Have you heard the term ‘marketing funne’l or ‘sales funnel’, but not really understood what it meant?  Your ‘funnel’ is the process by which you move people from interested prospects to satisfied customers. Every online business needs some kind of marketing funnel. 

Think about how a funnel works. You pour liquid into a large opening, and it channels it into a narrow path. A marketing funnel is similar. It channels your prospects down a narrow path towards the desired destination – your sales page.  

Every time you enter your email on someone’s website, you’re entering their marketing funnel. For large retailers, you’ll now receive daily promotions and advertisements. For smaller online businesses, the messages will be more targeted with persuasive copy on how their product or service will help you. Either way, they are trying to move you from an interested prospective buyer to a satisfied customer.

How Does A Marketing Funnel Work?

Your marketing funnel is specific to your business. The first step is to capture your visitor’s attention on your squeeze page and ask for their email address.  Then, you’ll send your prospect compelling emails that direct them to a webinar or your sales page and ultimately lead them to take the action of buying your product or service.

A Simple Marketing Funnel Explained in 3 min:

Marketing funnels don’t need to be complex. Here’s an example of a simple marketing funnel.  I created this short video a long time ago, but I think you’ll find it just as relevant and valuable today.


Do You Need a Marketing Funnel?

Yes, a basic marketing funnel is essential to your business. Your funnel is the action plan for how you will engage prospects, keep them interested, and lead them back to your sales page.  

If you don’t have a funnel, you’re missing out on potential customers! People are busy – they skim text online and spend only seconds on sites. Someone may visit your website, think your product or service looks interesting, but then forget about it when they leave the site.  The email communication piece of your marketing funnel keeps you in front of prospects!

Even if they don’t buy your offer right away, you’ve started a relationship and built trust with that person. They know your offer and credentials, and proof of benefits. They may purchase at a later date or when the need arises. Or, they may refer your business when they have a friend or colleague who needs your product or service.

The Customer’s Journey in a Simple Marketing Funnel

Step #1 – Prospect

The first thing you need in your marketing funnel is your squeeze page. A squeeze page is the page where visitors see your opt-in box. It’s designed to ‘squeeze’ a visitor’s email address from them by giving them a valuable freebie in exchange for their email address. 

The visitor enters their email into an opt-in box. Once the visitor submits their name and email in the opt-in box, they’re added to your email follow-up series.

For more information about email marketing, check out my post on Email Marketing Systems.

Step #2 – Lead

Once the prospect is on your email list, they’re now considered a “lead”. They will get a series of follow-up emails (that you’ve created in advance and will send automatically). These emails will lead them to your sales letter.

Your sales letter is your page on your website that makes your offer. You can check out my sales page for the Graphics Creation Workshop. For more information on sales letter pages, read my article What is a Sales Letter Page?

Step #3 – New Customer

Your lead will visit the page with the sales letter, learn how your business can help them, and buy your product or service.

Step #4 – Satisfied Customer

After your prospect purchases your service or product, they move to a different part of your funnel. They’re a valuable customer now! Your goal is different. 

You’re focused on fulfilling your promise to your customer and making sure they get what you promised. Whether that’s a course, product, service, etc. Go here to see our testimonials of our success stories.

Remember, each customer’s path is unique. Sometimes a visitor will go directly from your squeeze page to your sales page and become a customer without getting into your email sequence for leads.  

To Sum it Up

When you have an online business, you need a marketing funnel. This is true whether you’re selling products or programs, or if you’re a coach or consultant.  

Don’t rely on pure chance and good luck to secure customers. You need an intentional process for turning prospects into leads and leads into paying customers. Start thinking about how you can build your own website marketing funnel to convert more prospects. 

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And if you have a WordPress site already and want to develop a marketing funnel, join us in the Website Marketing Workshop here

(this article originally appeared on this blog in March 2012)


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