The Definitive Guide on How to Create a Sales Funnel

The Definitive Guide on How to Create a Sales Funnel

No matter what you sell, getting prospective customers to buy doesn’t happen in an instant.

Instead, the sales process unfolds in stages: Warming up cold prospects to the idea of spending their hard-earned cash on your products and priming them for purchases in the future.

Unfortunately, in today’s climate of low trust and fierce competition … that’s no easy task.

In fact, if you’ve ever sold a product or service, you already know how frustrating and painful creating a genuinely valuable offer can be only to have it disappear into the wasteland of failure.

That pain is only intensified if you spend money on marketing and advertising with little to no return on investment (ROI).

The antidote to this pain — and the secret to unlocking success — lies in creating a sales funnel built around five stages. In other words, using a proven template that’s not just easier and faster … but converts like wildfire.

Fair warning: This article is long. Of course, that’s only right with a topic as powerful as sales funnels.

To help guide you, we’ve boiled it all down into a single template and 10 point checklist you can grab right here — think of it as your fast-track cheat sheet …

What is a Sales Funnel?

Answering the question, “What is a sales funnel?” is no easy take (that’s why we wrote an entire article on the subject). By way of offering a simplified definition …

A sales funnel is a marketing strategy designed to turn cold prospects into long-term customers by funneling them through five stages. The “funnel” metaphor means you’ll begin with a large audience of prospective buyers that will eventually pare down to a smaller group of highly-targeted, high-value customers.

The final goal is not to make a sale, at least not a single sale. Instead the goal is create returning customers with life-time value.

Breaking the buyer’s journey down into smaller steps (i.e., stages) allows you to be more precise about how and when you present offers.

For a small business owner, you may start with only one or two products. For a large B2B company, you may have numerous offers fueling lead generation and nurturing new leads through the sales cycle, sales pipeline, or sales team.

Suddenly, everything can feel complex. For the sake of simplicity …

Think about ordering at a McDonald’s. If you order a hamburger, you’re asked if you’d like to add cheese. Order chicken nuggets and you’re asked if you want fries with that. Order a combo meal and you’re given the chance to make it a large or “supersize.”

Then, think about McDonald’s new mobile app and its product-specific loyalty programs, like McCafe Rewards:

Every offer is actually a series of offers designed to increase purchase size as well as drive subsequent purchases.

At the biggest of big picture, funnels are usually divided into three parts:

  1. Top of the funnel (ToFu): Target audience
  2. Middle of the funnel (MoFu): Potential customers
  3. Bottom of the funnel (BoFu): New and existing customers
Don’t let top of the funnel, middle of the funnel, and bottom of the funnel confuse you. Later on we’ll unpack AIDA and then reveal the five stages that truly matter!

On some level, this funneling occurs even if you don’t have intentional sales funnel stages in place. By taking a templated approach — especially if you’re growing an online business — you’ll dramatically increase the number of customers you end up generating.

The key to an effective sales funnel: Engage with and provide increasing value to your prospects throughout each stage.

No matter how simple or complex, the fact is sales funnels work when they’re built according to certain universal principles. Case in point:

  • 87% of consumers choose to do business with vendors who provide valuable content at all stages of the buying process
  • 63% of consumers need to hear a company’s value proposition(s) 3-5 times before they trust these claims
  • Nurtured leads make 47% larger purchases than non-nurtured prospects

In addition to top, middle, and bottom, sales funnels have traditionally been structured around four stages known by the acronym …

AIDA: Awareness. Interest. Desire. Action

The AIDA model was developed in the late 19th century by advertising and sales pioneer Elias St. Elmo Lewis. And, it has become the backbone of almost every successful advertising and marketing campaign since.

Why is it so successful?

AIDA takes potential customers through the emotional journey of making a purchase — guiding the buying decision from initial attraction to taking action.

1. Awareness

Sometimes referred to as “attention,” the first stage of the sales funnel is where a brand catches the eye of new audience members via marketing content and/or a valuable baseline offer.

2. Interest

Here, the brand will begin to forge a deeper relationship with their prospects, becoming more actively involved in learning about their goals and/or problems. In doing so, you can begin providing preliminary solutions, allowing them to experience “quick wins” — and become more engaged.

3. Desire

Consumers who reach this third stage have become convinced that they do, in fact, have a larger problem that needs solving. Moreover, they’re coming around to the idea of making a purchase to solve said problem. At this point, the brand showcases how their premium offering can be of service.

4. Action

The final stage of the sales funnel has prospects deciding to purchase (or not purchase) the brand’s premium product or service. You’ll need to reinforce the value of your offer — as well as the downsides of not making a purchase.

These stages describe the general process all of us go through — as well as some general action steps you should take to keep their prospects moving further in the funnel.

Depending on what you’re selling and who your target audience is, you’ll want to tailor each stage of your sales funnel(s) accordingly.

(Yes, you absolutely can have more than one funnel in place at a given time. This will become more clear in a bit.)

AIDA is a great starting point, but there’s a better way …

Sales Funnel Stages Explained: The 5 Stages of Filling Your Sales Pipeline

Though similar in appearance and structure, our approach  — based on the work of Russel Brunson — differs from the common AIDA model:

The key difference involves getting prospects actively engaged with you at every stage of the process.

Whereas AIDA has the company giving, giving, giving until a prospect converts, Brunson’s funnel has both parties engaged in a process of give-and-take throughout. This version elicits smaller conversions from the target consumer along their path to purchase.

It’s called the value ladder and its steps are a direct reflection of the funnel stages:

We might even say that each stage of the sales funnel (bait, frontend, etc.) contains a “mini funnel” within itself. Let’s take a look at how to make this happen.

Know Thy OfferPre-Stage: Know Thy Offer(s)

First things first, you’ll want to define everything you’ll be offering your customers as they move through your funnel, from bait to backend.

Before digging into each section, look at your overall sales funnel in its entirety with the end goals in mind.

This pre-stage step is vital to success. If you don’t know what you’re offering your customers at different points they won’t exactly have good reason to keep going.

You also want to determine how you’ll connect each subsequent offer within your funnel. The idea is to use your lower-tiered offers to prepare customers to get full use out of the next product or service.

Think of it like: “Okay, you’ve experienced great success with Product A — now let’s supercharge this success by implementing Product B into the mix.”

(Again, if “Product B” doesn’t build on “Product A,” your customers may not have much reason to move to the next stage.)

While your customers will, of course, experience your overall sales funnel in stages, you need to have a clear blueprint in place for how and why they’ll move through it on their way to your most valuable offering.

TrafficStage 1. Traffic

Not all traffic is created equal: Be laser-focused on how your target audience enters your sales funnel.

This preliminary stage is a sort of “controlled awareness,” in that you want to be intentional who you bring into your funnel — in turn allowing you to avoid attracting poor-quality prospects.

This stage of the process, then, involves optimizing the ads, content, and affiliate sources you use to drive traffic to your funnel. Think about:

  • Where your high-value prospects “hang out” on the web
  • What social networks and/or content they interact with
  • What free or lower-cost offers get them to take initial steps with a new brand

Needless to say, if you aren’t sure how to get brand new customers interested in even your lowest-tier offers, there’s no way you’ll be able to get them interested in your big-ticket items or services.

But, by meeting your target audience where they are (and where they’re comfortable engaging with your brand), you can get them to enter your funnel on their terms — and get them on track toward where you want them to be.

BaitStage 2. Bait

A lead magnet offered either for free or at a very low cost to the prospect.

Some clarification here …

While “Bait” is a stage of the overall sales funnel, each “mini funnel” will require the use of some kind of low-risk offer to hook your prospects and get them to engage further.

At the lower tiers of the value ladder, bait may come in the form of free content, webinars, a course delivered as an email sequence, or product samples. At the higher tiers, break-even offers — meaning, you intentionally won’t make a profit on the sale but will make a profit as they continue through your funnel — can be used to keep the customer engaged and ready to move forward.

If you give something away for free now, you’ll have primed the recipient to make a more valuable purchase at some point in the near future — which is where the real money is to be made. You can even operate at a loss for bait offers, as long as the next stages in your funnel are ready to step in to sell at a profit.

You’ll also be able to funnel out those who don’t take you up on your bait offer. After all, those who aren’t interested in your low-risk offers likely won’t be looking to purchase your big-ticket items.

Front End OfferStage 3. Front End Offer

A low-price and low-risk offer that provides value to new customers, allowing them to solve surface-level issues with minimal investment.

Once your prospective customers have taken you up on your bait offer, you’ll want to send them directly to a landing page or squeeze page showcasing your “leveled” premium offer. (You can also — and should — simultaneously follow up with email offers; a practice known as “funnel stacking.”)

