Sales Funnels – What Are They And How Do You Set Them Up

Every online business regularly faces a host of challenges but the good news is that for every challenge there is a solution. In fact, there are often several solutions. Making the most of the traffic that you generate is one such challenge. Finding and attracting good quality targeted traffic for our websites is a challenge that we all face so when we do succeed in getting someone who is that perfect fit for our business offering we want to make sure that we do the best by them as well as our own business.

So how do we do that? The answer I, of course, to have a sales funnel all set up and ready to go before they even arrive at our first offer. If you are unfamiliar with the term let me briefly explain the concept of a sales funnel. The most common format that a funnel takes is that the business owner has a squeeze page set up at the open end of the funnel. The sole purpose of the squeeze page is to attract as many prospects as possible by offering something free in exchange for the recipient’s e-mail address. In other words it is set up just to get them on your list… nothing less and nothing more!

Once they have surrendered their e-mail address then a series of automated e-mails (using an autoresponder) are sent out at predetermined intervals that serve a number of purposes. The first e-mails in the series introduce the sender with the purpose of getting the recipient to know, like and begin to trust the sender. These e-mails often offer additional gifts to the new prospect or contain content that is useful and valuable to the receiver to hep achieve this goal.

After a short period, which will vary between marketers and more so between niches, the marketer will send an offer which is not free… that is they will make a sales pitch. Again this is completely automated using the autoresponder. When I do this (and my subsequent offers) I like to send a series of three e-mails, at appropriate intervals, reinforcing the offer. After that I then go back to sending a few like, know and trust e-mails before sending another offer.

There are some whose e-mail addresses were collected at the beginning of the process who will unsubscribe and leave the list. Don’t worry about this as it is just a fact of life for every Internet marketer. It is also why we compare this process to a funnel, which is wide at the top and then narrows. Those who don’t really feel an affinity with you or who did not really fit the profile for both the original offer as well as those that follow will naturally drop out leaving you with those who are genuinely interested in what you have to offer and if you do it right will be those who are loyal followers for a very long time.

Consider for a moment your own experience. I suspect that you are on a number of marketers lists as I am. You are happy to be on these lists, possibly for a number of reasons. My point is that you are happy to be on theses lists.

I would also suggest that there are many, many other marketers whose lists you have unsubscribed from. There are likely to be many reasons that you chose to leave their lists and high among those reasons is likely to be the fact that you simply did not fit with the marketer or with the products being offered… so you unsubscribed.

When it comes to developing your own sales funnel you can learn valuable lessons from both the lists you choose to remain on as well as those you choose to leave. This learning process begins with asking the question’ “Why do I choose to stay on this list?” or “Why did I choose to leave this list?” The answers will give you great insight and ideas as to go about building your own sales funnel.

Developing a sales funnel is not a simple task as you have to create a series of e-mails each of which has to have an awesome headline that will make the reader want to open it and read the contents. The headline needs to be backed up with a well written e-mail that tempts the reader to click on the link to your offer and the offer itself has to be appropriate to the reader with a sales page that will tempt them to buy. This all takes a reasonable amount of effort and each of these components is a topic in its own right and so is way beyond the scope of this single article.

However let me say this before you get put off and think that this is just too hard… you don’t have to build it all at once! If I am building a new funnel I generally go about it like this. I set up the squeeze page and link the opt-in form to my autoresponder (I use Aweber for this). I set up my first five or six e-mails. Theses are the know like and trust e-mails I mentioned earlier and the I find the first product that I am going to promote in this funnel. Generally for this product I am looking for a product that is $10 and below and it has to compliment the product I gave away from the squeeze page.

Once I have written the three e-mails promoting that product I am able to start driving traffic to the squeeze page because I know I have about two weeks before I need to have the next part of the e-mail sequence ready because that’s how long it will take for the first people in the funnel to receive the last of the e-mails I initially set up. During that two weeks I can write my next series of know, like and trust e-mails, find the next product to promote and write the e-mails for that promotion.

The great thing about building a sales funnel this way is that I only have to write the e-mail sequences once because as they are written they get added to the end of the autoresponder sequence, which simply continues to grow over time. This means that a new subscriber coming into a mature sales funnel may have two years of e-mails already set up which will be automatically delivered without me having to lift a finger. There is also plenty of room in the sequence for me to mail out special offers, such as a launch of a new product, in addition to the preset sequence… and if they are suitable these offers can be added to the sequence as well.

Having built your first sales funnel it is then a simple matter of doing it a again… and again! There is not limit to how many of these funnels you can create and once created they are easy to maintain. As with most things after you do this once it gets easier as you repeat the process. You can often ‘borrow’ parts of other funnels you own and add them to another funnel you are creating.

There is much more I could have added in this article and perhaps I will write other article on some parts of this process in the near future. Please feel free to let me know what you would find helpful by leaving a comment. As always do share this with others if you found it helpful (just click on the share buttons on the left…simple).

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