How To Create A Powerful Digital Marketing Sales Funnel

How To Create A Powerful Digital Marketing Sales Funnel

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Want to grow your online business explosively?

Then you need a powerful digital marketing sales funnel. 

And today we will show you how to build one…

Introduction to Sales Funnels

Okay, so before we get into all the practical stuff, let’s make sure that we are all on the same page when it comes to the basics.

What is a Sales Funnel?

A sales funnel is a process through which a person goes through from first hearing about your company to becoming a customer to becoming a repeat customer.

Here’s a bird’s-eye-view of any sales funnel:

  • Top of the funnel – target audience. You get the potential customer’s attention.
  • Middle of the funnel – leads. You get the potential customer interested in your product.
  • Bottom of the funnel – customers. You persuade the potential customer to buy your product.

Every successful business in existence has a sales funnel that follows this structure.

However, since this structure is so general, it isn’t particularly helpful when it comes to designing your own sales funnel.

That’s why when we use the term “sales funnel”, we typically mean a specific sales funnel template has been proven to work.

The AIDA Sales Funnel

AIDA is the classic sales funnel that was developed in the late 19th century by an advertising and sales pioneer Elias St. Elmo Lewis.

Its name is an acronym for the four stages of this funnel:

  1. Awareness. You get the potential customer’s attention.
  2. Interest. You pique their interest.
  3. Desire. You make them want your product.
  4. Action. You ask them to buy your product.

This is probably still the most popular sales funnel of them all.

The Value Ladder Sales Funnel

We believe that the most effective way to sell anything online is the Value Ladder sales funnel.

It was developed by our co-founder Russell Brunson who then used it to take ClickFunnels from zero to $10M+ in annual revenue in just one year.

Now, seven years after the launch, it’s at $100M+ in annual revenue. Talk about explosive growth!

The Value Ladder sales funnel has four stages:

  1. Bait. You offer the potential customer a lead magnet in exchange for their email address.
  2. Frontend. You offer the potential customer your least expensive and least valuable product.
  3. Middle. You offer the customer a more expensive and more valuable product.
  4. Backend. You offer the customer your most expensive and most valuable product.

Ideally, you also have a continuity program of some sort, meaning, a subscription product that generates recurring revenue.

AIDA vs. The Value Ladder

There’s a reason why the AIDA sales funnel has been around for over a century now – it works.

However, the world has changed since the late 19th century, so it makes sense to adjust your approach accordingly.

The most significant change that matters in this context was the rise of digital technology.

Advertising, lead magnets, and communicating with potential and existing customers are all much more affordable now.

And that’s what the Value Ladder sales funnel capitalizes on.

It allows you to:

  1. Start the relationship with the potential customer by providing free value.
  2. Nurture that relationship by continuing to provide free value.
  3. Build trust by providing progressively more paid value at each stage.

It’s a give-and-take approach where there’s a constant exchange of value between you and that person.

Here’s how Russell explains it:

Meanwhile, with the AIDA sales funnel, you give, give, give, and then hit the potential customer with your sales pitch.

It is suboptimal because it doesn’t take into account the currency of human relationships – trust.

The more expensive the product, the more the potential customer needs to trust you in order to buy it, which is something that AIDA completely ignores.

Say, if you try to sell your $2,000 online course right off the gate, a potential customer who has never bought anything from you before will likely reject your offer.

It’s like asking someone to marry you on the first date. Don’t do it!

However, with a Value Ladder sales funnel, you would first offer them:

  • Your free lead magnet.
  • Your $7 ebook.
  • Your $257 online course.
  • Your subscription product.

…and only then would you make your $2,000 online course pitch.

By that point, you would have built up a lot of trust with them, so they would be much more likely to buy it.

See how the Value Ladder sales funnel allows you to maximize Customer Lifetime Value (CLV)?

How To Build a Digital Marketing Sales Funnel

You don’t need to have your entire product line ready to build a basic Value Ladder sales funnel.

You can start with a lead magnet + a frontend product.