Here’s where the stakes get a bit higher for your business …

Those who see this sales-focused content have been pre-qualified (via your bait offer) — meaning they should be interested in the premium product or service you have for them at this point.

That is, if you’re able to keep their attention and effectively communicate the true value of your offer. You can make this happen by optimizing the various elements of your squeeze page …

Squeeze Page Copy

Copy — that is, the words themselves — needs to quickly communicate the value of your offer and prime your audience to take immediate action.

This can be done by adhering to the following checklist as you create your squeeze page copy:

  • Let your brand personality come through (be a relatable character)
  • Tailor the message to your audience
  • Shorten sentences and paragraphs, but provide MORE depth
  • Write at or below a 6th grade reading level
  • Use bullet points or numbered lists
  • Include a subheader or image every 200-300 words

In short: Speak directly to your target audience — and don’t over-complicate your message.

MIG Soap’s 14 Day Challenge shines on all these fronts:

The easier it is for your audience to recognize the value of your offer, the more likely they’ll be to take you up on it.

Squeeze Page Images and Videos

Words are the backbone of your squeeze page. But, content can take a variety of forms:

  • A backstory video showcasing what your brand is “all about”
  • A demonstration (or, explainer) video showing your product in action
  • An interview with a current or past client in which they discuss their positive experiences with your product or service

The approach you go with depends heavily on the value ladder level you’re currently targeting.

For example, if you’re aiming to get a new prospect to commit to a preliminary offer, you’d want to quickly introduce them to your brand, and discuss the “quick wins” they can expect to experience.

Typically, this video content should be short and to-the-point — maximizing the chances that your new prospects will watch it in its entirety. VideoMastery.com’s hero video is a mere two minutes and fifteen seconds:

Its testimonial videos (i.e., mini case studies) — later on the same page — are even shorter. All of them are under one minute:

On the other hand, if you’re aiming to make a final sale on a higher-priced product, you might decide to go the longform route with you video content.

Reason being, those who are on the cusp of making a more costly purchase will want as much info as you can give them — and will be more willing to stick around long enough to be convinced to do so.

Squeeze Page Social Proof

Social proof can — and should — be used to reinforce the claims you’ve made on your squeeze page.

Tailor this content to the value ladder level you’re currently targeting. Basically, this means ensuring the customer commentary you use matches the offer being presented — and is specific to the use case of the audience being targeted.

LadyBoss Labs seeds a variety of social proof types throughout its squeeze page, opening with brief testimonials and logos to show authority …

… and adding direct endorsements along with real social media posts from its customers later on:

Generalized social proof regarding your brand may work to engage new prospects. However, you’ll need to use specific anecdotes from successful customers when looking to make bigger sales further down the funnel.

Squeeze Page Call-to-Action

No matter what you’re offering on a given squeeze page, it needs to be crystal clear what your audience needs to do to receive it.

Don’t beat around the bush here. Make sure your CTA stands out from all other elements of your landing page — allowing interested customers to take the next step as soon as they’re ready.

There’s no mistaking what action LadyBoss wants its website visitors to take …

In some cases, you might even want to include CTAs at the top, bottom, and middle of your page. The last thing you want is for your engaged audience to not engage further with your brand simply because they aren’t sure how to do so.

Middle OfferStage 4. Middle Offer

A progressively more valuable and intensive solution that helps customers solve a more deep-seated problem — and better prepares them for your highest-price point product or service.

Now we’re getting down to business.

At each stage of the value ladder, as your prospects reach the bottom of your “mini funnel,” you’ll need to provide an irresistible offer that allows them to accomplish a certain task — and prepares them for the next tier of the ladder.

Going back to LadyBoss, its middle offer is an invitation to “Join The CLUB”:

If you’ve thought about middle offers before, the question is …

Upsell or Downsell?

An upsell is an offer that costs more than your front end offer; a downsell costs less.

Before or immediately after they confirm their order, provide an upsell offer that will increase the value of their initial order — and enhance their overall experience with your brand.

(And, of course, allow you to increase your revenues, too.)

Typically, upsell offers come in the form of:

  • Sale prices on bulk orders
  • Customized version or a variation of the initial product or service
  • An offer to increase subscription length at a discounted price
  • Supplemental products (cross-sells)

If they don’t end up taking the upsell, consider sending them a lower-risk offer that meets them where they are.

Examples of downsells include:

  • A payment plan for the otherwise expensive upsell
  • A smaller, lesser, cheaper version of the upsell offer
  • A limited and discounted trial period for the upsell offer

In either case, the idea is to take full advantage of the opportunity at hand — while providing the exact value your prospective customers are looking for at the present moment.

Email Marketing

You’ll notice that in nearly all examples getting a visitor’s email address is emphasized.

That’s because email marketing is a critical part of the customer journey: Before, during, and after buying.

We don’t want to get off topic, especially because email is a detailed tactic. That’s why we’ve written extensively about it all on its own:

Middle OfferStage 5. Backend Offer

Your most valuable, intensive, and costly product or service that customers can use on a continual basis to solve an ever-present problem in their lives.

By now, we’ve made it pretty clear that your ultimate goal is to tie each of your “mini funnels” together to create one overarching sales funnel.

The hope is to transform brand new customers into high-value patrons of your company. As we’ve said, the vast majority of your target audience simply won’t be ready to engage with your highest-value offer …

Until they’ve gotten a taste via your lower-tiered products or services.

The thing is, there’s no guarantee that your customers will simply move onto the next value level once they’ve experienced all you have to offer at their current stage. In many cases, your customers are more likely to stick to what they know, rather than risk jumping up to your next tier of service.

(Or, they may churn completely after having received all you have to offer at a certain value level.)

The onus is on you to convince them that they stand to gain a ton of value from the next-highest level of your value ladder.

Note that, at this point of ascension, the customer will be in a sort of limbo — they’ve gotten near-full value from the previous stage of the ladder but aren’t quite ready to enter the next “mini funnel” you have prepped for them.

So, instead of heavy-handedly pushing your more valuable offer, you’ll want to simply keep them engaged with your brand.

Basically, this involves doing whatever you can to continue providing value to them after they’ve purchased a given product or service.

This could mean:

  • Providing personalized content, in their preferred format, that allows them to get the absolute most out of the product or service they’re currently using
  • Delivering high-quality customer service and support — from onboarding to troubleshooting to instructions for “power use” of your offering
  • Gradually touching on the added value provided by your higher-tiered service — specific to the value sought by the individual customer
  • A community (Facebook group) they can live and grow within

It’s simple …

If you can prove that your main concern is on providing value to your customers — even after they’ve already given you their money — they’ll be that much more likely to trust your more costly offering will be worth the price of admission.

How to Create a Sales Funnel: Don’t Start from Scratch

Conducting Market Research

Many of your competitors have likely already built funnels, generating engagement and sales from the exact type of customer you’re looking to attract with your own funnels.

We’re not advocating that you simply copy what your competitors are doing. But, you do want to take note of how competing brands are working to nurture their audience toward the “big sale” at the end of their funnel.

Which is where funnel hacking comes into play.

What Is Funnel Hacking?

Funnel hacking is the process of strategically investigating the sales and marketing process of your competitors, which you can use to model and test within your own sales and marketing processes.”

In other words, you’ll actually participate in the various stages of your competitors’ sales funnels, then reverse-engineer the process in order to determine how to go about creating your own.

How to Funnel Hack Your Competitors

1. List Your Competitors

Your main focus, of course, will be on your direct competition. Make a list of all known companies that sell similar products or services to yours.

You also want to consider looking into your indirect competition, as well. Here, you’ll be considering companies who don’t necessarily sell within your niche, but whose audience overlaps with your own.

In doing so, you’ll be able to gain a better understanding of the sales tactics that get your target audience to take action.

Stay broad as you start out. While you’ll eventually pare down your list to your most-successful competitors, you also want to take note of competing companies whose approach isn’t as effective as it could be — allowing you to avoid making the same mistakes.

2. Engage, Document, and Analyze

More than simply checking out your competitors’ websites, landing pages, and other marketing content, you’ll want to take screenshots and create swipe files. As you do so, be sure to categorize these artifacts accordingly.

We advise you create separate folders for Bait, Frontend, and Backend offers for each competitor you analyze. You also may want to create a folder specifically for documenting ad creatives — which you can further categorize based on the medium the creative is presented on (e.g., Google, Facebook, etc.).

At this point, you don’t necessarily need to engage too far with your various competitors — especially if doing so requires that you spend money on their products or services.

You do want to take as many preliminary steps as you can — such as signing up for mailing lists, requesting additional information, and downloading free content.

Once you’ve amassed a robust collection of artifacts, you’ll then want to start analyzing them from a number of different vantage points.

