Creating an Effective Path to Purchase Online Marketing Funnel
An online marketing funnel is an automated system, which when setup correctly once and managed, will operate 24/7 creating new leads and generating sales for your business.
1. What is a funnel?
The purchase funnel, or purchasing funnel, is a consumer focused marketing model which illustrates the theoretical customer journey towards the purchase of a product or service.
According to the original model, the stages of the funnel are: Awareness, Opinion, Consideration, Preference & Purchase. However not all funnel models use these exact stages and descriptions.
Each funnel is made up of different sections representing a unique stage of the userʼs journey.
The funnel becomes narrower as you move further along or down, as more and more individuals naturally loose interest and drop off.
2. Path To Purchase Customer Stages
When creating an online marketing funnel, we can define the potential customer stages as follows:
1. Visitor: Unaware of your brand, services or products
2. Reader: Interested and consuming your content
3. Email Subscriber: Has taken action to opt in and provide you with their email address
4. Customer: Someone who has purchased a product or service from you
Two additional stages that can be added are:
5. Repeat Customer: Someone who has purchased multiple products or services from you
6. Brand Ambassador: Someone actively recommending your brand, products and/or services
An email funnel would include stages 1 - 3 and a sales funnel would include stages 1 - 4.
For now we will ignore stages 5 and 6 to keep things simple.
3. Funnel Stages: Top, Middle, Bottom and Outer
Top of the funnel represents the stage where visitors are just getting introduced to your brand. Theyʼve just become aware of what you do and what you offer.
Middle of the funnel represents the stage where subscribers, that are aware of your brand and are on your list, are engaged with your content (emails, blog posts, videos, etc.) but have not made any purchases yet.
Bottom of the funnel represents the stage where your customer becomes a buyer by purchasing your product or service.
Outer funnel refers to anything outside of your funnel. Deciding if youʼve got a market/product fit or if your ideal customer avatar has been accurately defined are both outer funnel questions.
4. Marketing Funnel Terminology Explained
A lead magnet is something of value that is offered in exchange for the visitors email address. This asset is usually a digital item like a video or PDF, but can also be a free discovery call or a physical item.
A landing page or squeeze page is a page specifically designed to get a visitor to opt in (provide their email address) or buy a product.
A sales page is a page specifically designed to sell a product or service.
A email marketing service provider is online software as a service (SaaS) platform used to create your email list and send out email broadcasts and autoresponders.
An autoresponder is an email broadcast that is sent out automatically based on some other trigger or action.
Double opt in refers to a process where the email subscriber needs to take to actions to confirm their subscription to your email list.
Single opt in refers to a process where the subscriber needs to only take a single action to add themselves to your email list.
A tripwire offer is a low priced item offered to a subscriber right after theyʼve subscribed. The idea is to get the potential customer, while they are warm, to commit to a small purchase turning them from a subscriber into a customer. Itʼs easier to sell an additional product or service to an existing customer compared to aquiring a new customer.
A lead is an individual who has provided contact information, which signals a potential future sales opportunity.
A prospect is a qualified and interested individual who engaged in two-way interaction with you and thus demonstrated that they are preparing to make a purchase decision.
An up-sell is an an additional offer that is made to a user that has just committed to making a purchase. If for example a user has purchased a course, you can offer them an up-sell of purchasing the accompanying pack of templates.
5. Planning & Mapping Out Your Funnel
Before creating and building your funnel, it's useful and recommended to plan and map it out in advance. You can keep it super simple and draw it on the back of a napkin or a notepad or you can use funnel planning software such as Geru (The Ultimate Funnel-Planning, Profit-Prediction & Simulation Tool) to create a map of your funnel.
6. Creating A Simple Email Funnel
The simplest email funnel is made up of the following stages:
1. An opt in landing page offering the visitor a lead magnet in exchange for their email address.
2. The process of being added to your list, which happens in the back-end straight after the user has clicked the subscribe button. For this to work, your landing page needs to be integrated with your email service provider.
3. A thank you page which the user is directed to after theyʼve successfully been subscribed to your list.
4. Lead magnet delivery - the promised item of value can either be delivered on the thank you page or in a link inside an autoresponder email, which is triggered by the subscription process.
Email Opt-In Example
You can find an example of a simple email opt-in funnel at the bottom of this post where you'll find an opt in form that lets you subscribe to my weekly email newsletter.
