A sales funnel is a great way to drive business to your website and ultimately make sales, but for people starting out, a sales funnel can be a difficult concept to grasp. It’s very easy to create a sales funnel; it’s very difficult to make that sales funnel work.

And that’s because people are often making mistakes and they don’t even know it.


They pay people to enter the sales funnel

One of the big things people do is pay people to enter their sales funnel. It makes sense that you have to drive people to your site to make a sale, but if you’re paying so much money to get people there and not turning those visitors into sales, then you’re losing in the end.

The thing about a sales funnel is that it looks just like a funnel. You put a lot of people in at the top (potential buyers) and lose some as you work down the funnel. At the end, where the sales happen, you have a very small percentage of the people making a purchase.

Paid ads on Facebook and other social media sites are a great way to drive traffic to your site, but if you’re only paying for ads to drive traffic, then you’ve lost the battle before you even started.


How good content can help

That’s why a sales funnel also relies on good content to back it up. A blog is a great way to create content that will ultimately drive organic traffic to your site. When you create blog posts and start to offer people real information, those posts start to appear in search engine results. Someone clicks on one of the links to your site and suddenly you’ve pulled someone into your sales funnel without the use of advertising.


They fail to sell the solution

When you’re making sales, you always want to be looking at things through the eyes of the shopper. The shopper has a problem and she wants a solution. You need to sell that solution.

If I’m shopping for a raincoat, the first thing I want to know is will it keep me dry? If I can’t find that right away, then I’m moving onto my next question, is it warm? These are must-haves in a raincoat. It’s only after I’ve decided if I like the product that I start looking at what color it is and what it’s made out of.

When you’re trying to sell people, sell the solution. Don’t sell the features unless they enhance that solution. This is all about what my product can do for you; how my product is going to make your life easier.


Using A/B testing can improve your funnel

A/B testing is a difficult concept to grasp if you’ve never done it before.

Optimizely has a great definition: “AB testing is essentially an experiment where two or more variants of a page are shown to users at random, and statistical analysis is used to determine which variation performs better for a given conversion goal.”

What A/B testing does is gives you solid data to back up a theory. Let’s say I set up two websites and the only thing I do differently is put a red link at the end of one website and a blue link at the end of another. After A/B testing, I can find out if more users like the red link or the blue link. I know the link color is important because it’s the only thing different from site A and site B.

No sales funnel is perfect, but it can get closer to perfect by testing new ideas and themes and seeing which ones work best.


They have a weak call to action

Never, ever leave someone guessing about what they need to do next. A lot of sales funnels fail because there’s no strong call to action; there is no strong language to push the site visitor to the next step. The call to action is what makes your sales, so it needs to be strong.


How do I make a strong call to action?

The site Louder Online sums it up perfectly.

The hallmarks of a good call to action are:

  • A sense of urgency that prompts a person to act immediately;
  • Direct instruction telling someone exactly what to do next;
  • It takes little to no effort or commitment. Don’t leave people worrying about the consequences of committing;
  • Use actionable language and make that language bigger, bolder or more colorful than the rest of the text on the site. You want to draw the user’s attention to those words.


They fail to keep an eye on their sales funnel

Perhaps the biggest mistake that a person makes is ignoring their sales funnel. Once it’s created, it’s tempting to just sit back and wait for the sales to roll in. The truth is, a sales funnel requires a lot of work and a lot of monitoring. There are constant tweaks and changes that need to be made. What works one day may not the next and you need to be on top of it or your funnel will stagnate.

For some more information on how to build a successful sales funnel, check out this previous post.


Written by Erika Towne