This involves asking blue-print type questions:

  • What words (copywriting) are they using in their headlines?
  • What colors are they using throughout their content?
  • Are buttons located above the fold or below the fold?
  • Do they use videos and images, or just text?
  • Are they listing benefits or features?
  • Do they include social proof like testimonials?
  • Are there any pop-ups during exit intent?
  • Is the header section of the site fixed?
  • Is there a full sign up form or an opt-in form?
  • Do action steps require more than one touchpoint?
  • Is price mentioned for their products (if so, what are their price points?)
  • How many words are there on the homepage?

The idea is to take note of as many different aspects as possible — and to understand why your competitors decided to take the approach they did.

(It’s actually much more important to focus on the “whys” behind these surface-level questions. Remember, you’re not necessarily going to copy your competition — but you will be implementing their successful approaches in your own way as you create your own funnels.)

As you find the answers to these questions, make sure to document this information within the folders you’ve created.

3. Assess Tracking Strategies

Throughout the above stage of the funnel hacking process, you’ve most likely only seen about 20-30% of your competitors’ sales funnels.

That said, we want to know which tools your competitors use and determine whether or not you should be using these same tools as well.

To figure this out, you’ll need to download two add-ons for Google Chrome:

First, check out Ghostery. This extension allows you to see the “invisible” web, detecting trackers, web bugs, pixels and beacons placed on web pages by Facebook, Google, and other platforms that gather information about your internet activity.

While this app is primarily designed to stay hidden from trackers, you can use it to identify which trackers and programs are being used by competing businesses.

The second is BuiltWith Technology Profiler, which allows you to see the tool stack running on a website — especially the marketing and e-commerce platforms — with the simple click of an icon.

This will begin to answer traffic and conversion rate questions about your competitors’ strategies, such as:

  • Are they using remarketing (also known as retargeting)?
  • Are they using Google, Facebook, or other platforms?
  • Are they using any conversion rate tracking software?

The list of questions you might ask (and find the answer to) is nearly inexhaustible.

What’s important is that you dig up the information that will matter most to your company as you begin to build your own sales funnels. All of this should go right into the notes you created during the previous step of the funnel hacking process.

4. Use Competitive Intelligence Tools

You also want to find out how your competitors are acquiring traffic in the first place. This will tell you which sources to focus on when looking to uncover high-value prospects for your own business.

To unearth these game-changers, enlist the help of the following competitive analysis tools:

AdBeat or WhatRunsWhere

These tools instantly show you the strategies of online advertisers in your industry. You can see anything from how many days they’ve been spending money and running a particular ad to the creative content and landing pages they’re sending paid traffic to.

SEMRush

Focusing on the SEO (search engine optimization) and SEM (search engine marketing) side of things, SEMRush gathers insight into how your competitors generate traffic.

This includes information related to search positions (and changes), ads, keywords they’re targeting, the copy, video advertisements, backlinks, estimated traffic generated, keyword research — and much, much more.

SimilarWeb

This traffic-focused tool allows you to check out a wide range of activity that’s going on within the websites you’re profiling. With SimilarWeb, you can identify top referring sites, as well as top destination sites as people flow to and from your competitor.

5. Purchase From Your Top Competitors

Once you’ve determined which of your competitors are worth taking a closer look at, your next step will be to actually engage with them as if you were an interested customer.

(Note: While you might balk at the idea of giving money to your competitors, the insight you’ll be able to glean — and subsequently implement into your own sales funnels — will be well worth the price of admission.)

Here’s where you want to get ultra-meticulous in your documentation and analysis.

You don’t necessarily need to go through with a top-tier purchase — but you want to act like you’re going to do so.

That is, once you’ve nearly reached the end of their sales funnel, you’ll want to hop on a sales call with them — all the while taking note of everything they talk about throughout.

Since this is the “big” sale your competitors have been aiming to make from the get-go, you can be sure they’ll leave everything out on the table, so to speak. This, in turn, provides the perfect opportunity for you to uncover any information you may have overlooked throughout your funnel hacking process.

(Again, while you don’t necessarily need to make this final purchase, doing so may provide even more information regarding the true value of your competitors’ products or services. This can not only help you further develop your own sales funnel, but also allow you to analyze the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors’ offer — and make the necessary improvements to your own offering.)

Ask yourself questions like …

  • What specific value or benefit is being provided by a given offer?
  • What action do you have to take to receive the offer?
  • What strategies do they use to keep you moving forward?
  • How does each subsequent offer relate to the previous and next stage?

The answers to these questions will round out your understanding and allow you to clearly see what you should be offering your customers throughout your own funnel.

1. Match Domain Name and URL to Your Offer

This is pretty self-explanatory, but still worth mentioning …

The domain name and URL you use for your sales funnel must be representative of your brand and your offer.

A URL like “RobsCompany.com/salesfunnel1” comes off not just as generic, but also as overly-salesy. While your customers are smart enough to know when they’re being sold to, there’s no reason for you to be blatant about it.

It sounds like a small detail, but matching your URL to your offer will add to the customer-facing nature of your brand — and will be one less thing to distract your audience from taking the next step.

We’re disciplined about this at ClickFunnels. Not only for the SEO (search engine optimization) benefits of matching URLs to content, but also for the clarity they bring.

Notice the straightforwardness of our own and a couple of the pages we looked at above …

2. Structure Each Stage Relationally: WWWH

Speaking of being customer-facing with your sales funnel content, it’s vital that anything your prospective clients see speaks to them on a personal and individual level.

This means using WWWH …

  • Who is your ideal customer,who do they trust, and who should you put on the page to embody that (current customers)?
  • What do they want out of your product or service? What are they trying to escape from or find a solution to?
  • Why do they want it? What are the deeper emotional needs and pains they’re currently experiencing? Why is the cost less than the benefit?
  • How can your images, words, and calls-to-action bring it to life?

Remember: Your customers don’t want to be sold to; they want to receive value.

And they don’t want to put all that much effort into solving their problem either; they want you to make it easy for them.

3. Address the “Catch”

If you’ve done the above, your prospective customers will likely be left saying to themselves:

“Well, this sounds way too good to be true.”

Your goal is to clarify to them that your offer is the real deal. But, that doesn’t necessarily mean that your offer will always be on the table.

Maybe you’re offering a time-sensitive sale or a one-time offer. Or, maybe you’re planning on discontinuing a product or service after a certain period of time.

Whatever the case may be, addressing the “catch” to your current offer can instill a sense of urgency — making them more likely to take immediate action.

Since your customers will likely be looking for a “catch” anyway, you might as well give them one that puts the ball in their court. That way, they’ll understand that the only thing standing between them and the offer is … themselves.

4. Add a Guarantee

In furthering the customer-facing and “too good to be true” nature of your sales funnel, you also want to minimize the amount of risk your prospects will have to take when going through with a purchase.

In fact, you can even take this a step further and explain that it’s you who will be taking a risk by doing business with your customers. Known as risk-reversal, the idea is to make your potential customers feel like they have no reason not to take advantage of the offer at hand.

Whether you’re offering money-back guarantees, double-your-money-back guarantees, or any other kind of risk-free assurance, you’ll inherently bring your prospects to trust your brand in two key ways …

First, they simply have nothing (or very little) to lose, and a ton of value to gain. Second, confidence in your ability to follow through with your promise will shine — building trust when it matters most.

5. Recap

If a prospect or customer is close to the point-of-purchase at any level of your value ladder, two things are all but certain:

  • You’ve provided them with some sort of value in your relationship thus far
  • They’ve grown in some way since they’ve first engaged with your brand

As you begin to close in on a sale, it’s imperative that you make these two points clear to your potential customer.

The goal is reinforcement. On some level, the customer knows these things — but may not be consciously thinking about them when you actually make your offer.

But, with a little gentle nudging on your end, they’ll be reminded of how far they’ve come — and how much further they’ll be able to go.

Notice how MIG Soap’s 14 Day Challenge order page summarizes all the elements in short-form immediately next to the two-stage order form:

6. Sequence the Right Pages

The key to successfully nurturing consumers through your sales funnel is to get them to take action at every touchpoint.

You even want to go as far as to create touchpoints for your prospects to engage with throughout your sales funnel. This is where techniques such as the two-step tripwire come into play.

As the name suggests, a two-step tripwire has consumers taking two steps to complete the overall task at hand. Most often, this two-step process is as follows:

  1. The prospect fills out a contact info form on the first page of your funnel (typically in exchange for a freebie offer)
  2. On the second page, the prospect is shown a small-ticket, frontend offer. If they choose to make a purchase, only then will they be asked to provide payment info.

This allows you to implement the “foot-in-door” technique, as you’ll be gradually asking the prospect for more information after they commit to providing some surface-level info.

Then, you can hit them with the more valuable offer after they’ve become a bit more invested in your brand.

Even if a prospect decides not to go through with the follow-up purchase, you’ll still have collected their contact info — and can then send them more applicable offers in the future.