Using that form you can opt into my email list and get my weekly newsletter. Try it if you’re interested to see how it works.
7. Creating A Simple Tripwire Sales Funnel
The above email funnel can easily be upgraded into a simple sales funnel by adding one additional step.
1. Tripwire Offer: On the thank you page you can offer the new subscriber a tripwire offer. This could be a discounted ebook, a $1 membership trial, a half price consulting call or any other low priced digital product.
2. Transaction Process: If the subscriber purchases, then the transaction needs to be facilitated by a merchant gateway. A service provider that lets you accept payment via credit cards, PayPal and/or Apple Pay.
3. Purchase Thank You Page: After purchasing the product, the buyer needs to be redirected to a thank you page.
4. Product or service delivery: After the purchase, the product or service needs to be delivered. This can be done on the thank you page or the buyer can be redirected to a page to create an account on your membership site.
8. Avoid Complex Funnels
As you can imagine itʼs easy to develop and add any number of additional steps to create highly complex funnels. Itʼs important to keep things simple and effective, especially if you are just getting started.
9. Step By Step Funnel Setup
Letʼs now walk through the steps of developing your own funnel.
1. Creating A Valuable Lead Magnet - a free resource the user gets access to after opting in.
The best lead magnets are items of high perceived value that can provide the visitor with a quick win. Examples could include a PDF checklist, a video explaining a useful process or a template that will simplify a process and save time.
For this example I recommend creating a simple PDF guide or checklist using Google Docs or Dropbox Paper. Simply create a new document, type up your document and export it as a PDF.
2. Setting Up An Opt In Landing Page - this is the page that youʼll direct traffic to in order to collect email addresses.
The best opt in pages are simple, concise and specific in terms of whatʼs being offered. Avoid spending too much time on the design and focus on the copy, making it a no-brainer for the visitor to opt in. Explain exactly what the customer will get and how it will benefit them.
There are various tools and apps that you can use to create landing pages. Most email marketing providers have built in landing page tools, like ConvertKit.
For building landing pages in WordPress, I use and highly recommend Thrive Architect and Thrive Leads which are premium WordPress plugins that let you create landing pages and opt in forms. If you have a self hosted WordPress website, then this would be a great option.
If you are however just getting started or donʼt have a self hosted WordPress site, then stick to what you have. Iʼd start by taking a look at what built in functionality your email marketing provider offers. If you donʼt have an email marketing provider, then Iʼd highly recommend ConvertKit.
New to ConvertKit?
Sign up for your forever free ConvertKit account to manage up to 1000 subscribers, get unlimited landing pages, email broadcasts and subscriber tagging.
Get everything you need to get started on the right foot to implementing your online marketing funnels and integrating them with an effective email marketing strategy.
Some of the other landing page tools and apps include LeadPages, ClickFunnels, UnBounce, etc. If you have an active account with any of these, then use whatever you have access to.
3. Landing Page & Email Provider Integration
This is a crucial step in order to make sure that you subscribers email address gets added to your list.
The exact details and complexity of this step depends on what tools and apps you are using.
If you are setting up your landing page using your email providerʼs built in functionality, then this step wonʼt be a problem, however if you’d like to host your landing page on your website, then you need to make sure your page integrates with your website. Most apps generally have built in integrations that are (fairly) simple to setup, but if you’re just getting started then I don’t recommend this option. I’d just stick with ConvertKit.
4. Setting Up A Thank You Page
After adding your new subscriber to your list they somehow need to be shown a confirmation or thank you message. Again depending on what tools youʼre using, there are different ways of doing this. You can redirect your subscriber to a new thank you page URL or you can simply display a message on the existing page.
5. Lead Magnet Delivery
One step not to forget is giving your new subscriber what youʼve promised them - your lead magnet. Depending on what tools you are using this can be done in various ways. You can add a download link or embed your video on your thank you page, which gives them immediate access. Or you can send them a link to the lead magnet in the first email they receive, which can be setup as an auto responder confirmation email.
10. Progress Over Perfection
When setting up your funnel make sure to focus on progress over perfection. Get something that works online as soon as possible and then make improvements over time.
11. Watch Over My Shoulder
Interested in a step by step course about how to create online marketing funnels for your business? Leave a comment below and let me know what type of business you're in.
12. Get Implementation Help
Need hands on help setting up your funnel? Contact us today so we can schedule a strategy call to better understand your desired outcome.
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