Here’s how…

Step #1: Create a Super Valuable Lead Magnet 

A lead magnet is a freebie that you offer to the potential customer in exchange for their email address.

It can be anything that they can either download to their device or access online:

  • A report.
  • An ebook.
  • A webinar.
  • A video course.
  • An email course.


What matters is that:

  1. Offers a solution to a problem that the potential customer is struggling with. The more painful the problem, the more appealing your lead magnet will be.
  2. Addresses the same problem as your frontend offer. You know how you sometimes see those stalls in the supermarket where you can get a free sample of some new food or beverage, then buy more of it you like it? 
    In the same way, your lead magnet should give the potential customer a taste of what they can expect from your frontend product.

Also, as we always emphasize when we are discussing lead magnets, you need to understand this:

Your ideal customers won’t give you their email addresses unless you offer them something SUPER VALUABLE in return.

So create something that they desperately want, then give it away for free.

That’s the key to designing an effective lead magnet.

Step #2: Create a Lead Generation Landing Page

A landing page is a type of web page that is designed with a single conversion goal in mind.

In the case of lead generation landing pages, they should be designed to convert visitors into leads.

You can start by creating a simple squeeze page for your lead magnet.

Here are the three key elements that it needs to have:

  1. A headline that conveys how your lead magnet will make the potential customer’s life better.
  2. An opt-in form where the potential customer can type in their email address (it can either be displayed on the same page or as a pop-up once they click the call-to-action button).
  3. A call-to-action button that encourages the reader to get the lead magnet.

You can also add a subheadline, some copy, social proof, etc.

Here’s a squeeze page that Jon Morrow, a popular blogger and a writing coach, uses for his “Headline Hacks” lead magnet:

Want to learn more about creating an effective lead generation landing page?

Check out our comprehensive guide on this topic:

“10 Tips For Killer Lead Generation Landing Pages”

Step #3: Create a Frontend Offer

Your frontend product should build on the lead magnet – it should address the same problem but provide much more value.

For example:

Matthew Hussey, a world-renowned dating coach, has a lead magnet called “9 Texts” that offers nine text message scripts that women can copy-paste when texting a guy they like.

And if a woman benefits from those nine text message scripts, she will likely be interested in Matthew’s paid product called “The Momentum Texts” that offers 67 more copy-paste scripts.

See how there’s a seamless transition from the lead magnet to the frontend product? You want that in your sales funnel as well.

Also, understand that the purpose of the frontend product isn’t to make you a ton of money, it’s to convert leads into paying customers.

That’s why we recommend you to price it at $7.

It’s a price point that:

  • Isn’t so low that it would make the potential customer question the product’s value.
  • Isn’t high enough to make the potential customer stop and think twice before purchasing it.

This means that people who have benefited from your lead magnet will be likely to purchase your frontend product because why not, it’s just seven bucks!

Step #4: Create a Sales Page

A sales page is a type of landing page that is designed to convert the visitor into a customer by persuading them to buy the product.

Here are the key elements that it needs to have:

  • A headline that conveys how your product will make the potential customer’s life better.
  • A sub-headline that provides more information as to what you are offering.
  • Sales copy where you establish an emotional connection by showing empathy for the potential customer, paint a vivid picture of how their life could look like, and expand on the benefits of your product.
  • List of features where you explain what exactly the potential customer will get if they buy your product.
  • Social proof that reassures the potential customer that you are someone who knows what they are talking about.
  • A call-to-action button that encourages the potential customer to buy the product.
  • A 30-day, 60-day, or a 90-day no-questions-asked money-back guarantee.

For example:

Above the fold of “The Momentum Texts” sales page you see:

  • A headline that immediately makes it clear what problem this product is addressing.
  • A subheadline that explains more about the product.
  • A video where Matthew demonstrates one of the scripts, shows empathy by talking about modern dating woes, provides social proof, and pitches the product.

Note that he has a YouTube channel with over 2.3 million subscribers so his potential customers are used to seeing him on video.

This means that the video medium makes more sense here than the text medium.