7. Order Your Offers Intentionally

It’s vital to know exactly how each of your “mini funnels” connect with one another to create an overarching sales funnel that encompasses all levels of your value ladder.

Within each “mini funnel,” this means offering content and freebies that prepare the customer to get the most out of your main offering at that level. Within your overall sales funnel, it means ensuring those who have gone through one “mini funnel” are fully prepared to enter the next.

Basically, you want your customers to feel like they’ve “graduated” to the next step of your value ladder once they’ve reached a certain point with your lower-tiered products.

If a subsequent offer has little to nothing to do with the previous product or service you’ve offered, your audience will likely be rather hesitant to take the next step with your brand.

8. Connect Bundles, Bumps, Upsells, and Downsells

Once a prospect has gotten to the point where you believe they’re ready to make a purchase, you need to be sure the offer you present them is highly-relevant to their specific circumstances.

Of course, the ideal scenario is that your prospects simply take advantage of your main offering as is.

When your “typical” offer isn’t exactly what a customer is looking for … you’ll need to have subsequent offers at the ready to keep them on track toward converting.

If a prospect doesn’t feel ready to purchase your mid- or top-tier service, you’ll want to have a related, yet lower-value service to offer them. It’s important to tailor these downsells to the prospect’s specific needs (as opposed to providing a more generalized downsell to all prospects who decline your main offer).

On the other hand, if a customer does accept your main offer, you also want to provide an upsell that’s relevant to their needs. They’ll be much more likely to accept this subsequent offer if it provides the specific value they’re looking to get from your brand.

9. Include Social Proof

No matter how valuable your products or services are — and no matter what you have to say about this value — you absolutely need to back up your claims with proof from your current customer base.

By sprinkling social proof throughout your sales funnel, you’ll give your prospects the evidence they need to feel confident.

For one thing, the modern consumer places more trust in their peers than the brands they do business with. Providing various types of social proof can allow prospective customers to truly understand what they have to gain by engaging further with your brand.

Social proof can take lots of different forms:

  • Short endorsements
  • Long-form testimonials
  • Written case studies
  • Video testimonials
  • User-generated content
  • Pictures and videos posted to social
  • Logos or “trust seals”
  • Before and after images
  • Numerical reviews and ratings

10. Remember Exit Intent Offers

As you probably know, most people who click-through to your landing page will end up leaving without taking even the smallest step forward.

While this is to be expected, you shouldn’t just accept it without putting up a fight.

Rather, you’ll want to take action to keep them on your landing page — and, ideally, giving your offer a second thought.

Include exit intent offers on each of your landing pages. This means adding popups, overlays, and other such “extras” to be presented to your site’s visitors once it becomes clear they’re ready to head elsewhere.

Within these overlays, you can include one-time offers for freebies, downsells, or other lower-value offers that your more hesitant prospects may be interested in receiving.

This way, you can make a last-ditch effort to keep these individuals engaged before they navigate away from your site for good.

Marketing Funnel Hacking: Everything You Need to Be a Funnel Hacker

Marketing Funnel Hacking: Everything You Need to Be a Funnel Hacker

You know you need a marketing funnel. After all, why else would you be here?

There’s just one problem: Where do you start?

Actually, there’s way more than just one problem. Depending on the maturity of your business and marketing skills, a host of problems surround you …

  • If you’re just getting off the ground, it might be questions like: “What is a marketing funnel? How do I create one? Which stages do I need to pay attention to?”
  • If you’re already selling, they’re probably along the lines of: “How do I build more funnels, faster? What growth hacking and digital marketing tools can help?”
  • And, if you’ve hit a wall: “What are my competitors doing that’s making them successful? Can my business use those same tactics? How do I discover them?”

Answering those questions — and setting you up for success — is exactly what this detailed guide to marketing funnels is all about …

  1. What Is a Marketing Funnel? Stages & Traffic Tips
    After defining marketing funnels, you’ll learn how to drive people into and through each stage of the funnel with six traffic tips.
  2. Why You Shouldn’t Create a Marketing Funnel: ’Hacking’
    Here, we’ll explore why funnel hacking is the fastest, easiest way to get the results you want. And, how it compares to other marketing tactics.
  3. How to Build Your Marketing Funnels: Step-by-Step
    Finally, we really get into the practical elements: 8 steps to quickly get your marketing funnels up, running, and optimized.

Feel free to jump ahead to whatever section will help you the most (that’s what those links are for). Or, let’s get started with first things first …

What Is a Marketing Funnel? Stages & Traffic Tips

By definition, a marketing funnel is a strategy or framework designed to turn cold prospects into long-term customers by funneling them through different stages of awareness, interest, desire, and action.

“Funnel” means you’ll begin with a large audience (top of the funnel) and eventually narrow them down to a smaller group of qualified leads (middle of the funnel) and, then, to an even smaller (bottom of the funnel) group of customers.

The ultimate goal isn’t to convert someone nor to make a single purchase. Instead, it’s bigger than that: you want to build multiple sources of high-value prospects and increase customer lifetime value.

Marketing funnels are usually divided into three parts:

  • Top of the funnel (ToFu). This is everyone in your target audience.
  • Middle of the funnel (MoFu). These are your potential customers, folks who have shown an interest in what you’re offering.
  • Bottom of the funnel (BoFu). These are your new and existing customers, people who have taken out their credit cards and bought from you.

The key to an effective marketing funnel is this: Engage with and provide increasing value to your prospects throughout each stage.

Another way marketing funnels have been structured is around emotions and actions.

This structure is known as AIDA …

Left: the three stages of a marketing funnel; right: AIDA

Awareness, Interest, Desire & Action (AIDA)

Elias St. Elmo Lewis developed this model in the late 19th century. It’s since become the backbone of almost every successful marketing campaign and funnel in the business.

But why is it so effective?

Top, middle, and bottom structure the funnel from a business perspective. AIDA gives you a blueprint to take potential customers through an emotional journey of making a purchase.

If a marketing funnel was a human body, the ToFU, MoFu, and BoFuwould be the brain … and AIDA would be the heart. Let’s put the two together.

Top of the Marketing Funnel: Awareness Stage

The first stage of the marketing funnel is where you catch the eye of new audience members through content marketing or a valuable baseline offer (via paid advertising).

You want to position your message not just to attract high-quality prospects but also to turn away poor-quality prospects.

Think …

  • Which websites and forums do my high-value prospects hang out in on the internet?
  • Which social networks and what kinds of content do they interact with the most?
  • What free or lower-cost offers can I entice to them with to take initial steps?

At this stage, you want to qualify who within your target audience is ready to buy. Needless to say, if you can’t get prospects interested in your entry-level offers, there’s no way you’ll be able to get them to buy your big-ticket items or services.

By meeting your target audience where they are (and where they’re comfortable engaging with your brand), you can get them to enter your funnel on their terms.

Traffic TipTraffic Tip #1: Use PPC Ads

If you’ve ever used Google, then you’ve probably seen pay-per-click (PPC) ads. PPC ads often show up first, near the top of search results or as banner display ads on other websites. Here’s the basic idea behind them:

  • You pay a certain amount of money every time somebody clicks on one of your online ads.
  • The ads go up after you bid on ad placement and keywords. The more you bid, the better the placement.

The cost of PPC ads vary. They can be as low as a few cents to several dollars. It all depends on the keywords and your competitors who are bidding against you.

Just like any advertising, your PPC ads on Google or elsewhere need to be relevant to what you’re selling. And they need to speak to the audience you want to attract at the right moment.

Traffic TipTraffic Tip #2: Try CPV Ads

Another type of ad you might want to try out is called CPV, or cost-per-view ads. Similar to PPC ads, you pay a certain amount every time someone views your CPV ad.

The big difference is that CPV advertising revolves around video. This means that you don’t have to pay if someone watches a few seconds of your ad and then clicks away. It only counts if the viewer watches a certain amount of the ad or interacts with it in some way, such as clicking on an accompanying link.

In the case of Google Ads, you pay only after someone watches your ad for at least 30 seconds.

Traffic TipTraffic Tip #3: Start a Podcast

In your niche, you probably have opinions on a variety of fascinating and engaging subjects. Starting a podcast lets you work with influencers in your industry that you’ve always wanted to work with.

Getting someone on your show lets you collaborate with major players in your niche … signaling to your target audience that you are a major player in your niche, too.

With a good podcast, you don’t have to constantly be in sales mode. You’ll be able to show customers the human side of your company and get them to trust you more.

Traffic TipTraffic Tip #4: Leverage Social Media

Social media can be a powerful tool to promote your funnel. It’s an inexpensive, often free, way to show people the value that you have to offer. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and more have billions of active users. The more people you can reach, the better the chances they’ll enter your funnel.

