Make no mistake; a sales funnel is not a marketing funnel. Most marketers and online business owners use the terms “marketing funnel” and “sales funnel” interchangeably. In fact, head over to Google Images now, enter both terms, and you will find similar results trying to convince you that both are the same.
Here are the results of a “sales funnel” search in Google Images:
And here are the results of a “marketing funnel” search”:
Pretty much the same, aren’t they?
But they are not!
There is a fine line between a sales funnel and a marketing funnel.
A marketing funnel is the entire journey from a user becoming aware of your business to the user becoming a loyal customer. A marketing funnel includes running paid ads, doing SEO, sending follow-up emails, and everything in between.
A sales funnel, on the other hand, is the part of a marketing funnel that lays out the steps that lead to final conversion. It includes only sales elements, such as a sales page, an order page, an upsell page, a “Thank You” page, and everything else that influences users to move towards a conversion event.
Now, take a look at this marketing funnel by TrackMaven. A sales funnel covers the last part to help you understand the difference between both terms:
Let’s simply the term “sales funnel” further.
What is a Sales Funnel?
A sales funnel is the route that website visitors take to reach the final destination of buying products or services.
Similar to a marketing funnel, sales funnels also have several phases, all of which are meant to move users further and further down to the funnel (i.e., to the final sale or lead).
Here are the four basic stages of a sales funnel:
Image Source: Chatbot News Daily
Awareness: People start becoming aware of your products or services (e.g., people look for a solution to a problem and find it on your blog).
Interest: Potential customers start taking an interest in your product (e.g., subscribing to your email list is a sign of user interest).
Decision: Potential customers finally decide to purchase your products or services.
Action: Potential customers make purchases and become actual customers.
The great news is you already have influence over many people to take them to the end of the sales funnel.
Want to know how?
Once, I was on a trip, I walked into a brick-and-mortar store and started browsing the products. A sales associate greeted me warmly and began offering assistance. While checking out products, my eyes traveled to a rack of t-shirts on clearance. I walked through the rack, and a sales associate connected with me there, too. He offered me a further discount if I bought three or more t-shirts. Intrigued by the offer, I selected four t-shirts. Finally, when I was at the point of sale, the sales associate recommended shorts that would match well with the color of one of the t-shirts. As expected, I added the shorts to my purchases, paid for the clothes, and left.
That’s not it!
I was so pleased with the deal and services; I visited the store again to buy more clothes.
This exact process takes place on your website. In place of a sales associate, web pages guide visitors through a sales funnel.
Each online business has a sales funnel as they try to turn visitors into customers. But there is a huge difference between guiding users through a random sales funnel and guiding them through a well-crafted sales funnel, which is 100 times more effective.
Unfortunately, 68% of businesses haven’t yet tried to make a sales funnel. If you are one of them, keep reading to discover why a sales funnel is a necessity for today’s competitive age.
Why Do You Need a Sales Funnel?
A sales funnel gives you an opportunity to set the stage for a constant flow of sales, instead of continually chasing them.
Let me elaborate:
Imagine that you own an e-commerce business, selling printable calendar templates. You know that your targeted audience (customers ages 25-65) hangs out a lot on Instagram. So, you run an engaging Instagram Ad that drives traffic to the landing page. On the page, you unveil some productivity tips and ask customers to sign up for your email list in exchange for more tips.
This gives you real leads instead of prospects.
Over the next few weeks, you will send more tips via email, thereby educating subscribers on the uses of calendar templates and increasing their productivity level as a benefit. You tell them how easy it is to get their dream customizable calendar. At the end of your email, you offer a 10% discount on their first calendar purchase.
You’re selling customizable calendars like crazy. Everyone is buying them!
Next, you add these one-time customers to a new email list. Your process starts all over again with different content, such as giving them more ideas for productivity gifts for friends, advising them how to get the most out of their calendar, etc. Indirectly, you’re asking them to come back and buy more.
And there you have it.
You have now guided customers through the entire sales funnel to the bottom.
- Raising Awareness: Run an Instagram Ad
- Creating Interest: Sharing tips on landing page
- Help Consumers in Decision: Sending tips via emails
- Leading Consumers to Final Action: 10% discount on products
You have nurtured potential leads and loyal customers to the point where they feel like they can’t live without your products or services.
The sales flow remains “On” as long as you put your intentionally crafted sales funnel to use.
And that’s why you need a sales funnel.
How to Build a Sales Funnel Fast?
You may have assumed that the sales funnel looks exactly like the diagram I shared above. In reality, it’s not as simple as it seems.
A sales funnel is a visual representation that lays out the entire process in stages, including customers’ touch points, traffic sources, landing pages, and much more.
Here’s how it looks:
Image Source: EmailToolTester
You need a tool to help you create a crystal-clear sales funnel, as it can get messy to create one on your own. Clickfunnels help you do that, but there are more budget-friendly alternatives available to do the great job.
Sales funnel creation tools offer various benefits, such as:
- Enabling you to make necessary changes whenever you want;
- Sharing a common diagram amongst your team to ensure everyone is on board;
- Allowing you to present a professional sales funnel diagram to your clients and win their trust; and
- Allowing you to keep your sales funnel well-organized and systematic.
Have you already imagined your sales funnel?
By now, you must understand the importance of a sales funnel on the buyers’ journey.
When you finally create your sales funnel, let me know how it helped you!
Read More: How to Build Your First Sales Funnel.