we usually send them another offer…
…an upsell (more expensive offers or add-ons)
…a cross-sell (one of your products that they might be interested in but is not relevant to what they bought)
…or a downsell (a cheaper, more flexible version of your offer)
All of these act as “profit maximizers” which maximizes the profit you or your clients get from customers. This is one of the most important strategies that digital marketers and entrepreneurs use to build 7-figure sales funnels!
Note: These are just the basics of sales funnels. There are advanced sales funnel strategies that can up your game and help you turn “struggling” business into “7-figure” businesses with the right implementation and some kickass copy.
Why Copywriters Should Study How Sales Funnels Work
Yeah, yeah. I know. You’re a copywriter and everything I’ve discussed in this blog post so far is “irrelevant” because you’ll only write what clients ask you to write.
I see two key benefits of a copywriter learning how sales funnels work:
- It helps with CRO (conversion rate optimization)
- Sales funnel strategy can be sold as an add-on premium service
Understanding sales funnels can help copywriters create copy that converts better…
Having a basic—or even an advanced—knowledge on sales funnels will help you figure out at what stage your audience is currently at, what questions might be in their mind, and what kind of persuasion to use to convince them to take action.
This will help you follow their train of thought and help you create a smooth journey from prospect to lead to paying customer. It eliminates redundancy and prevents your audience from thinking “what the hell are you saying?”…
So if you want to write high-converting (or higher converting) copy, you should know how sales funnels work!
Copywriters can charge extra for a sales funnel strategy…
Let’s face it. Not all clients you meet have their marketing figured out. Most of the time, they’ll be asking copywriters they hire questions about their poorly constructed sales funnel. And if you keep saying, “What the heck? I know nothing about sales funnels…”
That’s a missed opportunity to provide value to your client—and earn more, of course. Having a basic understanding of sales funnels can help you make your copy convert better. You can suggest a simple strategy that turns prospects into leads and leads into paying customers.
The best part is that clients will most likely hire you to write all the copy!
High-Level Sales Funnel Strategies Changed My Entire Business
One of my secrets to never running out of work is upselling. Since I’ve studied and implemented a lot of high-level sales funnel strategies, it’s easy for me to spot holes in any business’ sales funnel.
I usually start working with a client on just one small project. Then, after submission—that’s when I make recommendations! I go through their entire sales funnel and tell them about some leaks in their sales funnel and how I can stop the leaks with my insane (lol) copywriting skills and high-level sales funnel strategy.
I end up working with clients on every piece of copy they need for their sales funnels!
The best part? This can definitely work for you too!
Author: Raffy Marabut
Raffy Marabut is a freelance direct response copywriter. For years, he has been helping clients get more leads, customers, and sales with direct response copy that converts. Raffy is also the founder of Copywriting Dojo, the Philippines’ first community for copywriters and he trains people in the art of direct response copywriting.