Different platforms have different audiences. Instagram, for example, revolves around images and attracts visual creators. LinkedIn, on the other hand, is more about professional connections, and attract a lot of entrepreneurs (or people who want to be like them).

Your social media posts need to resonate with your intended audience.

You can share a video you created. You can give a special discount to your followers. But you have to remember to focus on engaging with your audience on social, to get some sort of reaction from them.

This means that simply copying and pasting the same post on all your channels isn’t a smart tactic. Your message has to fit the platform

Tailor your posts to your audience, and they’ll respond by entering your marketing funnel.

Traffic TipTraffic Tip #5: Write Blog Posts

One of the best ways to create quality content marketing for your funnel is by writing blog posts on a consistent basis. If you provide value on your blog and establish yourself as a voice of authority in your niche, people will be more likely to enter your marketing funnel.

The power of posts, however, extends far beyond maintaining your own blog. You can also guest blog for other people, tapping into their audience and their influence. Sometimes running your own blog can be difficult, but if you guest blog on other sites, you’ll find you can still reach a lot of people.

Here’s how:

  • Pick a site that fits the niche of your business. This lets you know you’ll be reaching the right audience.
  • Include links to your marketing funnel. Don’t make people look too far for what you offer!
  • Include keywords related to your business, product, and niche. This helps you show up on Google searches.

Traffic TipTraffic Tip #6: Lead Magnets & Bait

To get traffic into your funnel, each of the following two stages will require the use of a low-risk offer to hook prospects. This is called “bait.” But don’t let the name turn you off. The best kinds of bait are low-cost to you and high value to the recipient. These can be things like free content, webinars, a course delivered as an email sequence, or product samples.

An even better representation of the funnel looks like this on the right:

Middle of the Marketing Funnel: Interest & Desire

Once a prospect takes the bait, they move down your funnel to the Interest and Desire.

In the Interest stage, you begin to forge a deeper relationship. Empathy and trust are at a premium: empathy that you understand their problems and trust through credibility, preliminary solutions, and even “quick wins.”

Desire follows where prospects warm to the idea of making a purchase to solve their problems. Here you introduce your frontend offer through …

Squeeze Pages & Landing Pages

Squeeze page copy, the words themselves, need to clearly communicate the value of your offer. You also prime your audience with a sense of urgency to take immediate action.

Squeeze page images and videos depend heavily on the value ladder level you’re currently targeting. For example, if you’re aiming to get a new prospect to commit to a low-priced offer, you can quickly introduce them to your brand and discuss the “quick wins” they can expect to experience right away.

On the other hand, if you’re trying to make a final sale on a higher-priced product, you might decide to go the video sales letter or long-form sales page route.

Those who are on the cusp of making a more costly purchase will want as much info as you can give them. Fortunately, they’re more willing to stick around long enough to be convinced to do so.

Squeeze page social proof should be used to reinforce claims. The more personal your product — particularly, finances and investing as well as and health and wellness — the more crucial proof like this becomes.

Squeeze page call-to-action needs to be crystal clear on what your audience needs to do to receive it. Make sure your CTA stands out from all other elements of your landing page.

Bottom of the Marketing Funnel: Action

Action, the final stage of the marketing funnel has prospects deciding to purchase (or not purchase) the brand’s premium product or service. You’ll need to reinforce the value of your offer, as well as the downsides of not making a purchase.

Depending on what you’re selling and who your target audience is, you’ll want to tailor each stage of your marketing funnel(s) accordingly.

  1. A low-price and low-risk offer that provides value to new customers. This lets them solve surface-level issues with minimal investment.
  2. Once your prospective customers have taken you up on your bait offer, you’ll want to send them directly to a landing page or squeeze page showcasing your premium offer.
  3. You then simultaneously follow up with email offers for that premium offer or other products and services. This is a practice known as “funnel stacking.”

if you’re able to keep your prospects’ attention and effectively communicate the true value of your offer, they should be interested in the premium product or service you have for them at this point.

The problem, these steps may take a long time to get right. This is where funnel hacking comes in.

Why You Shouldn’t Create a Marketing Funnel: Hacking (Instead)

Funnel hacking is the process of strategically investigating the sales and marketing process of your competitors and then using that framework to build, test, and optimize your own.

Why Should You Know How to Hack Marketing Funnels?

Funnel hacking is one of the easiest and most crucial ways to grow your business. Being able to go deep into your competitor’s marketing funnel and reverse-engineer what they’re up to, you can begin to test their strategies within your own business. In an online business, this can be anything from landing pages, price points, email sequences, and even retargeting ads.

It’s common knowledge that split testing various elements of your marketing funnel can yield great results, but testing blindly is a slow and sloppy process, agreed?

By taking advantage of the culture of funnel hacking and getting into the thick of your competitor’s processes, you can really see how successful they have been, and start to see similar results within your own business. While this won’t happen immediately, you’ll begin to see trends in what’s working and what’s not a lot faster than testing floating ideas from scratch.

On some level, this funneling occurs even if you don’t have intentional marketing funnel stages in place. By taking a strategic approach, you’ll dramatically increase the number of customers you end up generating.

But what about growth hacking? Lead generation? And email marketing? Here’s a quick primer on how those compared …

Different Approaches to Hacking Marketing Funnels

Growth Hacking vs Marketing Funnel Hacking

Growth hacking is a catch-all term for finding a repeatable sales & marketing system that accelerates a business’ growth. It covers both the product and marketing sides of the business. Funnel hacking falls under the “marketing” part of the equation.

They both use heavy testing across multiple marketing and distribution channels to figure out what works and what doesn’t.

The difference is that a growth hacker might want to grow the business in terms of users, downloads, or revenue, with profit as a secondary measurement. A funnel hacker, on the other hand, is obsessed with how much profit the funnel is throwing off.

For example, if a marketing funnel is spitting out $2 in sales for every $1 in ad spend, then a funnel hacker won’t have any problem pouring $1,000,000 dollars into the funnel. They can rest assured they’ll make at least another $2,000,000 back.

In contrast, a growth hacker might focus on getting the most number of people with the least amount of money, regardless of how much bottomline revenue the funnel actually makes.

Some people would even say that funnel hacking is more important than growth hacking.

Lead Generation vs Marketing Funnel Hacking

Lead generation and funnel hacking are complementary ways to grow an online or offline business.

Lead generation is about capturing information — voluntarily capturing things like email address, phone number, job title, business size, location, etc. — that you can use to sell to people later. Funnel hacking helps you figure out what has worked for your competitors and apply that to your business.

With lead generation, a landing page is the face of your business’ marketing funnel: the first impression and entry point. For more information on how to build a great lead generation website, check out this article.

Email Marketing vs Marketing Funnel Hacking

If lead generation is the frontend of your marketing funnel (the “face”), then email marketing is the backend.

Once you have a visitor’s contact information, email should be their primary guide through the other stages. Similar to growth hacking and lead generation, you can take note of what your competitors are doing and hack your way to a successful email marketing campaign.

Also similar is the supporting role email plays. Rather than a separate strategy, your email funnel should serve like a funnel within a funnel focused primarily on moving subscribers from desire (D) to action (A):

How to Build Your Marketing Funnels: Step-by-Step

While there’s no right or wrong way to begin to funnel hack your way to more profits, here’s a simple road map for you to follow which will allow you to really take advantage of funnel hacking.

1. Make a List of Competitors

The very first thing you’ll need to do is make a list of all of your competitors — direct and indirect. They’ll both have concepts that are working in your market in some way, shape, or form.

2. Screenshot Everything

For now, you won’t be able to see much on the outside of your competitor’s website. The problem is, most people stop there. But here’s the thing: the website is simply a shell for all the juicy, money-generating mechanisms happening on the inside.

But, that doesn’t mean it’s useless.

First, download a screenshotting tool that will allow you to easily screenshot website pages (full pages from top to bottom). Start saving them on your computer. Our tool of choice is Awesome Screenshot. Greenshot is a good one, too.

Next, create a New Folder called . Then start taking full-page screenshots of the pages that you visit. Place them into the folder you’ve created for that website.

Be sure to either create sub-folders or rename the images to thread them to the web pages they’re pointing to. Otherwise, it’s very easy for it to get messy and lose track of what’s going on.

What we generally do is setup folders along the lines of:

  • Competitor Research Folder Structure
  • Front End Funnel Landing Pages
  • Backend Funnel Landing Pages
  • Ad Creatives
  • Retargeting Ad Creative
  • Facebook
  • Google
  • Other

3. Start Building Your ‘Funnel Hacking Bible’

Now that you’ve taken the screenshots of your competitors’ homepage, it’s time to analyze.

It’s time to start building your “Funnel Hacking Bible” — the document where you put together all of our ideas, strategies, and notes that you want to implement into your existing funnel.

