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So, what is a sales funnel?

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Have you ever been into a supermarket and stopped by one of those ‘taste test’ stands? They’ve usually got tasty morsels on cocktail sticks to tempt you in, and once you’ve sampled their culinary delights they send you off in the direction of the full-price product (which may not have necessarily been on your initial shopping list), perhaps with a voucher in hand?

If you aren’t sure what exactly a sales funnel is, think of it like a virtual taste test cart – trust me, it makes more sense than you think!

A sales funnel typically starts with a free download – a webinar, e-book or worksheet – or a low-cost product designed to grab your attention, just like a tasty morsel on a cocktail stick.  The idea with these free or low-cost ‘lead magnets’ is to wow subscribers with the quality of your work, demonstrate your skill, knowledge and expertise and encourage your new audience to part with something, whether that’s a small amount of money or their email address (as long as they’ve explicitly given their permission to be marketed to) in exchange for this useful item.  This drops people into the widest part of your funnel, pulling as many people as possible into a journey (with you and your business) towards the ultimate goal of the purchase of a full priced product or service.

The key function of a sales funnel is to convert as many people as possible from ‘prospects’ (who have downloaded or purchased your free or low-cost product) to fully fledged, happy, paying customers.  Of course, most funnels aren’t just a single ‘lead magnet’ followed by the attempted sale of a full priced product or service.  A funnel might include numerous upsells, cross-sells, and offers, with an opportunity for people to pass through the sales funnel quickly (if they are ready to buy now) or slowly, over a period of weeks or months (if they need a little more convincing!).

Sales and marketing automation tools like Mailchimp, Active Campaign and Keap (as well as a number of other tools) can be incredibly useful when you are building a sales funnel.  Whereas two decades ago you may have needed a whole sales team to phone potential leads and physically guide them through the sales process, today, most sales funnels can be automated entirely, with personalised email ‘check-in’ touchpoints pre-programmed so that your funnel can work 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, to nurture potential customers whilst you get on with the day-to-day running of your business.


If you’re interested in developing a sales funnel and would like to find out how I could help, please get in touch.

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