Here at Intentionally Inspirational, we’re in the business of creating sales funnels.

To me, it sounds really cool when I say it because who doesn’t want sales funneling into their business from all reaches of the internet. Raise your hand. But for a lot of business owners, the idea sounds abstract. The sales funnel is a term that’s pretty tough to define.

So let me help.

What is a sales funnel?

According to the site Digital Marketer, you probably have a sales funnel and you don’t even know it.

Basically, a sales funnel is a process that’s in place to, “…acquire new prospects and leads. Convert those leads into buyers. Get those buyers to buy more or buy more often (or both)!”

You can call it a funnel or a pipeline or a sales plan, but it all serves the same purpose. You want to attract more potential customers to your business and then you want those visitors to buy and you want them to keep coming back for more. It’s a process that business owners have been working with for centuries and I don’t see it changing anytime soon.

How do I create a sales funnel that works?

The point is, whether you realize it or not, you already have a sales funnel in place, now you want to make sure that it works.

Step 1: Draw in the Customer

The first step to any successful sales funnel is getting the customer to notice you. The goal is to get that person to visit your website.

One of the best ways to do that is to create something that will attract and then educate them.

I say attract because you want to create something that will make them click on your link. You want to answer the question that the reader has been wondering about or solve a problem that they want a solution to. That’s how you’re going to attract them to your media post.

Once they arrive, you have to educate them. You need to have a post or a video that’s so well-crafted that they do not leave with any questions except, how can I learn more? The goal is to make the visitor feel like you’re the go-to source for information.

When those two items are done, you then have the ability to advertise the heck out of your media. You can post it on Facebook, link it on Instagram, tweet it out and email it out to your current client list. The goal is to get it in front of the eyes of as many people as possible.

Think about your sales funnel as an actual funnel, you want to pour as much into it at one time as you can. In this case, that means you want people and lots of them.

Step 2: Get that contact information

The next step is finding a way to connect to your potential client frequently. Right now, they’re contacting you by visiting your website and looking at your media. You want to find a way to contact them directly. This usually works by getting their email address.

There are a lot of ways that you can do this. There’s the pop up on the landing page that asks them to opt-in to emails. Then there’s the slyer version. This one offers them something for free, such as an ebook or a checklist or a form. Once the user clicks on it to download, all they have to do is enter an email address to access it.

Suddenly, you have a new person on your email list.

Step 3: Take action

Once you get that contact information, you need to make sure that you use it. The only caveat, do it slowly. Make an offer to first-time customers. Shipping on your first purchase is free or get 20% off your first order. The idea is you want that person to test you out with a low cost buy, so they can see how wonderful you are.

You can make that offer through the email address you just collected.

Step 4: Build a relationship

It’s possible that the person didn’t take the bait and they didn’t buy anything. That’s okay. Maybe they opened the email. Maybe they clicked on the link but didn’t buy.

The whole point of a sales funnel is that you are funneling the person to the endpoint, the actual purchase. Continue to make contact and continue to lay the groundwork of the relationship. By putting yourself out there in his inbox, you’re putting yourself in his line of sight. He’s starting to recognize your brand and your company name. If you’ve laid a proper foundation, then he’s warming up to what you’re saying.

Think about it this way, even though you drink Coca-Cola and you have for years, it hasn’t stopped Coke from advertising. That’s because constant advertising serves a dual purpose for Coke. It helps Coke warm up the customers who haven’t tried it yet and keep warm the customers that already have. How many times have you watched a Coke commercial on a hot day and thought, “Gosh, I could really go for a Coke right about now.”?

Remember, every customer is different. For some, it’s just a few words and they’re ready to click that buy button. For others, it takes a lot more work. Just know that once it’s in place, a properly run sales funnel will help guide customers to that final sale.

To learn more about sales funnels and how to apply them in your business, check out these world-class sales funnel resources that we use and endorse!

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Written by Erika Towne