Start by opening a Word Document or Google Doc and start taking down some of the key trends you see. For example:

  • What type of copywriting do they use in their headlines?
  • What colors do they use where?
  • Are buttons located above the fold or below the fold?
  • Do they have videos or just text?
  • Do they list benefits, features, or both?
  • Do they include social proof? What kind?
  • Are there any pop-ups during exit intent?
  • Is the header section of the site fixed?
  • Is there a full sign-up form or just an email opt-in?
  • Do they mention prices for their products?
  • If so, what are their price points?

As you have multiple websites open from the same industry, you’ll begin to see patterns. You’ll be able to contrast what you are doing and not doing vs. what they’re doing and not doing.

Each of these trends should be noted in your Funnel Hacking Bible (FHB).

4. Track Their Tools

The sales or home page is just 20-30% of the picture. This is because to drive and convert traffic, marketers use a variety of tools and resources to be as effective and profitable as possible. Here’s what we want to know:

Which tools are they using in their business?

This way we can also use to see if they can help make us profitable.

To find this out, you’ll need to download two more Google Chrome Extensions.

1. Ghostery sees the “invisible” web, detecting trackers, web bugs, pixels and beacons placed on web pages by Facebook, Google and thousands of other companies that gather information about your internet activity.

While this app is primarily designed to stay hidden from trackers, it’s also a great tool to highlight to marketers which trackers and programs are being used on by competing businesses.

2. BuiltWith Technology Profiler allows you to — with a simple click of an icon — see exactly what tools and technology a site is using.

Now that you’ve installed both of these tools into your browser, reload your selection of competitor’s websites and you’ll be able to see all of the tools and tracking which is taking place for every visitor who hits their website.

This will begin to answer some of your traffic and conversion questions like:

  • Do they use retargeting?
  • What about Google, Facebook, or other platforms?
  • Do they use any conversion tracking software?
  • What other tools are in their “tech stack”: email provider, personalization, loyalty programs, pop-ups, etc.?

Again … the list goes on. Some sites have 5-10 trackers. Other sites have 40+ scripts running in the background.

All of this should go straight into your FHB as you begin to build a web of information from your competitors.

5. Use Advanced Competitive Intelligence Tools

Ghostery and BuiltWith show you which technology your competitors’ websites run on. But we also want to know where your competitors are getting their traffic. To find these real game changers we’re going to need to move beyond plugins into some competitive intelligence tools.

These tools uncover what’s happening in the market:

AdBeatAdBeat or WhatRunsWhere

You can see anything from how many days they’ve been spending money and running a particular advertisement, all the way to the creative and landing pages they’re sending their paid traffic to.

SEMRushSEMRush

This tool gathers paid and organic insights on your competitors. Some of the features include displaying, search positions & changes, ad copy, video advertising, backlinks, estimated traffic expenditure, keyword research and much more.

SEMRushSimilarWeb

Another fantastic traffic insight tool. This lets you see a wide range of activity that’s going on within the websites you’re profiling. One of our favorite activities that you can see on SimilarWeb is the top referring sites and top destination sites as people flow in and out of

your competitor’s website. You can also get information like a breakdown of social traffic, banner ads, other similar websites and more.

6. Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is

For now, don’t try to be creative. Just follow
what your competitors have already come up with, after spending thousands of
dollars testing.

So by now you’ve got all the tools you need to
see what’s happening on your competitor’s websites.

But there’s just one thing a tool can’t do for
you.

Do you know what it is?

That’s make purchases of your competitor’s products and go through their funnel. Maximize all the data you get from this stage.

The reason you’re spending money with your competitor is to rip apart their marketing funnel. You want to know the complete anatomy of what’s going on behind their closed doors.

During this stage of the funnel hacking process, you want to take as many different variations of the funnel as possible. Take all the upsells, downsells, cross sells … everything!

Take note of …

  • Do they have a one-time-offer?
  • What about upsells? Downsells?
    Cross-sells?
  • What emails do they send after you
    purchase? What emails do they send if you don’t purchase?

Because the funnel itself is what’s the heart of this whole operation. The ascension & process from Product A to Product B is what allows the business to buy traffic at the price that it does, add customers to their list at the rate they do and make a profit the way they do.

And if you’re going into a new market completely cold, this is even more important. You want to see what funnel the advertiser has been sending traffic to for the past 124 days (you’d be able to find this information from one of the competitive analysis tools listed above).

Everything leads to the funnel, and ultimately this is why funnel hacking is so important.

7. Rebuilding a Winning Funnel on the Frontend

So you’ve finally got enough notes in your FHB that you’re wondering, “Gosh when can I start actually using all this?”

Now you know the look, feel and core strategy behind the competing marketing funnels in your industry. It’s time for you to start building out your marketing funnel.

The Clickfunnels Builder was built specifically with their intention in mind – to help you build a thriving business by hacking existing marketing funnels.

Landing Pages & Homepages

Firstly you’re going to want to start pulling apart the front end of the funnels you’ve been seeing. I’d personally pick 3 marketing funnels that look as similar as possible to the competitors page you want to copy.

This is when those screenshots of your competitors will come in handy. Note that if you’re funnel hacking a homepage or a landing page, the design will be a little different. Other elements which you will need to keep in mind when re-building a page include:

  • Videos
  • Copywriting
  • Custom graphics or images
  • Tracking codes

Clickfunnels has a wide range of templates you can use to get started. But if you want to go completely custom and build something with the same look and feel of your competitor, you can do that within Clickfunnels too. There’s some great tutorials on using the Clickfunnels editor which you can watch too.

If you don’t already have someone who can help you with these areas of your funnel (that is, if you’re not able to do them yourself), you’d be wise to ask individuals in the Clickfunnels Facebook Group who may be able to help you out. There’s a wealth of talent and resources in that group. You can also poke your head in the DotComSecrets Facebook Group for great marketing information too.

Upsells & Downsells

Once you’ve put together your landing pages for the new funnel you’re building, it’s time to go a little deeper and start building out any upsells and downsells which are offered by your competitors.

These offers may be made immediately after an action is taken on their website like filling in a form, taking a survey, watching a video sales letter, or clicking a button.

8. Rebuilding the Funnel’s Backend

This is probably the hardest part of the process for any #funnelhacker.

The back end is not only where the majority of
the profit is generated, but it’s also very difficult to uncover exactly what’s
going on.

Every business will have a different back end
product to ascend their clients from their front end offers into a more premium
product (Make sure you get yourself a copy of Russell’s DotComSecrets Book to
go deeper on this).

So the question is, how do you take notes and
realize what’s happening with the back end? What actions do you need to take to
be able to get the inside scoop?

Backend TipBackend Tip #1: Look At Backend Email Sequences

After you go through your competitors’ front
end marketing funnel, a smart marketer will have a follow up email sequence.
This allows them to communicate with you based on the action you took on the
website.

Make sure to save and note down which email
sequences you are put through, including the time intervals between each email.
This way you’ll be able to build your own email sequence based on the emails
you aggregate from your competitors.

Backend TipBackend Tip #2: Screenshot Retargeting Ads & Their Landing Pages

Your competitors are probably using some form
of retargeting, it’s Google, Facebook, or something else. This might be in the
form of offering you bonuses to take something previously offered in a webinar,
after a video sales letter, after an email sequence or any other action which
you didn’t complete to the end.

If you see these ads, make sure to screenshot
the ad itself and the landing page it’s linked to. This will break down the
offer and what action they want you to take.

Based on this you can re-create a similar
landing page in your own funnel using Clickfunnels. You also get ideas on
retargeting designs to offer your own customers.

NOTE: Don’t forget to save the URL of the
landing pages too! These may come in handy in the future. I’d save them into a
folder called “Retargeting Landing Pages”. You can have subfolders if you find
multiple offers for different products.

Backend TipBackend Tip #3: High-Ticket Webinar Funnel Hacking

If you go through a webinar funnel with a
somewhat high-ticket offer at the end of it, screen record the webinar and save
a copy of it on your computer.

This shows you the slides, the script and the
flow of the webinar. Most importantly, you’ll see them pitch the product and
address the  types of objections they
handle. This works especially well for products being sold straight off a
webinar funnel (which can be re-built right out of the box using Clickfunnels).

TIP: Again, save the order page link they tell
you to go to. I’d screenshot the order page too as they might be time sensitive
and can be taken down at any time.

Backend TipBackend Tip #4: Ask For Affiliate Metrics (Affiliate-Based Products)

If your competitor’s products have an
affiliate program, they’ll generally discuss the numbers they’re achieving
throughout their funnel. This is a great opportunity for you to see what types
of numbers they’re getting. Affiliate pages (coming soon) offer a wealth of
information to entice people to promote their products – great news for us
funnel hackers!

