How To Create A Successful Sales Funnel (Step-by-Step)

Ahhhhh Field of Dreams really had us going for a while huh? That scene where Kevin Costner is in the cornfield (super creepy btw) and we hear the whisper..."Build it and they will come". While following that voice may have worked out for Costner, I have news for you. 

It DOESN'T work in business.

If you have a website, or a Facebook page or an Instagram account etc, that's NOT enough to get people to actually visit those places and buy from you. No one is going to purchase your product or service if they can't even find your website. You have to work to attract a steady stream of leads, and that's what a GOOD sales funnel does.

Feeling overwhelmed at the thought of setting up your sales funnel? You’re not alone. 

It takes strategy to attract a steady stream of leads, and that's what a GOOD sales funnel does.

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Many online business owners fail to properly plan out their funnel, and it shows.

They have an opt-in incentive that doesn’t appeal to their audience.

Their follow-up emails don’t flow naturally from the opt-in.

Messages are unbalanced—either too many sales pitches or not enough. Even worse, the offers don’t match the market. *cringe*

Making these mistakes is common, so if you recognize yourself here, don’t feel bad. The good news? Well, there’s an easy fix. Follow the 4 steps below and you'll be well on your way to creating a high-converting sales funnel!


Step 1: Survey your market


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All too often we think we know what our readers and potential buyers want, but in reality, we’re simply guessing. We make the mistake of believing that we are our market, but that usually is not the case.

The only way to know for sure what your market truly wants and needs is to ask them. Set up a simple survey with Typeforms or WPForms (even a Google form will work) and ask your blog readers, social media followers, and email list to give their opinion!

Do this right, and you’ll know exactly what you should be offering your audience, plus, you’ll know that language to use on your opt-in page.

To really drill down on what your potential customers want, I highly recommend reading the book, "Ask", by Ryan Levesque. ​Check this blurb out:

"Do you know how to find out what people really want to buy?

(Not what you think they want, not what they say they want, but what they really want?)

The secret is asking the right questions - and the right questions are not what you might expect.

Ask is based on the compelling premise that you should NEVER have to guess what your prospects and customers are thinking. The Ask Formula revealed in this book has been used to help build multi-million dollar businesses in 23 different industries, generating over $100 million dollars in sales in the process.

You ‘ll discover why the Ask Formula is arguably THE most powerful way to discover EXACTLY what people want to buy and how to give it to them - and in a way that makes people fall in love with you and your company."


Step 2: Create your opt-in


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Now that you know what your market needs, it’s time to create your opt-in incentive. Keep in mind that readers today seem to prefer simple, easy-to-digest offers rather than 200-page eBooks or 7-part video series. This makes your job a bit easier, too.

Some popular choices for opt-in incentives include:

  • Checklists
  • Worksheets
  • Resource guides
  • Video trainings
  • Webinars
  • Audio downloads... etc

I love to use the D.O.N.E. Method™ for every piece of content I create. D.O.N.E. stands for:

Digestible
Overdeliver
Needed
Expert

Follow this method and your content will be hard to resist!


Step 3: Map out your autoresponder


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Every good opt-in incentive should be followed up with a series of emails that build on the material. If you’ve offered a resource guide, for example, then your follow-up emails might include usage tips for each of the resources, or case studies that show how others have benefited from using the tools.

Take time to carefully craft your autoresponder series, because these follow up emails will nurture your leads and eventually turn prospects into clients.​ I know you may be tempted to just get your freebie (opt-in) out there straight away, but don't release it until you have your autoresponder set up.

Lack of follow-up is one HUGE reason many sales funnels leak (read more about why here).​

​One additional step to take is segmenting your list. This means, when someone signs up for your opt-in offer, make sure to separate them based on what they signed up for (and create a specific autoresponder related to the freebie).

According to a study by MailChimp, sending a campaign to a segmented list gets you, on average:

  • 14.31% higher open rates
  • 100.95% higher click through rates
  • 9.37% lower unsubscribe rates

In other words, segmenting your email list will bring you a much higher ROI on your campaigns. If you want your autoresponders to be effective, you have to segment your list!

(On a side-note, I highly recommend using ConvertKit to deliver your autoresponder. Convertkit enables you to segment your list, has great tracking features and is super easy to use. Grab a FREE 30 day trial -for a limited time- !


Step 4: Make an offer


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Arguably the most important part of your funnel, your offer must be the logical next step for readers to take. They’ve worked through your opt-in incentive, read and acted on your emails, and they’re hungry for more. Time to make your offer.

Just like the other pieces of your funnel, your offer needs to be the answer to your readers’ most burning questions. You need to make your readers an offer they can't refuse. If you consider your opt-in and follow-up series to be the “lite” version, then your coaching offer or services is the premium package. Bigger, beefier, and the perfect next step.

Before you post your first/next opt-in offer, take some time to map out your funnel according to these steps, and you’ll not only fill your funnel faster, but you’ll close more sales along the way.

Questions about building or scaling your sales funnel? Drop them below and I'll give you some tips!

About the Author

Chanel Cumberbatch is a Business Strategist, Certified Inbound Marketing Strategist and Clarity Coach. She coaches entrepreneurs who are ready to create legacies, build businesses they're in love with and fire their 9-5's!