A sales funnel is probably the most important marketing tool available. It shifts audiences from curious visitors to paying clients.A sales funnel is probably the most important marketing tool available. It shifts audiences from curious visitors to paying clients.
For online entrepreneurs, a sales funnel is probably the most important marketing tool you have. Yet many entrepreneurs, both new and established, have no clear understanding of what a funnel is or how it works.

Failing to understand this critical part of your business means fewer sales, lower profits, and ultimately, an unstable business.

A Simple Sales Funnel

At its most basic, a sales funnel starts with free content, which typically requires nothing of your audience. Many sales funnels begin with blog posts, YouTube videos, Facebook content, and other information your audience can access at no cost. This — literally, because you’re on a free blog post — is the “top” of the funnel.

Next, you’ll have an attractive offer that requires a tiny “payment” of sorts — typically an email address, but sometimes an app download. You’ve seen this all over the internet, and probably even signed up for some. Your level 2 of the funnel is the free ebook or guide, video series, checklist, workbook, or other valuable content that is available in exchange for “opting in” to an email list.

My favorite method for this is content upgrades, like this one:

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Once on your mailing list, you’ll then present your readers with a series of low-cost offers. Perhaps you have a low-priced ebook or a trial membership? Whatever your offer, make sure there are little to no barriers to purchase. You want low price, small time investment, instant gratification offers that will have your new customers hooked on your style and effectiveness.

Customers who purchase your low-priced product move further down the funnel, and receive offers with higher priced products. As they continue to buy, they move closer and closer to your high-end offers, which make up the bottom of your funnel.

How Your Sales Funnel Works

[su_row][su_column size=”1/2″] Sales Funnel[/su_column][su_column size=”1/2″]If you imagine your funnel as looking like, well, a funnel, it’s easy to see that your free content — at the top — is consumed by the largest number of readers. Below that, your subscribe-cost item attracts a smaller subset of the genuine freebie seekers. Next, your low-priced products bring in yet a smaller group — these are your real audience, your tribe or community.

Finally, as you near the tip of the funnel, only the most loyal of fans and customers will purchase your highest priced offers.[/su_column][/su_row]

Your job, as the business owner, is to ensure that your funnel leads customers naturally from the top, free offers all the way to the bottom. The more buyers you can keep in your funnel, the more money you will make.

Most entrepreneurs easily envision the top of the sales funnel, but if you want your business to thrive, you must master the entire process, and that starts with understanding what a funnel is and how it works.

Want help setting your sales funnel up?

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Where do you have the most trouble with sales funnels?