You can even re-build an affiliate page in
Clickfunnels yourself if you also run an affiliate program too.

Backend TipBackend Tip #5: Jump On A “Strategy Session”

One of the biggest back end funnels is to get
people into a strategy call. Being able to go through the process of your
competitor’s sales call will give you insight into products they may not list
publicly. If you get the chance, jump on the phone and take lots of notes while
your competitor sells you over the phone. This gives you a glimpse into their
strategies.

It may even be worth taking the product offer
to see if that’s where their funnel ends!

If you want to learn more about how we
ethically stole over $1M of funnel hacks from our competitors for under $100,
check out the video below:

Types of Marketing Funnel Hacking: Three Examples

Now that you’re convinced that hacking your
marketing funnels is the way to go, you might be wondering how to tailor this
to your business.

Well, we’ve got you covered.

Funnel Hacking for Ecommerce: 2-Step Order Form & One-Time-Offer (OTO) Funnel

eCommerce entrepreneur Alison Prince wanted to see if she could teach her daughters to sell online, just like her.

She wanted a simple solution and her girls started selling pillowcases. And within about nine months, they grossed over $100,000 in revenue.

This is a very simple marketing funnel they
used during Valentine’s Day.

They used a 2-step order form, sprinkled with
some scarcity. They limited the inventory. They also made it a secret sale that
was only available to their best customers.

The 2-step order form they used meant that
even if a prospective customer doesn’t complete their purchase, they will have
gathered the contact information. This way they can send the prospect an
abandoned card email a couple hours later.

Before the customer checked out, though, they also offered a one-time offer (OTO) for St. Patrick’s Day pillowcases. While the Valentine’s covers were only $12.99, the OTO raised a customers’ cart value by $10.99 if they took the offer.

Out of the 46 people that purchased, 19 of
them took the OTO. You can also see that the average cart value is $22.

In 24 hours they grossed over $1,000 on this
simple sale.

Funnel Hacking for B2B Lead Generation: Survey Funnels

Logan Brown works at a company called the Universal Waste Disposal company in the B2B space. And before Clickfunnels, his company had zero leads online. They didn’t really know how to use the internet.

After his boss saw an episode of The Prophet
that featured Russell Brunson, Logan’s boss gave him Clickfunnels to figure out
how to use internet marketing to get leads into their business.

This is what he did.

Logan built a very simple marketing funnel,
called a survey funnel.

In it, a visitor can request a quote by putting in what kind of service they needed. There’s also a little bit of information about who they are and what they do.

Then a pop-up box with a contact form comes next. The prospect puts in their name, their email, and any comments. Logan also included a phone number if the prospect wanted to call him right away.

And then all it has on the next page is a thank you page with a link to their physical product store.

If you click “Go To Store”, you can actually go over and purchase a recycling kit, for example.

This simple funnel averages 4-7 online
submissions per week. If that number seems low, remember that in the B2B space,
each customer can be worth it.

In fact, Logan said that they generated
$100,000 in new revenue in the year he created this funnel.

Funnel Hacking for Affiliate Marketers: Bridge Funnels

At first, affiliate marketer and agency owner, Julie Stoian, had no idea what passive income looked like. She was so busy building websites, building marketing funnels, and running Facebook ads for her clients.

She started making about $4,000 a month in
recurring passive income after working with a client. She eventually realized
that if she started offering really cool bonuses to her clients who signed up
through her Clickfunnels affiliate link, that she could really scale her
passive revenue.

So she built what’s called a bridge funnel to
automate this part of her business.

She gives people the option to join Clickfunnels, purchase Funnel Scripts, or Funnel Builder Secrets.

When they click on these links, an opt-in form opens up. Julie can then grab their email information first, then follow up with them later.

The form then redirects folks who use her
affiliate link over to the software or the course that they’re purchasing.

These days she makes between $8,000 and
$10,000 a month in passive revenue.


What It’s Like to Be a Funnel Hacker: Funnel Hacking Live
Conference (FULL Documentary)

Before we wrap up, we want to tell you about
an event that has fundamentally changed the internet marketing game: Funnel
Hacking Live.

It’s been called “the rock concert of
marketing events”. And we filmed a full-length documentary on it just so you
can see what it’s like to be a funnel hacker. Grab the popcorn and check it
out:


Ready to Hack Your Marketing Funnel?

Every business has some sort of marketing
funnel, whether the owner knows it or not. More often than not, a business’
marketing funnel is clogged with inefficient processes that leave money on the
table.

Funnel hacking — being able to
take the best and highest converting elements from one business and replicate
it in your own way — is the fastest way to plug those holes.

This is what really leads to faster wins and
success … and ultimately more profit. With the tools, resources, and
processes that we’ve outlined above, you should be able to get off on the right
foot, to becoming a badass marketing funnel hacker.

Finally, don’t be frustrated or set back if
you feel that overwhelmed at first (there’s a lot to take in). Go out. Sharpen
your skills. You’ll become more confident in building a high converting funnel
for your own business.

Who knows … maybe one-day people will be
hacking your marketing funnels!

Creating An Automated Sales Funnel: A Step By Step Guide

Creating An Automated Sales Funnel: A Step By Step Guide

Sales are the lifeblood of any business. Many factors can influence your business’s growth, and there are a ton of competing interests for your attention and energy. The one finite resource that all companies have that may limit your business’s growth is time.

The ability to automate tasks to free up your time, energy, and other resources that allow you to grow your business is crucial.

What Is An Automated Sales Funnel?

To understand an automated sales funnel, it’s essential first to understand the term “sales funnel.” A sales funnel describes the steps and flows a potential customer takes with your brand and product. It is the stage in the buying process your client may be at a given time and how you move them toward a decision-making moment. 

Before making any purchase, a consumer, knowingly or not, will base their decision on familiarity with the product and then look at possible other comparative options, including price points. But how do you get a potential customer to the decision stage of their purchase? 

typical sales funnel diagram illustration

Stages Of The Sales Funnel

The sales funnel is the process by which a buyer may, or may not, act and is broken into three stages:

Top of the Funnel: Think of a sales funnel as the phase in the buying process your potential customer may be at any given time. One way to think about the sales funnel is that it is as wide of a target audience as possible in the funnel’s beginning or top.

Middle of the Funnel: This is the stage the audience and potential client has toward possibly buying your offer. 

Bottom of the Funnel: The bottom of the funnel is where the potential for a sale has become an active sale. This phase includes any new customers and any existing customers that can lead to repeat sales. 

Another way to think about each step is that the purchasing journey begins as complete as possible and narrows each step during the process. 

The beginning stage is the widest swath. This stage is where you’re trying to get your brand recognized by as many potential customers as possible. All too often, this stage is the most costly as it tends to be the least focused of your efforts and can lead to cost overruns in your marketing. 

The middle stage is where your potential buyer has become aware of your offerings and is considering buying. Here it is crucial to focus on the persuasive element of your marketing efforts. Providing an incentive for the customer to act is an integral part of your planning at this phase. 

By giving attention to highly targeting your potential customer, you can still attract as wide of an audience as possible and eliminate those who may not have anything but passing interest. 

Finally, the customer has moved from indecisive to action. This phase is the last stage and one where the sale occurs. 

But how do you move a potential customer through the various stages of the sales funnel? 

To move your customer along your sales funnel, you need to address the why, how, and when of their buying process. There are four essential stages of the buying process in the sales funnel.

Those four stages are defined as the AIDA model for marketing.

The AIDA Model

Defined in 1898 by St. Elmo Lewis, the AIDA model identifies how and why personalized selling is effective. Its simple definition of the buying process has allowed it to be widely used and understood since Lewis introduced it.

The process is broken into four phases of the buying process, and understanding each of these phases is essential toward moving the buyer into a purchasing decision.

aida model of buying process
  • Awareness: The first phase of the AIDA model is to create awareness of your services, products, and offers. Depending on the type of offer you have, brand awareness can take some time. Think about Apple releasing the first iPhone to the market. Most users were unaware of its value, or that of some of Apple’s competitors that were able to adopt the concept quickly and flexibly adapt to the marketplace.
  • Interest: Once your audience is aware of your brand, the next step is the interest phase. Generating interest can be accomplished in many ways, from an exciting marketing approach such as the iconic Apple iPhone ads built off the awareness and brand loyalists created by the iPod marketing strategy.
  • If you recall, the iPod advertising was of silhouettes and famous people going about their daily activity while dancing and listening to their iPods. This strategy created a demand for consumers to strive for the happiness and joy that the iPod promised.
  • Desire: The desire phase follows after brand awareness and interest. If the first two phases are implemented correctly, your produce or service will be more valuable and interest increased. This process is because you’ve virtually eliminated those customers that may be indecisive and unsure of your brand at this point of the process.
  • Effectively improving your potential customer’s sense of desire is achieved by creating a personal, emotional attachment to your brand. Much like the loyalty shown by adherents to the Apple brand, what you choose to offer, how you show the customer that it’s beneficial for them, goes a long way in increasing their desire for your products.
  • Action: The most coveted phase of the personal buying process is the action stage. Here is where the sale is made, and the services are bought. Getting your target customer to this stage rarely happens, but it is one you need to spur with a definite call to action, but one that doesn’t come across as pushy. If all the leading steps before this stage are done correctly, you give the buyer permission to act on what they desire.