However, if you don’t feel comfortable in front of the camera but are great at writing, then selling via text would make more sense for you. Always play to your strengths.

Right below there’s a call-to-action button that looks like an e-mail opt-in form.

This is an interesting approach because at this point the visitor is probably fully aware that this is a paid product.

However, phrasing the call to action as “Get My Download” as opposed to “ Buy Now” might make them more likely to click the button.

Then there’s the sales copy that consists of Matthew empathizing with the potential customer + providing social proof by mentioning that he has helped millions get the relationships they deserve.

Note how the romantic image in the background reinforces the message.

Then there’s a summary of what the potential customer will get if they buy “The Momentum Texts”:

And then there’s another call-to-action button that is followed by a 60-day money-back guarantee and social proof in the form of “As Seen On” media badges.

Note that this sales page is deceptively short because Matthew does most of his selling via video.

If you were to transcribe that video and use the transcript as sales copy, then it would be a medium or a long-form landing page.

Step #5: Create a Follow-Up Email Sequence

You also need to prepare a sales email sequence that you can then automatically send to every lead.

Note that we didn’t say “a sales email”, we said “a sales email sequence”.

It’s simply not enough to pitch your frontend product once. We recommend sending at least six follow-up emails.

Use the Hook, Story, Offer Method All Throughout Your Sales Funnel!

Here’s the Hook, Story, Offer framework that you should use in your copy all throughout your sales funnel:

  • Hook . Grab the person’s attention.
  • Story . Tell them a captivating story.
  • Offer .Present your offer.

You should apply this basic structure to everything from ads to emails to landing pages and sales pages.

Here’s how Russell explains it:

How To Drive Traffic to Your Digital Marketing Sales Funnel

Okay, so now that you have your Value Ladder sales funnel all set up, it’s time to start driving traffic to it.

Here are some ideas on how to do it:

  • Paid ads. We recommend you to begin by testing your sales funnel with Facebook ads. Set up a small daily budget, start driving traffic to your lead magnet landing page, and see what happens. Make sure that your sales funnel is profitable before you add more marketing channels.
  • Influencer marketing. You can pay social media influencers to give your lead magnet a shout-out. Start by buying one-off shout-outs, then invest more into partnerships that prove to be profitable.
  • Social media marketing. You can also build a social media following of your own. The key is sharing valuable content, then promoting your lead magnet to your followers.
  • Video marketing. YouTube is the largest video hosting platform in the world with 2.8 billion monthly active users. Whoever your ideal customers are, they are probably watching YouTube regularly. So why not build a niche channel, then promote your lead magnet at the end of each video?
  • Search engine optimization (SEO). Building a niche blog can help you attract organic search traffic from Google. What’s important is that you pick promising keywords, create SEO content around them, then build backlinks to that content.

Note that the first two traffic generation methods are quick and the other three take time.

You need to balance making money now with building traffic-generating assets that can enable you to make even more money in the future.

How To Optimize Your Digital Marketing Sales Funnel (10x Your Profits!)

You should always see your sales funnel as a work-in-progress, not a set-it-and-forget-it type of thing.

Here’s a quick overview of a sales funnel conversion rate optimization process:

  1. Analyze your sales funnel data.
  2. Identify its weakest link.
  3. Figure out what the problem is.
  4. Come up with a hypothesis of how to fix it.
  5. Test your hypothesis with A/B testing.
  6. Keep testing hypotheses until you solve the problem.
  7. Go back to step one and start the process all over again.

This can help you 2x, 5x, or even 10x your sales funnel profits.

Here’s how Russell explains it:

Want Russell To Teach You How To Build Your First Sales Funnel?

Let’s keep it real:

Building a sales funnel from scratch can seem like a daunting task.

That’s why we created our 5 Day Challenge where Russell walks you through it step-by-step.

You will learn how to:

  • Generate unlimited leads.
  • Create your first lead magnet.
  • Build your first sales funnel.
  • Create a simple 6-email follow-up sequence.
  • And launch your funnel!

…in just five days.

So don’t hesitate.

Join our 5 Day Challenge today. It’s completely free!

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