One last stage that is occasionally discussed is the retention phase. By offering upsells or product enhancements and improvements, you can create a brand loyal customer that will continue to purchase your products.

Again, think about the loyalty of major brands such as Apple. Most of their customers may have bought an initial, lower-priced product such as an iPod or earlier version iPhone and then moved on to the next iteration of the iPhone or personal computer as Apple iterated their devices with upgrades performance improvements.

Why Create Automated Sales Funnels?

automated sales funnel infographics

As sales are what makes or breaks any business, the ability to grow and increase sales is your business’s security. Whether it is to increase new business or build on existing sales, you know the need to continue to grow.

To focus your energy on your business’s growth, you need to free up time and other resources. The best plan to free up your time is to create a plan to automate your business areas to allow you to focus on other areas.

Optimally, free up your time is to create an automated sales funnel for new and recurring sales. 

Automation is the process of setting a process that requires little or no interaction for it to operate.

  • Increased Efficiency: By creating a process that can operate independently, with minimal involvement by the operator, you free up time to devote to other tasks. The benefit of an automated sales funnel is that you create efficiency in your operation and one that you can iterate as needed.
  • Free Up Time and Other Resources: Automacy will allow you to “set it and forget it” so that you can, in turn, redouble attention toward new sales, products, and offerings. Think of it as an opportunity to craft, create, or distribute a new product offering that has been hampered by your focus on the current sales process.

There is a pitfall to keep in mind with anything that operates on automatic. The problem is that with a hand’s off approach, the operation will only move along a path as it was set in the beginning. It must be maintained and reprogramed based on data of what is and isn’t effective.

Simply put, you need to keep in mind that automation only sets a trajectory; it doesn’t fool-proof the action. It is up to you to follow up with the process from time to time to ensure it operates on the most effective path.

To quote Bill Gates, “Automation applied to an inefficient operation will magnify the inefficiency.” 

While you need to be aware of problems with automating your sales approach, the benefits far outweigh the risk. By investing in automating your sales funnel, you will:

  • Decrease Expense and Labor Costs: One of the hidden benefits that automated sales funnels can offer your business is that by automating your process, you lower overhead on labor and time to a sale, which improves your ROI or Return on Investment. In the long-run, an increased ROI is a higher profit margin for your business.
  • Improve Your Data Points: Additionally, automating your sales funnel frees up more time to analyze the most critical data and what is not working. This analysis allows your marketing efforts to sharpen focus and better target your potential customers.
  • Find Better Leads and Create Better Conversions: The effect of better targeting customers helps eliminate cost overruns in your marketing, giving your efforts better-qualified leads and, in turn, increased conversions through your sales funnel.

By creating a system that allows you to automate your targeted customer’s buying process, you can devote time, energy, and resources that otherwise have been tied up. These insights offer a higher level of returns and a better understanding of who is buying when they make their purchasing decisions and how to best connect with them in the future.

Setting Up An Automated Sales Funnel

Now that we understand the need and the benefits of setting an automated sales funnel, the next step is understanding how to set one up.

There are four steps in setting up your automated sales funnel following the AIDA model of Awareness, Interest, Desire, and Action. Those four sections are Content Marketing, Lead Magnet, Follow-Up Offer, and Backend Sale(s).

The first step in the AIDA model is to create better brand awareness. There are a few strategies to consider that will improve your brand awareness, and they all begin with the type of content you publish and share online.

What is Content Marketing?

content marketing illustration

Content marketing is a process of sharing content, whether written content, videos, or social media posts that help expose your brand, but more importantly, your products and services to as broad an audience as you choose.

In short, content marketing is anything you decide to share that helps your targeted customer learn about all that you are offering. The most effective forms of content marketing are blogging, videos, and social media, usually tied in to each other to craft a compelling narrative around your products.

Think about your content marketing plan as a way to target your audience and lead them into whichever part of the funnel you would like them to be in. Beware, you could waste a lot of time and energy if you take a less than laser-focused approach to lead generation.

Blogging: One of the most prominent and most comfortable forms of content marketing to create brand and product awareness is written content. Every website has or should have a blog that ties content up with product offerings.

Your blog’s objective isn’t to create an immediate sale; instead, to improve the image of your brand and product offerings. The content should work to lead your potential customer toward the part of the funnel that you think the customer is at in their journey.

To be the most effective, you need to craft your blog posts in a way that does a few things for your audience.

Write your blog in conversational tones, and make your content tell a story. Lending personality to your blog makes your post easier to read and will create trust in your authority. Unless, of course, your services are specific and require a very academic or professional tone.

Identify something your audience sees as an issue, problem, or pain point. This could be an issue in the marketplace, a problem or pain-point that your reader may be experiencing, and offer a solution or better way to do something. This problem-solving technique will establish you as an authority and create trust in your reader that you can solve these issues.

Video: Video is highly engaging, easy to consume, and widely shareable. You can create a high-resolution video and quickly post it on your company website and blog.

In fact, the American Marketing Association states that “video will make up 82% of all web traffic by 2021.” Don’t skimp on the video. If you aren’t comfortable on camera, you can script out your video and hire freelance talent to produce it for you.

Again, like a blog post, identify a few issues and problems your audience may be experiencing and offer a solution. You can embed the video directly or include it in a written blog post to add a personal element.

Social Media Posts: It’s been stated that over 72% of all adults consuming one form of social media or another. This is a crucial platform in your content marketing strategy. You can create standalone posts or promote other content you’ve made, such as your blog posts and videos.

The best strategy to reach as broad an audience as possible is to cross-promote your content within as many channels as possible for the highest level of reach and engagement.

Set a publication calendar and use a third-party app to publish along all your various content marketing channels. You can outsource your content production as well to maximize your automation process.

Now that your content marketing strategy is in place, it’s time to focus on the next step you’d like your audience to take in your funnel.

The goal is to create something that attracts your reader’s attention and builds on the trust and authority you established in your initial content marketing.

This step is where you move the reader from awareness to interest and eventually desire and action. The key here is to create a lead magnet that attracts their attention and makes them want more that you have to offer.

The Second Step, Create A Valuable Lead Magnet

lead magnet illustration

A typical lead magnet should target your specific audience and offer something in return for their information. For example, a B2B lead magnet might be a free white paper that identifies one problem in the industry and offers a free solution and a promise of more solutions if they sign-up for your email newsletter.

Another lead magnet may be a webinar that is directed toward a particular segment of the industry. You promote your webinar with a landing page that requests sign-ups, and you give the solutions to the participants’ specific needs.

The lead magnet should identify a problem with getting qualified leads in a particular industry and show a strategy to help your reader improve the types of leads they are generating.

By receiving the lead magnet, you capture the prospect’s information and add them to a squeeze page to direct them to the funnel’s third step, the follow-up offer.

The Follow- Up Offer

The third step of the funnel should be to make a second offer to your prospect. It should be in addition to the lead magnet offer and be more specific and offer much more detailed value than the initial product.

Again, the key here is added value to what your audience received already. You can approach this in one of two ways, an upsell or down-sell of products. An upsell is a pricier product than what you offered previously, while a down-sell is priced lower and is typically an add-on that increases the value of your previous product.

By creating value in your content and sharing across various channels, you increase your brand awareness.

Next, by making a low-to-zero cost lead magnet, you hope to capture the prospect’s information that allows you to direct them to the third step in your funnel.

From here, you make an additional offer, one that is priced higher or lower than your original offer but adds value to what the prospect already received.

The final step is where the money is – the backend sale.

The Backend Sale

The final step in the sales funnel is the backend sale. If you’ve set up your funnel correctly, from content creation to lead magnet and follow-up, you’re ready to pitch your sale.

After creating awareness of your brand, establishing some authority, and building trust in what you provide, this is where you highlight the benefits of your product or service.

Your focus here should be on giving the customer “permission” to make the sale that they’ve been moving toward making and should be enticing. If you provide lead generation as a product, enhance the attractiveness of your service by offering something in addition, such as around the clock customer service, or a weekly consultation, whatever will help separate your service from others.

Your automated sales funnel’s goal is to allow you to have your sales work independently and will enable you to focus your attention on other areas of growing your business. By automating your sales process, you can capture leads, analyze what is and isn’t working, iterate those actions, and reset the process more efficiently.